Clarissa’s Inspirational Messages

Reader el suggested I put a message saying “Before you knock on the door, or Clarissa’s Inspirational Messages to Worried Students” on the door of my office. I think this is a brilliant idea. Let’s see what I can put on the list.

How about:

I’m here to engage with your intellect, not your feelings. The phone of the mental health services is: xxx-xxxx.

Is this too harsh?

Another one:

You are not your grammar mistakes.

And the one that really matters to me:

The easiest way to antagonize the person inside this office is to tell her that you don’t like reading.

Any ideas?

Who Makes Them This Way?

Yesterday, a student sent me a 500-word email where the words ‘I feel’ were used multiple times and where she described in detail how painful it is for her to see my corrections of her language mistakes. Can somebody tell me which system of upbringing creates grown people who:

– believe that the only way to relate to others is to insist that they adopt you emotionally, professionally, intellectually and socially and become very upset when others demonstrate that they have no need of an overgrown adoptee;

– believe that it is acceptable to tell a professor “I’m upset because you didn’t validate my feelings”;

– believe that hard work that produces no results is more valuable than a small amount of effort that produces great results;

– believe that every adult they meet owes them constant praise and encouragement;

– start every other sentence with “I feel”;

– insist that other adults dedicate their lives to their petty emotional crises,

so that I can avoid it? I really don’t want to bring up somebody like this by mistake.

Seriously, though, are these people a product of attachment parenting? They seem to want to attach themselves to people like leeches. Their capacity to regulate their own emotional states – which is something that all normally developing kids have by the age of 5 – is non-existent. Their dependence on approval from an adult is overwhelming. Their understanding of what is appropriate among adults is nil. Their capacity to see themselves as adults is not there. Their emotional instability is scary and their self-esteem is in the toilet.

I see such people more and more often among the twenty-year-olds. They look like toddlers who never managed to grow up, and that is scary.

Gay Rights and Mass Media in XIXth-Century Spain

Somebody started an essay on the nineteenth-century Spanish writer Mariano Jose de Larra as follows:

The only acceptable definition of marriage is that of a union between one man and one woman. Today’s mass media, however, try to convince us otherwise. In his “El casarse pronto y mal” we see how a marriage between Augusto and Elena fails because neither is ready for its responsibilities.

As you can probably guess, Larra, who killed himself in 1837, was not even aware of the concept of gay marriage. Today’s mass media were completely alien to his experience as well. The student simply couldn’t resist the burning desire to plant these pearls of wisdom into his essay with no connection to what went after them.

Believe it or not, this is actually a good sign. Students come to college with a lot of really bizarre conditioning. Then, they start discovering the beauty and the richness of the world and, at first, it scares them a lot. They try to resist the realization that their parochial brainwashing makes no sense and this is when snippets of these weird ideas start bursting out of them. The snippets are the last line of defense against reality. Their appearance is a sign that the students are almost cured and are ready to become integrated into the world.