I hold a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (with a major in Latin and minors in ancient Greek and French) but did not navigate academe very successfully over the next thirty years. This was owed partly to my non-PC place of origin (Texas), but probably more to my conviction (along with the ancients) that human nature is fixed, and my further conviction (along with Stoics and true Christians) that we have a natural calling to surmount our nature and seek transcending goodness. Believe it or not, such convictions show up in research projects, conference papers, and actual classroom teaching… and they’re not widely appreciated these days.
Or maybe I just never played office politics well. I always tried to do what I thought right for young people facing adult life in our topsy-turvy society–not what would make our professors or department look better by putting more rumps in desks. They call that “not being a team player”, you know (since the concept of “team” doesn’t extend any farther in academe than one’s circle of cronies competing for advancement).
I officially embarked upon retirement in Fall of 2018. My wife and I are now tending orchards in North Georgia. I’m also eagerly marketing books through Amazon whose contents, in many cases, have been percolating for twenty years but could never find an outlet in the Swamp of Political Correctness. The orchards are a bid to leave a piece of property to our son with a survival-level quantity of food production on it (since I’m not particularly optimistic about our nation’s future). The independently published books… well, those are the best insights I’ve been able to wring from life in over half a century of wrestling with it.
My long-term goal for this site’s blog column was originally to draw visitors to those Kindle e-books and on-demand paperbacks–a range of offerings that includes everything from fiction and poetry to literary commentary to “apologetics” (reasons for having faith) to proposals for salvaging the human world from e-tech and the Nanny State. There’s a lot I’d like to say publicly before the sand runs out of my earthly hour-glass. Much of what’s in the Amazon books has been re-packaged from the pages of Praesidium, an online quarterly that I founded and edited for The Center for Literate Values from 2000 until 2017. The Center was at last legally dissolved with much reluctance and sadness: we simply couldn’t find the support to keep its 501(c)3 educational mission moving forward.
Please follow the “My Books” link in the menu to view the works I have so far brought out.
Finally, the very latest addition to this site and its objectives may turn out to be its most important contribution: a pool of YouTube videos about religious faith–reasons to have faith, speculations about the afterlife, specific problems and controversies confronting the Christian church today, and so forth. I do not claim to speak for any particular denomination; and, indeed, I try to pitch all videos at a general level, assuming nothing about the viewer’s beliefs and arguing only from positions of common sense and common humanity. These brief talks are intended for seekers after the truth. I hope those who watch them may learn half as much about their faith as I learned about mine in creating them.
Now, most of what very little I know about making videos was acquired previously in my labors at SmallBallSuccess.com, a site I started in 2015 to promote the so-called Deadball Era style of play (Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner… baseball’s heroes from the early twentieth century). I’ll never forget the icy silence with which my description of the site was treated at a departmental meeting when my other “colleagues”, having been asked to tell how they spent their summer, boasted of an article they had published or researched. Baseball, to me, is a very spiritual game, in that it draws out your unique talents while also quickly humbling you if you attempt to be something you’re not. Boys, especially, need the experience of combining intellect and physique with hard work to produce a helpful contribution that they probably didn’t think was in them. Yet the game is deserting the average boy in favor of unnaturally large specimens. My SmallBall site and its video aims to draw these smaller boys back into the sporting endeavor while also teaching them a little history.
Working to revive the game and the kids who play it is fun, it’s good for the soul, and it purges my mind of some of the depressing residue left by over three decades spent in the company of academics.