Archive for the 'Evening Sun Headlines' Category

The space between the notes

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Sami Gillette

While the world is diverse in its populations, cultures and languages, there is one aspect that permeates every part of the globe – music. An art form, a political statement, an outlet for anger, an expression of love, or a pure form of celebration – music has all of these purposes and more, no matter the genre. A good beat, a smooth rhythm and a catchy hook can transport listeners and often express the human experience for those who aren’t naturally artistic or vocal.

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything,” Plato once wrote.

Music can also provide relaxation and stress relief. It would probably shock the average person how much they turn to music as a release of some sort. For the good times and the bad.

Maya Angelou said it eloquently, “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”

People find such solace through music, no matter the genre. Preferences range greatly. In fact, “What’s your favorite type of music?” is a popular question on a first date. Some may even consider the answer insight into future happiness or a dire warning of complete, irrevocable incompatibility.

One of my favorite recent experiences was attending The Taste of Country Music Festival in Hunter, NY. Country music used to be a staple for me as a child – the songs of LeAnn Rimes, Shania Twain and Tim McGraw still flood my brain with memories. While I did move on to other genres, such as rock, pop and more recently R&B and hip-hop, the festival reminded me that country music can be profound, as well as inspire a great time.

“To the things, I believe in / My faith, your love, our freedom / To the things I can count on / To keep me going strong / Yeah I hold on, I hold on,” sang Dierks Bentley during his performance. This type of experience with friends around and the crowd singing along, connecting to a song that was his, but also ours, is one of the most powerful ways to stay in a moment.

These same type of moments were experienced during the BET Awards, which premiered this Sunday on BET. There was an array of great performances – some of the best are worth replaying over and over again. Yolanda Adams gave an amazing, powerhouse performance when she sang “Jesus is Love” in tribute to Lionel Richie, the BET Awards honoree. Nicki Minaj, Trey Songz, Chris Brown, August Alsina and Beyonce’s performances were also memorable, but with a very different focus. Love, sex and romance anyone?

What was most interesting about the show was the variety of ages and tastes that were able to come together in a celebration of music. New and old artists came together, recognizing their craft but also taking the time to acknowledge artists on the rise.

No matter one’s taste in music, it is there to be enjoyed and serves to bring people together. Love, rebellion, national pride, partying – those themes transcend all genres. One of the strongest abilities of music of any genre is its ability to remind us of our commonalities.

Hey look!, a soapbox, Just for me!

Friday, June 27th, 2014
Matt White

I’ve heard and seen with my own two eyes the cries from three distinct divisions of Americans recently. All equally polarized are the Left, the Right and lastly everyone else who is just plain fed up with the other other two – who are appeased with the status quo, business-as-usual handling of government and big businesses that perpetuate indignation amongst our middle class.
What I find most grave and appalling are those who disagree with the president so much that they feel it best if he just resign or be ousted in some sort of coup; as if the people of the United States would all be in some magical respite of prosperity if not for the presence of just that one individual.
I’m afraid I have some very troubling news for these folks, none of that is ever going to happen.
And here’s why: Americans don’t have it in them, plain and simple. The number of Americans who give a damn about anything are far outnumbered by those who just plain don’t care to pay attention.
For the naysayers, it’s much easier and convenient  to spin the President as a perpetrator of our strife, after all, he took the job as whipping boy, right?
The reality is, Mr. Obama isn’t what caused this mess… and you’d be a blind fool to not acknowledge that we, as Americans, have a pretty bad track record of blaming the next guy when he arrives at the White House in this country.
I’ll genuinely admit that I’m not happy with the successes that Obama forecast ahead of his tenure, and it’s easy to see that a majority of his original campaign supporters have long since fallen aside the bandwagon for lackluster performances in both his first and second terms – but the fact is, we were punch-drunk on his 2008 campaign kool-aid for a reason: things were really, really bad.
Mainstream Americans are the definition of fickle. So easily we tend to forget where we came from and how closely we were to catastrophe. In 2008 before Mr. Obama even took his oath we faced the single most detrimental economic recession this side of the stock market crash of 1929. My entire education and life was painted with pictures of how horrible it was to live through the depression of 1929, and many of the frugal quirks I have today were forged and handed down by what my father taught me, which was handed down from his parent’s experience through the great depression.
I’m just saying, let us not forget that Mr. Obama had a huge economic black hole dropped into his lap the day he took office.
Let’s likewise not forget the mess in Afghanistan and Iraq that was tossed to the Obama administration like a hot potato. Former Vice President Cheney is pretty good at balking about how the current administration dropped the ball, and that everything was “A-okay” when his term was up, but the history books and even his own press interviews from that time speak otherwise.
With seven months left of his last term in office, Bush II – with Cheney at his side – had such little international credibility that their bluffs were routinely called. They couldn’t get the diplomatic backing of Russia or China on board to make a difference in Iran amid the nuclear development talks, and then handed the mess off to their predecessors because they were so ineffective at bargaining abroad.
It’s the seemingly endless cycle of left-right politics that keep the rich richer and the poor poorer, and that’s exactly what the “powers-that-be” need to keep everyone under their influence. Obama, Bush, Clinton…. they’re all just marionettes. Our problems are much larger than any one person in the oval office.
If anything, we need to take a look back at the past to adjust our ways of thinking in the hear and now. Where were Bush II, Reagan and Clinton five years into an eight year stint?
Clearly, the world dynamics of the world around us differs greatly than they did at any one of those points in history, but I’d be willing to bet that if you were able to travel back in time these guys weren’t sleeping well at night either.
If the people of the United States are ever to accomplish what they feel is necessary to deliver us to a place where collective citizens feel as if their voices actually matter, then we should begin really scrutinizing some policy changes in this country – starting with the most antediluvian mechanisms of them all – the electoral college. But I’ll save that rant for next time. Until then –

Bonjour Montréal!

Monday, June 23rd, 2014
Sami Gillette

A trip to Montréal, a city in Quebec, Canada, proved a great place to visit for foodies, history buffs, francophones and art fanatics alike. From Syracuse, the drive takes about four hours by car and a passport, as well as a story to tell the official about the prospective trip, are required to cross the border.

Rather than spending a steep price to stay at a local hotel, a fun, affordable option can be found through airbnb.com. It is a site that allows one to search for rooms and vacation rentals that are offered by various homeowners in the area. My friend, Mary Rose, and I found a pretty, spacious room for $50 a night in Le-Plateau-Mont-Royal, which was the perfect place to find fantastic food and practice our rudimentary French.

Numerous restaurants were open late into the night. Many advertised as “Apportez votre vin” (bring your own wine). Many restaurants were open with quaint tables on the street. People laughed and talked while enjoying their own wine and tapas or entrees that they had ordered.

I decided on a “prix fixe” menu. The French speaking waiter switched to English to help us navigate the menu. I had escargot in garlic butter as an appetizer, followed by steak with caramelized shallots, greens and steak frites. Dessert was a shared experience of an apple and caramel tart. All of the flavors were well developed and all ingredients were fresh. I was in food heaven.

After dinner we decided to visit Bar le Lab, which was highly recommended by a friend. The bartender informed us that le Lab is the top 17th bar in the world, and it certainly lived up to its reputation. Le Lab makes its own fresh syrups for mixing, and has a wide range of labels to select from. Some drinks had liqueur that was mixed and set on fire to caramelize and intensify the flavor, other drinks were served with fresh fruit and orchids as decoration. There was no limit as to what type of drinks were available and the bartenders were both informative and entertaining. Juggling glasses, anyone?

The next day involved one great culinary experience after another. Breakfast was eaten outside at a little terrace bakery/restaurant called Godley & Crème, which served fresh omelets and pastries. We then spent a couple of hours of shopping at a underground mall complex. Later we had an early dinner of fresh, flavorful Vietnamese food in the Quartier Chinois. We could not stay for Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, which is massive francophone music festival. Despite this, there was a great deal of street art and various museums in which to visit and spend time.

Montréal proved to be a fantastic weekend trip with much to offer. For more information or to plan your own trip visit tourisme-montreal.org.

Overview of “Dirty Wars”

Sunday, June 15th, 2014
Sami Gillette

Cycles are powerful and seemingly unescapable, especially when one reviews the annals of history. It is this power and impact of cycles that serves as a focus of the documentary “Dirty Wars” – a film that displays the discoveries of journalist and author Jeremy Scahill as he investigates covert US involvement in places such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen.

He explores the activities of Joint Operations Special Command (JSOC), which was for years a hidden organization that fought behind the scenes as part of the War on Terror. Scahill reveals the impact of drone strikes and night raids on various people and families, some of whom were attacked for a variety of unknown, unestablished reasons (according to Scahill’s research).

According to the film’s website, “JSOC teams ‘find, fix, and finish’ their targets, who are selected through a secret process. No target is off limits for the ‘kill list,’ including U.S. citizens.”

The documentary was haunting with images and tales of innocent children, men and women killed as JSOC sought its targets. An interview with a man associated with JSOC reveals disillusionment and regret as to the history and mission of JSOC. Scahill also reviews his multiple attempts to garner answers from those in power and in Congress – to no avail.

What was most powerful was Scahill’s interaction with the family of Anwar al-Awlaki who, according to CCN, was an “American-born Muslim scholar and cleric who acted as a spokesperson for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.” Scahill reveals al-Awlaki’s earlier transformation from a moderate to militant because of events that occurred in the Middle East that turned him against the United States.

In an interview Scahill outlines one of his biggest issues with al-Awlaki’s death following a US drone strike.

“Awlaki had never been charged of a crime by the United States in connection with any terrorist plot, there was no indictment against him, and he was basically sentenced to death without having even been charged with a crime,” he explained. It is this covertness, this lack of transparency and action without accountability that Scahill draws most attention to during the film.

“Dirty Wars” ends with the news that al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son had been blown to pieces in another covert US strike. Scahill explains that it is this type of act that should be known about. The son was killed for who he might become, rather than who he was. Violence begets violence, and while many may disagree with Scahill’s viewpoint, it is always important to see both sides of a story.

States “The Guardian,” “The argument that the war on terror is ultimately unwinnable because indiscriminate killings radicalise whole populations is persuasive.”

Power of words in “The Book Thief”

Sunday, June 8th, 2014
Sami Gillette

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak portrays life in Nazi Germany during World War II as a family attempts to survive, but also maintain their humanity. Death serves as the narrator of the book and through its eyes we are brought to Liesel Meminger, a young teenage girl who arrives in Molching to live with foster parents after her brother dies. The novel explores the growth of her relationship with her caring, but eccentric foster parents (the Hubermanns); a next door boy named Rudy; other local Germans; and the Jewish man, Max, whom the Hubermanns shelter in their basement for two years. **spoiler alert**

While the novel has a well-developed plot and is at times funny, tragic and haunting, what is most interesting is its lyricism and use of powerful imagery.

“Somewhere, far down, there was an itch in his heart, but he made it a point not to scratch it. He was afraid of what might come leaking out.”

Such examples are threaded throughout the story and capture the reader – pull him or her in so that there is no escaping the author’s meaning.

One of the most powerful aspects of the novel is the survey of words – their power and importance. Liesel is the Book Thief. She learns to read and steals books in order to escape from her reality, but also to create a foundation of understanding that strengthens her in a country that has been brain washed. Words foster her relationship with Max who writes to cope with and understand his situation – he is constantly bordering on the brink of possible discovery and death.

Towards the end of the novel both Liesel and Max realize the healing power of words, but also the danger of words. Words were what enabled Adolf Hitler to gain power – his book “Mein Kempf” (My Struggle) leads to the murder of millions of Jews.

This setting solidifies the use of Death as narrator. Rather than appearing eager for its duty, Death is weary and gathers up souls with some detachment , and with sadness (when he allows it). Ironically, Death’s perspective adds an aspect of humanity to often bleak and sometimes tragic events throughout the novel.

In describing one man’s death, Death recalled, “His soul sat up. It met me. Those kinds of souls always do – the best ones. The ones who rise up and say ‘I know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go, of course, but I will come.’ Those souls are always light because more of them have been put out. More of them have already found their way to other places.”

Overall, “The Book Thief” is a beautiful and unique perspective on life in Nazi Germany during WWII. Lightened with humour and intensified by quiet, intimate moments it is an inspiring novel that will stay with the reader.

Said Death of Liesel, ”Yes, I’m often reminded of her, and in one of my array of pockets, I have kept her story to retell. It is one of the small legion I carry, each one extraordinary in its own right. Each one an attempt – an immense leap of an attempt – to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it.”

Black olives and cheese fries

Saturday, June 7th, 2014
Ashley Biviano

I don’t really go out to eat often. Well, to be more accurate, I don’t really eat often. One meal a day, once I’m done with work. Depending on the day, that could be 4 p.m. or 9 p.m. That’s not really the point here though … the point is I went out to dinner Friday night and enjoyed myself.
Park Place in downtown Norwich recently got a facelift, and the first time I walked in following the renovations I believe I said, “Whoa! This is cool. I don’t know where to go.”
Occasionally on Fridays, the Evening Sun staff will go there for lunch. I tend to be late and often don’t order food. It’s still a nice way to wrap up the week with the editorial staff.
I hadn’t gone there for dinner until this past Friday though. Not only was the meal tasty, the servers were rather attentive.
Now, I’m not big on crowds. At all. But on a whim it was decided that Park Place was to be the dinner destination. It was busy, but I should have expected it. It was Friday, after all.
The bar was pretty crowded, and at first glance all the tables looked full. Almost immediately, an employee approached the two of us and sent us toward the hostess who would seat us. I, naturally, picked the seat where there wasn’t anyone behind me. Another weird quirk.
We were promptly welcomed once more, and were introduced to our servers. I say ‘servers’ because there were two young women who took care of us and were rather gracious throughout our visit.
I said before I usually eat one meal a day. Now I’ll say that that meal is not a salad. While the menu has many salad choices, I opted for something less healthy. That’s just my style.
I ordered the grilled chicken dijon wrap. I’m not a tomato fan, so asked if I could substitute the tomatoes for black olives.
Our server enthusiastically said, “Of course you can!” Since olives are in my top seventeen favorite foods, that made me happy.
I also ordered a side of cheese for my fries. Like I said, salads aren’t my gig.
I have no idea how many TVs there are inside the establishment, but it’s impressive. They’re huge, and regardless of what sport is your preference, there’s probably something you’ll find you like. Don’t worry, the volume isn’t on all the TVs at the same time, but they do have a handy little device on each table where you can pick the screen that you want to watch, and turn up the volume.
If you’re out to eat with a group of basketball fans, or if you have money on the Spurs vs Heat, you might want to turn that knob up a notch or two.
I also took notice that two of the TVs had cartoons for the little tykes, which was nice to see. While it was a Friday night and the bar area was a little busy, there were families enjoying meals, and it was cute to peer over and see a girl smiling and pointing at the antics of Spongebob.
While waiting for our dinner, we were offered some popcorn, which was a super kind gesture. We declined (I’m not a popcorn fan), but it was very nice.
We stepped outside for a couple minutes and upon returning, our server promptly said, “Oh! I’ll go see if it’s ready for ya!”
While she was off to check in the kitchen, we commented to each other about how attentive the service had been. We also discussed the vibe of the place since the renovations and chatted with various friends we spotted.
My wrap was tasty. I’m not a ‘super duper food critic’ or anything like that, but I know what I like and what I don’t like. I ate the whole thing, and that’s rare for me. The black olives made it extra good, in my opinion.
Didn’t finish my fries, but pretty close. I’m not a fries and ketchup kinda gal, which is why I opted for cheese. We were approached and asked if everything was okay or if we needed anything a couple of times, which is always nice.
Then, our super friendly server, (I feel horrible for forgetting her name, because as I was eating I knew I wanted to write a blog about it), brought out the tray of desserts. Ah! Tempting, but I was full.
Something on there looked absolutely yummy, and I hope someone got it and enjoyed it. It looked like some sort of mint chocolate pie-type-thing … and I am willing to bet it was delicious.
If one of the kiddos at one of the tables nearby had any of that pie, I think he or she would have been one happy camper. I just couldn’t do it.
As I’ve said before, I’m not good with brevity. However, the point of this whole thing was to say that I enjoyed dinner at Park Place on Friday night. Even though it was busy, and it’s not really my style to go to busy places, I not only had a filling meal that involved black olives and cheese fries, but everyone around was so friendly and the atmosphere was welcoming.
I also had said that I couldn’t even remember what it looked like before the renovations. I was impressed.
The vibe was positive and it seemed as though all the patrons were enjoying themselves. It’s nice looking around and seeing people having a good time.
A Friday night that involved a good meal and no work … I’ll take it.

Life’s a garden… Dig it.

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
Matt White

This year had been filled with firsts for me. A new home in a new in a new town in a fresh year capable of being filled with positive moves in right direction is shaping up to be nothing less than just that. I’m feeling productive at both home and work, and overall satisfied with where I’m at in life, and I’ve found yet another love… the backyard garden.
My childhood memories are punctuated with working summers along side my father in the backyard garden. For years I thought my dad plowed and tilled our plot primarily out of necessity, and I suppose for the most part that essentially was the case. We didn’t have a lot of money, for all his hard work and dedication – we were never “rich” with possessions or money; I inherited much more than that.
At the time I had mixed feelings about the garden; and the work the it – and my dad – demanded.
And it was just that. Hard work, period. There isn’t a pair of Elton John style rose-colored glasses on earth that can make me look back longingly at the blisters, sweat and thirst that came endlessly from the garden emblazoned with a day’s noon sun.
We composted our kitchen waste and grass clippings every year. I never questioned it, as it just what I was expected to do as one of my many chores. We never had a fancy riding mower, just an old Briggs and Stratton push-job with a bagger that had to emptied every three swipes of the lawn’s length. Of course, the compost heap was atop the hill behind the garden, so I would fill the wheelbarrow with clippings and cart it when it was super-full.
Every other day – or everyday when the temperature was relatively high – it was my job to take the kitchen waste out to the heap. On the weekend, it would then be my chore to “turn” the pile with a pitch fork to aid in the decomposition and keep it from catching fire. Anyone who knows how hot a compost pile can get in the summer heat understands the danger.
Picking rock while we prepared the soil for the plants and seeds was especially monotonous work. My hands cracked from the desiccative nature of dirt; my dads hands felt like rough tree bark, so it didn’t bother him… at least, I never heard him complain about it.
Now, as an adult who’s been through his fair share of life, I’m tending to my own garden for the first time on my own since the days in the backyard of my childhood along side my sister, step mom and father.
I find it astounding how much information the human brain is willing to store without coercion. There was never any studying or tests – no quizzing or memorization of the things my father taught me as the fourth grader who needed guidance on the do’s and don’ts of gardening; amongst other things.
I suppose that I did what I was told regardless of how I felt about it because I knew there would be repercussions if I chose not to. More than that – I did it because I wanted to work alongside my dad, and I respected him. The magic of a garden harvest is something that everyone should have the opportunity to experience, and now I’m convinced that was something that he knew all along. I worked shoulder to shoulder with my old man, who was raised on our family farm and was taught those very skills by his father, whose father had taught him and so on.
This past weekend I spend the majority of my time in the garden with my own boys. While at times the frustration of them trampling about the sowed seeds was overwhelming, I kept it together and at least pg-13 –  because I saw something that reminded me of a younger, pure and inquisitive version of myself in them. They wanted to be in the garden, shoulder to shoulder helping their dad… getting dirty and feeling productive.
A look back on the hours I spent explaining what they could and could not do, and what had to be accomplished versus what they wanted to do – that it’s “called work because it’s not play, not because it can’t be fun” (a concept that will most likely take them a child or two of their own to fully grasp) – and I feel good.
They picked rocks, learned the in’s and out’s of the pick axe and how to hoe a row  and plant seeds into the rich earth with their old man, just as I had.
My Dad – my best friend – died when I was all of 19 years of age and so sure of everything some 14 years ago. I feel blessed to have been afforded those 19 short years with him, learning the skills he had to offer from my grandfather, great-grandfather – ancestors.
No doubt, my boys will carry on those same practices with the name and hopefully one day reflect on summer days digging in the garden.

The real Philomena Lee

Sunday, June 1st, 2014
Sami Gillette

The film “Philomena” is a beautiful, heart wrenching portrayal of a mother’s search for her long-lost son 50 years after he is taken from her. It focuses on the real life story of Irishwoman Philomena Lee, who as a teenager, was sent to a convent after she became pregnant out of wedlock. Throughout the film there is a focus on Catholicism and sin – Philomena is sent to the covenant in the first place because her family is shamed by her. At one point in the film the young Philomena explains that it is as if she had died, rather than gotten pregnant.

Philomena is forced to work long, hard hours at the abbey to pay off the debt to the nuns for providing shelter for her and her son. The sense of guilt and sin permeates the whole film and is what keeps Philomena silent for 50 years after her son is stolen from her and taken to America by adoptive parents. What is most tragic is that Philomena never wanted to lose her son, which is why she finally asks for assistance from journalist Martin Sixsmith.

Judi Dench does a fantastic job portraying the older Philomena Lee and her co-star is Steve Coogan, who plays the cynical Martin Sixsmith. The film highlights the very real problem of young Irish women losing their children because of manipulative, profiteering convents in mid-1900′s Ireland.
Explains a Washington Post article, “The mothers did get to see their children every day, but they didn’t always fully realize that those children were offered for adoption, as orphans, to American couples.”

In an interview, Philomena explained that the convent always refused to disclose information about her son – nuns even blatantly lied to her. She explained that if they had been truthful there probably would never have been a book or movie.

While truth may have made her search easier, many are thankful that Philomena’s story came out. It has raised awareness about the sometimes harrowing circumstances surrounding adoption, especially in Ireland in the mid 1900’s. Numerous adoptees have also reached out to her in hopes she can help guide them to their birth mothers.

A New York Times review states, “Philomena has many facets. It is a comedic road movie, a detective story, an infuriated anticlerical screed, and an inquiry into faith and the limitations of reason, all rolled together. Fairly sophisticated about spiritual matters, it takes pains to distinguish faith from institutionalized piety.”

I love campaign season

Friday, May 30th, 2014
Shawn Magrath

It’s not surprising that political candidates choose to go negative with their campaign. After all, it’s easier to vilify someone than it is to become a saint. Even more enticing is the evidence that negative campaigning actually works, which I think shows a lot about our largely pessimistic attitudes toward anything and everything in between. So I can’t say I was surprised to get a campaign postcard at my home address this week that simply said, “Vote ‘No’ on Claudia Tenney.”

I don’t need to point out the obvious difference between voting for someone and voting against another. Given its negative message, it’s no more or less surprising that this postcard was colored in black, white and red, decorated in broken text, and printed on a discrete 12×9 piece of poster board. I’m sure if it had the ability to play haunting music, it would have. It couldn’t have been more threatening if it were on fire.

I love campaign season.

On the cheerier note, I use to make it a habit to read the classifieds of the newspaper. I’m always fascinated with the wordsmithing some people fabricate to sell what would otherwise be considered junk. My personal favorite: “Car for sale Runs great. No engine.” Other award winners include a used mattress with “few urine stains,” a chevy pickup with “optional movement” and this week, a toilet bowl that is “like new.” I’m not a salesman, but it seems like a toilet is one of those things that’s either new or it’s not. There’s no gray area.

On the topic of classifieds, we at The Evening Sun owe and apology to a ’30 Seconds’ poster and anyone else who saw a help wanted ad for a part-time shipping and receiving person. The ad specifies that applicants be able to lift 50 pounds, but fails to provide an address or contact information. To clarify, anyone interested in the job should get ahold of…

Irrigation of life’s deserts

Monday, May 26th, 2014
Sami Gillette

A discussion with a former English teacher raised some ideas about the importance of education, history and literature. Yes, STEM courses are becoming even more vital as technology and innovation entrench themselves in the economy and leading industries. But to forget the humanities or to dismiss them as frivolous is dangerous and careless.

While my perspective is completely biased – I have been a nerdy English student since I first learned to read – there are many who would agree with me.

The study of history, languages, art, literature and the like are important in that they provide a perspective and context to the present. Who are we? Where do we come from? How are we connected? These are all questions that can be answered by studying the humanities.

Many argue that without the study of the humanities there would only be cold, hard logic. Is this knowledge useful? Of course.

Yet, without the humanities there would be no soul to the head and body of education. Instead students would learn how to compute numbers, study biology, analyze markets, etc. without balancing this knowledge with connections to the larger world.

Mark Slouka, an American novelist and essayist argues:
“The humanities, done right, are the crucible within which our evolving notions of what it means to be fully human are put to the test; they teach us, incrementally, endlessly, not what to do but how to be. Their method is confrontational, their domain unlimited, their ‘product’ not truth but the reasoned search for truth, their ‘success’ something very much like Frost’s momentary stay against confusion.”

As every school is in a mad scramble to hire more STEM teachers, it is imperative that humanities teachers are not forgotten. While every student may not love to read Shakespeare or may not understand the importance of studying the Napoleonic Wars, they should still have a background upon which to build their understanding of the world at large.

“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.” – C.S. Lewis.