August 30, 2005


joe miller

The article on Kozol was interesting, though I suspect they soft-pedaled it. I interviewed Kozol last year at this time and his quotes where very direct and challenging, you might say radical:

"Brown [vs. Board of Education] is off the table. They're not even asking for separate but equal. They are asking for less than Plessy v. Ferguson. In this case, public policy in education has gone back more than 100 years."

"It can't be changed by blue-ribbon panels," he says. "It's not going to come from fiddling with state finance formulas. It's not going to come from more bluster from the White House.

"The problem here, is that what is adequate for the poor is always going to be determined by the representatives of the rich. History has proven that they [the rich] will never define adequate for the poor in a way to make them competitive with their own children.

The only solution, he told me, is "a political movement, a sweeping upsurge in moral consciousness from young people in this country. It's going to take passionate determination from the children of the privileged. Theirs is a tarnished victory. They know they couldn't have won it if the game was fair ... It's the uncomfortable little secret we all live with."


Good on you for noting the passing of Scott - she was the only poet we've ever had appear on a weekly TV variety show as a guest.

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  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


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