Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

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Flex
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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by Flex » 17 Sep 2015, 6:44pm

revbob wrote:What's the name of your class again?
"I'm Sorry: A Study of Canadian National Identity with Lumberjacks and Mounties and Shit: The Doctor Medulla Story: How Wire Affected Harper's Foreign Policy Directives Through Generational Turning: Eh?"
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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by Dr. Medulla » 17 Sep 2015, 7:19pm

Flex wrote:
revbob wrote:What's the name of your class again?
"I'm Sorry: A Study of Canadian National Identity with Lumberjacks and Mounties and Shit: The Doctor Medulla Story: How Wire Affected Harper's Foreign Policy Directives Through Generational Turning: Eh?"
:lol: Apparently it's also a study in colon usage.

The blander (or Canadian) answer is A Social and Cultural History of Rock n Roll. But it's not that, really. It's a bit more methodological, albeit indirectly, to see how we can use popular music to investigate historical questions like protest, economic restructuring, race, sexual identity. It's not rock biography, but rock as a lens.
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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by Kory » 18 Sep 2015, 12:51am

I'd like to take part in this, but I have literally no idea how much time I can devote, being freelance and all. Is there a spot for a wishy-washy participant?
Inder:
Absolutely. Here's another collection of words:

Table salt (spoon hinge)
Octopus (Ukraine)
St. Petersburg (arms)
Ginger beer (cauliflower)
Pat Sajak (PSak)
Lamp post (self evident)
Florida Timeshare (ditto)
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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by Wolter » 18 Sep 2015, 2:31am

Kory wrote:I'd like to take part in this, but I have literally no idea how much time I can devote, being freelance and all. Is there a spot for a wishy-washy participant?
I'm pretty sure I'm that slot already, but you can share the role.
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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by Kory » 18 Sep 2015, 8:56pm

Wolter wrote:
Kory wrote:I'd like to take part in this, but I have literally no idea how much time I can devote, being freelance and all. Is there a spot for a wishy-washy participant?
I'm pretty sure I'm that slot already, but you can share the role.
With our powers combined, we can almost be 50% committed!
Inder:
Absolutely. Here's another collection of words:

Table salt (spoon hinge)
Octopus (Ukraine)
St. Petersburg (arms)
Ginger beer (cauliflower)
Pat Sajak (PSak)
Lamp post (self evident)
Florida Timeshare (ditto)
Heraclitus (EMI)
Developers (Developers Developers)
Boogie With Your Children

Wolter
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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by Wolter » 19 Sep 2015, 12:02am

Kory wrote:
Wolter wrote:
Kory wrote:I'd like to take part in this, but I have literally no idea how much time I can devote, being freelance and all. Is there a spot for a wishy-washy participant?
I'm pretty sure I'm that slot already, but you can share the role.
With our powers combined, we can almost be 50% committed!
Eh, that sounds like a lot of work.
"There's something more honest, he believed, about traditional methods of mass starvation, labour camps, and machine gunning millions to death. Stalin was a vinyl guy who sneered at Truman converting everything to compact disc." - Thomas Jefferson

"But the gorilla thinks otherwise!"

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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by Dr. Medulla » 09 Oct 2015, 3:36pm

My group are discussing that Beatles book tonight. I have their write-ups already and a good two-thirds despised it. I knew at least half would—with some justification—but most who did picked really strange reasons (he likes the band too much, it's just his opinions, he uses too many metaphors). Sigh. Poor historians aren't allowed to be creative or enjoy their work, I guess.
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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by eumaas » 09 Oct 2015, 3:45pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:My group are discussing that Beatles book tonight. I have their write-ups already and a good two-thirds despised it. I knew at least half would—with some justification—but most who did picked really strange reasons (he likes the band too much, it's just his opinions, he uses too many metaphors). Sigh. Poor historians aren't allowed to be creative or enjoy their work, I guess.
WHY IS THIS BOOK NOT A LIST OF DATES, PERSONS, AND FACTS????!!!!
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by eumaas » 09 Oct 2015, 3:50pm

On a related note, I've noticed in my literature classes, particularly the 18th c., that people automatically believe whatever someone wrote about anything was a factual account. Almost all of my classmates assumed that what Lady Montagu described of Swift in her The Reasons that Induced Dr. S. to Write a Poem Call'd the Lady's Dressing Room were true.

What the fuck?

They also have not even a glimmer of anything approaching a Marxian or radical interpretation of history.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by Dr. Medulla » 09 Oct 2015, 3:50pm

eumaas wrote:
Dr. Medulla wrote:My group are discussing that Beatles book tonight. I have their write-ups already and a good two-thirds despised it. I knew at least half would—with some justification—but most who did picked really strange reasons (he likes the band too much, it's just his opinions, he uses too many metaphors). Sigh. Poor historians aren't allowed to be creative or enjoy their work, I guess.
WHY IS THIS BOOK NOT A LIST OF DATES, PERSONS, AND FACTS????!!!!
Because it's not history. Apparently. :rolleyes:
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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by Dr. Medulla » 09 Oct 2015, 3:53pm

eumaas wrote:On a related note, I've noticed in my literature classes, particularly the 18th c., that people automatically believe whatever someone wrote about anything was a factual account. Almost all of my classmates assumed that what Lady Montagu described of Swift in her The Reasons that Induced Dr. S. to Write a Poem Call'd the Lady's Dressing Room were true.

What the fuck?

They also have not even a glimmer of anything approaching a Marxian or radical interpretation of history.
Because the written word is magical. It really is and it's hard to train yourself to reject what is written. Perhaps it's because we're just better at deciphering verbal cues and the like, but people are better at spotting bullshit when it is spoken than when it is written.

Marxian interpretation of history? You jest, sir. We read a Marxian account of the rise of punk next week. I'm certain this will be their first exposure to that framing. I expect fun.
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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by Dr. Medulla » 10 Oct 2015, 11:49am

Brief update about my class last night and the Beatles book. A couple students were pretty vocal about their hostility to the book—and I appreciated that, just being passionate about assessing an author—but one guy totally got the argument and intent. Just completely, even suggesting aspects that I hadn't considered. Afterwards he told me that reading it was a revelation in terms of our relationship with history. He was already one of the best two students, but, damn, that was satisfying. If nothing else happens in the class the rest of the way, one person had that too-rare "holy fuck" intellectual moment (two others were basically in his camp, but I don't think they appreciated the significance quite as profoundly). There's a basic truism that if you can reach 10–15% of the students, that's a success, and I've found my 3 or 4 in a class of 24.
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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by eumaas » 10 Oct 2015, 12:07pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:Brief update about my class last night and the Beatles book. A couple students were pretty vocal about their hostility to the book—and I appreciated that, just being passionate about assessing an author—but one guy totally got the argument and intent. Just completely, even suggesting aspects that I hadn't considered. Afterwards he told me that reading it was a revelation in terms of our relationship with history. He was already one of the best two students, but, damn, that was satisfying. If nothing else happens in the class the rest of the way, one person had that too-rare "holy fuck" intellectual moment (two others were basically in his camp, but I don't think they appreciated the significance quite as profoundly). There's a basic truism that if you can reach 10–15% of the students, that's a success, and I've found my 3 or 4 in a class of 24.
I have a historian friend who says he thinks he's probably just teaching for one student. Not that he isn't trying his best for everyone involved, but that he knows he probably isn't going to reach more than a handful of undergrads over his career.

I don't know if that's something peculiar to our times, either. Maybe it was always like that. That one medieval Saxon monk who gets real excited about Latin's quantitative measure or some shit, I dunno.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by Flex » 10 Oct 2015, 12:25pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:Brief update about my class last night and the Beatles book. A couple students were pretty vocal about their hostility to the book—and I appreciated that, just being passionate about assessing an author—but one guy totally got the argument and intent. Just completely, even suggesting aspects that I hadn't considered. Afterwards he told me that reading it was a revelation in terms of our relationship with history. He was already one of the best two students, but, damn, that was satisfying. If nothing else happens in the class the rest of the way, one person had that too-rare "holy fuck" intellectual moment (two others were basically in his camp, but I don't think they appreciated the significance quite as profoundly). There's a basic truism that if you can reach 10–15% of the students, that's a success, and I've found my 3 or 4 in a class of 24.
That's awesome.
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Re: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School

Post by Dr. Medulla » 10 Oct 2015, 12:30pm

eumaas wrote:
Dr. Medulla wrote:Brief update about my class last night and the Beatles book. A couple students were pretty vocal about their hostility to the book—and I appreciated that, just being passionate about assessing an author—but one guy totally got the argument and intent. Just completely, even suggesting aspects that I hadn't considered. Afterwards he told me that reading it was a revelation in terms of our relationship with history. He was already one of the best two students, but, damn, that was satisfying. If nothing else happens in the class the rest of the way, one person had that too-rare "holy fuck" intellectual moment (two others were basically in his camp, but I don't think they appreciated the significance quite as profoundly). There's a basic truism that if you can reach 10–15% of the students, that's a success, and I've found my 3 or 4 in a class of 24.
I have a historian friend who says he thinks he's probably just teaching for one student. Not that he isn't trying his best for everyone involved, but that he knows he probably isn't going to reach more than a handful of undergrads over his career.
I admit that I possess a certain LBJ quality that I want to reach everyone, but I do know that the vast majority just don't care. Still, I get annoyed at myself that I can't get those students more excited and critically engaged.
I don't know if that's something peculiar to our times, either. Maybe it was always like that. That one medieval Saxon monk who gets real excited about Latin's quantitative measure or some shit, I dunno.
I would say it is more particular to our time, the result of mass education and the expectations that you go get a BA after high school to reach or maintain middle-class status. Even tho the university is flooded with more and more who don't really engage intellectually, thereby lowering the proportion who truly belong there, it's still a good thing just because there are late bloomers or those who just need someone to open their eyes (that was me; I was a classic underachiever in high school), so eliminating people based on high school performance or income level doesn't make sense. Better too many than excluding those who would benefit from the opportunity. But, yeah, it does mean that you're always going to be playing to an audience that is mostly indifferent or hostile. Which is also why, holy fuck, do you treasure those students who are engaged. That's something I never realized, let alone appreciated, until I ended up on the other side of the podium.
Walrus birth doesn't make good breakfast conversation!

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