That’s a Wrap

The blog will close for the summer at 4:00 tomorrow. Seniors, you may use the space below to share final words of wisdom with your juniors. Juniors, you now have the opportunity to make predictions for next year.

Posted in MSMS Stuff | 4 Comments

Learning Inside the Classroom and Out

Over 800 college students from around the country have been arrested during protests of the conflict between Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, and Israel. How should universities balance the right to free speech with the institutional need to avoid interruptions to instructional time? What out-of-class, on campus opportunities for debate best serve educational needs?

Posted in Education | 8 Comments

Looking to 2026

This weekend we will greet members of MSMS’ Class of 2026 during New Student Orientation. Help them out! What constructive advice would you give them regarding classes to take? Extra-curricular opportunities they shouldn’t miss? Choosing a roommate?

Posted in Education, MSMS Stuff | 20 Comments


I’ve been swamped lately, and one of your peers, Naomi Simpson, has offered to help construct blogs that can stimulate productive argument. Kudos to Naomi! Here’s her first proffering:

On March 13th, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill to ban TikTok. While the concept of the app getting banned may seem like old news (since it’s been in contention in many different forms for nearly 2 years now), there’s something about the bill itself that’s very different. HR 231’s alleged primary application is to ban TikTok, but the bill itself bans the use all foreign-owned applications, or any app not owned by an American or American company. This raises two questions: should TikTok be banned? and are foreign-owned apps a threat to national security?

Posted in National Politics, Pop Culture, Social Media | 20 Comments

Lies, Damned Lies, and Social Media

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding whether or not social media platforms have the right to moderate content. First Amendment purists seem to believe that such platforms have become the equivalent to a 19th Century town square; therefore, this line of reasoning goes, “moderation” is actually censorship.

Yet the First Amendment does not prevent forums from refusing to broadcast lies. If I purchased ad time from a local station to claim that the governor is really an alien from a distant planet, the station would not be obligated to run the ad because it’s an obvious (and probably slanderous) untruth. Platform monitors could also remove it–particularly if they believed it contained misinformation that could swing an election.

Therein lies the rub: in a world where everyone with an email account can throw words into a post, who decides what is factual, what is not, and what is an obvious lie meant for entertainment? Lines between information, editorializing, satire, and entertainment get ever more blurred on social media. What should result in a post being taken down?

Posted in Politics, Social Media, Uncategorized | 12 Comments

At Long Last, the Blog is Back…

…and we have plenty to talk about. The easiest item to discuss involves Mississippi SB 2715, which would authorize the move of MSMS to MSU and give MDE power to have MSMS “collaborate” with the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District “as needed.”

The bill might die in committee before y’all have time to consider it. I have no official opinion on the bill. Regarding SB 2715, I’m as neutral as Switzerland. What matters to me is that the state decides to invest more in MSMS.

Posted in Education, MSMS Stuff | 13 Comments

Focus on Focusing

Like most poets, Robert Hass advises us to be wary of the “steady thoughtlessness / of human use.” For Hass, this admonition turns into praise for those who cook beloved, time-consuming recipies, or leave thoughtful notes of thanks to the often overlooked, or put their batteries in recycling bins instead of the trash can.

Such small acts of thoughtfulness require us to pay attention to the physical world around us–and that’s precisely what the Strother School of Radical Attention wants its pupils to do. Their argument, as they present it in this morning’s New York Times, is that we are in the beginning of an era that will require “focus” as a subject that’s just as as reading, writing, or arithmetic. By the time kids get to school, their logic goes, they’ve had thousands more interactions with screens than with physically present humans, and the companies who put content on those screens have a vested interest in distracting viewers from all the other content providers who want our eyes and minds and wallets. The result of such wild, free-market competition: attention spans in young people that don’t often get beyond 47 seconds.

It’s tough to get through any curriculum with an attention span of that range. It’s even harder to have an informed electorate, or a core of citizens who care enough to think critically about the long-term effects of the actions they pursue–or drivers who can go a city block without checking social media.

I’ve long believed that the most radical thing a person can do is to lead a sub-digital life. I don’t know that I can go that far myself. After all, some of you will read this (ahem) important post on your smart phones. But at the very least we must rethink our relationship to electronic devices, as well as the access to them that we allow young people to have. Where should such reconsiderations begin?

Posted in Education, Ethics | 10 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving

MSMS faculty do their best not to weigh students down with heavy assignments over Thanksgiving break. Just so I know you’re still using your critical faculties, let me know something about the art you see while you’re away from campus. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a book, a movie, or a well put together Thanksgiving Day table, tell me about it: give me images, offer context, give insight into its importance.

Travel safely!

Posted in Arts | 11 Comments

And the Winner Was/Will Be?

Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley and Gov. Tate Reeves squared off in a debate last night. I know most of you aren’t yet old enough to vote, but I encourage you to watch it. Who won the debate? Which candidate will win next Tuesday?

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

My Tank is Empty Blog

It has been two weeks since I last posted. Several of you have asked for new opportunities to blog, but I’m drawing blanks. I have no idea what y’all are willing to argue about right now. Leave me some ideas–ideas with substance, please. Dogs vs. Cats and Lana vs. Taylor are great for the cafeteria, but not here.

Posted in MSMS Stuff | 10 Comments