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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.
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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 

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