Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Here’s Your Homework . . .

I’m in a particularly experimental mood today.

I was just looking over the articles that I’ll be using for this post when (I’ll blame it on my Muse) an idea hit me.


It seems a journalist, Kathryn Schulz, wrote an article in The New Yorker that criticizes another journalist, Henry David Thoreau.

The article is called Pond Scum ~ Henry David Thoreau’s moral myopia.

I began to read that article and decided I couldn’t give a judgement of it (though, I was sure it needed some form of judgement…).


Fully realizing that my faith in my readers often exceeds my readers’ willingness to take action, I thought I’d ask you to go read Kathryn’s article and give an opinion of it in the Comments.

But, to help you with your homework, I’ll share links to two articles that show some of the possible effects of Kathryn’s article on others:

If you want extra credit for this assignment, explain what Kathryn might have done right in her criticism of Thoreau; and, for mega-extra credit, explain what the two other articles might have done wrong.

Just think of this as an opportunity to find the Middle Way for Writers…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com


2 responses to “Here’s Your Homework . . .

  1. philipparees October 29, 2015 at 8:30 am

    As one who has never read Walden I came at all three articles without thoughts of my own. The emphatic and inordinate length of Kathryn Schulz’s piece made Thoreau sound as obnoxious, narrow, hypocritical, rigid, and doctrinaire as possible but as one of the other articles presciently observed she offered rather similar attributes in her remedies. It is a great truism that we hate in others the sins of which we are also guilty, and the repetitious length of her demolition did suggest an ungoverned deep dislike.

    It is easy to find leverage to destroy the heralded. Whether he returned home for twice weekly ‘cookies’ does not, in itself, undermine a writer’s expansion, or imaginative reconstruction of solitude. What it does is undermine the rustic woodsman image of Thoreau in the collective psyche. Perhaps that was what she wanted to gun down? The better to replace him with Walt Whitman? Journalists are supposed to pretend an objectivity, which never exists. Writers need not be so constrained.


    • Alexander M Zoltai October 29, 2015 at 11:22 am

      Once again, Philippa, you dazzle with your discerning comments

      Especially appreciated are:

      “It is easy to find leverage to destroy the heralded.”


      “Journalists are supposed to pretend an objectivity, which never exists. Writers need not be so constrained.”

      Though, I would also hope that journalists could do more than pretend their objectivity

      Liked by 1 person

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