Suppurating Sores of the Psyche

Reader Shakti left this curious comment about an obscure author who made a speech at a high school graduation ceremony that was so bad people in the audience booed him. Here is a part I find curious in the speech:

I have an absolutely clear memory of being 18 and graduating from Roosevelt High School. I remember that many things made me feel happy, and that I pursued those things with vigor, but I also remember that I dreaded adulthood, and even more, old age and death, and that no matter what I was doing, no matter how good were the good times, somewhere at the bottom—underneath the music and the friends, the late nights and the fun—somewhere at the bottom there was always an awareness that this wasn’t going to last forever, and that I would have to get old like everyone else, which might not be so fun, and that one day, I would die, which wouldn’t be fun, either.

This is precisely what we talked about when we discussed the negative mother complex. This gentleman was intensely immature when he left high school (fear of adulthood is a sign of immaturity) and he remained stuck in this infantile mode of behavior. Now all he an do to enjoy life at least marginally is bully young people and try to spoil their graduation ceremony.

The rest of the speech should have been delivered at a psychoanalyst’s office many years ago. Then the poor author would have gotten help for his neurotic condition and wouldn’t need to badger others with it.

I always find it disgusting when instead of seeking professional help, people engage in these nauseating exhibitions of the suppurating sores of their psyche. It would never occur to anybody to remove a bandage that covers a gangrened limb and stick it into people’s faces during a festive occasion, would it? So why is it so much more acceptable to exhibit decomposing, putrefacient souls to innocent bystanders?

P.S. And this is what I will do to anybody who dares to say a bad word about Enlightenment.

Prefab Teaching

Somebody we all know and like (I have no idea what the protocol for quoting Facebook comments is and I don’t want to invade people’s privacy on Facebook) said the following:

I would be more open to the creative potential of digital distance teaching if people who do not accept that I already teach hybrid, with mega-Moodle sites, websites, and blogs, would stop browbeating me about how I should replace myself with someone else’s canned lectures if I am not to be declared a Luddite.

Anyway, there is this and I think I must reform my critique: instead of saying anything that can be interpreted as anti-machine, I will criticize the MOOC promoters for not being pro-machine enough themselves, or not having discovered all of the really advanced potential in machines.

I agree with this statement completely. I use a lot of technology in my courses but I use it exclusively and without an exception to deliver the content that I have created specifically for my students. If I make a video for my students, every word in it comes from me and every slide or sequence has been created by me. These videos cannot be transferred or sold to anybody else because they only make sense within the framework of my courses.

I’m very happy that this colleague has given me a way of pushing back against all the suggestions that I substitute my content with somebody else’s. I mean, if I was hired to teach, then I will teach. And my material will come from my own store of knowledge. Switching on some pre-fab lecture created by somebody else does not qualify as teaching.

So now I will tell the MOOC lovers and the instructional video promoters that they don’t understand technology well enough. There is the kind of cooking that consists of heating up a TV dinner and there is the kind where you create a culinary miracle from scratch with your own hands. I’m into the latter while the MOOCers are into the former.