Thinking About the Future
Norwich Record, Spring 2020
And it’s not as if so-called “futurists” have done much better than their storytelling counterparts. A recent article at cnn.com recalls that, in a 1964 report from the RAND Corporation, a panel of 82 experts concluded we would have robot household servants by 1980, two-way communication with alien life by 2000, and the breeding of apes to perform basic chores by 2020. (The first two are still a possibility; let us fervently hope the third is not. See most ethics textbooks and every Planet of the Apes movie.)
The H Word: Reveling in the Literary
Nightmare Magazine, October 2013
I normally tell my students beginning an essay with a dictionary definition is a cheap fix and they should try something else first. Nonetheless, I note the following definitions of “literature” from the Free Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: “writings in prose or verse, especially: writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest . . . an example of such writings . . . the body of writings on a particular subject . . . printed matter.”
It’s a vexing, problematic word, both floor wax and dessert topping, to borrow from the early days of Saturday Night Live.