HomeAboutProfessionalVolunteerOpinion ArticlesInspirationContact
Practically Idealistic blog
 
The title for this blog originated with use of the term “practical idealist” in this 1996 opinion piece, which asked: “To what kind of work should a practical idealist aspire?” A century and a half earlier, Emerson, in his 1841 essay Circles, wrote: “There are degrees in idealism.  We learn first to play with it academically. . . .  Then we see in the heyday of youth and poetry that it may be true, that it is true in gleams and fragments.  Then, its countenance waxes stern and grand, and we see that it must be true.  It now shows itself ethical and practical.”  John Dewey and Mahatma Gandhi embraced practical idealism in the 20th century, as did UN Secretary General U Thant.  Al Gore invoked it in a 1998 speech. In the context of this blog, the term is meant to convey idealism tempered but not overwhelmed by realism: a search for the ideal on a path guided by common sense.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Insensitive But Not Offensive? Drawing a Line as a Feminist Dad

A recent incident, when an adult male made a remark that seemed arguably insensitive but not offensive in the presence of my adolescent daughter, prompted reflection on where and how to draw that distinction.  Subtleties of context, as well as content, matter.

I am not a censorious person.  But both parenthood and the ethos of the time have made me more aware of bystander effects—positive and negative.

The Baltimore Sun published the piece—“A Feminist Dad Finds Himself in a Quandary”—online on December 28 and today in print.

10:18 am est 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Documentaries on Heather Booth and Henry Green

 

I recently appreciated seeing two documentary films: “Heather Booth—Changing the World” on PBS and “I Am Shakespeare” (about a young man, Henry Green, who grew up in New Haven) at a local screening.

10:17 am est 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

A Bit of Good News about Community, Kindness of Neighbors

letter to the editor documented my family’s appreciation—amid all the problems of the world, and in some social science context—for our neighbors’ thoughtful help in the return of a puppy we had adopted from a shelter and lost for a time.

2:08 pm est 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

“Self-Evident Truths” Recognized, Reviewed

 

As mentioned previously here, the book Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War was published in 2017.  (Disclosure again: The author, Richard D. Brown, is my father.)

 

Recently, Self-Evident Truths received the New England Historical Association (NEHA) Book Prize

 

Last month, the National Catholic Reporter published a two-part review—by Michael S. Winters—of the book, which examines religious liberty among other issues (such as ethnicity, race, class, and gender in law and practice) in U.S. history.  Recent scholarly reviews include, for example, those in the American Historical Review and the Journal of the Civil War Era.

10:38 pm edt 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Hatred and Violence in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Beyond

 

Sadly, the last week has seen murderous bigotry in places including Kentucky (a grocery store, after the shooter attempted to enter a predominantly black church) and Pittsburgh (a synagogue).  Reports of hate crimes are on the rise since 2015.

 

Edward Ball (now of New Haven), with family ties to Charleston, South Carolina, wrote in the New York Review of Books about the 2017 trial of the racist 2015 Charleston church killer.

9:34 am edt 

2018.12.01 | 2018.11.01 | 2018.10.01 | 2018.08.01 | 2018.07.01 | 2018.06.01 | 2018.04.01 | 2018.03.01 | 2018.02.01 | 2018.01.01 | 2017.12.01 | 2017.11.01 | 2017.10.01 | 2017.09.01 | 2017.08.01 | 2017.07.01 | 2017.06.01 | 2017.05.01 | 2017.04.01 | 2017.03.01 | 2017.02.01 | 2017.01.01 | 2016.12.01 | 2016.11.01 | 2016.10.01 | 2016.09.01 | 2016.08.01 | 2016.07.01 | 2016.06.01 | 2016.05.01 | 2016.04.01 | 2016.03.01 | 2016.02.01 | 2016.01.01 | 2015.12.01 | 2015.11.01 | 2015.10.01 | 2015.09.01 | 2015.08.01 | 2015.07.01 | 2015.06.01 | 2015.05.01 | 2015.04.01 | 2015.03.01 | 2015.02.01 | 2015.01.01 | 2014.12.01 | 2014.11.01 | 2014.10.01 | 2014.09.01 | 2014.08.01 | 2014.07.01 | 2014.06.01 | 2014.05.01 | 2014.04.01 | 2014.03.01 | 2014.02.01 | 2014.01.01 | 2013.12.01 | 2013.11.01 | 2013.10.01 | 2013.09.01 | 2013.08.01 | 2013.07.01 | 2013.06.01 | 2013.05.01 | 2013.04.01 | 2013.03.01 | 2013.02.01 | 2013.01.01 | 2012.12.01 | 2012.11.01 | 2012.10.01 | 2012.09.01 | 2012.08.01 | 2012.07.01 | 2012.06.01 | 2012.05.01 | 2012.04.01 | 2012.03.01 | 2012.02.01 | 2012.01.01 | 2011.12.01 | 2011.11.01 | 2011.10.01 | 2011.09.01 | 2011.08.01 | 2011.07.01 | 2011.06.01 | 2011.05.01 | 2011.04.01 | 2011.03.01 | 2011.02.01 | 2011.01.01 | 2010.12.01 | 2010.11.01 | 2010.10.01 | 2010.09.01 | 2010.08.01 | 2010.07.01 | 2010.06.01 | 2010.05.01 | 2010.04.01 | 2010.03.01 | 2010.02.01 | 2010.01.01 | 2009.12.01 | 2009.11.01 | 2009.10.01 | 2009.09.01 | 2009.08.01 | 2009.07.01 | 2009.06.01 | 2009.05.01 | 2009.04.01 | 2009.03.01 | 2009.02.01 | 2009.01.01 | 2008.12.01 | 2008.11.01 | 2008.10.01 | 2008.09.01 | 2008.08.01 | 2008.07.01 | 2008.06.01 | 2008.05.01 | 2008.04.01

Link to web log's RSS file

 

 


info@josiahbrown.org