Saturday, October 27, 2007

Canaries in the Mind Shaft

Bewitched, Baffled & Bewilderness

On learning 6 of my bright academic kidlets have
received a grade of D or F in at least one course &
simultaneously receiving from my sister-in-law an
article entitled

American kids, dumber than dirt!
Warning: The next generation might
just be the biggest pile of idiots in
U.S. history

Dear Colleagues on both sides of the desks
across the curriculum.

How’s this for a Liberal Art (not to be collapsed
or conflated with liberal arts) mantra or bumper

“The Mind that is NOT baffled is not employed.”

Wendell Barry says this in “Poetry & Marriage”
(Standing By Words) making a kind of virtue
out of a kind of confusion..

Another: If you are not confused, you aren’t paying attention.

Mm mmm…Good!

Turn it up, I say in class. Nail it down.
Dis-connect. Polarize. Characterize.
Put it in PLAY for crying out loud
or what’s a college for?

Standing by words, so to speak, in manners of speaking:
what else do I have to play with under fluorescence,
surrounded by cinder block. This is School Mode,
yes? Literally: “leisure time” (schola): “school”
is a leisure-class activity, damnit—the damage

Words strain crack and sometimes break under the burden,
under the tension, slip, slide, perish the thoughts & decay
with imprecision.

Will not stay in place.
Will not stay still.
Wiggle & wrangle
& wrestle & mangle
unless I nail them
down so as to do
my bidness— got
to love the dead, me:

Shrieking voices, scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
always assail them; assail us assailing them, me: assailant
assailing. Assail & be assailed! Salacious, insulting, jumping
& leaping: the violence bearing it away. The Dead: speaking
in tons of angles & clanging brass. It’s a gong show.

(sampling some of T.S. Eliot: select specimens from
“Burnt Norton” re-possessed, reconfigured, elaborated
& reformed to fit my screed.)

The mind that is not baffled is not occupied.

Of course IT depends, as the kids say fast—
demonstrating their contextual harrassmental
savvy because they aren’t going to get pinned
down, stupid.

IT always depends.
On definition and context
and use/mention function and
so up-for-grabs & I’d have to do
some fast talking frame-discourse to
justify BAFFLEMENT & loving it as my
assessmentally verifiable aim and objective in
all my courses…

(I’m not like them other guys:
power-point pointillists ,video-
saturating syllabi-driving—pre-
determining measurable outcomes
by quiz, examination & reinforced
ex-officious reservoir doggone black
mail all around grade-gun saturated
amniotic alma matrix soaking fluid
drive transmission.

You know: the dominant orthodox
paradigmatic un-enigmatic take-
a-course, take any course: one size
more or less fits all content and
subject-object matter more or less,
I said.

Mostly more I bet but surely I overstate
or under… depends on anyone’s bias &
belief system, convictions & prejudices.

I am redundant—which in disclaimer I
call virtue and goes along with my
obsession and compulsion. Nature is
redundant, thank God for that—so
there’s always another train leaving the
station & we can get on bored lil chillins:
room for plenty of s’mores...)

…to make room for muddle, mess-&-guess work,
questioning just about everything and still clueless
as to the cover-up of hidden assumptions and
controlling meta-force that makes us do what we do
and think we thought of it. Jogging in the mornings,
say. Bottled water at 3.50 a pop. The return of Raydon.
Intermittent Explosive Disorders. Check it out: the
colonoscopizing of our cultural relativities. seek &
you shall find: new polyp every time.

Nothing sacred in school-mode, of course; not talking
Church or State modes where everything is sacred on
the one hand and on the other: my homeland security
that’s for sure—no monkeying with that

Are you BAFFLED right now? Don’t you love it? I wish.
Can you imagine a context (or a meta-context) where
bewitched, bothered, & bewilderness would be Just Right
so as to turn it up, put it in play: a maze of grapes & noetic
wrath —& us: trampling out advantages with our terrible
swift words.

xxxooo. Presbyter

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