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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Alarms and diversions for the thinking person

Saturday, June 10, 2017 12:01 am

The reading list

“ 'Humility' isn't a word that most academics — or Americans — identify with. Indeed, if there is a single attitude most closely associated with our culture, it's the opposite of humility. The defining trait of the age seems to be arrogance — in particular, the kind of arrogance personified by our tweeter in chief; the arrogance of thinking that you know it all and that you don't need to improve because you are just so great already.

“But our culture's infatuation with this kind of arrogance doesn't come out of the blue. Trump is a symptom and not the cause of a larger trend, one that rewards dogmatic certainty and punishes those who acknowledge the possible limitations of their own point of view. Liberal white male professors like myself are hardly immune. And part of the academic culture we've helped to create — including the rise of aggressive 'no platforming' tactics to prevent conservatives from speaking on some campuses — has only fed into the perception that academics are no more willing to engage in dialogue and debate than Trump supporters.

“.. The internet didn't create this polarization, but it does speed it up ... the analytics that drive the internet don't just get us more information; they get us more ... information we want.”

— From “Teaching humility in an age of arrogance” at chronicle.com 

A quiz

During its construction, it was called “the longest cemetery on earth” because so many people died building it. Reportedly, it cost the lives of more than 1 million people. What is it?

Wisdom of the ages

“When I was 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around. When I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” — Mark Twain

Current wisdom

“I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” — President Trump, as quoted by fired FBI Director James Comey.

Quiz answer

The Great Wall of China.

Snob words

notabilia (noh-tuh-BIL-ee-uh), n. — matters, events or items worthy of note, as in: “The editorial writer was sad when the politician said his essays did qualify as campaign notabilia.”

Today in history

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress appointed a committee to write a Declaration of Independence; yeah, a “committee” named Thomas Jefferson.

Now you know

During the Civil War, generals usually led their soldiers into battle, a rare occurrence in modern wars. Because of this, generals were 50 percent more likely to die in combat than privates were.


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