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herculodge
I am Jeff McMahon. I teach college English, I'm married to a middle school English teacher, and we have a "rescue" dog, Gretchen, with special emotional needs, though I imagine we're now just as dependent on Gretchen as she is on us. herculogical@verizon.net
Interests: power yoga, combat conditioning, cars that possess the i've-got-to-have-it factor, vegetarian cooking, blissed-out naval-gazer and underground dream pop music, a few well-chiseled books. other website: http://herculodge.typepad.com/
Recent Activity
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As a watch obsessive, I belong to a community of timepiece addicts who engage in the perennial debate: Should I own a few choice timepieces or should I amass a diverse collection to choose from? We might want to turn to Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Leaving Anhedonia
I assumed my critical thinking students would shy away from Elizabeth Anderson's "If God Is Dead, Is Everything Permitted?" However, my assumptions were proven wrong. One student supported Anderson's claim that religion is a facade for bullying behavior as she chronicled some religious neighbors who persistently knock on neighborhood doors... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Leaving Anhedonia
George Packer in The Atlantic makes a convincing case that the Republican Party has become the party of institutionalized depravity, and this explains why we are in such a crisis and have a criminal in the White House: The corruption I mean has less to do with individual perfidy than... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Leaving Anhedonia
Andrew Sullivan argues that the thirst for religion in the absence of religion will find misguided expression because we are all by nature religious, and he argues that the Trump Cult, a grotesque religion of its own kind, is a response to the decline of Christianity. For Sullivan, Christianity is... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Leaving Anhedonia
Sullivan argues that without God we are left aching for something more as our soul’s remain essentially empty. Fundamentally, we feel alone. As Sullivan writes: But none of this material progress beckons humans to a way of life beyond mere satisfaction of our wants and needs. And this matters. We... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Leaving Anhedonia
Here's new grading template for 1A and 1C: Portfolio 1: 75 Portfolio 2: 75 Essays 1-4: 150 each for 600 Essay 5: 250 Total: 1,000 points Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Lesson Plan Über Alles
Recently, Ezra Klein took Andrew Sullivan to task for the latter’s essay “America’s New Religions.” Klein makes the claim that Sullivan is guilty of the very tribalism and moral blindness he condemns in his essay. To see if this is true, I’m going to do a study of both essays.... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Leaving Anhedonia
Many of us relate to the tie between self-esteem and bodyweight. When we are fat, we are sad, depressed, and overcome by feelings that we have no self-control. Our fatness is evidence of a personality in a state of disintegration. We are unappealing, morally slovenly, and "not up to code,"... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Leaving Anhedonia
Being a superficial sycophant may be a moral failing, but it appears we’re hardwired to be this way. As we read in Will Storr’s Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What's It's Doing to Us, our hunters and gatherer ancestors worked hard to find rank in the tribe. We... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Leaving Anhedonia
In his fascinating book Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What's It's Doing to Us, Will Storr observes that we are incurably tribalistic. Over 90% of our time on earth has been working as hunters and gatherers. We are hard-wired to find status and belonging in the tribe. We... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Leaving Anhedonia
After hearing Will Storr talk about his recent book Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What's It's Doing to Us on Ezra Klein's podcast, I decided to give Storr's book a re-read. He opens the first chapter analyzing the causes of suicide, which he observes in rising dramatically. We... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Leaving Anhedonia
Under the spell of Muslim apologist Robert Rediger, Francois begins to convert to Islam, both out of spiritual desperation and societal adaptation. He begins to see no alternative than conversion as secular Europe is a dying animal: “Europe had reached a point of such putrid decomposition that it could no... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Leaving Anhedonia
In the beginning of Part IV, Francois returns to Paris overcome with the emptiness and misery of his existence. As he returns, he observes “that I knew that what lay before me was a joyless but no an empty life. It would be filled with minor assaults.” These “assaults” would... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Leaving Anhedonia
Francois is “cheerful” the morning after Myriam leaves for Israel, but as he attempts to go to work at the university, he finds it is closed. The university guard explains that rumors report that things “were bad, really bad--he’d be surprised if the university reopened anytime in the next few... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
Francois wishes he could love, an endeavour that might liberate him from staring at his belly button fuzz. His attention is on Myriam, but modern love, as he sees it, is futile. He writes: “In the old days, people lived as families, that is to say, they reproduced, slogged through... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
About a third into the novel, we see our hapless narrator, now 44, contemplate that for him being 44 means nothing while his hero Huysmans, at 44, found God. Francois is morbid, seeing himself as “a jumble of organs in slow decomposition, my life an unending torment, grim, joyless, and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
Amidst the turmoil of the elections that give political power to the Muslim Brotherhood, Lempereur suggests to Francois to go into hiding. Francois sees his whole society disappear before his eyes, and he feels like a rat who must abandon ship. In his despair, Francois considers gender relations and the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
A political explosion, as disruptive as America's 2016 Election, ensues. About one-fourth into the novel we see a big political shift in France as the Muslim Brotherhood together with the Socialists beat the Conservatives in the elections. Francois is overcome with a sense of doom. His country has been “showing... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
An expanded study, from an earlier post, of Elizabeth Anderson’s “If God Is Dead, Is Everything Permitted?” Hobbes's idea of the need for religious fear to control the masses Many religious people claim that without a belief in God, the world won't have a healthy fear of divine punishment and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
Francois puzzles over his quest as an atheist to contemplate the development of Huysmans’ fictional characters converting to Catholicism. We have to assume there is some wish fulfillment going on here. Francois hungers for some kind of “divine grace," some kind of narrative of personal transformation from a beast with... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
Carl Boches writes: Just received a new Sangean ATS-909X black color from Amazon. I knew all about the so called deafness of the 909x. As of now my most sensitive small radio is my Tecsun PL606. I took the 606... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2018 at Herculodge
Francois teaches literature about the Decadents and the Symbolists. While languishing through his meaningless profession, he notices growing Muslim political power. First, he is puzzled by the advancement of Steve’s career at the university. Steve, presumably a Muslim, would take Francois for tea at the Paris Mosque because Steve liked... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
Our narrator Francois is a man of privilege who scorns the very college teaching job that feeds him. He writes that “The academic study of literature leads basically nowhere, as we all know . . “ and continues to observe that teaching literature is “a rather farcical system that exists... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
Essay #5 Due Date: 12-12-18: 260 points You need 5 credible sources for the MLA Works Cited page in your final capstone essay. Option One. In context of Alfie Kohn’s “From Degrading to De-Grading,” support, refute, or complicate Alfie Kohn’s... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2018 at Breakthrough Writer