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Dean Kirkland

every profession is a conspiracy against the laity

Located in Monmouth

Last update: January 19th, 2019 at 03:00 am


273 post clicks in the past 90 days

Blogging since 2001 ........... ............ And back again since June 2008

This is the first long weekend of a new year; Monday is Martin Luther King Day.  Therefore, I will continue to focus on the slavery history of the United States in Jill Lepore's book.I have written--many times--even in this blog, that I have no idea how African-Americans live without always b

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In 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued his famous presidential proclamation, freeing slaves.  He was the 16th President.  Why didn't any of the previous fifteen issue such a proclamation?  For that matter, why didn't the first president, Washington, issue one?Jill Lepore writes:What wou

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Of course we have differences of opinions on various aspects of the human condition, within our countries and across the world.  I might disagree with you, dear reader, but I will not lose respect for you simply because we disagree.However, there are issues where there is simply no fuzziness

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Even as I continue to read Jill Lepore's sweeping, single-volume, history of the United States, it is difficult to shut myself off from the shit that pours out of trump's mouth and tweets.  It is his mouth that is really a shithole!The horrible human being in the Oval Office evoked the Wounded Knee mas

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Barely into a tenth of the book, one truth emerges--the hypocritical and contradictory beliefs of the Europeans who settled in the new world.  On the one hand, they claim to be fleeing persecution, and are in search of freedom.  On the other hand, they annihilate Native Americans and bring in humans from Africa as

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One of the factoids that I share with students is how India and China were the richest countries on the planet for the longest time.  Not only rich, but advanced in scientific and literary fields also.  Math, astronomy, metallurgy, whatever it was, well, they had it all.Yet, they didn't seem to have ha

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When we were kids, the world was explained to us in simple terms. And we believed in those explanations.As we get older, even by middle school, we begin to ask questions that require a bit more detail.  The more we learn, it turns out that often we end up knowing less.Way back in school, I forge

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After the series of posts related to David Shulman's Tamil: A Biography (click here for the posts) I need a break.When I return, I will launch into learning about the adopted country.  The text--if it interests you

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... to the Tamil of today

The only problem that I have with David Shulman's biography of Tamil is that for a book authored by a person of his caliber, and for a book published by Harvard University Press, there are quite a few inconsistent spellings throughout.  Even Tenkasi is spelled as Tenkaci in one context.  In the opening pages, the

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Even in the title, David Shulman makes clear that he is writing a biography of Tamil, and not a history.Old languages like Tamil, given to intense reflection of many centuries, write their own autobiographies, in many media, though we may not know hot to read them.  Sometimes they ask the assistance o

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Tirunelveli with its own dialect is where my people are from.  Well, one branch is from close to Tirunelveli, and the other is at Sengottai, which is at the foothills of the Western Ghats.  Sengottai used to be a part

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Consider the following sentence:Tradition means living while adhering to usage as befits the refined culture of particular people in a particular time and place.What an awesome definition of tradition, right?But, there is way more to that sentence.What happens to the gl

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Back during the Neyveli years, we went to the local sabha to watch live musical performances and theatre.  I simply assumed then that most of India was into the highbrow cultural life.  And have been disappointed to find out ever since that most of India does not care a shit about the intellectual and

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Dandin, the bestselling Pallava author

I had always wondered about the Sanskrit in the names of the big time Tamil kings of the past.  Like Mahendravarman and Narasmimha among the Pallavas, and Raja Raja and Rajendra Cholans.  I mean, these figures loom large among the Tamil imagination and yet they have Sanskrit names?  In comparison, the great T

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I have blogged, talked, and written about how the formal education system from elementary school onward is rarely about understanding the big picture.  Instead, it is mostly about monetizing what one can do.  Learning languages and history, reading and appreciating poetry, are some of the prominent losers among ma

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Those cunning linguists!

In my early years of teaching, which was back in California, it did not take me much time to understand that students in my classes needed to learn how to write at the college level.  But, I could not spend all my class time teaching them about writing, nor did I have the ability to explain to the class how to write we

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To know Tamil can also mean to be a civilized human being

The constitution of India, which put an end to the bastard raj, noted that Hindi would become the official language, after a period of transition during which English would continue to be an official language.I would learn about this later in school, but I already had an immersion of sorts into this hi

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தமிழ் Tamil

I have blogged a lot about the Tamil language and the people and even its contemporary politics.  There is a fanatical admiration that I have for the language and its history, which shows up in posts like this, well

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Happy New Year

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Over the last two years, more friendships have ended than I would have ever imagined.  After thinking about it a lot, I finally wrote to two friends:trump's election has severely jolted my view of America, and of the 63 million who voted for him. I am sad that our relationship has suffered as a result

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Not for me, of course!If I shaved, I will look like this:

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Imagine a bunch of talented kids who are very good in math and science.  They go to college where they learn more about science, and delve deep into science.  They then begin to apply that science and assist in the development of products.So far, so good, right?Are you sure?What

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Nope, I am not referring to Francis Fukuyama's best seller from nearly three decades ago.  it is the end of History as a subject that we study that I am worried about now.Back in the old country, if

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About the time that Dream Girl was released was also when I started looking at the world that eventually has brought me to where I am now.No, I don't mean to suggest in any way that I owe my American life to Hema Malini; be pat

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Without our traditions ...

As a kid, I always knew it was only a matter of time.  Time to graduate from wearing shorts at home to wearing veshti.  I do not recall when exactly that happened, but it did.It worked well.  There was something special about it as long as it was clean and white.When the veshti

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Into each life some rain must fall

One has to be an Oregonian in order to appreciate the cartoon that rain, er, ran, in our paper:

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One of the main reasons that I had a fascination for Calcutta was this: I had been exposed forever to "what Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow." Though it was in the context of independence

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To a large extent, I felt  smacked around into being intellectually humble when I started graduate school. I was amazed at how much had already been said and written about, and I became convinced that I had nothing to offer.  What the heck could I think about that the great minds had not already thought about?

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All alone in this vast universe that I cannot comprehend

My grandfather left his village (which my mother claims has always been a small town and never a village!) deep in the southern part of India to go study in Varanasi

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"Any Thanksgiving plans?" she asked as I sat down for a haircut.Yep, we balding men also need haircuts every once in a while, even if nobody notices the difference between the pre- and post-haircut!

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