Contrary view from Kansas

September 11, 2006

I stumbled into a blog on education in Kansas. While I don’t take serious and violent exception to every post, let me say I found almost every post’s conclusion different from the conclusion I would have made. Should I add it to the blogroll?

Go take a look at Kansas Education, and let me know your opinion.

History revisionism in China

September 11, 2006

Over the past 40 years China has complained that Japanese history textbooks play down the brutal occupation of China, by Japan, during World War II. Japanese history texts have struggled with how to present World War II since the 1950s — generally coming donw on the side of ignoring most of the nastier history.

Oh, irony! China is now revising its own texts, and leaving out much of the history of modern communism in China that many communists would like to forget ever happened. This comes when China is financing classes for U.S. kids, classes that paint a too-rosy picture, some argue.

History revisionism is alive and well, around the world.

Jargon – fuzzifying the facts, fuzzifying history

September 11, 2006

Jargon is the death of many a useful idea in large organizations. Good writers try to avoid jargon, trying instead to provide language that will be readily understood by the reader or listener, and language that is clear and precise in its meaning.

In history, jargon and buzzwords tend to obscure what is going on. Phrases like “collateral damage” are much less graphic, and useful, than phrases like “civilian casualties.” Jargon can make history a difficult task — I’m thinking of some of the documents from the Pentagon during the Vietnam War, just for example.

In a post titled “Buzzword Blingo,” Aphra Behn – Danger of Eclectic Shock has some fun with jargon, and helpfully includes links to several sites that deal with the crippling effects of jargon on learning and plain old conversation.

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