If I include the time I spent as a graduate student teaching fellow, I taught for 54 years. During all of that time I would meet my students face-to-face, get to know them as best I could, lecture to them, respond to their questions and comments, meet them during office hours, and in general interact with them in a way that people did, at least in those days. I had the same relationship with my colleagues at the various institutions where I taught. When I retired 12 ½ years ago I waited a bit and then started this blog as a way to continue my lifetime of teaching and discussing.
The blog has been great fun but in one important respect I have found it unsatisfying. I cannot really consider blogging a form of conversation because I never see the people with whom I am talking and all too often I have no way of knowing the identity of the people who comment on the blog, even those who comment almost daily. I find this very strange, I confess, but more than that deeply troubling. Blogging is in this way more unnatural than emailing or even engaging in that most recent of modes of communication, zooming.
So I have a request to make of all of you who comment on the blog. I would like you please to identify yourselves by your real names when you post comments – not by initials, like “LFC” or by what I assume is a nom de plume, “Marcel Proust,” but by your actual names. This is not the same thing as the two of us being in the same room talking to one another but it is a step in that direction. Some of you do this of course. S. Wallerstein and David Palmeter and Chris Mulvaney and Warren Goldfarb, for example.
I gather, though I do not understand such things, that in some cases Google does not permit you to put your name on the comment but you can always add it to the end of a comment.
Some of you may be hesitant to put your name to politically charged comments which can then follow you for a lifetime in the cloud. As someone who achieved life tenure at the age of 30, I am in no position to be critical of such hesitancy. But I really would prefer whenever possible to know with whom I am talking.