Wednesday, August 5, 2009

On Education (Local Food Forum)

To C___ response (but not exclusively to C___):

My whole agenda is to turn-up the risk of being spacey
as pre-requisite to the possibility of making some sense
-of-my-own. Rolling yr Own holy smokes, I call it--as
opposed to buying it, shrink-wrapped, off the counter.

I used to characterize this process in Composition class as

The Playboy and the Puritan

2 modes, incommensurate and “hostile” and yet
complementary and related to the overall “business”
of COMPOSING (posing together: in writing, in music,
sport, science: same deal)

Wilding: fooling around with what ever comes
to mind; putting it in play, making a mess,
having a ball—immediate gratification, spacing
out, wasting time…prodigality” The PLAYBOY
mode. Theorizing up the wazoo.

on the one hand
and on the other

ok—get serious, reform, revise, up-tighten, butcher:
be merciless, restrain, confine, sequence and first-
things-first: pull it together for coherence sakes
and consistency with (some) appreciation for your
readers and the common sense. The PURITAN mode.

Incompatible & incommensurate modes: often a
battle for power and dominance as severe and
bloody as the battle of the sexes. Can't expect them
to get along "in the same room," Chris. So to speak.
Imagine me and David Bradshaw trying to work up
a Gen Ed curriculum together.

(I was going to present my Playboy & Puritan Algorithm
to a bunch of seniors at a lecture on Composing, for
their Senior Credo & Biography, which was at that
point required for graduation. But the then Dean insisted
I find other terms, convinced as she was that their would
be “fem” in the audience offended by my terminology.)

THAT right THERE says a whole lot—if not everything
regarding this dialectical problem we are juggling.

"Ideally, wanting to learn and
wanting to get a good grade
should reinforce each other. " (C.N.)

Yes—if you polarize these 2 values
(wanting learning) // (wanting good grades)

and do not let them contaminate each other,
(these 2 incommensurate values)

and if you decide which of the 2 you will salute
("no man can serve 2 masters") so that the one
you serve is allowed to rule, dominate, regulate
the every-day wrestle & wrangle of learning on
the one hand, reward on the other hand,

Are you playing for Learning Team--or for
Reinforcement Team? Choose! Sure--they
relate, but not if you aren't in charge. Otherwise
its an agony--know what I mean--rather than
merely an agon. There's a difference.

If your lucky: you’ll figure OUT how they reinforce each other,
like playboy and puritan,
like play and work
like fooling around and getting serious
like theory-izing and practicing (and performance)

By the way: how do you characterize THIS activity
going on right now: US Bullshitting Across the Curriculum
(UBAC) in cyberspace?

I call it “academics” and I'm not even thinking about
whether I’m learning or getting a good grade—except
as a token topic to toy with. Sport.

It’s not yr biology or global studies or literature or linguistics.

Got to love it Play & Be Played--or Stay Away.


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