The Read from This Side of Suite 711 (10)


Finally, what leap of thought initiates Realist’s focus on a perceived abuse of the word “graduation”?  “GS introduced a pay to play program. Per the eligibility checklist, I needs me at least 150K to be considered for club membership,” writes Realist. 

For the sake of argument, let’s make a partial concession that the word “graduation” is being abused, but only if we also concede that the phrase “pay to play” is being abused.  After all, “pay to play” refers to the exchange of money for the privilege to “play” in political and business circles.  Is that really what is happening with 10KSB’s eligibility checklist?  Must participants hand over 150K to be eligible for a program lasting a few months that may or may not be academically sound and that may or may not grant a loan to participants?  Or is a more fitting analog for this 150K stipulation to be found in the requirements that, say, potential home buyers must meet in order to secure a loan? 

“GS is not an expert in the field of education and they have no business pretending to have any expertise [sic] than amassing profits,” writes Realist. 

When viewed in light of this First Sketch, if there is an entity that might be pretending – about quite a few things – it’s Realist.  

A skein of double-standards, lies (as defined according to the Stephanie Ericsson essay, and (charming/disarming?) confessions constitute Realist’s posts.  Below are just a few sentences that demonstrate a core pattern of rhetorical maneuvers and themes that informs Realist’s writing. 

  • “While it can be very easy to hide behind anonymity and enter a fighting match of words with another blogger, I don’t believe it is fitting of our academic standards.”  (But see
  • “And Don, in case you were left wondering, I wasn’t trying to get your attention in an indirect kinda way. You know my style is to be direct with you as I’m doing with this post. Me don’t play those silly games.” (But see
  • “Not trying to get under your skin. Just trying to make a point.” (But examine the tone and diction of Realist’s rejoinder.)
  •  “I’ve claimed my ignorance more than once on The Lounge and I’ll do it again if necessary.”  (See Ericsson’s essay.)
  • “But I’m not here to poison. I’m here to adhere to the quality of the education I’ve received and to voice my opinion. That’s what a democratic society provides to its citizens?”  (This theme will be explored in the Second Sketch.)
  • “I also wouldn’t be doin’ us any favors if I didn’t give you my best. In no way do I mean any personal or professional disrespect. . . .”

Realist writes in order to belong.  In pursuit of belonging, Realist writes to create and exploit an in-crowd of HWC and CCC faculty and staff who are hostile to 10KSB and, more generally, Reinvention.  How readily this in-crowd has come together and handed over its trust to Realist. 

Whatever the merits or abuses of 10KSB and Reinvention, none of it elevates Realist’s writing. 

And the writing simply does not extend beyond its one purpose of belonging.  Or (like capital) amassing more to itself. 

Belonging through the affirmation (and subsequent exploitation) of beliefs that are already held by an in-crowd is something very, very different than writing a persuasive argument.  Realist is not conducting a rational argument either for or against 10KSB or Reinvention. 


Discontent makes for fertile ground, and Realist has worked to seed that ground through an almost incantatory repetition of words: “educator,” “academic,” “scholar,” “critical thinking.”  A curious, rather barren garden grows as a result, a garden without depths, perhaps, or something from a  Pollock-inspired painting: it may be evocative of many negative emotions but it is not particularly representational or portable beyond its own self-serving purpose.       

Again and again, Realist focuses on surface details – which results in the use of god and devil words – but the text suggests that Realist is not entirely in control of this focus.  Another way to say this is that the focus on surface details – whatever the topic – suggests a real lack (e.g. critical thinking skills, life experience).

Ultimately, the greatly important words that are endlessly repeated take on highly personal meanings.  The remaining sketches will examine that too.  And this exchange between Realist and Laackman over 10KSB’s graduation also will be returned to.

(End of First Sketch)

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