Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Be Serious for crying out loud

Citizenship (cont)
THIS is serious business & We’ve got to be Serious About IT.

Stalwart Pioneers Toward Frontiers Yet Unknown
in case you’re not familiar with the words from
Henry Jensen’s Alma Matrix

Dear Colleagues,

Flipping back & forth between American Idol try-outs
& the Las Vegas Debates last night, the differences eclipse
if not occlude the SAME-in-Kind.

See ME
Hear ME
Touch ME
Feed ME.

Need we argue?

How to juggle Sames & Differences without doing
injustice to either: liberal art. Seriously.

I could turn-up the mixed blessings of past decades
here—when we muddled about trying to be a college
and run with the accredited and re-accredited big-boys,
Davidson down the road etc. and our stationary
in the 70’s made it clear

“we are a fully accredited four-year college”

under the mast head because it was new for us
—having been “high school” since 1894

(in the 30’s—our President Randolph was a Dewey-ite
& for awhile our academic
program was something like
Summerhill in
England: open, free-styling independence,
courses without borders: students followed their gnosis
and decided when they were
ready for graduation & put
themselves in
front of the faculty to be examined—much
like SACKS is mandating us all in our major
to show reasons why this
student knows enough to be
degreed. Out come. Coming out.)

and junior college since sometimes in the 40’s.

(my mother organized a group of Presbyterian Church
Ladies in Johnstown Pa to box and send
clothing down
to this mission school, packages
probably tossed off the
train as it moved slowly
thru Swannanoa crossing on
the way to Asheville.)

And so we were self-conscious re our academic status and
wanted to do right by what it means To Be a College for
crying out loud and yet had this Farm going on and a
mission back ground grinding us with a notion of
Service as well as a whole mess of foreign students
too (27 % in the mid 70’s) coming to us from Presbyterian
Outposts in the near East mainly, beefing up our soccer team
and letting Jensen describe us in our catalogue as “Cosmopolitan.”

We may have been small and rural, nestled in the Blue Ridge,
but we were also cosmopolitan and community-oriented,
by necessity—which was also a virtue.

I was saying:
I could turn up the mixed-blessing
of our muddling pre-professional amateurism
and the sense of ownership that permeated our
relationship— but it’s done & gone, and that kind of
community spirit generated by necessity rather than
PR tacked on to the vestiges of previous stalwart pioneering
can not be resurrected or faked either.

Well, it can be faked, but it’s not the same.
It becomes “citizenship.”

However: the “frontiers yet unknown” in my
presumptuous opinion is still at hand: what you
are scanning right be-here-now—our finger-tip
virtual kiosk, commons, Hyde Park soap-box
caucus available (24/7/365): a venue which is
neither Fellowship Hall twice a year or monthly
Forums, or 4 times a year Faculty Presentations
er-ah-umm in the Garden Cabin, or lunchroom,
hallway, and stair well converse not to mention
faculty- developmental flights to Chicago to attend
a professional conference at an air port Holiday Innn
and maybe deliver a paper too or not--not that there’s
any thing wrong with any of that but none of it is THIS:

potential on-going converse-action going on that would
raise high the cerebral roof-beam carpentry, generating
a shared local edification and a new kind of noetic
OWNERSHIP like local food back that we catch every
once in a while we’re sitting around tables and talking
amongst our SELF: teasing, taunting, seriously fooling
around with our own ideas for crying out loud know
what I mean?

Yeah, you do too. I bet you five dollars.

I’ve said this kind of thing before. I’m redundant.
It’s no secret. I’m walking on 3 legs. I’m the oldest
living member of the teaching staff here: you got a
problem with that?. I am the most serious.
I’m not kidding.

xxxooo, Presbyter

local academics

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