Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Intellectual

I’m tired and that makes me very suspicious. Is the student who wrote the following trying to be a smart-ass or is he writing this in earnest?

I don’t thinkĀ Arnold Schwarzenegger was much of an intellectual when he first came to this country but, over the years, his encounter with the highly educated people of California made him one.


In case anybody is wondering, the question had to do with the Spanish intellectuals who went into exile as a result of the Spanish Civil War.


Is This Offensive?

I just received the following email from a student:

hey here is the first essay it was due today right?

In my culture, addressing anybody with “hey” is extremely insulting, so I’m tempted not to accept this assignment. But now I’m wondering whether English-speakers find this more acceptable. Is this a normal thing to do?

The Most Dreaded Phrase

The most dreaded phrase I can ever hear as a teacher does not begin with “Can I have an extension because. . .”

And it doesn’t begin with “I forgot my homework. . .”

Neither does it begin with “Can I meet with you at 8 pm on Friday because I’m busy doing. . .”

It does not even begin with “Did I miss anything important?”

The most annoying, intolerable, hated phrase starts with “It’s when. . .”

“What is the Inquisition?”

“It’s when. . .”

“What is Tenochtitlan?”

“It’s when. . .”

“Who is Bartolome de Las Casas?”

“It’s when. . .”

No. It’s not when. This phrase should be banned from campus. We are at the level where even the question “What is a civil war?” should not be answered with “it’s when.” We should know how to say “it is an armed conflict between. . .”

Twenty-two “it’s whens” in a single homework assignment, people. And I have 16 more papers to read.