from the world's big
Applying Political Correctness Standards to Our Books Is a Big Mistake
Novelist Joshua Cohen doesn't think colleges and universities should coddle students, but protect free speech and free expression of language, even the harmful language of some literature.
Joshua Cohen is a novelist and literary critic. He’s the author of the critically acclaimed Book of Numbers, which has been called “The Great American Internet Novel” and of Witz, which was named a Best Book of 2010 by The Village Voice and Four New Messages, which was named a Best Book of 2012 by The New Yorker.. Cohen grew up in Atlantic City. He currently lives in Red Hook. He reads both German and Hebrew and has translated works in both languages into English. He attended the Manhattan School of Music and studied composition.
Joshua Cohen is a novelist and literary critic. He’s the author of the critically acclaimed Book of Numbers, which has been called “The Great American Internet Novel” and of Witz, which was named a Best Book of 2010 by The Village Voice and Four New Messages, which was named a Best Book of 2012 by The New Yorker..
Cohen grew up in Atlantic City. He currently lives in Red Hook. He reads both German and Hebrew and has translated works in both languages into English. He attended the Manhattan School of Music and studied composition.Cohen is the New Books critic for Harper's. His essays have appeared in Harper's, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, The Jewish Daily Forward, Nextbook, Tablet Magazine, Triple Canopy (online magazine), Denver Quarterly, The Believer, The New York Observer, The London Review of Books, N+1 online, Guernica Magazine', and elsewhere.
Joshua Cohen: I don’t give a fuck what anyone says in college. I think if you’re in college you shouldn’t actually have an opinion about anything, you know. I think that you should probably even if you had a tough childhood I think you should probably spend a decade in the workforce. Or if not in the workforce you should spend a decade hating yourself and becoming fatter and uglier and balder and just, you know, I mean you should. And then someone you love should leave you. With that said, you know, my biggest problem is not what happens on college campuses because I try to stay away from college campuses as much as possible. Is really just, you know, what happens to language and people’s free use of language.
I think that, you know, speech should be harmful and defanged speech is not speech. I think speech should always have the power to wound and I think it should be allowed to wound because not only is that the right pressure valve that brings you away from actual physical violence, you know. But more importantly it is a preparation for true pain in life. In the sense of, you know, when you’re spoken to in a certain way that’s harmful. But when you read a book with content that you consider harmful, right, you can’t talk back to it.
You can ignore it. You can, you know, tell other people not to read it, right. But the idea of translating our standards for interpersonal speech to a standard for literature or even just written communication that has stood some test of time is perverse to me. The whole point of the Greeks is that you never know what your trigger warning is because it’s your hamartia, it’s your fatal flaw. If someone told you what your trigger waning was you probably wouldn’t end up, you know, killing your father and sleeping with your mother, you know. I mean implied in the history of literature, Western literature is essentially people who were confronted with – people who were not warned or people who did not heed warnings, right. And these things are supposed to be lessons for us not to set up our own warnings. But they’re actually just supposed to be examples of what life will do to all of us and maybe conciliations for how to abide.
The topic of free speech has been tied to events on college campuses for decades — think Mario Savio and the Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley — and the last few years have seen a resurgence of college students doing what they do best: challenging the dominant social order.
Vocal challenges have risen against racial violence, cultural appropriation, certain political candidates, and more. But novelist Joshua Cohen thinks the impact of a college student's voice should be weighed against the real-world experiences of mature adults. Cohen particularly objects to the concern expressed over violent language in literature classes, and the debate over the value of so-called "trigger warnings" meant to warn students of language that could revive memories of past traumas.
"The whole point of the Greeks is that you never know what your trigger warning is because it’s your hamartia," says Cohen. "It’s your fatal flaw. If someone told you what your trigger waning was you probably wouldn’t end up, you know, killing your father and sleeping with your mother, you know."
Cohen's latest novel is Book of Numbers.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.