Friday, February 15, 2008

Skeptical to the very end

Thankfully I shaved my head last week or I would've spent three hours last night pulling out my hair in the worst graduate class of my life.

First off, there's the Boy Wonder, named for a superhero with "spidey" powers. As one of my friends put it: "I was scanning the room to see who the professor was, and I would've never guessed it was him!" It's a game he calls Who's In Charge Here? Not only does Prof. Wonder allow Student J. to teach the course for him (which thankfully it is someone who at least knows what he's talking about ... despite the fact that Student J. is the most stubbornly obtuse and willfully Philistinian graduate student I know), but he even raises his hand to ask Student J. questions, further corroborating who wears the pants in this seminar.

Then there's Weezy--short for Crazy Fucking Retarded Red-Haired Girl--who practically sat on my lap last night. She's a mover: constantly shifting from side to side, trying to mesmerize all of us with her slippery stupidity. She's the one who nods her head and verbally agrees with absolutely every single statement made, especially the ones she makes the speaker repeat because she wasn't paying attention in the first place. She did that four times. And her most impressive contribution to the class thus far: "What was that anti-essentialism that wasn't really essentialism essentially called by the essentialists who essentially believed in essentialism?" (My parody of her actual question makes more sense than the crazy shit she was talking.)

Sitting at the corner of the seminar room was Pontiff Jerkopedia: "Pontiff" because he profusely pontificates ad nauseam, and "Jerkopedia" because he knows absolutely something about almost everything and wants to share his encyclopedic wisdom with the rest of us. In 6th grade, he would've been the student the teacher described as "having diarrhea of the mouth." I was underwhelmingly impressed. Yet he presented last night, taking approximately two hours to fill in the gaps of the eight-page, single-space "outline" he handed out. His one truly savant quality: taking something that a smart person says and writing missives on that topic, posting them on WebCT. Hence, I no longer log in to WebCT.

And these are only a handful of the colorful folks who populate my Thursday evenings. I won't even begin to describe the lame-ass reading requirements, except to say they are from a poorly edited and thrown together anthology Prof. W. worked on as a TA when in graduate school. As he described the course on the first night: "This is the best I have to offer." Really? You can't teach a class on a topic you actually know? God save us all! I usually spend a few hours after class decompressing with my intelligent cohorts over several drinks, but our debriefing last night was pre-empted by Valentine's Day obligations. Thanks for allowing me to rant a little this morning.

Perhaps next Thursday evening I'll just gnaw my arm off.

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