Aug 16, 2023Liked by Thom Hartmann

There is a word for what you described: RED HERRING. We must use it as often as we can. Good job Mr. Hartman. The so called "Culture wars" are a red herring. The really important issues are economic.

Expand full comment

Good point. But most folk don't have an idea what Red Herring means. It is throwing someone off the scent or trail. Dragging a red herring in front of a dog's tracking.

I believe that folks need an education or remnder of Logical Fallacies, to recognize them

Normally I would direct people to wikipedia, but having been an editor there, I know how it operates and how cliques dominate the site, and thus control the conversation.

I looked up Logical fallacies, and was redirected to Normal Fallacies, which did not list the most used logical fallacies, by the right wing, such as the Bandwagon Effect, and the Red Herring.

Anyone can edit wikipedia, so long as they are familiar with policies and guidelines, violate them, like exposing a bias or engaging in revert wars (as they call them,the system gives priority and legitimacy to the firt person who reverts a sentence or statement.

Here is a more accurate and inclusive link to Logical Fallacies https://www.mindtools.com/afwgbcu/logical-fallacies

I encourage people to use google and look up logical fallacies, but stay away from wikipedia.

Expand full comment

I might add that RED HERRING is not technically a logical error. It is an "informal error" in logic. But a genuine error in debate. I don't know if this is just pedantic mush to most people. However, I was trained in mathematics and logic when I was a student years ago so I often regress to it still. In its broadest terms one could say that deductive logic constitutes rules for clear thinking which can be traced back to Aristotle.

Expand full comment

Thanks. I go for the simplest explanation to the general public, go too deep in the woods and you lose them.

By the way, as an avocation in my retired life, I am a genetic genealogist, and administrate a surname YDNA project. I mention this because I am a fan of deductive logic, gather facts, form a hypothesis, test it, venture a theory, test it again, wash, repeat


Inductive reasoning is a method of reasoning in which a general principle is derived from a body of observations It consists of making broad generalizations based on specific observations Inductive reasoning is distinct from deductive reasoning, where the conclusion of a deductive argument is certain given the premises are correct; in contrast, the truth of the conclusion of an inductive argument is probable, based upon the evidence given.

The key in the above is "given the premises are correct" deductive reasoning tests, not presumes, the premises. Inductive reasoning doesn't.

Simply put with inductive reasoning, find a solution once, and voila you now have an immutable fact or law.

Wikipedia says that Sir Francis Bacon was the father or inductive reasoning, from my reading he is not, it was actually Karl Popper. Interesting thing about Popper, he was a a young man trying to make himself a name, he said of Newtonian Gravity. an extraordinary hypothesis and as such demands an extraordinary solution.

Chastised for heresy, and faced with expulsion, he knelt on the carpet, kissed the "popes ring" and pledged never to err again, however he continued on, with more subtlety, positing his theory of inductive reasoning, which led to science declaring that once a premise was proven, then a hypothesis is proven, for all time.

For example: This is my 9th great grandfather, he arrived in Virginia in 1618, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Farrar_(settler)

his family has been well researched and document since the 1880's, and people with brick walls, who have a need to shell out cash to join some outfit like the Jamestown society, to receive a piece of paper, with no more evidence that their family was in the same general area as William's descendants, create fake ancestral links and trails.

I've been using deductive reasoning to prove or disprove their claims, I've done the same with my own tree. BTW I have no desire to waste my time or money on some piece of paper. I have almost thirty such, maybe more, stuck away in a cardboard box, which I have no desire to go looking for.


Expand full comment

Mr. Farrar, yes the simplest is often the best because it is easiest for the public to get it, to follow it to the conclusion; or most likely to hold their attention to the end. Also, simplest is best because of Occam's Razor. In Math and Logic this is called elegance; ie. beauty in simplicity.

Expand full comment
Aug 17, 2023·edited Aug 17, 2023

For three years in the 60's I was a drill instructor. Drill instructors do more than drilling troops on a drill pad, or yelling at them in the dorm bay. They also have to write lesson plans, and stand in front of them and teach them the UCMJ, customs, traditions, history, parts of rifle and pistol.

When drawing up lesson plans, we were taught, then, to tailor them to the level of an 8th grader. I would guess that today a 5th grade standard would be more appropriate, that is how dumbed down society has become.

They are very proficient at video games. Reminds me of a movie I saw many decades ago.

Video games were developed, as were computers and chips, to give future soldiers the tools and ability to fight aliens headed towards earth.

Point is in current and future warfare, it is not qualification with weapons, or the ability to hump a ruck, parachute or scuba into into a mission, nor even the ability to count, or read any thing other than a tech manual, which I understand is written in comic book layout these days.

Everything, including the media and propaganda is tailored to the lowest common denominator.

Expand full comment

Mr. Farrar, You are correct----unfortunately.

Or maybe we are succumbing to "The Old Man's Disease?"

Everything was better when we were young?

On the other hand ---is it a long road that has no turning?

Expand full comment

This is really our number One story and has been for years.

Thanks again Thom for reminding us of the base of mostly all of our problems in this Country.

The greed of these wealthiest people is supported as you have said, by the Supreme Court six , they know who they are , they’ve encouraged this agenda for as long as they’ve

been in office.

They have been chosen by Republicans including miserly Mitch McConnell, blocked a Democratic presidents right to make his nomination to the Court.

These slippery Republicans get more slimy every time we turn around.

Its their job

To keep the country off balance.

So Trumps indictments are the current big story.

Trump has worked his satanic magic on his followers.

This has a portion of his supporters believing a lie , intended to overthrow the legitimately elected president , as proven by 60 court verdicts that repeated over and over again : no election fraud.

Its all part of this creation of power/ greed/ money.

A cycle of dominance > authoritarianism > fascism, continuing in a cycle. That is ignoring 90 % of Americans and lowering drastically our quality of life.

How interesting that this subjugated quality of life

bothers not one of these very wealthy oligarchs .

Why should it their quality of life is beyond their greediest expectations.

Expand full comment

Ms Lane, I enjoy your posts, but may I offer some constructive criticism, please don't get angry.

Back in the 1980's I was pestered with junk mail solicitations from the (Im)moral majority.

What I noticed that they were well crafted, and instead of long run in paragraphs, their paragraphs contained or revolved around a single thought, or question, or point.

Each paragraph was at least 2 or three citizens long.The human mind, really can't process, in propaganda at least, long paragraphs and run on sentences.

In 1958 I was an end state Beatnik, in uniform never the less, and tried to read Jack Kerouac's On the Road, and other Beat literature of that time. Impossible because it was one long paragraph, front to cover, and impossible to follow.

What is also impossible to follow are one sentence paragraphs. Paragraphs that are related

You have the right idea, creating paragraphs that are short and easy to read, but they are too short, hitting the return or enter button after every period.

Your comments are in the style of poetry, when they are prose.

Expand full comment

I do not agree with Mr Farrar. I found Ms Lane's comment powerful and easy to read.

Expand full comment

That's fine. Everyone has opinions, and I expressed mine. I am not willing to die on that hill.

Expand full comment

We do not disagree on that. I was just wishing to show another opinion.: not to kill you on any hill!

Expand full comment

I know that, and I never meant that you wanted to kill me on a hill. It is just a cliche, meaning it is my opinion and subject to review and change. But it was worked for me for almost 40 years

Expand full comment

Mr. Farrar, Thank you for your comments.

I can see that you set out to do this in a manner of sincere beneficence.

I have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder many years ago.

My thoughts are often not expressed as clearly as I’d like.

However thank you for the comment that my prose can be poetic. ( loose interpretation)

At this time in my life and yours I suspect, ‘poetic, ‘is welcome.

Expand full comment

Your writing is indeed poetic, and that is a good thing, my Mother and my son are both poets (mother was, she passed in 2,000). Myself I have no talent, nada, in anything.

My wife says I have ADHD, I have problems sitting still and concentratng, except when sitting at a keyboard, reading emails and typing comments, then it is total oblivion of everything else, including time

Expand full comment

The Franciscan Nuns that had the chore of teaching grammar and

punctuation to me are rolling in their graves. That said, I did win Sister Hillary’s penmanship contest. First prize! That shows my age. Its not in curriculum anymore.

Expand full comment

I have always had terrible penmanship, so does my son, who is now 61 and a college professor.

My penmanship has gotten worse in old age, and often I can't even read my own riding, fortunately I was taught typing in 1957, touch typing at that, and that has saved my bacon.

That and auto correct or spell check

Expand full comment

Im confused i think i already replied. ?

Expand full comment

Mr. Farrar, I remember all the contemporary, positive reviews included in the hullaballoo upon publication of Kerouac's ON THE ROAD. I was too political to be a Beatnik; but I was sympathetic to them. The FBI would have called me a hidden accomplice. Imagine my disappointment when I read it and saw he was no Allen Ginsburg. Far from that, I found it to be a dull, meretricious attempt to produce a Beatnik version of THE AMBASSADORS by Henry James.

Ms. Lane's disquisition certainly is not in that category. It seems to me to be, by modern standards, almost innocently sui generis. As you point out: prose in poetic form.

Expand full comment

...so what?

perhaps you have been down so long , this all looks like UP to you?

Expand full comment

Thom you are a 100% correct. I can see why the mentally ill billionaires do not want intellectuals teaching economics in high school also.

Expand full comment

Apologies for talking about my own experience, but this time I can't make my case without going personal, and then it is abbreviated.

I need an MRI every six months, to check if there is a regrowth of a cancerous tumor, that was excised 6 years ago

I live rural and my only medical facility is owned by Blackrock a private equity fund, The main shareholders of BlackRock are institutional investors that hold shares on behalf of their clients. As of 13 April, 23 , the institutions with most BLK holdings were The Vanguard Group, State Street and Bank of America.

They are so profit oriented that doctors, nurses, technicians are leaving in large numbers. I am on my 3rd PCP in a year. The MRI that visited us was in an 18 Wheeler, with great techs,

But Blackrock is so miserly that it has driven doctors, nurses and MRI techs (a highly skilled and desirable technician) to find employment elsewhere’s, meanwhile my semi annual MRI originally scheduled for July, was rescheduled to August, because of a lack of techs, and Blackrock wanted to reschedule it to September,, totally unsatisfactory as I have some serious concerns.

This has forced me to schedule it with another medical center (owned of course by Blackrock)

But this one is a five hour drive away (one way), total time is ten hours, not to mention the hour in the MRI.

So much for America’s great, for profit, health care. By the way I’m on Medicare, and still pay $164.90, plus over $324 for my secondary insurance., per month., that’s about $500 a month, still a lot better than paying the 20% that Medicare requires, which would have cost me about $200,000 over the almost six years since the cancer was fist recognized, removed and treated.

I do not want to even think about the hundreds of thousands or millions that die because they can’t get decent medical care because of this greed that is an addiction. What a compassionate country,

If greatness is the America of 1789, then Make America Great Again, is turning back the clock 234 years, exactly what the racist, misogynist, religious freaks and the plutocrats want.

Expand full comment

I am amazed at the senior citizens my age that just simply do what their doctors say without any question. The doctors have their hands tied behind their backs working with the insurance companies. Some ex-con or janitor may be the person who denies your claim at the insurance company and overrides your doctor. Not having Medicare for all or single payer is getting very absurd. I'm glad you're still around, you are an inspiration to me.

Expand full comment

Every time I hear a story like yours, I thank god I spent that year in hell in Vietnam, and that I live in Los Angeles (otherwise known as Hell Lay), where the VA hospital still gets good marks from the clients. (And they have an MRI) Most of all, I am damn happy every time I go in (2x/yr) for my exam and my doctor tells me I am in great shape for a 50 year old. Thanking my DNA, since I know 7 of 10 generations of ancestor males all lived into their 90s with "all lights burning bright" other than the one who got mauled by a bear in 1793, the one who died in the Johnstown Flood, and my father, who stuck a piece of uranium in the front pocket of his workpants and left it there for a week.

Expand full comment

Wow what a story, your father carried around uranium for a week. Evidently no one warned him of the dangers. And what about all those men who worked in uranium mines.

There is way to much of that kind of stuff, letting the capitalists, CEO's, COO's and investors get away with murder. Round up, fire fighting foam, and the Union Carbide plant in India that killed thousands and the properly bribed Indian Supreme court let them off the hook for responsibility. Union Carbide went "bankrupt" as a way of dealing with the problem and is now owned by Dow Chemicals.

Your lucky to have a VA hospital nearby. Mine is five hours away, provided I can get a ferry reservation. Fortunately I have Medicare, a great secondary and Tricare for life as a tertiary.

Expand full comment

ahhh--but how many ppm of toxins

Did they inhale , drink, eat , clean their bodies with, clean the floor with ---how many dealt with the end of time? i may be the first to tell you

DNA cannot overcome a dead ocean

And dead air and soil & ruined aquifers... there is not enough uniquinol Co-Q10, glutathione, nor functional mushroom to overcome

Expand full comment

Amen and Hallelujah! We the people, must now aim our pitchforks directly at the rich via legislation that repeals Citizens United, makes their corporations and them personally pay taxes like everyone else, limits the pay of CEOs and other top managers, makes college and healthcare a right rather than a burden of debt, and prohibits mentally ill people from seeking careers in politics. Good luck with that last one! The great rock band Ten Years After got it right 50 years ago: "Tax the rich, feed the poor; until there are no rich no more."

Expand full comment

How appallingly right you are. How sadly, disgracefully true are the points you make.

The stats on illiteracy and near illiteracy are astounding for a rich country like the US. This is not an accident….a dumbed down population is easy to influence with social media misinformation, and not well enough educated to seek and analyze information for themselves.

And so progressives (usually democrats) who run on policies of better health care, better infrastructure, more social benefits and better education are smeared as socialists (or worse) and people elect republicans who will further impoverish them in favor of further enriching the mega rich because they are distracted by the culture war.🤦‍♀️

Expand full comment

True. People who voted for Trump can't handle the truth so their favorite outlets accommodate them and the circular argument continues.

Supposedly, Trump had the a large % of "college educated women" for his first election.

Are they suffering amnesia or what because by now the man should have less support vs what opinion polling indicate seem to indicate.

Biden's admin and the dem congresss have righted the ship, economy better. Inflation down, etc. The GOP Congress has passed what bills? None.

And yet dissatisfaction creeps back in and enough potential voters seem to look at Trump and do not recall all the uncertainty he brought forth. If there is a plus I am hoping for the young voters and those aged into their first vote for a hope for sanity. Fingers crossed.

Expand full comment

Well, now I know why the only thing "exceptional" about the United States is the exceptional moron stupidity. Brought on by the people who need to meet the guillotine.

Expand full comment

The discussion around trans ideology is misidentified as a left/right issue. The feminists who complain of men in the women’s room, women’s prisons, and women’s sports were never conservative. In fact, feminists and conservatives generally don’t like each other. Those feminists still hold liberal, progressive ideas and consider themselves members of the left even though they still disagree that men with penises should enter their spaces.

Expand full comment

Finally, we may be making some headway here. We have an acknowledgement that we do indeed have some serious problems with our schools, and this is in direct relation to the salvaging of what is left of our democracy.

“— More than one-in-five Americans — 21 percent — are illiterate.” And, “— Our public schools are an underfunded mess…”.

Think about the implications.

As has also been noted, the divide and conquer strategy utilized by the billionaires is not a recent invention. That policy was part of the M.O. of the wealthy movers and shakers over a century-and-a-half ago with regard to schooling.

It is absolutely a fact that the Republicans, libertarians, and other reactionaries of today have no interest in public schooling or public education and have waged a campaign against teachers and their unions and have not hesitated to undermine public schools and to privatize schooling and education. Their version of democracy does not trust decision-making to ordinary citizens.

However, I remind, ONCE AGAIN, that our schools were a hot mess generations ago and had been scrutinized, heavily criticized, and declared to be failing students on a massive scale before any of us were born. Over a century ago, Dewey was not a fan, and he was not the first to attempt to initiate major reforms. Do not make me repeat this sordid history.

The topic today has everything to do with how we got here and the danger posed by billionaires and others to the democracy which we love dearly and wish to preserve and protect. Divide and conquer works well on the uneducated but it works even better on those who are mis-educated and those who mistakenly believe they are educated. May we talk about democracy for a minute?

Citizens in a democracy who are not educated cannot be trusted to optimize the wisdom of their choices for themselves or for the group. Citizens who are not aware of the current affairs, the structure of the government, the most rudimentary characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses of human behavior, or the history of democracies and other forms of government cannot “rule” effectively or elect the best representatives to make and enact laws on their behalf.

Knowledge, truth, wisdom, reliable information, honest assessments, and effective communication are all values which have consistently been prized and sought after throughout our history. Half of our population have missed the boat with regard to these things, however. Presumably, everyone here agrees on those fundamental truths and realities.

We typically equate democracy with freedom from repression by government or by some other entity. We, generally, all assume that, in a democracy, there is a guarantee of liberty for the individual of any age; justice under a set of reasonable and evenhanded laws; equality for all people regardless of their ethnic or genetic heritage, national origin, or religion; opportunity to participate in the economy without discrimination or exploitation (protected by government), and a system for free education. All that is a tall order, and much of it is still more aspirational than a daily reality for many citizens.

If those things are true, then we must have some mechanism, institution, or organizational plan for citizens to become educated, rather than for them to remain ignorant or to be indoctrinated. Education does not occur automatically or through some magical process when we merely wish for it.

Is this not why we have schools? Is this not why we have compulsory school attendance laws? And everyone said, amen, AMEN. Of course. End of story.

But wait just a cotton pickin’ minute!

We are trying to perfect a democracy.

So, why on Earth would we violate our most fundamental principle right off the bat? We the most liberty-loving, freedom-advocating, autonomy-preaching people in the history of the world have passed laws which DICTATE that all citizens MUST attend schools (with certain government approved exceptions) and that possibly the most precious human attribute, education, which parallels life itself, will be, ostensibly, imposed on them universally? One of the earliest choices in each lifetime has been deemed to be of no consequence.

Does anyone see the irony here?

Democracy is not just a form of government. Democracy is a way of life. Democracy represents independence, choice, alternatives, diverse thoughts and lifestyles and beliefs. Democracy is about the individual living in harmony with others, and everyone accepting the will of the majority as expressed through voting, or more accurately in our case, representative government.

One does not just learn about democracy through intellectual exercises. One does not understand and appreciate the principles of democracy through abstract instructions, lessons, and second-hand accounts. One does not live for twelve years in subservience or being controlled, conditioned, and programmed as a second-class citizen or as a citizen-in-training and suddenly emerge out of a confining cocoon as a free and freedom-loving socialized butterfly, ready to participate in democracy.

Where did such ludicrous and utopian ideas ever come from, anyway?

We asked a little earlier if we do not have schools and compulsory attendance laws for the purpose of educating citizens. A popular consensus developed generations ago that such was the case. This, however, is simply erroneous and foolish mythology.

Schools and especially forced attendance were established for entirely different purposes, which are and must be at cross purposes with the ideal of education. The truth is that there will be no democracy in society if democracy is not the primary feature of school, and under compulsory attendance laws, democracy in schools has traditionally been as elusive as Bigfoot in Grand Central Station.

Another popular misconception is that there was a time when schools were qualitatively better, even if rates of attendance were not quite so high, and that students learned in civics and other classes the essentials of democracy and our government (where discipline was so much better and children were more studious). Again, that is PURE BUNK.

Baby boomers did not know significantly more about these things than the students graduating in 2023, or if some did, it was not because of mandatory schooling. Do not drink any more of the SkoolAid.

Reams of literature and research show conclusively that coercion leads inexorably to a harmful, hostile, and counterproductive school climate. Attempts to circumvent or compensate for the authoritarian milieu are typically futile. Schools are underfunded, for certain. However, throwing money at them has not made an appreciable difference, a fact which only bolsters the arguments made by the mercenary privatizers.

Learning requires that the learner takes initiative and derives intrinsic rewards. Education is inhibited and knowledge is superficial and irrelevant for the student when there is a top-down bureaucracy and the curriculum is not organically derived from a degree of intimate knowledge of the student and a positive relationship between teachers and students. Auto-didactic study is much more satisfying and productive. The attendance laws are paternalistic, misanthropic, and patently unconstitutional. What more does anyone need to be persuaded that these bad and oppressive laws are not needed and never have been needed?

Americans are left with an obvious choice. We can have democracy, or we can have compulsory school attendance laws. We can have democracy, or we can continue to use coercion, humiliation, browbeating, obsessive evaluation, arbitrarily imposed “discipline” and “order”, along with excessive competition in our schools. We can have authentic education as an available and attractive choice for children and people of all ages, or we can have paternalistic control and arbitrary authority that morphs immediately into authoritarianism.

All that is not difficult to understand. It is a matter of respect for students, and parents, and teachers. It is a matter of separating school and state. It is literally a matter of choosing life or death for many. You are either stuck in the old school mode of thinking, or you have the courage to welcome a paradigm which fits the 21st century. Today is your day to choose. Choose wisely.

Expand full comment

Mr. Elliott, I am sure you know that in the 18th century, the Irish MP Edmund Burke said he had doubts about democracy because it had a tendency to Place mediocrity in positions of power. If he saw Trump and the Republicans today in the oldest Democracy on earth he would say....what????

As for formal education; I was a teacher for almost four decades and prided myself in that I gave my students as much control over their work as I possibly could. The result was unexpected: We had an evaluation of professors at the end of each semester (student evaluations) Half my students thought I was an incarnation of Satan. Half my students thought I walked on water. No one in between. I had more personal comments, both approval and disapproval, on my evaluations than any other faculty member in the college. More than the next 10 combined. The comment I shall never forget was "If you are in his classes be afraid. Be very afraid!" What does it mean? Freedom is scary? Go figure!

Expand full comment

Mr. / Professor Dobbertin,

My focus is on K-12 but I believe I know precisely what you experienced. One of my psychology professors decided that I was qualified to teach a class for a semester or part of a semester, presumably because I was a little older and more experienced than the other students, having been in the Air Force, and because he apparently had been impressed by some of my writing, possibly in a previous class (which wasn't actually very impressive). This was in the late 1960’s as I recall and there had been a popular wave of experimentation in colleges and a fresh new openness to student power and autonomy and a de-emphasis on grading and evaluation. I had done a lot of reading about schooling, such as Postman & Weingartner’s “Teaching as a Subversive Activity” and Goodman, Holt, and others and informed the class that I would not be grading them based on the traditional model and that they should take the initiative and participate according to their desire to discover and learn the material.

As you might expect, there was a mutiny. That whole thing lasted about two hours. The students demanded that they be evaluated, graded, directed, and tested as they had always been in school. If they were there to learn as independent adults and to explore a field of knowledge or a discipline, I saw no evidence of that. They were so accustomed to being led around by the nose and ordered what to do and what to study, and indeed, what to think, that it was traumatic for them to be given autonomy and choice. They were visibly hostile and the professor was forced to revert to business as usual.

Part of the problem was that I am not a charismatic or extroverted person or a leader. I barely knew the subject matter better than any of the other students and hoped to learn along with them. The whole thing may have been a psychology research experiment for all I know. However, if it proved anything, it proved how poorly prepared any of us were for serious study and research in pursuit of our own knowledge and truly useful information. I am convinced that I have learned much more about psychology and human behavior since I completed my BA in 1980 in pursuing my personal passions.

If you haven’t read any of Richard Mitchell’s work, find “The Underground Grammarian”. I think you will relate to his biting commentary about schools, incompetence, and mediocrity. Unfortunately, he never understand what was at the root causing the problems.

Freedom is scary, as you have observed. And Burke may have had a point about mediocrity in democracy. The question is whether some alternative would protect rights and promote justice and equality, or life itself, and whether some idealized version of superiority or “excellence” would create a measurably better life for more people. Trump is not the consequence of democracy, of course. Trump and the Republicans represent the perversion and near destruction of democracy through the evasion of checks and balances and the will of the majority because of corruption, inequality, criminality, and the failures of our undemocratic schools to promote democracy. But that has never been their purpose, which is why attendance is not voluntary.

Expand full comment

Mr. Elliott, your account of what happened in your Psych. class verifies to some extent what I experienced for some years. You are correct; most people run in fear from "freedom." But it must be offered, nevertheless.

Expand full comment

Agreed. I believe that freedom must be experienced firsthand and in a very direct way from an early age for an individual to grasp its necessity and value. Unfortunately, the "Strict Father" metaphor, heavily reinforced by school, church, and our culture has been the predominant model in families and institutions forever. Arbitrary authority is believed in the popular mind to be essential and good. That's what we are up against. It will remain that way as long as we have compulsory attendance laws.

Expand full comment

Oh my… serendipity. I can recall my epiphanous reading of ‘Teaching as a Subversive Activity’ back in my late teens during my first disastrous attendance at college, Goldsmith’s, London University. I was living at my stepfather’s Grace in Favour flat in the Middle Temple, City of London which was, at that time, still lit up with gas lights nightly by an actual human gaslighter.

There was also still a guard (from the WW2 blitz era) at the gates which were locked up at night.

That book was a revelation that transformed my intellectual life.


Expand full comment

Monnina, I'm curious why your attendance at college was disastrous, although it isn't too hard to imagine what may have gone wrong. You clearly survived intact and did very well subsequently. Postman & Weingartner's book was an eye-opener for a lot of us, but sadly their message was largely ignored and sidelined in the same way that all truly revelatory literature and spokespersons are lauded for a moment and then quickly forgotten by educators. The brick wall will not be penetrated. It must be torn down by the removal of compulsory attendance laws, as I repeat endlessly. I was fortunate in that I had a brilliant mentor and friend who introduced me to a wealth of good literature, starting in the early 1960's long before they were published. He was a teacher and an antiwar activist. He died a few years ago. For a more recent source, you really should squeeze in the material published by David Gabbard. One of my favorites is: (2014) Circling the Drain: Why Creativity Won’t Be Coming to School Today, or Ever, Literature, Language, and Culture Faculty Publications, Boise State University. Gabbard is a genius in my estimation who was planning to leave the country in exasperation when I communicated with him about a year ago. BTW, I am nearly finished rereading Friedenberg's book and I'm beginning to doubt that I had ever understood him before or even that I had read the entire book. I love his style, which I call conversational but I find him hard to follow because of his many parenthetical remarks and astute observations which require intense concentration. I was unaware of what was happening in the 1970's and of the history, and now I lack the knowledge and reference points he touches on casually to thoroughly comprehend his message. I need to start over for a third time! I'm glad you printed out a hard copy of my chapter. I have the same problem with reading from a screen. I hope a tree didn't die uselessly.

Expand full comment

Interesting ,my typing skills are pitiful.

I always worked in Human Services where recording notes is mandatory. When we went to computers, i struggled.

I was credentialed in NY State where requirements for documentation were

extreme. I never should have shrugged off keyboarding class when i was in HS

But i did. And i continue to pay for it daily.

Expand full comment

Thom, it's called freedom. Keep saying that, the more the better. We are suppose to be free in this country so whatever you want to be, so be it. As long as it does not impose, like violence, upon the freedom of another, go for it. Paul

Expand full comment

... addendum: to overcome the damages of big oil, black lungs,

and the ravages of B-Monsanto

repugs have $$ blinders on .. keep march keep marching in Florida y'all!! as in today

Expand full comment

recall the genuine >>eugenics movement <<of the 1920 !

not only were people of color , but the blind, the deaf, palsied , mentally ill, et al were sterilized--with no consent --not unlike what dj-t's immigration ice camp did to non-English-speaking women signing in Sens written in English only to have their uterus' removed by the


Expand full comment

The modus operandi remains the same, but the bad actors change over time.

I remember Newt Gingrich and the Moral Majority, now we have Trump and DeSantis. At least DeSantis stood by his wife while she battled cancer. On the other hand, Ron sucks at this and Newt was a damn expert---it was, look over here at this bright shiny object while we steal your money, opportunities, and your future. Trump? Trump is just crazy, as is his cult. The more Donald hounds anyone (the list is too long), the more they admire him. He doesn't even need the bright shiny object to work his grift.

Spot on as usual, Thom!

Expand full comment

This is a sad state of affairs considering the republican voters want to put Trump back in office.

This is the reason; mental health, education-sure. Or the brain washing of the same voters by Fox...

All of the above.

Expand full comment

Mr Farrar, I understood that - I know the phrase.

Expand full comment