Writings by Our Professors

The King's Speech by Michael Palmer

Nota Bene is Latin for “note well.” It’s used to signify things that are noteworthy and important, and NB is the abbreviation. The film and true story, The King’s Speech, is one of those important things. The Annual Academy Awards don’t always get it right, but they did this past year. They recognized its NB factor and awarded the Oscar for best film to The King’s Speech.  More »

William Jennings Bryan: The Journalist by John Carpenter

William Jennnings Bryan, "The Great Commoner,' "The Silver-tongued Orator," three-time Democratic Party presidential candidate, is known primarily as a populist politician and apologist for Fundamentalism. He is far less well known as a journalist, although he spent more than two decades editing newspapers. More »

From Snark to Chasing the Flame by Michael Palmer

Snark and palaver are two words which almost sound like what they mean. Snark is biting wit, snapping back with snide and disparaging remarks. Palaver refers to idle, profuse, and pointless chatter. The concern is that too much of our politics, our relationships, and even our comedy are too densely populated with both. There is a fine line between a clever and light use of language and damage.  More »

Bryan the Communicator by Randy Hollingsworth

My first remembrance of hearing about William Jennings Bryan was during my senior year at Florida State University, sitting in the late Dr. Gregg Phifer's "Rhetoric of the Old South" Class.  This elderly communication professor, whose enthusiasm for telling stories radiated through his animated delivery and broad smile, opened his lecture that day with "Ahh...the Great Commoner, William Jennings Bryan and the celebrated Monkey Trial in little Dayton, Tennessee."  More »

INVICTUS….Carpe Diem on Steroids…(or)…A Cocktail of Timely Ideas… by Michael Palmer

On the surface, the film, Invictus, is stirring entertainment and a history lesson about a remarkable convergence of sport and statesmanship.  But, it is even more about the power of symbols and emotion to galvanize a force for change.  It is still more about the power of ideas to shape the direction of that force.   More »