Advice to Students

Dear students,

if you are going to cheat by putting the texts you create through an online translator, then try, at least, to read the end result before handing it in. Otherwise, you will continue handing in compositions that inform me that the Walk of Fame is located in the city called “The Angelos”, in California.

Your Professor.

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On Evolution

I don’t get the Theory of Evolution. It makes no sense to me. And don’t think I haven’t tried. I read books and articles, spoke to people who do get it.

And yet, the monkey objection (if there was evolution, then how come there are still monkeys around?) makes a lot of sense to me. I’m not trying to be facetious. I really feel this way.

However, I’m lucid enough to recognize that the reason why I don’t get evolution is my own intellectual limitation. If people who have dedicated their lives to the study of evolution say that there is no better explanation available to us right now, then I have no reason to believe that my monkey objection makes more sense than their years of research and scholarship.

I know that if started to bring up the monkey objection in conversations with evolutionary biologists I would sound just like the ignoramuses who triumphantly announce to me that literary criticism is “not real scholarship because anybody can just argue whatever they feel like.”

If only more people were prepared to recognize that there is a slight possibility that their “monkey objections” to a variety of fields of research are only based on their profound ignorance of the fields of study in question.

Who Needs Educated Citizenry?

In the case of public higher education, the answer to the “crisis” in the “rising cost of higher education” might be to spread that cost around to the motherfucking citizenry that benefits from having an educated populace.  If we really believe that we “need” our citizens to get an education in order to have a “thriving economy in the 21st century,” then this is a no-brainer.

Yes, this sounds eminently reasonable. Or it would if we lived in a country where at least 51% of the citizenry agreed that having an educated populace is a good idea and then somehow managed to force their elective representatives to get behind it. And that’s not really happening right now.

Look at all those Fundamentalist fanatics screaming down evolution, global warming, and progress. Do they pine for educated citizenry? Probably not since the educated people are not as easily zombified and terrorized into compliance.

And what about politicians? Have you listened to any of the debates among the presidential contenders? Which one of the candidates looked like he couldn’t wait to have more educated voters?

The mainstream journalists? They keep churning out those articles on how horrible, mean, commie-pinko Profs brainwash the good, simple-minded American kids in order to turn them into Liberal activists and steal their good, homey values.

A day doesn’t pass by that I don’t find (or receive from my readers) a link to an artcile where educators are vilified. Even I sometimes feel almost convinced that a teacher equals an enemy of humanity. The vitriol against used-car salesmen and telemarketers is a thing of the past. Now it’s dump-on-the-teachers season.

The only people who get portrayed as even more nasty and dangerous than the teachers are college students. Every time I come to campus to teach my students, I look around and see smart, curious, hard-working kids who somehow manage to hold down two part-time jobs, put themselves through school and organize student clubs. Then I wonder where all those boozing, rowdy, angry, stupid students are who – as I am being told all the time – only care about hooking up, getting drunk and razing the town to the ground.

Some idiot millionaire offers scholarships to kids for dropping out of college and everybody applauds him.

So where is this society that wants educated citizenry? I’m not seeing it.

Are you?

Snowing

It’s finally snowing.

All year long, I wait for this magical moment when I will be sitting in the study at night, blogging and looking at the snowflakes dancing in the street-light. I’m a Northern cold- and snow-loving person who is stuck in this tropical climate of Southern Illinois.

And then every day people show extreme insensitivity by saying to me, “Wonderful weather! It is so sunny and warm!”

Yes, 65F in February makes total sense. It’s like they are rubbing it in or something. I have these beautiful red boots that I bought to wear in winter. And I haven’t even taken them out of the closet yet. It’s February 8th! And I’m walking around in a short-sleeved dress and the same shoes I wore in August.

But it’s finally snowing and I’m planning to stay up all night to avoid losing even a second of it. Now I will go outside and walk in the snow. In the middle of the night. Listening to the sounds it makes as it falls and feeling it cover my hair, my face, my hands.

I know that talking about weather is boring but I’m suffering here and I needed to share. Feel free not to comment.

P.S. Have you ever walked barefoot in the snow? It’s exhilarating, people. Orgasmic. And no, it doesn’t make you sick. It makes you healthy. This is an old remedy for sickly people.