Check out the nice promotional video that the local public television station made in Little Rock (UALR TV) for the recording of my talk at the Clinton School, which they aired. They added music and edited bits down into some representative moments. How cool? The music is great.

Paperback editions featuring the cover of 'Uniting Mississippi.'Of course the funny thing about sound bites is in examples in which an idea or a contrast is cut in half — when you explain what’s “on the one hand,” and then we don’t hear what’s “on the other hand.” I don’t think the edit misrepresented what I was talking about, fortunately. The promo still got to the heart of what I’m up to in Uniting Mississippi.

I’m learning the importance of planning a few key short statements of my points, which get called “soundbites.” That’s not foolish or superficial to think about, however. Plato’s Socrates often had long definitions of concepts, which he then boiled down into more succinct restatements. I see that. I also make an effort of that kind for my definition of good democratic leadership in the oh-so-cleverly titled Democracy and Leadership.

Anyway, check out this short, 1 min+ promo video. I’m new to this, so it’s still cool and exciting to me. The video of my full talk is here. Soon I’ll also have the audio from my local Little Rock NPR interview. Coming Soon…

If you want to know what a symbol means, you can learn a lot from who fights for it.

Secessionists defending the Mississippi state flag.Students today called for taking down the Mississippi state flag from the center of campus at the University of Mississippi. In counter-protest, members of the League of the South came to defend the flag, with the emblem of the Confederate Battle Flag in its canton. The League of the South has been labelled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Six of the protesters also wore shirts with the logo of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

The silver lining of this protest is the fact that members of the campus community can see what is at stake and what priorities most strongly motivate defenders of the flag.

The saddest part to me today was the presence of their young children.

Orson Welles

Orson Welles circa 1975.

Update: I had to link to another video on YouTube. The good news is that this one is captioned properly.

Philosopher Vince Evans today shared with me (and others on FB) this great video illustration of Plato’s allegory of the cave. It’s from 1973 and was narrated by Orson Welles, which is already very cool. It was illustrated with artwork by Dick Oden, according to the description posted on YouTube. If you’ve got 8 minutes, check it out.

This is perhaps the most influential allegory in the history of philosophy. You can read the original text of the allegory on the Internet Classics Archive. Book VII of the Republic opens with the allegory.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., waving to a crowd.My Philosophy of Leadership course at the University of Mississippi focuses extensively on Plato’s Republic for the first third of the class. Plato had a great deal to say about the virtues of the soul, of the city, and of the kinds of people that his Socrates believed we need if we are to have a just society. For those who think that Plato is not the right thinker to inspire leaders in a democratic society, I suggest you read the interview that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave, in which he said that, not counting Scripture, his “desert island book” would be the Republic.

In August of 2013, I participated in an interview with Swedish National TV News service, SVT Nyheter, on the subject of corporal punishment in Mississippi schools. If you click on the video here above, you’ll see their piece from the start. You can also jump to my interview, 2 min’s in (the rest of the piece is in Swedish). SVT’s news article is online in Swedish here. I’ve made an imperfect Google Translate version in English, which you can open as a PDF file here.

 

Photo of Admiral Ackbar (from Star Wars) in a blue and red campaign image, featuring the words "Ole Miss."Extended version of ESPN’s 2010 Ole Miss Star Wars commercial

I’m finally getting around to posting videos that I’ve done or been in. This one is mainly cute, not a contribution to public philosophy…

It was fun to do. I come in around 3 minutes in, for the extended version of the ad, but my soundbite didn’t make the shorter version that aired on TV.

This commercial was of interest to ESPN, as they were covering the issue of sports fandom. At the University of Mississippi, we had not had a mascot for years, since the prior one was removed from the field, given his allusion to the plantation-owning Colonel in the Rebel army.

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The logo of the Philosophy Born of Struggle association.Presentation “On Culture and Self-Respect”

2013 Philosophy Born of Struggle conference, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

This is the video of a short talk I gave at the 2013 Philosophy Born of Struggle conference at Purdue University in West LaFayette, IN. The talk is called “On Culture and Self-Respect,” and it represents an early stage in the development of my book in progress, called A Culture of Justice. I got some invaluable feedback at that conference that has helped to sharpen my thesis for this paper and for the book.

If you’re interested in having me come speak with your group, visit my Speaking page.

Receiving the 2012 Thomas F. Frist Student Service Award

Copyright 2012, Kaylen Addison, who caught the moment when I was handed the award.

Photo of the plaque that I received from the university for the award.It was an honor to have been chosen for the 2012 Thomas F. Frist Student Service Award at the University of Mississippi. PPL graduate Kaylen Addison snapped this great photo of the moment when I was up at the podium to receive the award.

The next pic is the plaque, featuring the university’s colors.

I also got a photo with then-Chancellor Dan Jones, who has been highly encouraging and supportive. In fact, he wrote one of the endorsements for Uniting Mississippi.

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Believe it or not, I follow the advice in this video every day. It’s brilliantly simple. It’s also serious. If each of us were really to make a little effort of this kind, the impact would be enormous. It saves on paper use, which cuts down on costs, and it slows the growth of landfills, one hand-washing at a time.