That Was The Week That Was

This week I started turning my attention to a fall semester unlike any other, researching reopening plans for schools like Bethel and thinking through how I’ll teach two of my courses in a “modified face-to-face” format. Then over at The Anxious Bench, the story of Bethel’s first student of color provided bookends for a review of the best history book I’ve read this summer. Elsewhere:

• Apparently there’s a word for my way of using Twitter. Learn more about “doomscrolling,” and how to stop it.

• Since I posted my quick research into CCCU plans for fall 2020, one more Christian college in California announced a pivot to online education.

McDonald Hall at Fresno Pacific University – Creative Commons (Jon Harder)

• If more colleges make that decision in the middle of the semester, they’ll have a ready-made excuse close at hand.

• It seems that that the college experience was generally improving student views of conservatism… until Trump happened.

• When NBA basketball restarts, players will be allowed to display messages on their jerseys… but only certain messages.

• Obviously, I think my discipline is extraordinarily important… but I’m still kind of astonished to find the proceedings of a relatively small society of American historians catching the attention of the New York Times.

• Like most everything this summer, that academic debate quickly turned to “cancel culture.” I’m tiring of such pieces, but this one is absolutely worth reading: one philosopher’s explanation for why we shouldn’t “cancel” Aristotle, even though he positively celebrated slavery.

• Meanwhile, the largest chapter of Planned Parenthood removed the name of its eugenics-supporting founder from a clinic in Manhattan.

• Speaking of eugenics supporters… Charles Lindbergh is back in the news, as debate continues about whether or not he gave a Nazi salute at an America First rally in 1941. (My opinion: no — he’s cropped out of the picture that headlines the article, but the exact same salute is also being given on that stage by Norman Thomas, the pacifistic Presbyterian minister who ran for president several times as the Socialist nominee.)

• This advice comes too late to improve my Lindbergh biography, but… what can historians learn about writing from novelists?

• Much as my undergraduate self loved Nirvana, I can’t say I would have guessed that Dave Grohl would one day write an eloquent essay about teachers in The Atlantic.

Strawberry ice cream
Creative Commons (Joy)

Pandemic trends: ice cream sales up, deodorant down.

• That’s pretty predictable. Much less so: what’s happening to premature births since COVID hit.

• One more trend (unrelated to COVID): around the world, it’s becoming more common for people to attach more — or no — importance to religion.