Category Archives: teaching

Greenbacks, Negro Soldiers, and the President

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, an excerpt from my book Face Value. During the Civil War, Lincoln’s opponents saw African Americans in uniform and Greenback dollars as the same thing: inflated. We can see the same phenomenon today. The Civil War wasn’t all that popular in the North. Despite a […]

“History-ness” and video games

I recently read the first two George R.R. Martin books (game of thrones? song of swords? One of the problems with the Kindle is you don’t get reminded of the titles). I liked them at first, but got really sick of them by the end. They’re relentlessly “plotty,” with lots of cliffhangers but little or […]

WWII and Wartime Theater

FDR had a gift for theater. It might have had a lot to do with his paralysis, and the elaborate and taxing steps he took to conceal it. He had handrails and ramps set up behind podiums he had hand controls in his car. With the discrete assistance of aides, and a cane he could […]

The Unseen Spectacular

Washington DC is full of monuments. Some of them we all know, some of them I go by and have no idea who the person is or what they did. Everybody knows the Lincoln and the Jefferson and the Washington: most people ignore what must be one of the most powerful and compelling pieces of […]

EagleFlag in Infinite Variety

Everybody knows that the Eagles and Flags together are the modern symbols of American patriotism. Just Google “Eagle, Flag” and you’ll be dazzled by the sheer number of photoshopped eagles in front of waving flags, air-brushed eagles soaring over flag-colored clouds, ceramic eagles with flags in their talons; hybrid eagleflags of various sorts: Escher-like eagle flag conundrums, or eagles […]

Is this Digitopia?

In the future, we’ll all be curators. Sean Takats’ recent post looks again at how access to information changes out work. If readers will forgive some geezerish ramblings, I’ll recall what it was like back in the early 1990s, when I could reasonably have been called a digital media pioneer, and consider how new media […]

The Death of the Page

You can see it coming: “pages,” as a form of citation, are dead. And you can see why. With an electronic text, the reader can change the font size almost without limit. That makes pagination useless, and probably obsolete. In English “page” has multiple related meanings. The word can mean a young male servant as […]

Guest Post: Defending Current Practice

My friend and colleague Matt Karush has consistently argued that the present system has more merit than people like me want to recognize. I asked him to write a post describing his concerns, and so below, the first guest blogger at theaporetic.   As I have listened to some of my colleagues press for the […]

Academic Editor, 2.1

My post on “academic editing 2.0” generated some heat in the comments, and some misunderstandings. What I was proposing is actually really conservative, and aimed at preserving and strengthening the profession. Among the gamut of digital possibilities it would have to be counted as timid, modest and cautious. Let me try to be more clear. […]

Virginia History Textbooks Continued

Our county, Arlington, has announced they will pull Our Virginia from the classroom “until a corrected digital edition becomes available, probably at the end of this month.” It’s better than doing nothing, but it’s really not a good result. The County will go back to the same company, Five Ponds Press. Five Ponds will remove […]