Dear Jeff and Laura,
Sustaining the Liberal Art
I pray every night that we might be a faculty who can bray
together and stay together. The atmosphere and over all
Environmentalism of yesterday’s retreat is the KIND that
encourages a culture of growth and non-industrialized free-
ranging chicken & egg simultaneity where which comes first
& which comes second makes no never mind and a good time
is had by all: free candy, big green hulking fist, Read’s baby
pictures, Welcome Back Cotter, guessing games, Laura’s
brain simmering & sizzling turn-on’s (“I’m proud to be a
Liberal Artist!). Jeff’s insults, & Richard Blomgren’s antics
so often yelling Theater! Theatre! in a crowded fire.
This is what I’m talking about.
The OTHER Environmentalism we too easily let our
concerns with air quality & wellness occlude, know what
I mean: attendance policies and assessmentalism (are you
doing what you say your doing and how do you know,
damnit—or are you just saying that!)
SERIOUSLY: always cleaning up the crisis in the kitchen
so no one goes up on the roof to fix the holes because it’s
too wet up there and always so much to fix ( swine flu and
service projects & saving the planet), and when it’s not
raining why fix what’s not broken?
I just tried to describe the Ivory-Tower-less mentality.
Dear Laura: the Ivory Tower IS the liberal art. All that other
activity—fixing and mending and tending to crisis & the
whirl we have with us all ways: that’s liberalarts.
If you can’t tell the difference, I doubt I can explain it.
On the one hand: knowing for knowings sake, art for arts
sake. Elite and leisured (“schola”) What? What the?
What the hell? (Inquiring minds.) On the other hand"
work and service.
If the ivory tower is clouded by practicality, it’s
contaminated: not the liberal art.
Liberalarts: sure: math and chemistry and biology, all the way
up the hill. Practical. Vocational. Got to get them into
medical school . Or vetenaria.
But not liberal art: not the ivory tower.
Need we argue? Imaging what might occur if we could? Did?
This here's the venue—right here: our e-hyde park 23/7/365 :
Twenty-four hour “school mode.” (aka “Being Academic.)
Yesterday’s exuberance: what-the-hell, screw-em-if-they-
can’t-take-a-joke: just the right mind-set & environmentality
to carry over into our virtual ongoing campfire: virtual smores
and jokes, ghost stories & whack-o ideas –imagine what
might occur as emergent properties & values rising up from
our commerce and converse-action: smokin’ intellective and
affective fire. Communitas.
All ye All ye In Free In Free: Come Out Come Out wherever
you are. Jump right in: water’s perfect.. I’ve been pissing in
the pond for years to warm it up for you. Us.
(My service project)
Ivory Tower/ Moat / Outlying territory
Theory / Practice/ In Performance
Academics / Work/ Service
Don’t collapse, conflate, or confuse these values whatever
your discipline or tradition or common sense. Separate,
polarize, turn up the differences—put them in play:
THEN we might could talk together about
relationship and integration.
Go ahead. Improve my terms and images.
I’m always just asking for it. Begging.
Core? Gen Ed? General Education? If IT emerges from
the ground up zero-based local food-like, a womb of
our own--our alma mater--THEN it don’t matter
what the devilish details--good and plenty
and galore. How we skin the categories.
I wish you would fight me on this.