Friday, December 25, 2015

* Facebook post 12/25/15

 


It is worth noting on this Christmas day in a world where religion is used to divide people, that I was named by my parents after their youth minister, Douglas Macintosh, a theologian who spent 41 years on the Yale faculty and whose thesis was,  It doesn't matter if the historical Jesus did or did not exist, Christianity is a "reasonable" religion:
Pretty mild given the rhetoric of the last 2000 years.

He died at age 71, the same birthday I will celebrate in three days.

Hear what the author of "Hear I Stand", Yale's Roland H. Bainton has to say about Douglas Macintosh:

http://dcmcentennial.blogspot.com/

 

Roland H. Bainton
Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History Emeritus
Yale University Divinity School

In 1959 when the Macintosh fellowship was established I composed a little brochure to be given to each of the recipients. It contained brief sketches of the donor Hope Conklin Macintosh and of Douglas. He commenced his teaching at Yale in 1909. Here he was responsible for establishing in the Graduate School the Department of Religion, of which he was the chairman from 1920-1938. As for his views and his influence on students I venture to repeat what I wrote in the brochure.
He described his own religious position as that of "untraditional orthodoxy." While always a defender of the faith, he considered the best defense to be the relinquishment of the untenable. This meant that the theologian could not hold out against the historian: whatever happened in the past happened, and whatever did not happen did not happen., and the only way to find out is through examination of the documents. The scrutiny must be as rigorous in the case of the Biblical documents as for any other. But research implies uncertainty and religion can brook no uncertainty, at least not on points of vital importance. Therefore, religion must be independent of history, even the Christian religion, which takes its rise from the Jesus of history. Should it be proved, as it had not been, that Jesus never lived, Christianity might nevertheless survive. On this assumption, in a book entitled The Reasonableness of Christianity, Macintosh devoted one hundred and thirty-five pages to a defense of Christianity without mentioning Jesus at all. In defense of the procedure he said:
"It has been through no oversight that nothing has been said of Christology or the historical Jesus. There is an important tactical advantage in showing how extensive and vital is that content or essence of Christianity which can be defended successfully without any assumption as to particular facts of history. We escape the danger of infecting the entire content of essential Christian belief with the necessary incertitude of historical opinion. All that has been said of the reasonableness and truth of Christianity is demonstrably valid, whether we have any Christology or not, and whatever we may or may not believe about the historical Jesus. It would still be valid if it should turn out that Jesus was essentially different from what has been commonly believed, or even that he was not truly historical at all . . . it is the systematic thinker's task to lead faith to a sure foundation, independent of the uncertainties of historical investigation."
But if, then, the certitude of the Christian religion does not rest on the facts of history, on what does it rest? Where is the assurance to be found? This question led to wrestling with the problem of knowledge - - - in general and with reference to religion. Two of Macintosh's books were devoted to the inquiry: The Problem of Knowledge in 1915 and The Problem of Religious Knowledge in 1940. He was in the tradition of the Scottish Common Sense Realists. Current philosophy, he held, had wandered in the ways of sophistication until it fain would fill its belly with the husks of skepticism, thus invalidating not only religion but also science. At the same time science was arrogant in assuming on its part a knowledge more assured than that of religion. Knowledge rests on experience, and in the name of common sense we can assume immediacy of experience with reference to the natural world, though to be sure our sense impressions require critical correction. So in religion, there is an immediacy of experience of the divine, again fraught with error and in need of rational check. The body of assured data, available to those who make the "right religious adjustment" is, however, so large that one may speak of Theology as an Empirical Science., the title of one of his books in 1919.
The social implications of Christianity, though lying outside the immediate field of theology, concerned him gravely and occasioned in 1919 a book entitled Social Religion. His interest was more than academic. During the first World War as a chaplain to the Canadian forces in France and later as a Y.M.C.A. worker with the American troops, he had to face the problem of the Christian attitude toward war. At that time he was able to urge upon the men the obligation the supreme sacrifice, which for the Christian is not to die but to kill. Later disillusionment as to the "iniquitous 'peace to end all peace' " engendered a "profound distrust of war as a way of settling anything." When he applied for U.S. citizenship in 1929, he "would not promise in advance to bear arms in defense of the United States unless he believed the war to be morally justified." The Supreme Court in 1931 denied him citizenship by a vote of five to four. The dissenting opinion was delivered by Chief Justice Hughes.
Douglas Macintosh was a stimulating teacher who engendered and fructified the thinking of a generation of distinguished students. In 1937, they dedicated to him a collection of essays under the title The Nature of Religious Experience, in which they testified to their "respect for his wisdom . . .their admiration for his integrity and their love for him as a friend." Integrity was a well-chosen word. Professor Werdermann of Berlin spoke of him as candida anima, a spirit without guile. The English word "candid" applied to him also. He was as frank as he was friendly in disclosing to another his faults. But he was never censorious and was especially glad to be encouraging to those who needed encouragement. Seelye Bixler, who was to become president of Colby College, in 1922 needed guidance and reassurance about his profession and about himself. Of the help which he received from Douglas Macintosh, he reports, "He made scholarship seem not hopelessly difficult, but within the range of one's own feeble capacities. So strikingly clear were all his pronouncements that you felt the lure of the subject matter as irresistible and had no interest in your doubts about yourself."
There was Souren Vetsigian , who has been now for many years in Bulgaria. In 1931 he gave a report which elicited no enthusiasm from a seminar. He was depressed until Macintosh told him that it had the making of an article. That encouragement started him toward the production of several books which have appeared in Armenian. The professor's concern extended to the wives and children of students also. When the Peter Goertz family, en route to China, was at the station in Vancouver, B.C., whom should they meet but Douglas Macintosh! While Peter was attending to tickets the professor sat down with Mrs. Goertz and gave her words of cheer. The Baintons remember him holding their first baby during the cutting of her toenails.
He was twice married, first to Emily Powell on February 13, 1921. She died died on November 2, 1922 [in childbirth, as did the baby]. The following week happened to be his assignment for chapel. He did not flinch but on the first day read as his Scripture the verse from the prophet Habakkuk: "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall the fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

* Banish Armageddon from the Religious Canon


















Letter to the Editor
The New Haven Register


Dear Editor:


 
The Rev. Gregory Sterling, Dean of my alma mater, Yale Divinity School, has written me in response to my claim in a letter in your paper 12/9/15 that the namby pambly teaching of eschatology( an Armageddon belief-system) as a benign academic category at my alma mater permits its poisonous impact to multiply in believers in many faiths , not excluding Christianity and Islam.


Dean Sterling informs me , " I am not convinced that eschatology is the issue with those who embrace a jihad. You should know that we have been working with the UN to try to remove religion as a rationale/cause for extreme violence. We held a quiet workshop for Iran and the US State Department last fall and had a panel session at the UN this fall. Eschatology has not been the focus of these nor is it likely to be in the future."


Graeme Wood in a September Atlantic article "What does ISIS want?" describes such bridge-building efforts by Muslims in concert with Christians as naïve, "a cotton-candy view of . . .religion ' in the words of Princeton Islamic scholar Bernard Haykel.


Mr. Wood continues, "Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature ... are rooted in [what Haykel calls] “interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.”

Dean Sterling, Graeme Wood and Bernard Haykal, see the trees but not the forest: All religions which include Armageddon as a belief-system, are throwing gasoline on the inflamed minds of wannabe martyrs, terrified of eternal torment and hungry for eternal bliss.


Religious scholars need to acknowledge their cotton candy complicity in this dangerous scenario by minimizing the role of religion in turning believers into killers, at Jonestown, Guyana , at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, at the Boston marathon, at a Fort Hood Colorado Army compound and in a San Bernadino special needs facility staff gathering.


Armageddon should be banished from the religious canon as a paranoid delusion, not taught as benign theological embroidery.
Paul D. Keane
 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

* Yale needs a deeper 'soul searching': New Haven Register

LINK to Register Letter to Editorhttp://www.nhregister.com/opinion/20151210/letter-to-the-editor-yale-needs-deeper-soul-searching

Religious scholars need to amputate eschatology from  all religions like the malignant appendage it has become.





















 


 



Letter to the Editor:

Yale needs deeper

'soul searching'


 

 


Yale shouldn’t simply change the name of Calhoun College to that of an alumnus who is not a white supremacist. It should re-examine the mission of the Divinity School (where I received a Master of Divinity degree in 1980) which treats eschatology like a benign academic theological category, instead of the dangerous and incendiary belief-system that it is, in whatever religion it appears.

It is not Christianity or Islam which is responsible for many of the mass killings we have seen in my lifetime. It is the unchallenged belief in eschatology (end time; final judgment; apocalypse) which has produced Jim Jones, David Koresh, the Tsarnaev brothers, Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan, and the San Bernandino husband and wife shooters, all in the last half-century.

It is time for President Peter Salovey’s challenge for Yale to engage in soul searching to be expanded to include the Divinity School on a topic equally as poisonous as institutional racism: the belief that God will punish mankind for not obeying his sacred word, by imposing a final judgment in an end-time of hellfire and torment or of eternal bliss.

— Paul D. Keane
White River Junction, Vermont

Sunday, December 6, 2015

* Traffic



Saturday, December 5, 2015

* Call for papers: Thornton Wilder and Queer Studies


Lincoln Konkle
Executive Director
Thornton Wilder Society

The Thornton Wilder Society invites proposals for a panel on Queer Readings of Thornton Wilder.  As documented by recent biographies Thornton Wilder: A Life by Penelope Niven and Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward by Justin Spring, Thornton Wilder lived as a deeply-closeted gay man.  Recent revelations of the author's secret sexuality present new opportunities for Wilder scholarship in the field of Queer Studies. Possible approaches include Wilder's depiction of "secret lives" or "lives separately led"; the author's presentation of both traditional marriage and same-sex relationships (e.g., Barnaby and Cornelius in The Matchmaker); issues of gender in Wilder's Stage Manager characters; characters as autobiographical surrogates for the author (e.g., Theophilus North, Dolly Levi, or Simon Stimson); and Wilder's texts in conversation with gay authors (e.g., Edward Albee, Tennessee Williams, William Inge, Lanford Wilson).  Proposals on Wilder's plays, novels, or other writings will be considered.  For info about his works and available editions, as well as published Wilder scholarship, go to

We encourage graduate students as well as established scholars to submit 500-word proposals and C.V.s to Park Bucker atpsbucke@uscsumter.edu by January 4, 2016.
 

Miss Wilder and my parents:
Thornton Wilder Commemorative,
1985

 
My

Twenty-year

Friendship

with
 
Miss Isabel Wilder

1975 -1995

 

 

I have been asked  to write about “Thornton Wilder’s sexuality” for the Thornton Wilder Newsletter announcing the call for papers on the topic: Thornton Wilder and Queer Studies.

I certainly don’t know anything about Wilder’s sexuality. I only met him once, the year before he died, and exchanged a few letters and cards with him. And  besides, who “knows” what is going on in the head of another person, especially about the excruciatingly private matter of eroticism.

The reason I have been asked to write about this topic, I think, is because I was friends with Thornton’s lifelong companion, his sister Isabel, for the twenty years after Thornton died. 
 

She treated me like a grandson, for which I am very grateful, even funding my apprenticeship to become a public school teacher in Vermont in a real-life Grover’s Corners, in 1987/88, a career from which I retired three years ago after 25 years.  I miss her and wish she could see me now.

I was present in her home at Whitney Center in Hamden when Miss Wilder reacted to having been given by the editors the manuscript of Gilbert Harrison’s official biography of Thornton, The Enthusiast, including (and especially) the section on his sexuality in 1983. “I’m an old lady. I’m reading along and I come on some old homosexual experiences they dug up which Thornton had.  They gave me no warning.  I can’t be treated that way. After all, I’m an old lady .” She was 83.

I knew Miss Wilder was waiting for my reaction.  She was testing the waters, I thought, to see how the general public (me) would react.  I said, “Oh they say that about all bachelors” and brushed it off, quite intentionally.  I knew her feelings were hurt, and we were friends.  I didn’t want to open this wound further. I was 38 in 1983.  We remained friends till she died in 1995 at age 95.

http://gaybirthyale.blogspot.com

Miss Wilder’s older brother, Amos (who died at 98 in 1993 ) warned literary critics  in his 1980 memoir  Thornton Wilder and His Public about the inaccuracy of speculating  about his famous brother’s choice of vocation, clearly suggesting that that choice was the sublimation of an artist.

I don’t know anything about that.

I do know that when Thornton Wilder died in 1975, homosexual acts were a crime in every state of the Union. In 1963 the penalty was 2-10 years imprisonment and a fine of $2000. 

Thornton Wilder was an intellectual.  He knew the self-defeating mistake of Oscar Wilde’s public defiance. The stage-manager  of his own life , Wilder wasn’t about to defy convention even if he did advocate the theatre as a place where   “window-breaking ideas”  should  thrive.

What interested me about Miss Wilder’s reaction was that she didn’t deny the accusations.  She artfully reframed the argument to make the issue not Thornton’s sexuality, but the rudeness of the editors in not warning her that when she proofread the manuscript she would encounter some passages about her brother’s bedroom behavior.

She was implicitly accepting “old homosexual experiences” as nothing shocking.  Would I do so too, as the private audience to her dismay at having been treated poorly, not by the official biographer, but by the rude editors?  The answer was, yes.

She later recounted to me having attended a dinner in celebration of the official release Harrison’s biography. She told me “I was asked to give a toast and I toasted the man. I didn’t say a word about his book.”

Ever the lady, ignoring the spirit of the occasion while being courteous to the scholar being honored, she managed to choreograph a civilized ‘punishment’  for the biographer’s transgression, if indeed she even saw it as a transgression. 

Since the issue had been transformed in Miss Wilder’s inimitable  manner  from the official  biographer’s scholarship  to editorial rudeness, the matter of the text’s veracity would now be forever fogged over by her indignation as “an old lady,” as far as she, Thornton’s literary executor, was concerned.

It was Isabel Wilder’s velvet “No comment.”

But I’m not sure about that “old lady” bit.  The same year, 1983, at a time when no one wanted to be associated in any way with the frightening new, always  fatal, illness called AIDS, which had the stigma of being a “gay disease,”  Miss Wilder quietly and courageously funded a brochure entitled AIDS, SEX, and YOU , written by a Yale biology professor.  After considerable lobbying, I persuaded, Yale’s president, A. Bartlett Giamatti, to provide that pamphlet to all Yale graduate students. 

Miss Wilder read the pamphlet cover to cover in my presence and she did not ask to edit it in any way despite her financial underwriting of the project.  Frankly, I was surprised that she did not blink an eyelash at any of the coarse and graphic language.  She understood the urgency of responding with information to a fatal disease with no cure and no biologically identifiable cause  (1983: HIV had not yet  been discovered).

Clearly she was able to look that reality in the eye, bedroom or not. I thought she was a “groovy” old lady, to use a 1980’s expression.    
 

Miss Wilder insisted that I not reveal her role in this effort during her lifetime. I kept that promise until last year, nearly 20 years after her death in 1995. 

I know little about Queer Literary Criticism.  I should think that unlike Tennessee Williams or Truman Capote who didn’t really fear scandal, the warning of Amos Wilder makes it clear in 1980 that he as firstborn, and his remaining siblings, including Miss Wilder (who by then  was Thornton’s literary executor) )  felt the need to warn the public about the irresponsibility of speculating about  artist Thornton’s complex personality.

Queer Studies would have appalled the Thornton Wilder’s family in 1980.  But it is a new time and a new world in 2015 .

Thornton Wilder is buried 50 yards from my parents’ cemetery plots. I used to tend his grave for Miss Wilder when she gave up driving at age 85.   He went to that  grave in 1975  knowing that he lived in a country where homosexuality was not just a scandal but a crime.

This year, 2015, gay marriage became the law of the land;  but, for nearly three decades after Thornton was laid to rest in Hamden’s Mt. Carmel Burying Ground,  potential disgrace hovered over homosexuality itself in the United States, until Lawrence v. Texas (2003) decriminalized sodomy and made homosexual acts a matter of personal freedom.

The irresponsibility of speculating, as Amos Wilder had admonished, Thornton’s ‘public’ not to do,   is now a benign --- and  perhaps even charming ? --- variation in the art of literary criticism.

I wish The Thornton Wilder Society well in its courageous call for papers on Wilder and Queer Studies.

 

Paul D. Keane
M.A., M.Div., M.Ed.




 
 


Saturday, November 28, 2015

* Bad Doll / Good Doll test used in Brown v. Board Invalid: Black Doll is Smaller


http://www.naacpldf.org/brown-at-60-the-doll-test

Although the link above claims the dolls were the same size, look at these original dolls. Is it merely that whiteness makes the doll look larger or is the doll actually larger?




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

* Second Retirement








Monday, November 23, 2015

* Luke 2 1-14: Refugee Translation
















And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Dr. Benjamin Carson that all the world should be taxed and a census taken of all the world.

(And this taxing/census was first made when Bashir Al Assad was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed and counted every one a migrant from his home into a foreign city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed and counted  with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they migrated there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for refuge-seekers in the inn.

And there were in the same country native shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people of whatever country.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who will make people of all lands feel safe and welcomed.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, like the poorest of refugees.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men of all  countries of the world.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

* Pat's Pink Sky


* Two cents worth of chalk can turn life into poetry.
































Do not wait until some deed of greatness
you may do;
Do not wait to spread your light afar;
To the many duties ever near you,
now be true:
Brighten the corner where you are.


(a Sunday School hymn from my childhood)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

* Black and White: College Campuses 2015


I was a student in towns where two of the most frightening events in the history of student unrest (one by blacks, the other by whites) took place in 1969 and 1970: Ithaca, New York and Kent, Ohio.

At Cornell, black students protesting racism occupied Willard Straight Hall in 1969 and then armed themselves with rifles and guns, refusing to surrender the premises. Later their photo appeared on the front page of the New York Times,  with upraised rifles as they left  Willard Straight when a compromise was reached with Cornell’s administration.

At Kent State four white students were shot dead and nine white students were wounded by predominantly white Ohio National guardsmen who fired into a student protest at high noon on May 4, 1970 after four days of anti-war protests and the burning of an ROTC building resulted in armed occupation of the campus by guardsmen.

Thirty six years and three masters degrees later (one in divinity from Yale), I haven’t the slightest idea what these events “mean” in the larger picture of American history, especially this year --- 2015 --- when racism has reared its ugly head again and student protests have actually forced the University of Missouri president to resign.  Accusations of his indifference to complaints of racial discrimination felt by blacks on his campus, had led blacks on the football team to boycott future games, jeopardizing millions of dollars in revenue. Exit the President .

Missouri isn’t the only place in turmoil.  Yale---my alma mater -- has been the scene of protests for days now and its president, Peter Salovey, has been anything but indifferent, challenging the campus to debate whether or not to remove  the name of John C. Calhoun from one of its eight residential colleges because he (Calhoun, a U. S. Senator) )  was an avowed white supremacist who defended slavery before the Civil War.  What a can of worms he opened. Yale names its buildings after distinguished alumni.  Calhoun graduated in 1804 with a B.A.

Ithaca College, another of my alma maters, has been in similar turmoil for a month.  Its student body rendered a “no confidence” vote in its young white president, Tom Rochon, after what it perceived as indifference to institutional racism on its campus.

What’s going on here? We have a black man sitting in the White House as our elected president.  It is fifty years after the passage of  Lyndon Johnson’s  Civil Rights Act. A black woman, Oprah Winprey,  is the richest woman in the world---- wealthier even than the Queen of England.  Why are blacks angry?

That was the same question I asked in 1969 when I sat in Cornell’s Barton Hall with 5000 people for five days of an administration sanctioned  Teach-in on Racism, the ransom exacted by the Black United Students group  for ending  their armed occupation of Cornell’s Willard  Straight Hall.

How naïve of me.  Why are blacks angry?  Am I kidding? Or just blinded by my white eyes?

Americans in the land of the free and the brave sold blacks like dining-room furniture for 150 years, but without even the dignity of a dining-room set, which Antiques Roadshow today warns must be kept intact.  Fathers and mothers and children had just as much  if not more value  sold off individually than as a group. Keeping them together as a “set” didn’t increase their value at all, and often was a burden to prospective buyers, who may have needed only one new slave.

When purchasing slaves from overseas was made illegal, Americans merely bred them like dogs to increase their stateside  property. “Breeding” is too kind a word, for the actual mating was not the carefully choreographed sexual coupling of purebreds being stood stud, as animal owners put it,  but tantamount to sexual harassment, or even rape, and often by the white owner.

Then came the Civil War and emancipation. And assassination.  And then-------another 100 years of Jim Crow and segregation until the Civil Rights Act of 1965 tried to undo the damage of separate but equal, in which blacks might legally be free but were treated as if they were one step up from Typhoid Mary: separate bathrooms, separate drinking fountains, separate bus seats, separate schools.

How naïve of me.  A century or more of assault on the black family (Slaves could not be legally married.) A century or more of assault on black literacy (It was illegal to teach slaves to read); a century of  unspoken contamination and legal quarantine euphemized as “segregation” and legalized by the Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).

How naïve indeed.

But it’s been 50 years since the Civil Rights Act was pushed through Congress by President Johnson.  And there is a statue to black  Martin Luther King on the same Washington mall where is found white Abraham Lincoln’s monument.  And there is a back president  and black first family across town in the White House.

Why are they still angry?

The answer is in the pronoun: they.

It is  called “the impersonal pronoun” and it connotes separateness, outsider-hood, difference.

They aren’t us.

And that is what happened at Kent State even though all the skin of the victims and shooters was white. The long-haired, hippie, anti-war protestors were turned into “them” and as outsiders it was acceptable for them to be killed. I will never forget watching one white mother in Kent, Ohio being interviewed on the street after the shootings.  She said “If my son had long hair and sandals he should have been shot too.”

This isn’t just ignorance. She is talking about her own son.  It is a psychological disorder. I’m not trained in psychology so I can’t put a name to it, but when human beings look at other human beings as “things” (slaves; anti-war protestors) there is something evil afoot.  Race may only be part of it.

 

Paul D. Keane

M.A., M.Div., M.Ed.

Monday, November 9, 2015

* Ithaca Journal Guest Column

Link (browser window, not google search)





Sadly, racism still an issue at Ithaca College

Paul Keane 12:12 p.m. EST November 9, 2015
racism


CONNECTTWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE
 
 
Five thousand people attended the Teach-in on Racism at Cornell’s Barton Hall in 1969. The university shut down for a week to accommodate that teach-in after members of Black United Students ended their armed occupation of Willard Straight Hall — memorialized in a shocking front-page photo in the New York Times of black students with upraised rifles leaving Willard Straight.

I was there, having graduated from Ithaca College the year before. I had remained at Ithaca to teach three freshman English courses at the college and so had a flexible schedule to attend the teach-in.

I persuaded Ithaca College’s president, Howard Dillingham, to endorse holding a similar teach-in at IC. The entire town had been shaken by a student protest that involved students armed with guns and rifles, and so even tranquil Ithaca College went along with the idea that we needed to learn about this new grievance — racism.

I invited Cornell history professor Andrew Hacker, who had spoken eloquently to the Barton Hall teach-in, to speak at our smaller teach-in at Ithaca College, which at the time had about 2,000 students total.

Unlike Cornell, Ithaca did not shut down classes. Anyone attending the teach-in had to use one of the three excused “cuts” they were allowed per class. After three, at Ithaca College in 1969, students lost credit for the course, no matter what the excuse, illness included.

We were stunned and gratified when more than a third of the student body — 825 students — showed up at the student union ballroom for the teach-in, many willingly using one of their three “cuts” to attend. Most of us were white and had never heard of the word “racism.”

Sadly, 46 years later, Ithaca College is hearing the word “racism” ring in their ears these days, with students even staging a “no confidence” vote in their youthful, white president, Tom Rochon.
This is profoundly ironic, since the steps he has taken to respond to their complaints of institutional racism are almost as dramatic as Cornell shutting down classes for its five-day Teach-in on Racism 46 years ago. Rochon has called for students, faculty and staff to engage in institutional soul-searching about racial and cultural bias, and has put administrative projects on hold to allow the college to do so.

If only college presidents had been so flexible and responsive in the 1970s.

I left Ithaca in 1969 for a graduate school English program at a midwestern university I had never heard of before 1969, a school which paid my room, board and tuition and a small salary to be a graduate counselor in its dorms. The school’s name? Kent State University.


Paul Keane is a 1968 graduate of Ithaca College and taught freshman English courses there in 1969. Along with Peter Davies, author of “The Truth About Kent State,” he established the Kent State Collection at Yale University’s Sterling Memorial Library in 1977, preserving documents related to the 1970 killing of Kent State students by Ohio National Guardsmen.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

* Moose vs. Google



Sunday, October 4, 2015

* 36 Hours



Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Gab Club 1930 -1999 New Haven, Connecticut and its suburbs


 
 
The Gab Club  1930-1999

My Mother co-founded a "girls club" n New Haven and environs called The Gab Club that met once a month for 55 years (69 in all after my mother's death). The same dozen girls met, served a fancy dessert on their best china and decked-out table  and gabbed for three hours on a Tuesday night every month at a different member's house.  Occasionally they added new members.  They raised their families, became grandmothers and widows  and divorcees,  shared their joys and sorrows,  and buried each other.

 

My parents, 50th anniversary photo
Seven years after my mother died, the "girls" insisted on putting on the reception for my father's funeral in his home.  There were only four "girls" left of the original dozen. My father had taken them out to a restaurant every New Year after my mother's death to honor their loyalty.  They returned the favor.

 

The parallels to this charming PBS piece "Tea Time" are amazing.