The camera pans down to reveal a large planet and its two moons. Suddenly, a tiny Rebel ship flies overhead, pursued, a few moments later, by an Imperial Star Destroyer—an impossibly large ship that nearly fills the frame as it goes on and on seemingly forever. The effect is visceral and exhilarating. This is, of course, the opening of Star Wars:
On the uses of a liberal education: September 1, Harper's Magazine Mark Edmundson A college student getting a liberal arts education ponders filling out a questionnaire that includes an opportunity for him to evaluate his instructor.
At times it appears that the purpose of his education is just to entertain him. Today is evaluation day in my Freud class, and everything has changed. The class meets twice a week, late in the afternoon, and the clientele, about fifty undergraduates, tends to drag in and slump, looking disconsolate and a little lost, waiting for a jump start.
To get the discussion moving, they usually require a joke, an anecdote, an off-the-wall question -- When you were a kid, were your Halloween getups ego costumes, id costumes, or superego costumes?
That sort of thing. But today, as soon as I flourish the forms, a buzz rises in the room. Today they write their assessments of the course, their assessments of me, and they are without a doubt wide-awake.
Whatever interpretive subtlety they've acquired during the term is now out the window. As I retreat through the door -- I never stay around for this phase of the ritual -- I look over my shoulder and see them toiling away like the devil's auditors.
They're pitched into high writing gear, even the ones who struggle to squeeze out their journal entries word by word, stoked on a procedure they have by now supremely mastered. They're playing the informed consumer, letting the provider know where he's come through and where he's not quite up to snuff.
But why am I so distressed, bolting like a refugee out of my own classroom, where I usually hold easy sway? Chances are the evaluations will be much like what they've been in the past -- they'll be just fine.
It's likely that I'll be commended for being "interesting" and I am commended, many times overthat I'll be cited for my relaxed and tolerant ways that happens, toothat my sense of humor and capacity to connect the arcana of the subject matter with current culture will come in for some praise yup.
I've been hassled this term, finishing a manuscript, and so haven't given their journals the attention I should have, and for that I'm called -- quite civilly, though -- to account. Overall, I get off pretty well. Yet I have to admit that I do not much like the image of myself that emerges from these forms, the image of knowledgeable, humorous detachment and bland tolerance.
I do not like the forms themselves, with their number ratings, reminiscent of the sheets circulated after the TV pilot has just played to its sample audience in Burbank. Most of all I dislike the attitude of calm consumer expertise that pervades the responses.
I'm disturbed by the serene belief that my function -- and, more important, Freud's, or Shakespeare's, or Blake's -- is to divert, entertain, and interest. Observes one respondent, not at all unrepresentative: I don't teach to amuse, to divert, or even, for that matter, to be merely interesting.
When someone says she "enjoyed" the course -- and that word crops up again and again in my evaluations -- somewhere at the edge of my immediate complacency I feel encroaching self-dislike. That is not at all what I had in mind. The off-the-wall questions and the sidebar jokes are meant as lead-ins to stronger stuff -- in the case of the Freud course, to a complexly tragic view of life.
But the affability and the one-liners often seem to be all that land with the students; their journals and evaluations leave me little doubt.
I want some of them to say that they've been changed by the course. I want them to measure themselves against what they've read. It's said that some time ago a Columbia University instructor used to issue a harsh two-part question.
What book did you most dislike in the course? What intellectual or characterological flaws in you does that dislike point to? The hand that framed that question was surely heavy.
But at least it compels one to see intellectual work as a confrontation between two people, student and author, where the stakes matter. Why are my students describing the Oedipus complex and the death drive as being interesting and enjoyable to contemplate? And why am I coming across as an urbane, mildly ironic, endlessly affable guide to this intellectual territory, operating without intensity, generous, funny, and loose?
Because that's what works. On evaluation day, I reap the rewards of my partial compliance with the culture of my students and, too, with the culture of the university as it now operates. It's a culture that's gotten little exploration. Current critics tend to think that liberal-arts education is in crisis because universities have been invaded by professors with peculiar ideas: They believe that genius and tradition are out and that P.
But mulling over my evaluations and then trying to take a hard, extended look at campus life both here at the University of Virginia and around the country eventually led me to some different conclusions.
To me, liberal-arts education is as ineffective as it is now not chiefly because there are a lot of strange theories in the air.THE SPIKE. It was late-afternoon. Forty-nine of us, forty-eight men and one woman, lay on the green waiting for the spike to open.
We were too tired to talk much.
Corinne Gilroy. Analysis of “Here a Pretty Baby Lies” by Robert Herrick. Few tragedies in this world are more deadening than the idea of a life ending so quickly after it has begun. The new have no defenses, no chance beyond chance itself, at conquering the defenselessness of infancy and growing to live a long life. Very satisfying essay. I am a classic film buff and am happy to talk old Hollywood for hours. I admire almost everything Davis did and have to say that Ms. Shaidle's analysis the typical Davis role is pretty much on the mark. The Actually Pretty Funny trope as used in popular culture. Some lines are so good even the humorless can't help cracking up. Whether it be the Magnificent .
Dear Twitpic Community - thank you for all the wonderful photos you have taken over the years. We have now placed Twitpic in an archived state. Poem of the Masses.
my smile melts with confusion artisticly enhanced she titty-danced her clients glanced at her mammarily-expansed bust, de-pantsed.
Here a pretty baby lies was written in the 17th century by Robert Herrick. The poem begins with a peaceful image of a child sleeping, sung by sweet lullibies.
INTRODUCTION. In , when the author of the essays here assembled was elected professor of political and social science in Yale College, he was, to use his own words, “a young and untried man.” He was selected for his position, not as a specialist, but because he was what he was.
Someone in those days must have been an excellent judge of men. A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in The essay suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their.