“Neoliberal policy makers who have advocated for increased privatization and market-based educational reforms have produced a system that has expanded opportunity for all.” – from Academically Adrift (The Read . . . #27)

The (excerpted) conclusions: both positive and negative outcomes result from applying a market framework/economics discourse to higher education.

The positives may be surprising, but some of the negative effects on student/faculty behaviors should not be – regardless of the reader’s political persuasion.

Who would grant that an economics (or populist) discourse can affect students/faculty?


“[R]ecent surveys of students and faculty have found that faculty are more likely than students to report that being well off financially is an essential or a very important goal to them.” – from Academically Adrift (The Read . . . #25)

In general at four-year institutions, faculty are not rewarded (very much) for focusing on undergraduate instruction but on research. However, to counter this orientation as well as the quoted survey result in the title of this post, the authors suggest that faculty embrace research to fulfill a “quasi-religious commitment” (see below).

This effectively shifts blame for the commercialization of higher education away from any faculty influenced by financial incentives and onto administration/industry/govt. (which lack a “moral imperative”).

The dichotomy is a bit precious: workers/laborers must often search for (and find) spiritual meaning in what they do. The problem is not that some faculty hear a “calling” but that this frame narrative – similar to the transhistorical/educator-centered discourse that informs Realist’s (et al.’s) writing – works to etherealize the faculty (and the “true” university), their financial concerns and, by extension, the financial concerns of their students. Etherealization does not radically confront commercialization: instead, it mostly maintains the status quo.

(A second consideration: one could suppose that the commercialization of research at four-year institutions is analogous to certain aspects of CCC’s Reinvention and ask if undergraduate instruction suffers of benefits from the application of a market framework/economics discourse. As it turns out, according to the authors, the answer is rather mixed.)

bayh dole site


It always comes down to one’s “caricature”: conceding to the use of invective-filled speech acts but denying any harm is characteristic of populists-jingoists/harassers. (The Read . . . #24.5)


12Keystrokes teaches that the aim of argument is communication, not confrontation. (In contrast, quarreling tends to be about “winning” – whatever that might mean to the quarrelers.)

It is not productive to argue over personal preferences (like “best” ice cream flavors or candies).

As they progress in their academic and professional careers and engage with an ever-widening public sphere, students will need to know how to write in (more) formal situations.

It’s all quite standard, really.

12Keystrokes’ position (thus far) remains as follows:

  • We (re)present ourselves textually;
  • Realist (et al.) engages in black-or-white thinking and populist/jingoist/“educator-centered” discourses that rely on an in-crowd’s over-identification with academic degrees/critical thinking (and a curious construction of students’ SES);
  • Realist (et al.) responds to opposing viewpoints with harassment, snipey comments, fallacious reasoning, double-standards (i.e., a flagrant unwillingness to honor the presuppositions that structure reasoned debate) – all of which characterizes populism/jingoism;
  • This list is not complete.

Clearly, Sketches works through the above bullet statements.

Your comment is deceitful. Your assertion that 12Keystrokes is engaged in unwarranted criticism is profoundy unfortunate.  Realist claims anonymity enables a focus on the message, not the messenger.  You focus on anonymity (or “caricature”) to filter the message (and to deflect 12Keystrokes’ focus on the rhetoric of the message).  “Obviously” is an intensifier that asserts epistemic certainty and reinforces assumptions (silences) within a particular community or situation (contexts).  To take something as “given” requires no evidence; thus, your comment is wholly personal (arguing over preferences).  You write Realist is a caricature, a faculty member, a “he” or “she” and – with this layering of selves and unclear pronoun antecedents in place – go on to claim that Realist can be “illogical” or (harmlessly) “annoying” but a “frequent stimulator of productive conversation.”  That last rhetorical ploy simultaneously seeks to establish Realist’s character while directing the reader to place any faults on a caricature (that is, a purely abstract literary device that has somehow animated itself), surely prompting at least one colloquial retort of “How stupid do you think I am?”

An exchange between PhiloDave and 12Keystrokes that took place roughly halfway through Sketches’ four-month run (there were no posts in May) already addresses your other complaints. (Conspicuously, pedantry goes unmentioned, though your concern for that occurs elsewhere.)**

Finally, 12Keystrokes urges no rush to judge the Deen controversy that Realist dangles and pairs so emptily with unresolved Blackhawks comments; instead, 12Keystrokes invites you to consider 1) the CLA performance task, 2) Realist’s puzzlement that inappropriate language is tolerated in one context and not another,  and 3) the fact that Fish’s explanation regarding speech and context was already provided.

This suggests the following:

  • Realist does not read/write carefully enough (or with enough understanding);
  • Realist (instructor at HWC) rushes to distance herself/himself from Deen (celebrity chef);
  • Realist mistakes the simple decision to reject/mute Deen/MTV.com for complex reasoning (which would require some analysis of the limit of “free speech”);
  • Transfer has not occurred.

Exactly what does this “caricature” wish to satirize?

Page’s “Paula Deen’s Menu: Foot in Mouth” jibes with Fish, and both men are correct: thanks to Deen and Realist, there are healthy conversations to be had that have little to do with bicycles. Have those conversations, Kamran.

Or don’t.

*12Keystrokes is not engaged in mere name calling. Quite unexpectedly, this reply made for an excellent summary of Sketches thus far, so the decision was made to contribute it as a separate post.

**Your concerns over pedantry suggest that you have been criticized for it.

Academically Adrift analyzes the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) – a direct (albeit general/“generic”) assessment of critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing – as well as other assessment tools to report that four-year college students are not learning very much, especially during their first two years. Academic degrees may not always be that academic. (The Read . . . #24)


See “The Read . . . #23” for a video re: the book’s findings. Find excerpts from the video/book in “The Read . . . #25.” Click on the following links for reviews/criticism of Academically Adrift.


One can certainly locate Academically Adrift within a long line of similar studies that bemoan the loss of academic rigor in American education, but one cannot easily dismiss the study as yet another rightwing piece in a (policy) narrative that seeks to commodify education: Academically Adrift slants to the political Left. Besides, some readers remember the release of A Nation at Risk (1982) – and the “culture wars” that gave us Closing of the American Mind by A. Bloom and The Western Canon by H. Bloom – so they know at a glance that Academically Adrift does not fit that narrative.

Many educators now entertain the notion that the loss of academic rigor in American education has been ongoing for at least a few decades: arguably, that decline is manifest in Realist’s writing. Consider the sample CLA performance task/snapshots below and the links in https://haroldlounge.com/2013/06/01/pop-jingo-framing-the-stakeholders-goals-and-problems-related-to-reinvention-so-broadly-allows-realist-to-recast-reinvention-as-a-colonization-effort-a-corporate-takeover-and-even-a-civil-war/.

Correction re: “The Read . . . #23”: The video is titled “Learning During Unsettled Times” and presents a talk by one of the authors of Academically Adrift.
cla export one jpeg
CLA export two jpeg

Once again, a post by Realist relies on rhetorical questions to express “concern” for “our students” and their (academic) degrees, but then the post itself demonstrates no identifiable discipline-specific expertise and no critical thinking. Who is served (by that)?* (The Read . . . #23)

A rhetorical question is one that is not answered because the individual posing the question either believes the answer to be self-evident or seeks to provoke an emotional response. No answer is desired. At times, an author can use rhetorical questions to facilitate further discussion. (“Hypophora” is when a question is asked and then answered.)

Many students and a few HWC/CCC faculty and staff answered SFTB’s question. However, the students’ responses did not lead to any kind of sustained discussion facilitated by SFTB, the students’ instructor (who may not have been SFTB), or Lounge authors ( https://haroldlounge.com/2013/04/25/the-read-from-this-side-of-suite-711-20/).  This suggests that the question was rhetorical.

SFTB’s question invokes economic/social class issues but then does not go on to engage those issues. 12Keystrokes has chosen to consider the invocation of those issues by unpacking SFTB’s question, beginning with the concept academic/academic degree. (In later posts, “who is served?” will be considered.)

Academically Adrift/the video above (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGjzmP2rpGo) examines a broad range of 24 diverse four-year institutions but is still applicable to the discussion at hand. It’s also relevant to a discussion about the utility of semester-by-semester program maps.

*Occasional minor errors owing to the casualness of the Lounge or the bustle of work and home do not concern 12Keystrokes. However, 12Keystrokes believes that if one repeatedly invokes the value of academic skill sets, one should demonstrate those skill sets.

It’s perfectly fine for an opinion community to champion writing that stirs the pot, makes “political hay” or performs for an in-crowd, but that community should acknowledge that there isn’t anything particularly academic about the writing. To this plain end, the Sketches have thus far identified two straw men – 1) free speech, and 2) the caveat re: correlation and causation in social science research.

There is a harm caused by Realist’s (et al.’s) writing.

Pop-Jingo (Too). Both academic and non-academic credentials get converted into wages and social prestige and are further converted into many other things, such as social mobility, civic engagement (democracy) – or arguments that pack this process of economic/social conversion into populist, jingoist, and “educator-centered” discourses. (The Read . . . #22)

Cultural Currency

A diploma from an academic college signifies the attainment of certain academic skill sets, while a certificate from a non-academic college signifies the attainment of more “mechanical” skill sets. Both types of credentials are cultural currency that can be exchanged for wages and social prestige. Should graduates be called upon to demonstrate their skill sets but fail to do so adequately, their worth as employees and the worth of their credentials (and/or institutions granting the credentials) may be called into question.


Anyone who has ever purchased faulty repair services for a major appliance (e.g., a furnace or dishwasher) most likely called into question not only the particular repair job but also the technician’s training/certification. It all seems clear cut and measurable with mechanical skill sets: the repaired appliance either will or will not operate.

Academic skill sets are more difficult to measure. For example, as young children we all made many leaps of faith each day when dealing with teachers, counselors, doctors, lawyers, and so on: we didn’t understand all that they were doing, and even if we as children knew their skill sets were inadequate, we weren’t able to articulate an evaluation of those skill sets until we reached adulthood and (ideally) could draw upon a wealth of life experiences and a good education. Looking back on such memories, most would agree that there is a need for more immediate and standardized metrics, particularly when it comes to academic skill sets.

However, as often noted on the Lounge (see https://haroldlounge.com/2013/05/07/true-story/), mere degree completion is a crude indicator, and economic metrics fall short due to the nature of the goods and services created by higher education. (It’s not that the goods and services are immaterial but that critical thinking, say, unlike a widget, cannot be so easily quantified/compartmentalized.) Others (http://citycollegeschicagoreinvention-truths.blogspot.com/2011/04/expose-of-manipulation-of-data-used-to.html) point out that performance data must be comparative and contextual to be meaningful (and not misleading); further, although a performance data analysis may lower the cost and improve the efficiency of widget production, it is less likely to do so when applied to the cost/efficiency of degree production. (For example, factoring in grants, scholarships, government subsidies, level of prepatory education, transfer/non-transfer prior to degree completion, and a host of other variables that living beings bring to the equation clouds the cost/efficiency of degree production.)

Lastly, there is the caveat about correlation and causality when it comes to social science research.*


VFA blurb

VFA might very well address the concerns expressed above. Or not. Read more at http://www.aacc.nche.edu/Resources/aaccprograms/VFAWeb/Pages/VFAHomePage.aspx. More backstory re: the current climate of accountability can be found at http://www.aaup.org/article/accreditation-and-federal-future-higher-education.

Credentials of Academic, non-Academic, and Economic Value

SFTB’s question assumes a simple, reductive correspondence between credentials (like badges) and skill sets. Of course, credentials function as cultural currency, so arguments about the fidelity of metrics belie the simplicity of accurately converting cultural currency (i.e., skill sets) into wages and social prestige. Here on the Lounge the conversion to economic value is particularly suspect while the conversion to “social prestige” is not. For Realist et al. “academic” is privileged over “non-academic” not just because of skill sets but because putative categories of people/professions are already held in place ideologically; consequently, the argument runs that academic degrees likely enable social mobility, uphold democracy, and stimulate capitalism, while non-academic degrees likely enslave their holders to the totalizing logic of capital.

But both academic and non-academic credentials get converted into wages and social prestige and are further converted into many other things, such as social mobility, civic engagement (democracy) – or even arguments that pack this process of economic/social conversion into populist, jingoist, and “educator-centered” discourses. (This list is not meant to be exhaustive.)

As many are fond of saying: follow the money.

Thus, SFTB’s question.

*(Of course setting aside correlative/experimental evidence in order to privilege speculative/anecdotal evidence is a rhetorical ploy on both Don’s and Dave’s part. Other than some tonal similarities, however, the two anecdotes are not parallel. https://haroldlounge.com/2013/05/07/true-story/)

Pop-Jingo! Framing the stakeholders, goals, and problems related to Reinvention so broadly allows Realist to recast Reinvention as a colonization effort, a corporate takeover, and even a Civil War. (The Read. . . #21)

Recall that Realist’s promotion of black-or-white thinking was tracked in “First Sketch” and “Second Sketch.” Sparked by some element that upsets their experience of the status quo, black-or-white thinkers like Realist employ a simplistic “Us/Them” interpretive framework and demonizing rhetoric to give expression to perceived danger, thereby revealing the range – and limit – of their beliefs about themselves and Others.

That’s scapegoating.

In a context other than Reinvention, most Lounge readers would likely recognize Realist’s rhetoric for what it has been – false solutions, dehumanization, the grossly illogical placement of blame on Others. No evidence, no critical-thinking required.

Given the right conditions, many can be bewitched by demonizing rhetoric.

Think back to grad school and learning to avoid race/gender/class bias in your research. Remember, say, that seminar about the effects of “stereotype threat” in the classroom? Or the seminar where H. G. Wells’ novel War of the Worlds was read through xenophobic responses to immigration? That was all about the rhetorical construction of the subject.*

Populism-Jingoism and an “educator-centered” discourse inform Realist’s rhetoric. By using the most general terms, Realist seeks to invoke putative categories of people (professions?) and beliefs already set in place ideologically. Thus (according to Realist) somewhat trans-historical “educators” promote skills and values that enable social mobility, uphold democracy, and stimulate capitalism (which is paradoxical since educators are somewhat trans-historical); in turn, profit-driven corporations/corrupt politicians promote anti-intellectualism at CCC to enslave “Us” (presumably to the totalizing logic of capital).

For Realist, it’s American/Un-American.

Framing the stakeholders, goals, and problems related to Reinvention so broadly allows Realist to recast Reinvention as a colonization effort, a corporate takeover, and even a Civil War. When criticized for these constructions, Realist scapegoats, trivializes, invokes “freedom” (of speech/ democracy). More to the point, framing Reinvention-related issues this way enables Realist to avoid discussing anything specific (e.g., student needs, institutional problems, the relationship between business and education, effective pedagogical practices).

Don’t see that?





https://haroldlounge.com/2011/09/27/the-lounge.special-announcement/ (re: “Trojan Horse”)



SFTB asks, “If there is only one academic school left in a seven school system, who is served?” How this question gets answered need not reinforce Realist’s black-or-white thought process.

*Of course, there is no guarantee that transfer will occur (see The Read #12).

The Read from Suite 711 (19.5) Interlude #6.5

Looking Back, Looking Forward: Serendipity on Friday

“If there’s a thesis, I can’t detect it—and that’s the remarkable, even heroic, thing about it. The author of two previous novels, McConnell is interested not in making broad claims but in telling stories about how and where masculinity expresses itself as murderous violence. Contra Christy Wampole, he writes, ‘Straight men, who really are socially powerful, have been accustomed to a veil of discretion when it comes to the truth about their private selves, their weaknesses, anatomy, fears, silliness.’ But theirs are stories too, and McConnell tells a number of them. Some you’ve heard: about the killing of Billy Jack Gaither, for instance, who was gay; or the famous Jenny Jones case, in which a gay man went on TV to confess an attraction to a male friend, who afterward killed him. This last tale actually constitutes part of the book’s introduction: McConnell hasn’t really told us the why before he starts in with the what.

So this is more of a meditation, shorter on analysis than it is on simple thoughtfulness. . . .”

The above from http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/spring-books-worley-david-mcconnell-desire-rage/Content?oid=9204773.

The evaluation of rhetoric/style directly echo comments that begin https://haroldlounge.com/2013/03/07/the-read-from-this-side-of-suite-711-15/#comment-11194.

(Added bonus: Christy Wampole from http://donsdesk.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/irony/ returns!)

The Read from This Side of Suite 711 (19)

Interlude #6:  Looking Back, Looking Forward


“There is no such thing as free speech”: an interview with Stanley Fish

Q : Professor Fish, what do you mean when you say that there is no such thing as free speech?

A : Many discussions of free speech, especially by those whom I would call free speech ideologues, begin by assuming as normative the situation in which speech is offered for its own sake, just for the sake of expression. The idea is that free expression, the ability to open up your mouth and deliver an opinion in a seminar-like atmosphere, is the typical situation and any constraint on free expression is therefore a deviation from that typical or normative situation. I begin by saying that this is empirically false, that the prototypical academic situation in which you utter sentences only to solicit sentences in return with no thought of actions being taken, is in fact anomalous. It is something that occurs only in the academy and for a very small number of people.


. . . Whichever side of this particular debate you might be on I think my point holds — there was a sense of balancing the rights of individuals to freely deliver their opinions against the desires and needs of the society and the community. Since the ’50s and ’60s that second pole has dropped out and more and more you get a First Amendment rhetoric of individual liberty which has the effect of producing a roster of First Amendment heroes, who gain that status by uttering the vilest statements that can be imagined in situations designed to cause harm, embarrassment, and psychological damage to others. These persons are then put forward as representing the best instincts of the American experiment.

Read the rest at http://australianhumanitiesreview.org/archive/Issue-February-1998/fish.html


The Read from This Side of Suite 711 (#18)

Interlude #5:  How do you respond to disturbing student writing? 

This is a question that all college instructors must answer at some point in their careers, especially composition instructors. 

Composition instructors find themselves with access to students’ thoughts and feelings about many different subjects.  Instructors learn to recognize their students’ “voices”: in addition to favored stylistic/rhetorical maneuvers, students’ ideological and political affiliations also tend to manifest in compositions.  There is consistency.  A pattern develops.  Arguments are strengthened, challenged, changed.  The dialogue that develops between instructor and student can be mutually enriching. 

But sometimes students write material that can cause discomfort.  Perhaps the material is too confessional and personally revealing or perhaps the material expresses negative emotions, bizarre images, and a non-linear thought process.

If one of your students turned in material similar to what Realist has been posting on the Lounge, how would you respond?  Would you comment on a lack of citations/supporting evidence, imagery, or a non-linear presentation of ideas?  Responses will vary.  Some instructors choose not to address such issues in written material.  If you would not address such issues, what criteria/theory do you draw upon to make such a choice?  


Below are several links from Binghamton University, Adams State University, and University of Colorado that may help all CCC instructors to answer questions about how to identify and respond to disturbing student writing.




The Read from This Side of Suite 711 (17)



“B Three =

“The apparition of these faces in the Crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough.”

If there is a second sustained metaphor in the post other than that of pointing fingers, it is that of a bowel movement.  That metaphor tracks as follows:

“Here are some initial thoughts, on the plastic tags and related crap, that flashed through my head. . . . I give these thoughts to you half-baked. . . . Are we back to thinking of our students as ‘customers’? What does that make me? I feel dirty just thinkin’ ’bout it. . . . [T]hat sounds like a stinkin’ excuse and not a proper rationale. . . . Branding: I’m waiting for the day when I’ll walk into the college and be asked to bend over so I can have HW branded on my assets. . . . All this crap started when the district said we needed new colors. If [I] focused more on the purpose of education, [sic] than reinventing the rainbow I think [I]’d find gold sooner.”

That dense, non-linear final sentence presents several challenges for the reader.  The “reinvented rainbow” image not only refers to a change in CCC colors or a myth regarding found riches, the roundness of the image also refers to the figurative “mooning” that takes place in the lobby of Harold Washington College when “I” bends over so that “I can have HW branded on my assets.”  The “found gold” refers not only to some kind of academic or financial success as Realist conceives it, it is yet another tag/badge intended to signify some worthwhile quality: the found gold marks the end result of the post, arguably the pleasure and value Realist places on having “re-branded” Reinvention.

The metaphor is unpleasant.  There is no other way to say this.  One characteristic of demonizing rhetoric is the use of vile imagery to describe the “Other.”  (See https://haroldlounge.com/2013/03/08/why-i-blog-anonymously-part-ii/)   

The post closes with an italicized address to the reader: “*If I come across as bein’ flippant, it’s only ’cause I’m tryin’ to get my message across any ways I can. I’ve tried polite in the past. Humorous e’ery so often. Formal when I thoughts it apropos. Silly when sensible was not called for. And now? Perhaps if I appeal to the lowest common denominator of intelligence, maybe, maybe, someone might pay attention. When in Rome…”

This direct address to the reader is supposed to create the illusion that the “real,” sincere person behind the “I” has stepped out from behind all textual effects to speak candidly with the reader; instead, in the wake of the “rebranding,” a self-infantilizing persona is left standing in the lobby of HWC.

“I’m tryin’ to get my message across any ways I can,” declares Realist.

On the one hand, Realist denies responsibility for the post in general and the bowel movement in particular, essential claiming that “District Office made ‘I’ do it.”  On the other hand, Realist makes a plaintive demand for attention: “Perhaps if I appeal to the lowest common denominator of intelligence, maybe, maybe, someone might pay attention.”

The demand for attention is profoundly conflicted.  “What would [my] founding fathers say?”

“It’s about that reply Kamran and others left on PhiloDave’s post. I need not expound on it here. . . . [G]o back and read those thoughtful words…about education and academics and students. Ain’t no gimmicks there,” writes Realist.  The reader will note that Realist simply avoids any attempt to summarize or paraphrase “those thoughtful words.”

Therefore, Realist’s post is redundant, unnecessary, and opportunistic after all.

(End of Second Sketch)

The Read from This Side of Suite 711 (15)



“B Two = Badge lacks courage to educate” (cont.)  

And by asking the question, by (once again!) forcefully elbowing the reader/viewer to give up some affirmation or applause – for just a moment – Realist almost stops in mid-whirl and recognizes the insubstantial nature of a spectacle-dependent sense of self: the pupil-image/tag/badge Realist is creating may not be “true” (or not “professional”) after all.

But the moment passes quickly.  Redoubling efforts at deflecting and delusion, Realist barrels on,  “I” whirling and finger pointing at District Office’s trickster world of false symbols and shifting meanings.  Ever playing to the (in) crowd at some “Other’s” expense. 

“Riddle me this: Do ivy league [sic] faculty wear badges when they help their customers? Didn’t think so,” writes Realist.

Of course faculty at Ivy League schools wear “badges”: they wear the “Ivy League” reputation.  That reputational good is what enrolling students purchase.  Students there – just like CCC students here – dream of wearing graduation gowns, mortar boards and tassels, and receiving diplomas.  The badges worn by Ivy League faculty and students – just like those worn by faculty and students who work at CCC, Best Buy, or video game stores – neither contain any fixed meaning nor have a fixed relation to those (“trained to be slaves”) who wear them.  People give “badges” to themselves and each other, and people give meaning to those badges.

Some “badges” are earned, some not.  Unlike Henry, Realist does not come to understand this.

Narcissistically, Realist identifies with the Ivy League and not with CCC or its students.

Realist writes: “Only educated peeps having [sic] the courage to promote true education with words and actions; which is more than I can say for the people responsible for authoring [sic] the badges.”  Notice the use of the word “authoring,” not “authorizing.”

And Realist is responsible for authoring all of the “badges” in this post, for erecting unmistakable markers of class (if not race) in a post that, ultimately, was never intended as any kind of critique but as mere self-aggrandizement for the purpose of (in-crowd) affirmation.

Realist’s drive to separate “them” from “us” reaches new lows as the post concludes.

(Next: the conclusion to Second Sketch/B Three begins)

The Read from This Side of Suite 711 (14)



“B Two = Badge lacks courage to educate” (cont.)  

Since the post consists of Realist’s “half-baked” thoughts, it is misleading for Realist to use the pronoun “we”; therefore, the pronoun “I” has been inserted into the following:

“Graduation gowns: . . . I say graduation clowns. . . asked to stand in the lobby of our building wearing graduation regalia.  [I’m] turning our academic institution into a circus.  [I] appear to be appealing to the lowest common denominator of attention. ‘Hey kids, look over there! It’s Graduate Gary! Let’s go talk to him about graduation!’  ‘Kids, kids! It’s Betty with a badge! Let’s ask her about semester schedules!’  With [my] words [I] say [I] want to have a frickin’ ‘world class institution’; with [my] actions [I] say the complete opposite.”

Realist writes, “I don’t need to be tagged in order to continue assisting [my] students in their academic experience.  My professionalism will let students know they’re at a community college, right?” 

The tag/badge that Realist desires is the one that will signify an essential, worthwhile quality about Realist, one that readers/viewers will see and respond to positively.  More to the point regarding Realist’s enormous need for belonging, it is in the responses and faces of the readers/viewers that Realist looks for and confirms Realist’s own sense of self.

The entire post demonstrates this.

However, the desired tag/badge is chimerical because Realist’s sense of self is externally referenced: it is a tiny, fleeting image reflected on the pupils of the eyes of those who gather before the attention-seeking Realist-as-spectacle.  The nature of this uncertain, spectacle-dependent sense of self shows through in the fact that Realist asks a question instead of making a statement when Realist writes, “My professionalism will let students know they’re at a community college, right?”

The Read from This Side of Suite 711 (13)


In case https://haroldlounge.com/2013/02/25/the-read-from-this-side-of-suite-711-11/ regarding Realist and the Blackhawks’ logo still strikes one as abstract, below is a relevant link to this week’s Reader. The article could enable transfer/critical thinking because it situates the issue in the contemporary, “hip,” pop-culture context of YouTube, video bloggers, and internet memes.