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.

Looking back on the Democratic Convention

I am so glad it is over!  Ever since I claimed the right to vote for the candidate who seemed best to me [1] I have voted for Democrats for President and I will this time, too.  I will say, … Continue reading

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Boredom: A Sermon to Myself

Since this is a sermon and since I come from a tradition where sermons are, nominally at least, based on texts, I have a text to offer.  This comes from Neal Stephenson’s Anathem and it is said to be a … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Living My Life, Paying Attention, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Viral Falsehoods

The English language—no, the American language—has a “don’t fence me in” style. In the soil of the American language, any word can become invasive. I remember thinking, when I first heard the expression “a fun party,” that it had happened … Continue reading

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“Slightly soiled, but but very much alive.”

I was reading along happily in the science section of the New York Times when I came across this paragraph (below) and especially the clause, “slightly soiled, but very much alive.” Seems harmless, doesn’t it? Except that I had just … Continue reading

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Retreat, Hell…

In 1952, a movie about the Korean War was released with the riveting name, Retreat, Hell! Or, more properly, “Retreat? Hell…” The rest of the line in “We’re just attacking in another direction.” For a military force that is entirely … Continue reading

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Parables: The Power of What Is Not There

If the irony weren’t too heavy, I would  say that I love reading the work of scholars because it gives me a chance to ask really simpleminded questions. I think of “scholarship” as digging ever more deeply into the technical … Continue reading

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Virtue Signaling

I am sorry to be coming so late to the party. “Virtue signaling” is a term I heard for the first time today. I know. I ought to get out more. It seems to me that “virtue signaling” is an … Continue reading

Posted in Communication, Living My Life, Political Psychology | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

That government is best…

It’s always the dots that get you, isn’t it? What was there, you wonder? That’s where we are going. Please be patient. You have often heard the half-maxim [1] “That government is best that governs least.” I have seen it … Continue reading

Posted in Political Psychology, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Turn the Other Cheek

The controversies over this text abound, very likely because following out the literal meaning is quite often inconvenient.  But there are worse things than inconvenience to say about the literal compliance with such a text.  We might say, for instance, … Continue reading

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Racial defensiveness

The topic for today is “racial defensiveness.”  I’m against it.  The Russian spy (Mark Rylance)  who was captured and tried in the movie “A Bridge of Spies” had a recurring line that made me like him immediately.  In the first … Continue reading

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