April 28, 2011 archive

Three Cups of a Flawed Hero: The Limits of Greg Mortenson’s Model of Change

It’s tempting to expect perfection from those we admire, but we romanticize lone heroes at our peril. A few years before one-time supporter Jon Krakauer challenged the truthfulness of Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea, a professor asked me my thoughts on using the book as a reading for first-year students, to encourage them to become more engaged with global issues. I hesitated. Mortenson was doing valuable work, I said.  The book was a great read. I admired his creativity and courage, and the leap of faith he took to begin building his schools without the slightest guarantee of success. I admired how he persisted through seemingly endless obstacles to sow seeds of hope. His approach seemed a powerful rebuke to Bush administration assumptions that if the U.S. just bombed enough of the bad guys, the region’s problems would disappear. Mortenson also appeared to respect local Pakistani and Afghan culture in a way that seemed to offer key lessons for America’s broader relationship with the world.

What Happens When You Tickle a Baby Penguin?

No political significance! It is what it is!

My Little Town 20110427: Perilee and Sarge Wilson

Those of you that read this irregular regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile of so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a redneck sort of place, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

I never write about living people except with their express permission, but since these folks are long gone, they are fair game.  They were actually very nice folks, but had some huge quirks, as most folks in my little town did.

Perilee and Sarge were just a little older than my parents.  Sarge (to this day, I never knew his real first name) had been in the Army during World War II. thus the name.  As far as I know they were both native of the area.

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