Showing posts from April 2, 2006

The Four R's

From "What's Supposed to be Going on Here?," a speech by Wayne C. Booth to about 600 freshmen in Orientation Week. Published in The Vocation of a Teacher: Rhetorical Occasions 1967 - 1988

"There are many ways of talking about the arts of liberal education, the arts that genuinely liberate. At the risk of being gimmicky, I'd like to suggest a way of reviving that tired old list, the 'three R's.' Reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic made up a highly simplified, minimal list of the arts of liberation: to be able to read is to be free to learn what other men know; to be able to write is to be free to teach ot move or change other men with your words; and to be able to calculate is to be freed from enslavement to other men's calculations. Without scrapping arithmetic...I'd like to expand the first two of these into four. The new list would have reading and writing mixed up in every one of the four, and it would run like this: first, the art …

Boy, the Things That Happen...

Boy, the things that happen when you don't have a chance to surf the blogs for a few days. I peek in at Don Hall's Angry White Guy in Chicago and lo and behold, I find that Don has been talkin' smack about me! In his post "Wallowing in the Misery of the World," Don takes issue with my short post below entitled "In a Nutshell."

He starts by making nice, saying how much he digs me. I dig Don, too (gosh, I haven't said "dig" since I was wearing my cool bell-bottoms!)-- I'm a product of the Illinois State University theatre department, and I developed a lasting love of the Chicago theatre scene (far more interesting and dynamic that any other in America, in my opinion) and the Chicago personality, which Don exemplifies and I also share, having grown up a few hours north of Chicago myself. We both have a tendency to enjoy argument, and we provoke quite a few by stating our opinions rather bluntly. Don's blog is passionate, and committed,…

The FlyBy Lead

Back when this blog was young lo seven months ago, I began with a debate about the regional tendency to import leading actors from NYC. Now Boston's Thomas Garvey of WBUR addresses the same thing in his report "Now Let Us Praise Local Actors." Thanks to YS at "Mirror Up to Nature" for drawing my attention to it, and concurring. Developing your own artistic community is the only way to thrive!

Alison Croggon's Near-Perfect Definition of Wisdom

In the comments of the post below, "In a Nutshell," Alison Croogon wrote the following inspirational sentences:

"Yes, of course artists have to be intelligent, but that is not by any means the whole of what's required...Artists are not only concerned with ideas, but with responding to the world around them through the sensual media they use - words, paint, rock, their bodies - in ways which bypass cerebral thinking, which focus on the materiality and sensual properties of the things they use, and which seek emotional as well as intellectual response."

That is as close to a perfect definition of what I mean by wisdom as I am likely to find. To improve on it would only be to add more details to the basic idea that wisdom is the ability to see, appreciate, and express as much of the world as possible using as much of one's self as possible: the intellectual and the emotional, the cerebral and the sensual, the comic and the tragic, the just and the unjust, the h…