Monday, October 31, 2005

Assessment

In conclusion, my humanities course came to an end yesterday. What a great bunch of people . . . well, for the most part.

On the first evening (just 3 weeks ago), I expressed my view that “literal interpretation” was an impossibility because if one is to “literally” interpret anything (say, the Bible), then every “A” is literally an upside-down ox head. Perhaps I can send my lecture notes to the White House and/or the Supreme Court--or my own professor who expressed great glee in Bush’s new nominee today--since Alito (nicknamed “Scalito”--and no, that is not a good thing) is interested in “[literally] interpreting the Constitution and not legislating from the bench.” Blah blah blah. [For those of you interested in what the US Constitution "literally" says about presidential powers, I recommend this op-ed by Bacevich.] “We the people,” by the way, would literally read:

Hook-window mark-fence-window mouth-window-eye-mouth-goad-window

Yeah, good luck with that. By the way, a goad is a long stick with a pointed end used to prod animals. It seems like a most useful tool for those in Washington. [As for me, I’ll stay down here in Texas away from the herd animals with the other Nietzschean--[literally] a somewhat silly girl who decided it would be appropriate to “supplement” my [already] 5-hour lecture on postmodernism by reading an online dictionary definition of “postmodernism” and mispronouncing words like “rhetoric” after misquoting me and Nietzsche. Good times. I can’t wait to grade her final exam.]

One of the assignments for my humanities students was to make seven entries in what I called a “landmark journal” over various landmarks in the humanities: the Venus of Willendorf, a statue of Zeus, Siva Nataraja, Jerusalem, Hamlet’s soliloquy, Rodin’s “The Thinker”, and Laurie Anderson’s “The Dream Before.” I thought it was particularly telling (and not in a literal way) that the majority of entries on Jerusalem included statements like, “I don’t know why the three main monotheistic religions can’t get along when they share so much of a common theology and history. If I were in charge, I’d kick them all out of Jerusalem and let them know how stupid they were acting.” So much for insight into the problem. I expect to see some of them appointed by some future administration to things like the Department of Education, or the State Department, or perhaps as ambassadors to the United Nations.

Check out Shmonk’s site for a photo of this year’s Jacks. Mine's the one in the middle.

Finally, happy birthday, Uncle Frank. R.I.P.

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