5 thoughts on “This Seems Appropriate

  1. Dave, I hated this article!

    First, it is very long. It took way to many minutes to read, especially on the first day of school when there is much to do.

    It starts out with this young writer being asked to teach a public speaking course. Right there I was distracted. The college was described as a junior college with color ads on the subway. All i could think of, was the school accredited? There are different degrees to teach writing and public speaking. At HW we don’t even allow the English/Speech teachers to sub for Speech/English classes.

    There is a lot of blah, blah, blah in the article and as I’m reading I’m growing more and more concerned for the students. It doesn’t seem like they learned anything or conquered their fears. This instructor and the school who hired her were awful in serving the needs of the students.

    I have to go to class (remember that?;)) perhaps you can share what we were supposed to get from the article and save other people from reading this very long essay;)

    • ok, ok, lest I annoy you further, I’ll add some blah blah blah:

      A) there is very rarely a “supposed to” to my posts–mostly I put stuff up because I think people might get something out of it (or because I did (and not always both)).

      B) When I read this, my thoughts included “interesting magazine,” imposter syndrome (for students and teachers), the dichotomous structuring of speech as artificial construction/authentic revelation, and the interesting resonance with this quote from Alasdaire Gray, which I’d seen earlier the same morning: “The urge to deliver an uninterrupted monologue is the energy that drives most schoolteachers, storytellers and politicians.” There were other things, too, but I’m sure the list is already too long for you.

      3) “Give your attention to it. You needn’t calculate what you’ll gain from it. Once you begin to calculate the gains to be had from learning, your mind will become divided and your head will hang down in shame. People often say that they’re busy with things and that this hinders their study. This is ‘something incapable of making a boat dislike a winding stream;’ this is unconvincing.” –Chu Hsi

      D) Love your concern for the students, though. I read it a little differently than you, though. First, there’s this, “Many students showed signs of improvement from week to week, but the few with extreme anxiety, like me, only learned better techniques of pretending,” and this, “On the last day, a few students told me Verbal Communications had been their favorite course.” Granted that’s not exactly overwhelming, but given the context it isn’t surprising that the author would downplay the success, especially if you read a bit about imposter syndrome, of which this is not a clear case since that term typically applies to someone who actually does know a lot on the topic in question but doesn’t believe it–clearly not the case here. Still, who would believe here if she said they all came out ready to climb their soap boxes and hold forth? That doesn’t even happen when the teacher is extraordinary, right?

      Anyway, feel free to put up something better. Or put up something about philosophy that you think I’d hate. I promise that I’ll read it; even if it’s short.

  2. That’s what the Lounge so often isn’t.

    When I was in college we used to hold parties to raise money to print our own underground newspaper. (I can still hear Big Mike singing “High-Pro Glow” in the basement of some boarding house.) There weren’t blogs back then. We actually printed on paper and sometimes sold our work. Sometimes we tacked pages to bulletin boards or telephone poles. One time, we used Ronald McDonald hand puppets. (The puppets were plastic gloves, really, and given away for free at McDonald’s restaurants.) We put sunglasses on the puppets and photographed them at various campus locations. In our newspapers, we ran the photographs with blurbs about how this or that famous (then famous) Marxist had been photographed either here or there. The puppets always had the same smile, one hand raised in a wave. The Marxists never liked our newspapers.

    Kids, huh?

    The Believer is the kind of thing most undergraduates pull off. The Lounge? Go back and answer the question, PhiloDave.

    PS: There is one thing worth noting here: you’ve run into yourself.

    • Apologies for my density, Avramakis, but what is the “That” that the Lounge is not? I am unclear on the referent–seems like more than one is in play. And I’m not sure about the last sentence, either, but I don’t expect an exegesis on that one.

      I’m ok with circularity. At least in this case.

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