Tag Archives: howard stein

Why, Howard?

Teacher, mentor, friend, and philosopher Howard Stein died two years ago today at the age of 90 — and I still miss him every day — and yet his death strangely seems so far in the past as to be unrecognizable. Because of all the surgical procedures he had at the end of his life, Howard would often refer to himself as the “Frankenstein Monster” held together with stitches and sealing wax.

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Curse of Old Men: More Creepy than Funny

Unlike women, as men age, there’s a tendency to stigmatize our awful attempts at humor by branding us “creepy” or “perverted” or “just gross.”  Plant an unfunny line on a 20-year-old guy and a teenaged woman might giggle, while the same line said by a guy over 60, to the same young teen, begets the world breaking apart as the whole tone and timbre of the conversation changes to a perceived perversion.

Why is that?

Is there always some sort of unspoken sexual underpinning to every male-to-female interaction that cannot be denied or generationally negotiated?  Why doesn’t the curse cut the opposite way against older women who are labeled creepy and perverted in the same condition?

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SoundCloud Reruns Howard Stein in Collaboration

Technology is amazing when it can bring back the best of the past and press it forward with new life into the future.  Now that SoundCloud is here — and is a reliable and robust service — I have finally been able to bring together a series of 12 voicemails Dr. Howard Stein left for me in 2011 — he died a year later at 90 — and, with his expressed permission then, as now, I am able to share them with you to help create an arc of a man and his mind in collaboration.

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The Most Intelligent Alternative: In Defense of the Public Good

[Publisher’s Note: Boles Blogs author Howard Stein died on October 14, 2012 at 90 years of age.  In an ongoing effort to preserve his legacy and memory, David Boles is sharing articles and preserving other works from his private Prairie Voice archive. The following article was likely written by Dr. Stein in the early 1980′s — and his point still rings true, and still bites us with a bitter hardness of the flat truth — three decades later.]

Public education in the minds of the parents, schoolboards, teachers, and local politicians seems to have as its purpose either the preparing of the young for higher education (preferably private education), or the preparing of the young for a variety of jobs and trades.

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Tripping Over Times Square

Last night, Janna and I were rushing home after teaching in New York City, and in the middle of Times Square, I had a moment I hope I never get to repeat.  I tripped — over my own two feet, or the curb, or a break in the sidewalk — and instantly fell long and hard on the sidewalk.  I was stunned for a moment and didn’t quite know where I was.  Janna was behind me somewhere and I remember one woman bending down to ask me if I was okay.

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Howard Stein Rents a Revenge

As a graduate student at Columbia University, I recall one particularly challenging playwriting assignment from mentor, and teacher, Dr. Howard Stein: “Rent a Revenge.”

“Rent a Revenge” was one of the last, and most challenging, things for us to write because Howard would only give us the title of the assignment.  You had to figure out the rest on your own.  Many students would get stuck and whine and complain, but Howard would not budge with additional direction.  Ask him any question about the assignment, and all he would do is yell back at you, “Rent a Revenge.”

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