Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A House Divided: Just Right for the Practice of Liberal Art.

my ivory tower
my moat
& then all that vast territory beyond
( 3 “economies”)

Ownership on the one hand;
Chain of Command on the other.
Malcolm in the middle

Amateur Standing & Professional Ranking
and can they Just Get Along?


We used to be a house divided—two Hawkinsean
Economies more & less competing; fight-club in
the best sense and then along came Financial
Exigency and we heaped the great divide on a
dean and president and that was that—systemic
purgatory & the end of mission-impossible
presbyterianism as we knew it.

Mono-cultural ever since. Green Environmental
Sustainablists-R-Us. Professionalism uber alles.

Do I overstate? Of course. Always for the sake of

A colleague just asked if I knew any good titles
“out there” (OPP: Other People’s Products) to
inform us on liberal art & liberal arts & maybe
trans-formative educating. Or “is sustainability
education the new liberal arts?” She wondered.

How to make IT last.

Jerry Godard, the new dean replacing 40 years
of Henry Jensen, asked me what I thought of our
college prior to his move from Guilford. back in
the daze. Schizophrenic, I suggested. We don’t
know whether to cherish our amateur standing
or go Pro best we can.

Oh, that’s GOOD, said Jerry. Every place I know
worth spit is split and wrangles with itself.
“Without Contraries is no Progress,” said
Wm. Blake & he wasn’t kidding.

2 Economies. Turn it up. Put it in play.
Anticipate a 3rd.
Emergent phenomena.

Early 70’s. Educational reform spilling over from the
late 60’s until it burned out in the early 80’s. Of course
we owned the place then.. Nobody had a problem with
that. Faculty worked in the work program and sometimes
families too—everyone living on campus whether they
wanted to or not. Stake holders.

My first-born castrated baby pigs, raised a heifer with
the chaplain’s daughter, won a blue ribbon at the country
fair and got in to one of them eastern schools as a good-as
-anyone-from-Connecticut, a not-so-girly girl hyping up
their diversity requirement for them. .

I reported to Fire Chief, T. Showalter. Painted dorms
and Gladfelter inside & out under Old Top. English
colleagues worked in the Registrar’s office, and our
Spanish teacher took over the college phone sitting
behind the front desk of Ogg. over Christmas Vacation.

Me & the Economist shoveled silage & pig shit the winter
he acted as head “farmer” for Larsen’s break. I busted
the hoses on a front-end loader working for Ian & drove
back to campus soaked in oil.

We wore out the word “community.”

We had to warn candidates, frankly & honestly before
they “took” a job here: “Look, we’re not for everyone.
But maybe you’re not for everyone, too.”

Still & All: didn’t we want to be like Davidson? Torn
between two lovers: yearning to be pros
yet adoring our village idiocy.

House divided.

Our sense of shared ownership was an emergent property—
having to do with necessity and not PR. Can’t confer it,
assign or appoint-- no more than empower the under
empowered or grant esteem to them who say they
lack it, or tell someone the riddle of the sphinx &
how to stay out of hell.

We’re pros now. Need we argue?
Arguing is good. Reinvent a wheel.
Spark a gap. Or what’s a college for?

To sustain sustainability sustainably?

To talk amongst our self?

xxxooo, Presbyter, which some of you know
old guy, geezer, elderly elder & I'm repeating myself
here again and again. Redundant. Nature is redundant,
thank god, regardless of English teachers views
on the
matter. Anyone can improve my terms and images.
I'm just asking for it. Begging. Punch REPLY TO ALL.
We'll have a conversation. across the curriculum.
Maybe sustain some.

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