When I was a child my mother told me that it was very easy to look up and see all of the people who were doing better than us but that it was important to look down, so to speak, and to see the people who were worse off. When we make our way through this often harsh and does not let us settle for just trying our best we sometimes do well to find role models — people who have managed to accomplish what we hope to one day accomplish and emulate them or find hope for ourselves. If that person could make it, I can make it as well.

Dick Clark died yesterday, and the news of his passing is covered in the disingenuous and condescending lede — “Oldest Living Teenager is Dead at 82 from a Heart Attack” — and I just stand there and why why the lamestream media have to live up to their cloying, and earned, nickname every single day.

On January 2, 2006, I wrote about Dick Clark in Urban SemioticDick Clark Human Speech — and his amazing comeback from a stroke that adversely affected his speech:

We’re imperfect and sometimes human speech is breezy and sometimes you have to struggle to understand what is being spoken. There is no doubt, however, that Dick Clark was brave and daring to make such a bold return to television — brave and daring and bold are also hallmarks of Clark’s career — and the lesson many of us now know is if Dick Clark can risk his legacy, reputation and quality-of-life to show us just how devastating a stroke can be to a personality, a family and a man, then we’re all better off for having him triumphantly return to network television to stare down Death with us live on the air.

Garry Davis is 89-years-old and he’s a Man of the Universe and a Word Citizen.  Garry was born the privileged child of world-famous big band orchestra leader Meyer Davis, he trained as a student of drama at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) and that intrinsic familial wealth and fame — along with the cherished opportunity for excellent education  — allowed Garry to live a life of the mind.  Garry’s biggest claim to fame — or insanity — is the notion that we are all citizens of the world, and not tethered to nations, and to prove that point, he created the Word Passport in order to test his belief.

Tami Wisniewski wrote this article.

Literature serves as a catalyst for thought. Implicit in the idea of reading is the notion of action. This action can be accomplished on two levels: the “private” or personal interpretation of the literature, and its “public” or communal meaning. While these two levels of interpretations may not always be in conflict, the messages conveyed may not be inherently similar either. Private interpretation allows the reader to identify with the content of the literature, and consequently make personal judgments. These personal judgments however, can sometimes neglect to reflect on the public interpretation; essentially what greater good is served by the literature. However, the greater public good can be questionable. In essence, this greater public good may be an excuse that explains away the perversity of a particular topic expressed in the literature. The question must be posited: do we learn from the mistakes presented through the greater public good, or do we merely re-form the problem within another context?