The Twelfth

Guest List

Maggie Haberman: a New York Times journalist recently featured on the NPR radio show Fresh Air. Ms. Haberman has followed Donald Trump since the early 2000s. In her Fresh Air segment, she presents a distinct perspective of his White House, in which Trump is depicted as “a homebody who hates interpersonal conflict.”

Alison MacLeod: an award-winning novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Her new book of short stories, All the Beloved Ghosts, contains a story about three British teenaged Muslim boys planning to save civilians in Syria. In an NPR interview, Ms. MacLeod elaborates on the short story, however, she recently commented on this post to clarify that the title of the NPR article, “Author Alison MacLeod Tries To Find Humor In Terrorism,” misrepresents her work. The story uses humor, not in regards to terrorism, but in regards to the journey of its characters. It is, as Ms. MacLeod states in her comment, “a teenaged love story, and a gentle comedy of errors.”

(The above entry is an edited version of the original which was corrected after HDP received the comment from Ms. MacLeod. We apologize for the error and had no intention of misrepresenting her work. We thank her for bringing this to our attention.)

Dr. Kristina M. Johnson: an academic, business executive, engineer, former Under Secretary of Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, and soon-to-be Chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY), a collection of 64 colleges and universities across New York State, according to a New York Times article. Dr. Johnson will succeed Dr. Nancy L. Zimpher, who was the first female Chancellor of SUNY.

Dr. Ajay Chaudry: a researcher and author who, according to his biography on NYU Wagner’s website, “conducts policy research and analysis on child poverty, child well-being and development, the social safety net, and the early childhood care system for young children.” He is co-author of the book Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality which proposes how to improve the American economy by investing in early childhood development. A recent Huffington Post article provides a brief but insightful synopsis of the book.

Dr. Hirokazu Yoshikawa: a researcher, author, and academic. Dr. Yoshikawa is the Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and a University Professor at New York University. Additionally, he is co-author of the book Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality which proposes how to improve the American economy by investing in early childhood development. A recent Huffington Post article provides a brief but insightful synopsis of the book.

Hugh Hope: a ceramic artist based in Sonoma County, California. His work and distinct technique for painting his ceramic products was recently featured on the INSIDER art Facebook page.

An obvious theme for the dinner party would be education. We surmise that each of the guests would contribute significantly to a conversation revolving about the education system in the United States. It would be of interest to hear the various perspectives on this subject, especially because of the various backgrounds in education. Dr. Johnson, Dr. Chaudry, and Dr. Yoshikawa appear to have the most involvement in understanding and improving education systems, although Dr. Johnson’s focus is in higher education.

Education is an issue well-known in government, as well. Thus, we think Ms. Haberman would comment on where education fits into the Trump platform, if at all, especially considering that the title of Dr. Chaudry and Dr. Yoshikawa’s article is “Want To Make America Great Again? Make Our Kids Globally Competitive.”

But what role would Mr. Hope play? Perhaps he has particular views on how art should be integrated into childhood education or even the value of a college degree in art. Mr. Hope would certainly fulfill a role unlike those of the other guests. Would he shift conversation to focus on his craft? Would we discover that the other guests have artistic abilities?

We suppose Ms. MacLeod would have a number of opportunities to discuss her thoughts.  Perhaps she would connect the conversations to her short stories. Perhaps she would begin to develop the plot for her next short story. Would she interact mostly with one guest? As a writer, and as an observer of people, would she engage in a private discussion with Ms. Haberman? Would they discuss their perspectives on jihad in the media?

The dominant theme in relation to these guests is education. Frankly, education is relevant among nearly any group of people. Therefore, as we proceed into the week, our HDP theme is education.

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2 Replies to “The Twelfth”

  1. You might revoke my dinner invitation – I’ll have to go hypothetically hungry – but there’s no humour in terror for me, or for any sane person. Someone at NPR spun that absurd headline as clickbait. The story, ‘In Praise of Radical Fish’ uses humour to explore the confusions of three British teenaged Muslim boys as they struggle to find a moral compass in our age of uncertainties. They’re planning to save civilians in Syria, not set off bombs – not that you’d know that from the NPR headline. But they’re confused and they don’t get any further than Brighton, a seaside resort. Ultimately it’s about those human qualities – our ability to love and to feel a sense of wonder – that stand between us and the spell of distorted ideologies. It’s a teenaged love story, and a gentle comedy of errors. I was surprised, and not a little sickened, that NPR would resort to so crass a headline. But even if that is what caught your attention, I’ll still show up on time for dinner with an imaginatively fine bottle of wine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Ms. MacLeod,

      Thank you for commenting. I’m glad you brought this to my attention. I shall revise the post to reflect the information contained in your comment and I apologize for the miscommunication. The title for the article did not seem to correspond to the content of the article and I will make that distinction in the post. Apologies again.

      Hannah Vuozzo
      HDP Team


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