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In 1882 Oscar Wilde came to America and totally had sex with Walt Whitman

Fantastic. Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman Probably Had Sex Once
When Oscar Wilde sees an opportunity to have sex with Walt Whitman, he does not hesitate. He goes. Oscar was suitably humble in the presence of Whitman, greeting him with the words, ‘I have come to you as one with whom I have been acquainted almost from the cradle.’ The contrast between the two poets could not have been more marked. Oscar was young, tall, slender and clean shaven. Whitman was in his early sixties, but looked much older. He was shorter than Oscar and wore a long, bushy white beard. Oscar was highly educated, cultivated and still in his languid Aesthetic phase. Whitman was self-taught, and robustly masculine in manner. Could his meaning be more clear? “Hello, Daddy,” says the young dandy as he lightly crosses the threshold. Stoddart tactfully left the two poets alone. ‘If you are willing – will excuse me – I will go off for an hour or so – come back again – leaving you together,’ he said. ‘We would be glad to have you stay,’ Whitman replied. ‘But do not feel to come back in an hour. Don’t come for two or three.’ Whitman opened a bottle of elderberry wine and he and Oscar drank it all before Whitman suggested they go upstairs to his ‘den’ on the third floor where, he told Oscar, ‘We could be on ‘thee and thou’ terms.’ . . . This is a gift. You do realize that, don’t you? History has reached out to you specifically and given you a gift. The gift is the knowledge that Oscar Wilde once put his hand on Walt Whitman’s knee and then they drank elderberry wine together; the gift is that the next day a reporter turned up and Whitman expounded at length on his big, splendid boy. Let this sink in a moment. This is like finding out Emily Dickinson once secretly stowed away on a ship bound for England and spent a weekend with Jane Austen at a bed and breakfast, doing it. This is like finding out Ernest Hemingway finally let his guard down one night in Spain and let F. Scott Fitzgerald lean across the table and kiss him. This is like finding out Gwendolyn Brooks lost her virginity to Willa Cather. The night is long, and the night is full of terrors, but Walt Whitman once drank wine with Oscar Wilde in his third-story den, where they talked of love. . . . We have the smoking gun. It is loaded, and it is in Oscar’s hands. Oscar told Ives that there was ‘no doubt’ about Whitman’s sexual tastes. ‘I have the kiss of Walt Whitman still on my lips,’ he boasted. If you have a book in front of you, feel free to close it dreamily. If all you have is this particular website before you, try hitting refresh and sighing romantically; the effect is largely the same. If you would like to argue that Oscar Wilde was occasionally given to exaggeration and sexual braggadocio and coy boasts to a friend might not be the most reliable source, kindly hush up and go away.

September 18, 2013

Diane Ravitch's "Reign of Error" is an antidote to the education "reform" movement

Diane Ravitch’s new book, Reign of Error, takes reformers to task -- Education Votes
The book is divided into two parts: the first is a point-by-point takedown of the mythology of reforminess. No, America’s students aren’t falling behind; the data actually shows they are making slow, steady progress. No, our schools don’t suck compared to the rest of the world, and education is not a “national security crisis.” No, merit pay has never worked. No, unions and tenure and seniority and local school boards aren’t the problem. No, charters don’t get better results; in fact, cyber-charters are an unmitigated disaster. No, closing schools doesn’t improve education; as Ravitch says, “Schools don’t improve if they are closed.” Ravitch devotes a chapter to each of the two biggest icons of corporate reform: Michelle Rhee and Teach For America (TFA). Ravitch holds Rhee, the former Chancellor of Washington, D.C.’s schools, to account for her record as an educator, and it ain’t pretty. The sad truth is that Rhee, contrary to her self-promotions, didn’t close the “achievement gap.” Academic gains under her leadership were unremarkable, and a cheating scandal continues to dog her legacy to this day. Ravitch is somewhat kinder to TFA, if only because she won’t question the intentions of the “bright young people” who enter the program. But her examination makes clear that TFA is hardly the panacea it markets itself to be. The second half of Reign Of Error is a response to the corporate reformers who insist that critics of their agenda must offer counter proposals of their own. Ravitch offers eleven solutions for real education reform. To be honest, nearly everything here is to be expected: better prenatal care, a balanced and rich curriculum, end the privatization of schools, use tests wisely…