I know all the words to the Air Force song, the Marine’s Hymn, the official Army song, and other military hymns and songs and have since my youth. I am not from a military family. Nobody in my family was in the armed forces except my grandfather, who served for a short time in WWII. But I know all the songs. The reason I know these things is because the church I went to when I was in junior high and high school went freaking nuts on July the 4th. They spent almost as much time and energy getting ready for their July 4th celebration as they did for their Easter celebration, it seemed. [Read More]
The book of Exodus in the Old Testament tells the story of the children of Israel’s escape from slavery out of Egypt. They spend a lot of time wandering around in the wilderness, exploring their relationship with Yahweh, before they settle in what would ultimately be deemed “The Promised Land.” [Read More]
I was talking with a listener in the past week and she said she wished we would talk a little bit more about how words and word choice mattered. And I thought that was such an important thing that we could spend some time on it today. So I thought I’d talk about two related things – definitions and word choice. [Read More]
I want to take a few disparate thoughts and put them together.
In 2003, a man named George Edwards III wrote a book called On Deaf Ears which argued that what the president says doesn’t really matter. Edwards posited that presidential rhetoric was basically meaningless and didn’t cause people to change their opinion or their behavior in any substantial way.
Years later, after Trump was elected, I changed the syllabus to my political rhetoric class. I wanted it to reflect the times we are living in. I have taught that class a few times in the last four years and in that time the intro to the class has been some variation of this: [Read More]
In 2015 the musical Hamilton debuted in New York and for a few years after that it seems like that was all anybody was talking about. The show received unmatched critical acclaim and countless awards, but what was amazing was the way it became a cultural phenomenon. Lin-Manuel Miranda was suddenly America’s “it-man,” and his start hasn’t faded that much since then, especially since in the last year a filmed version of the production was released on Disney +, briefly reviving the Hamilton fervor. We watched it and it was interesting because we all found something in it that struck a chord deep within us. My husband was taken with the choreography, I was floored by the acting and the music, and my ten-year-old, oddly enough, was completely enamored with the lighting. They were all separate things that went into making a singular aesthetic experience that spoke to multitudes of people. I know there are many criticisms of Hamilton, and it’s not as cool as it once was to like it – but politics aside, one can’t deny the artistry of the production. [Read More]