Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Fri, Apr 23 2004

On Slicing Establishment Hypocrisy To Ribbons

Through the comments over at The Morning Improv I was led to read the tale of a short story gone wrong at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I came to the story a bit late, but I see that other bloggers have attempted to understand the whole issue better and report on more recent developments.

I will in no way claim to know all about what happened. But I do fault this particular institution in a couple of ways. First of all, I've read some of Jan Richman's work, and I'm sure they knew they were hiring an instructor who wins awards for her work--work not exactly old-fashioned and covered over with Victorian lace--unless it's the type of lace leading to something more daring. She hits things head-on and does not apologize for her version of plain writing. And if the school feels it should be approving teaching materials it should not preface that by firing a teacher for violating a (hithertofore) unclear policy that they have only now decided to sharpen and maintain.

My second point--again, given with very limited knowledge of the situation--is that in spite of this instructor's own lack of aversion to edgy literature, she had the guts and decency to step forward when concerned that a particular student writer was perhaps in trouble and too far over the edge for social safety.

Richman would no doubt see me as a Pollyanna (and that's all right--it's a nickname I know very well). Our styles and content tend to be very different. But I'm sorely disturbed by this whole idea of making teachers take the hit when the administration fails to do its job. And whether Richman's student turns out to be a serial killer or the next Quentin Tarantino, I'm glad she came forward and put her job on the line out of concern. We Pollyannas may be nice, but we do know when to put on the gloves and join a fellow writer in battling powerful dragons.

posted at: 12:13 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Lost Honor In Photos?

I had no idea this sort of thing was a problem. I've often seen single coffins of military war heroes unloaded from planes, but I guess sometime back around 1991, someone decided it was a bad idea to have photos like the ones Tami Silicio took. As a personal note, I saw nothing inappropriate or distasteful in the photos as shown on the internet. War itself is distasteful. The photos are a sobering reminder of that. The Pentagon (and others) can handle this matter with a great deal of sensitivity and grace, or they can turn it into something that really would dishonor our fallen military personnel.

posted at: 07:18 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!