Author Archives: hessd

About hessd

Here is all you need to know to follow this blog. I am an old man and I love to think about why we say the things we do. I've taught at the elementary, secondary, collegiate, and doctoral levels. I don't think one is easier than another. They are hard in different ways. I have taught political science for a long time and have practiced politics in and around the Oregon Legislature. I don't think one is easier than another. They are hard in different ways. You'll be seeing a lot about my favorite topics here. There will be religious reflections (I'm a Christian) and political reflections (I'm a Democrat) and a good deal of whimsy. I'm a dilettante.

We the people

What does the preamble to the Constitution really say? If you back away from it far enough so that you can see only the outlines, you find some surprising things. Here is today’s example We, the people of the United … Continue reading

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“You can’t do it with turtles”

That line comes from George Fairbairn, the keeper of the turtles at the London Zoo. These are the turtles that William G. and Naeara H. stole and returned to the sea. William confesses that although he feels good about having … Continue reading

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Sugar and Spice?

The question of gender norms is contentious. (I like to begin with understatement.) I intend today some observations of this contentious subject which I expect will not be contentious. We’ll see. Judge Barbara Milano Keenan of the 4th Circuit wrote … Continue reading

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Many positive statements could have been made

Former President Trump [1] went on a platform called Truth Social on Thursday evening and offered this assessment of the January 6 Committee hearings: “So the Unselect Committee of political HACKS refuses to play any of the many positive witnesses … Continue reading

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Happy and Loyal Women

Every now and then, you see and ad and you wonder who in the world they had in mind when they created that one. That’s how I felt when I saw this one And how did I see this one? … Continue reading

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I might be angry

I think I have the standard array of kinds of anger. How would you know for sure? Still, I get angry and I watch other people get angry. I see people that I think are probably angry but who don’t … Continue reading

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Older and Wiser, but TMV

My brother Mark is kind enough to keep track of my blog’s birthday. It, thedilettantesdilemma.com is seventeen years old today. It has been a long time since the first blog, when I explored the question of where, exactly, we get … Continue reading

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Having “Grit”

Here is a line from Thomas Friedman’s column in the New York Times this morning. “In short, we are seeing a national movement that is telling us publicly and loudly: WE WILL GO THERE” The subject of “We..” is in … Continue reading

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Desolate Old Men  

Today, I would like to share a bittersweet reflection with you. Then I would like to poke at it a little. This anonymous reflection (below) about old friends was sent to me by an old friend of mine. He and … Continue reading

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Act Your Age

This phrase is an appeal to widespread knowledge and consensual values about how a person of a certain age should act. In a time where both widespread knowledge and consensual values are in decline, you would think that sentiments like … Continue reading

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