Skip to main content

Hamlets without Hamlet -- Thoreau, or dark ages?

The application of the real world is the most powerful tool in our educator toolbox, and what better way to understand a philosophy about cultivating land than to do it? As we read pages of "Walden" and planted our seeds, quotes from Thoreau such as "I chose to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived," carried much more weight with action. And guess what? We even wrote paragraphs about it.

[. . .]

When your elementary-school child is forced to pick up his or her toys after recess, you are going to claim that because your child is a "privileged American" he or she should not be taught the values of simple tidiness? When your child has the opportunity to attend a field trip to the zoo to see the lions after studying the climate and culture of Africa you are going to say, "You're not going. Read another book"? And frankly, what about the farmers who enjoy their life as it is and truly do not need to know the entirety of "Hamlet" to have a good life and make a good living? She dismisses physical work, under the guise of respecting students' upward mobility, but it also hints darkly at her views of the people in those fields. (Alissa Novoselik, “The school gardener strikes back,” Salon, 15 January 2010)

RE: “And frankly, what about the farmers who enjoy their life as it is and truly do not need to know the entirety of "Hamlet" to have a good life and make a good living?”

But what about the corporatists, those living in the metal jungle, who well enjoy their life of millions but will never aspire beyond Dan Brown? Will you speak up for them too? Or do you just have a thing for the different kind of green? There are good ways to move away from Shakespeare, but for me -- an urbane --pastoral romance is the worst of ways. There is no wisdom in dirt, just random happenstance. If we turn to it so we better understand "Shakespeare," okay, but if we do so in an effort to make HIM the one who is optional, then the ONLY reason this is still a plus is because progressives tend to be the ones so turned on to garden-learning. Personally, I way prefer the glass and concrete; I just want interactive, democratic, child-focused learning, to be the norm.

Re: “I was so angry after reading "Cultivating Failure," that I assigned my 11th grade students a writing exercise on this question: "Is interactive learning important? Why or why not?" After 10 minutes of frantic scribbling, I heard about the necessity of things like our school garden in my students' own voices.”

So something was bothering you, and you made your students sort it out for you. Maybe next time ask what was really bothering THEM, before assigning them to match your irritated state with their frantic scribbling. You make it seem as if they eased your tension, with their experiencing your pain. They're not extensions of you to use to stamp out internal fires. I hope one of them told you to piss off. And you proved okay with that. That's the kind of fire I MOST want to see: I could give a fig about the worms (mostly).

Link: “The school gardener strikes back” (Salon)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Too late -- WE SAW your boobs

I think we're mostly familiar with ceremonies where we do anointing. Certainly, if we can imagine a context where humiliation would prove most devastating it'd probably be at a ceremony where someone thought themselves due an honor -- "Carrie," "Good Fellas." "We labored long to adore you, only so to prime your hope, your exposure … and then rather than a ladder up we descended the slops, and hoped, being smitten, you'd judged yourself worthless protoplasm -- a nothing, for letting yourselves hope you might actually be something -- due to be chuted into Hades or Hell." Ostensibly, nothing of the sort occurred during Oscars 2013, where the host, Seth Macfarlane, did a number featuring all the gorgeous Oscar-winning actresses in attendance who sometime in their careers went topless, and pointed this out to them. And it didn't -- not quite. Macarlane would claim that all obscenity would be directed back at him, for being the geek so pathetic …

Discussion over the fate of Jolenta, at the Gene Wolfe facebook appreciation site

Patrick McEvoy-Halston November 28 at 10:36 AM Why does Severian make almost no effort to develop sustained empathy for Jolenta -- no interest in her roots, what made her who she was -- even as she features so much in the first part of the narrative? Her fate at the end is one sustained gross happenstance after another... Severian has repeated sex with her while she lay half drugged, an act he argues later he imagines she wanted -- even as he admits it could appear to some, bald "rape" -- but which certainly followed his discussion of her as someone whom he could hate so much it invited his desire to destroy her; Severian abandons her to Dr. Talus, who had threatened to kill her if she insisted on clinging to him; Baldanders robs her of her money; she's sucked at by blood bats, and, finally, left at death revealed discombobulated of all beauty... a hunk of junk, like that the Saltus citizens keep heaped away from their village for it ruining their preferred sense of themse…

It might not have been worth it, Lupita

This is how Lupita Nhyong'o describes the shooting of the whipping scene in "12 Years a Slave":  And being there was more then enough to handle. "The reality of the day was that I was stripped naked in front of lots of people," Nyong'o said. "It was impossible to make that a closed set. In fact, I didn't even as for it to be a closed set, because at the end of the day, that was a privilege not granted to Patsey, you know? It really took me there. It was devastating to experiencing that, and to be tied to a post and whipped. Of course, I couldn't possible be really whipped. But just hearing the crack of that thing behind me, and having to react with my body, and with each whip, get weaker and weaker …" She grew quiet, and sighed. "I mean, it was -- I didn't practice it. It was just -- it was an exercise of imagination and surrender." Lupita was trying to become as close as she could to the actual Patsey, out of fidelity, apprec…