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· Pointed Takes on Style Delineated ·
April 30, 2006
· The Volatile Truth of Our Words ·
As a logger, charged recently with dodging the literal residue of certain Texas longhorns, I thought to clarify my stance. In his "Conclusion," Thoreau properly marks the problem with exquisite delicacy, in a very stylish passage my readers may well appreciate:
You who've read Texas-Style Bovine Epistemology might now appreciate Thoreau's larger point. What with "cows" and "bulls" running about, it's only natural, I suppose, that the upshot of the matter is this:
So let us all repeat now, even Barbara Bush, extra-vagantly enough!
Is not Thoreau's "cow" at least an example of one "Mission Accomplished"?Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
April 18, 2006
· Texas-Style Bovine Epistemology ·
Ironically, Texas teaching framed our trip from first to last. Initially passing through some dairyland enroute to SEA-TAC, we got word of Barbara Bush's plans to donate — through her son Neil's IgniteLearning company in Austin — COWs (Curricula on Wheels) to Houston's Independent School District. You may have seen the story. Meant partly for Katrina victims, the family largesse looks suspiciously like a clever tax gimmick — and it may just smack of Bushism, too (corporate cronyism).
We didn't reflect on it more till, visiting later in Texas's Bob Bullock State History Museum, we saw in Austin a COW being rolled in for public presentation. Well, you can imagine our surprise: that the thing (pictured at right) was being brazenly displayed in public suggested a better teaching tool I can show a bit more modestly in print — Bill Perry's famous 1963 essay, "Examsmanship and the Liberal Arts." I thought to define its two essentials.
Perry himself calls his piece a study in "Educational Epistemology," turning on the bovine concepts of "cow" and "bull." Here are Perry's definitions:
Today, reflecting on the clan's claims to leadership, I'm wondering if, in public as well as private, the Bushes have somehow got "cow" and "bull" together in a way better recognized, rather more neutrally, as "The Bum Steer."
In any event, to the Georges, Neil, Jeb, and, of course, Barbara, here's my slightly more literal, semi-pictorial version.
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