"Read All About It"

January 20, 2011 //

By John Esterle

January 20, 2011

Following up on yesterday’s post about the blog being a place where the TWI community can share what we’re reading, here are three articles I received this week that folks wanted to share:

From Ellen Schneider of Active Voice comes a New York times article on a U.S. State Deparment project, the American Documentary Showcase, that conducts “documentary diplomacy.” Welcome to Shelbyville, which AV co-produced, is prominently mentioned.

Mark Gerzon of Mediators Foundation forwards a Christian Science Monitor article on the Arizona shooting and the movement to promote broader civility in our political and public discourse. Mark and Laura Chasin, founder of the Public Conversations Project, are among those quoted.

Denise Caruso of the Hybrid Vigor Network sends along a Sacramento Bee article highlighting a new research report that shows large numbers of college students are graduating without the ability to think critically. She diplomatically refrains from saying this is hardly surprising news. She does, however, send her greetings from Pittsburgh to the TWI community along with New Year’s greetings!

Anyway, hope you find these all of interest. I did!


  1. Edd Conboy on January 26, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I wonder what the impact of the "religious vs secular" subtext is to this conversation about civility. I realize punctuating and marking the beginning of any of these long-standing tensions can be difficult, but to some extent I sense that this growing rancor seems to stem from the ban on prayer in the public schools in the ‘60s. After that, there seemed to be a steady stream of injections of religious dogma into conversations in the public square, as well as a hyper-secularization at the other extreme.
    As a non-believer, do I really care if nativity scenes are displayed on public property? Not really. Could these be occasions for all of us to have civil conversations about how to be more inclusive and sensitive to the experiences of disenfranchised and minority voices without cascading into mind-numbing political correctness? I believe so.
    More reasons why the voices of Ellen, Mark, Denise and other members of the TWI community need to be heard now more than ever.

  2. The Whitman Institute on January 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks, Edd. I think there are a lot of subtexts to this conversation about civility (or lack thereof) — and I many of them are rooted in what transpired in the 60s. And as you point out, how to reframe conversations so that we can actually dialogue with one another is paramount question right now.

    Thanks again commenting. That "0" was looking awfully lonely out there.