LIBERTY BELL DEBATE TYPIFIES MISPERCEPTIONS OF U.S. HISTORY -- Recently announced plans to displace the Liberty Bell--an ageless symbol of America's freedom and the bedrock of Philadelphia's cradle of history--to shore up security and modernize Independence Mall have touched off a passionate plea to use the monument's relocation as an opportunity to remember the onetime slave quarters that stood adjacent to the Liberty Bell's new home. The controversy epitomizes existing cultural and educational tendencies to gloss over the uglier aspects of American history, and the Temple University community will contemplate the societal damage of such an affront when renowned author James Loewen visits campus Tuesday, Sept. 23, to discuss his book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. The book was required summer reading for Temple's 3,700 freshmen, who learned history Loewen-style, replete with the unsightly tidbits of American history that are often blotted out of high school texts. During Tuesday's visit, Loewen will square off against Temple history and social studies professors and local teachers in a debate and join students on a tour of Independence National Historical Park, a site he rebuked as racially insensitive in his 2000 book, Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong.
DO ENDORSEMENTS TRANSLATE INTO ADVANTAGE? -- As the race for Philadelphia's mayoral office heats up, so does the race to rack up endorsements--not just from newspapers, but from powerful unions, local community groups, religious organizations and even other elected officials. "What I find interesting about political endorsements are not the actual endorsements, but the use of the endorsements in the subsequent political advertising," says Patricia Bradley, chair of the Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising department at Temple's School of Communications and Theater. "A Philadelphia Inquirer endorsement, for example, may not sway a voter one way or the other. But, when you embed the endorsement within the context of a television ad, for example, it looms larger and more important than it ever was." The power of newspaper endorsements, says Bradley, is not in the influence it has on people in its original publication, but in how the endorsement is enlarged by advertising. "Unfortunately, this means that a strong endorsement for a candidate without much money most likely won't reach the larger audience beyond the newspaper unless the candidate can afford the advertising to promote the endorsement. So, in the end endorsements just seem to advantage those candidates already in a strong position."
IT'S A GAMBLE -- Students in Allen Hornblum's Urban Studies 55 class will have ringside seats at a debate that's certain to bring a hot urban issue--legalized gambling--into sharp focus. Debating the good, the bad and the ugly implications of bringing slots and casinos to Pennsylvania, and to Philadelphia, as an engine of economic revitalization will be State Sen. Robert Rovner and author and former businessman Bill Kearney, whose thinly veiled work of fiction, Comped, tells of the rollercoaster ride and slide of a high roller who lost it all (business, home, wife) when he got hooked on gambling. "I like to bring issues to life in my classes," Hornblum says. "Will gambling bring jobs, conventioneers and a certain pizzazz to the city? Or is it a weapon of destruction, of homes and families and the poor?" Hornblum's students will hear both sides of the chip (er, coin) Thursday morning, Sept. 25, in Lecture Hall #21 in Gladfelter Hall.