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‘Who is Scott Free?’ A search for meaning after Trump’s misuse of a medieval idiom.

From the moment he tweeted “covfefe” in the middle of the night, President Trump has been perplexing his millions of Twitter followers with cryptic messages ranging from vague threats to North Korea to his retweets of Islamophobic videos without any comment.

But on Monday, a curious person by the name of Scott Free caught the Internet’s attention.

The unfamiliar proper noun appeared in Trump’s remarkable tweetstorm Monday, in which he wished a long prison sentence on his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and insisted longtime adviser Roger Stone would not testify against him, leading some to question whether the statements amounted to witness tampering.

Paul Brians.

People have been assigning wrong origins or spellings to the age-old idiom for years, according to the 2008 book “Common Errors in English Usage” by Paul Brians, a retired English professor at Washington State University.

People might think the term has something to do with Scottish people (or an unfortunate “Scott”) or that it is “scotch-free,” somehow related to whisky. Others, Brians noted, have erroneously believed “scot-free” alludes to Dred Scott, the slave who sued for his freedom only to lose in an 1857 Supreme Court case.

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Washington Post

Professor writes book on success, wins award

Dissects writings by Baldwin, Morrison on black male protagonists

A WSU professor’s new book exploring the successes of black males in literature recently won the 2018 Award for Creative Scholarship, announced at the College Language Association (CLA) annual convention banquet.

Aaron Oforlea.

Aaron Oforlea, associate professor at WSU, published his book, “James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and the Rhetorics of Black Male Subjectivity,” in 2017.

The book is a dissection of multiple writings by prominent black authors James Baldwin and Toni Morrison, he said.

In his writing, he explored how the two writers conceptualized the challenges their black male characters navigated throughout their books, Oforlea said.

“I wanted to know, intellectual curiosity, I guess, what helps us be successful,” he said. “How black men, specifically how these fictional characters, are imagined to be successful by these authors.”

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Daily Evergreen

CAS faculty receive Office of Research awards

The WSU Office of Research presented awards to eight faculty members, including three in the College of Arts and Sciences, for their outstanding achievements in research, as part of opening ceremonies for WSU Research Week.

Kimberly Christen.
Kim Christen

The Creative Activity, Research and Scholarship Award went to Kim Christen, professor in the Department of English, director of the Digital Technology and Culture Program, director of the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation, and director of Digital Initiatives for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Christen has generated more than $4 million in external funding, including WSU’s first institutional grant from the Mellon Foundation. She has leveraged this support to create and sustain interdisciplinary projects and workspaces, most prominently establishing with WSU Libraries the new Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation.

She directs several digital humanities projects, including the Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal, a collaboratively curated site of Plateau cultural materials; Mukurtu CMS, a free and open source content management system and community digital archive aimed at the unique needs of indigenous communities; and the Sustainable Heritage Network, an online community of people dedicated to making the preservation and digitization of cultural heritage materials sustainable, simple, and secure.

Tammy Barry.
Tammy Barry

An Exceptional Service to the Office of Research Award went to Tammy Barry, professor in the Department of Psychology. Barry co-chairs the Research and Arts Committee & the Centers, Institutes, or Laboratories task force, and provides outstanding support for the many Office of Research initiatives.

Peter Reilly.
Peter Reilly

The awards included a prize for submitting the best idea to the National Science Foundation’s 2026 Idea Machine, a competition to help set the U.S. agenda for fundamental research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and STEM education. The winner of this award is Peter Reilly, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, for his idea “Ultra-High Mass Spectrometry: The Next Frontier.”

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WSU Insider

Why the Scrapping of Section 377 Is Relevant to These Indians on America’s West Coast

On September 6, the Supreme Court of India scrapped Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, effectively decriminalising homosexuality in a judgement that quoted the gay pride anthem “I am what I am.”

Queer South Asians growing up in the United States have long had to suffer from the narrative about homosexuality being an American idea; that their queerness is a result of living in the West. While the scrapping of Section 377 has no legal impact on the South Asian diaspora in the US, some believe the striking down of this colonial norm helps queer Indians abroad convince their families that being gay is not a Western idea, since this is something that many parents seem to believe.

Nishant Shahani.
Nishant Shahani

Nishant Shahani, professor in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Washington State University in Pullman and author of Queer Retrosexualities: The Politics of Reparative Return, credits the recent Supreme Court of India judgment for bringing LGBTQIA+ issues into public discourse, facilitating discussions on heterosexuality not being the default setting. “When I left India in 1999 for a master’s in the US, there wasn’t any public discussion on homosexuality,” he says.

“Queer South Asians in the US have to navigate both homophobia and certain structures of racism,” says Shahani, adding that queer Indians in the West are not spared from preconceived notions of India being a land of Bollywood and snake-charmers.

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The Wire

A lifelong passion no longer a fantasy

WSU student published first book this summer

David Alexander Jones started writing the early versions of his book series, “The Memoirs of Elikai,” when he was 8 years old.

“When I was younger, I was obsessed with fantasy, like ‘Sailor Moon,’ ‘Power Rangers,’ ‘Dragon Ball Z,’ and I always wanted to create my own story,” he said. “I wanted to be able to express what those shows meant to me, and so I started forming it.”

David Alexander Jones.

Now 26, Jones, a junior at Washington State University, has taken what he said started as essentially fan fiction and created the bones of an eight-book series. “The Memoirs of Elikai” is a young adult fantasy series, following the life of Danny Elikai as he’s faced with the decision between his free will or letting destiny take the reins. The first book in the series, “Children of the Solstice,” was published in June.

Jones said juggling being a student and a writer was difficult, as he knows he must maintain a good grade point average to be a candidate for the master’s program he wishes to enter. Jones is studying English at WSU, and he plans to pursue a master’s in library sciences and technology.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News