“The Buhler Report” is a conversational blog delivering timeless wisdom and current events in classical education, liberal arts, philosophy, politics, film, and more. Reader comments and emails are much appreciated, whether positive or negative (Note: The comment functionality is currently under construction.) Thanks for reading!

Language, Beauty, and Standardized Tests at the ACCS "Repairing the Ruins" 2017 Conference

06.21.2017 / Classical education

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The Buhler Report was live-blogging the ACCS Repairing the Ruins 2017 Conference June 22-23. “Repairing the Ruins” is the largest national conference for classical Christian education. Sessions cover big ideas and practical details of classical education in our context today. Updates below.

  • Louis Markos, “CS Lewis and the Psychology of Hell”
  • Douglas Wilson, “Three Central Duties”
  • “Telling the Story of the World”
  • Andrew Kern “Memory, Imitation, Harmony”
  • Turley, “Beauty Matters”
  • Robert George, “Constitutional Structures”
  • John Mark Reynolds, “Avoiding the Temptation to Christian Leninism”
  • and more!
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Hamill Doesn't Hate Episode Eight

06.15.2017 / Culture

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Gizmodo reports that Mark Hamill doesn’t actually hate Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.

In May, Hamill expressed his vehement disagreement with the creative decisions of Rian Johnson like this:

I at one point had to say to Rian, ‘I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character.

That sounds pretty bad.

But the full quote isn’t quite so bad:

Now, having said that, I have gotten it off my chest, and my job now is to take what you’ve created and do my best to realize your vision.’

Even so, is Hamill saying he still hates the Episode VIII Luke?

No. In context, Hamill was making a point that he is not the best arbiter of what will actually work in the film.

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Maybe Ghostbusters (2016) Just Wasn't That Good

06.12.2017 / Culture

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Wait, if the Ghostbusters backlash was because America/the World doesn’t want female leads, then why is Wonder Woman 3/5ths of the way to a billion dollars? (And what’s up with Force Awakens and Rogue One?) The sexism narrative doesn’t fit the facts.

What’s a better narrative, then? Here’s a try: Maybe Ghostbusters (2016) was just a semi-funny, artistically safe, politically touchy, slightly subversive reboot of a beloved classic when the fanbase was actually craving long awaited third installment.

Of course, there are other hypotheses that fit the facts. The previous paragraph makes the most sense to me, but for the sake of being thorough, I’ll mention a few others reasons why Rogue One/WW/Episode VII might be succeeding at the box office where GB didn’t:

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Founders Academy (Texas) receives award from Hillsdale College

06.07.2017 / Classical education

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SAT PR News reports that Founders Classical Academy in Leander, Texas will receive $25,000 from Hillsdale College as recognition of its “excellence in teaching.”

Hillsdale gives out the Henry Salvatori Prize for Excellence in Teaching each year to a public or private school that “exemplifies the principles of a classical liberal arts education.”

Founders is a young charter school in Texas. The charter system is booming in places like California (Intellectual Virtues Academy) Texas (Aristoi Academy) and Arizona (Great Hearts Academy) and others. This award goes to show that public support for good teaching in a public context will be recognized and awarded.

If you thought that the classical education movement sweeping America was only in Christian schools, think again. Certainly, this brand of education fits with the heavily Christian population of the U.S., but it can be implemented in public charter schools with all the same amazing results.

Founders Academy, for instance, states that it’s mission is:

… is to train the minds and improve the hearts of young men and women through a rigorous, classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in good character and civic virtue.

This mission is pretty close to what public schools and universities used to strive for in the U.S. from 1600’s-1900’s. How universities and schools voluntarily transformed themselves into the educationally ineffective, boring, bureaucratic machines that many are today is a story for another time. Schools like Founders, however, are bucking the trend. They continue:

We stand against many of the trends that have overtaken American education for the sake of providing something increasingly rare: an education that is good for its own sake. At Founders Classical Academy, we believe that a liberal education in the sciences and the humanities is inherently good—something worth having apart from the many good things that can come from it.

Congratulations to Founders and bravo for executing this mission for the good of its students and the good of society. To learn more, explore their website.

How can we make good use of 4 years in a university?

05.23.2017 / Classical education


Questioner: How can we make good use of 4 years in a university?

Jordan Peterson:

“Read great books! Seriously! You’ve got this four-year period that’s been carved out of your lives… You’ve got a respectable identity and complete freedom, and a complete library full of the writings of people who are intelligent and articulate beyond comprehension, and you can go there and you can learn all this. Well, you learn it to get a job, or to get a degree… nonsense! That’s all nonsense! The reason you come to university to be educated is because there is nothing more powerful than someone who is articulate and who can think and can speak… Authority, and influence and respectability and competence. And so you come to the university to craft your highest skill – articulated speech.

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Why They Keep Re-Making Classic Fairy Tales

05.23.2017 / Culture


You know all those new fairy remakes or satires that keep coming out? From Wicked, to Malevolent, to Shrek, etc. etc?

They all have a unifying premise. Let me break it down it for you:

Classic tale: Once upon a time there was a hero who was good, and a villain who was evil. The hero defeated the villain; good conquered evil.

Remake: It turns out the villain wasn’t really evil, just misunderstood. In fact, the villain was abused by someone else once. The villain is actually a victim, so it makes sense that he or she would act out. As a matter of fact, maybe the non-empathetic “hero” was actually evil for misunderstanding and killing the villain.

The end.

How Will Trump's Saudi Arabia Trip be Spun?

05.22.2017 / Politics

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Listening to Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia, and watching all the pomp and circumstance… It’s all very interesting. First, it makes me glad I’m not a politician. I’m too ADD to sit through all that.

More interesting, though, is trying to imagine how the current President’s political enemies are going to try to spin this. I can’t imagine how yet, but I’m sure it will happen.

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Reflections on Malick's *Knight of Cups*

05.17.2017 / Culture

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The Knight of Cups is, I daresay, a great and beautiful film. Merely watching it challenges me the way that “conversing” with Socrates challenges.

The content is not family friendly, so review the Ted Baehr Movieguide information first. There is far too much nudity and other content, though Malick somehow manages to convey Rick’s depravity and still respect natural human beauty.

The film is a must see for die-hard Malick fans and for Hollywood actors who need this kind of Socratic challenge.

The surest way to hate this film is to compare it to Tree of Life. It’s just not Tree of Life. If one compares them, of course Knight of Cups doesn’t “do” as much for me as even New World – but don’t compare! If you want to watch Tree of Life, go re-watch it. Malick is moving on, moving on; he is not stuck in the past.

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Popular Posts

  • 04.01.2017 – A Recent Chapter on Deification His article clarifies what the notion of “becoming god” amounts to, and explains the various species of deifiction: political deification, deification through beauty, deification as magic, deification as imitation, Christian deification, self-deification, deification through Gnosticism. This is all historically informative and very interesting; the kicker is that he accurately covers our own fashionable form of deification: techno-deification.

  • 02.23.2017 – Reflections on Graduate Student StipendsNow that I am a postdoc scholar at the University of Kentucky (Go ‘Cats!), I am reflecting back on my experience as a Teaching Assistant. One thing that was hard to discover, perhaps understandably, was the expected “stipend” of graduate teaching assistants at other universities I applied to. For what it’s worth, I saved the information about our stipend. My department preferred that it not be public. But count your lucky stars you aren’t as poor as I was in 2012.

  • 12.17.2016 – Glowing Fish AnalogyA: There are no such things as glowing fish. B: But I saw a glowing fish, so they must exist. A: You can’t have one seen one, because they don’t exist. B:…

  • 12.29.2016 – This Classic Text Explains why Classical Education is BestIf you haven’t read the Yale Repot, it is very good. The “Yale Report of 1828” is one of the “most influential documents in the history of American higher education” according to R.J. O’Hara. It is still a pleasure to read, and its influence should not wane.

  • 12.07.2016 – Force Awakens Wasn’t Just a Copy of New HopeIt’s been about a year since Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out. While we wait for Rogue One, it’s a good time to reflect. When Episode VII first came out…

  • 11.09.2016 – Mini Exit Survey – Student Feelings about TrumpI teach 5 classes at two universities in Kentucky. So, after reading a lot about students on campus feeling terrible or unsafe after a Trump election victory…


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