The Day the Congress Stood Still

W.J. Astore With the odds increasing that Congress will shut down the government this coming Tuesday, I couldn’t help but think of the classic Sci-Fi film, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (the original version, of course). Remember Klaatu?  He comes to earth in peace, only to be hassled, harassed, and ultimately shot by the…

Martial Virtue: Promise and Peril

W.J. Astore Ever since the attacks of 9/11/2001, the United States has actively celebrated martial virtue.  We’ve portrayed our troops as heroes.  Presidents have celebrated them as the best led and best trained and most effective military in all of human history.  To question the wisdom of such hagiographic portrayals is to be dismissed as…

Of MOOCs and Technology: Why True Education Is Not Content Delivery

W.J. Astore Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are one of those “pedagogical practices that are current and relevant to the new generation of learners,” to use a description featured prominently in promotional literature. Sure sounds trendy, doesn’t it? But education is not simply about content delivery. Education is about inspiration. It’s about lighting a fire…

America’s Ascetic Warrior-Generals

W.J. Astore A recent article in the New York Times about how General (Ret.) David Petraeus is being honored by the New York Historical Society featured a word often used to describe Petraeus as well as another retired U.S. general fallen on hard times, Stanley McChrystal.  The word is “ascetic.”  The American media loved to…