Skip to main content

When the good-parent Dumbledore is artfully being shown the door

How Should the University Evolve?, part 1 of 2 from BLSCI on Vimeo.

and the Q&A is here:

I’m in the midst of Thanksgiving prep so don’t have time to contribute my own commentary. Basically we were a bit at cross purposes. Siva gave a theatrically impassioned and well-supported defense of the traditional university and I tried to make the point that I don’t care much what happens to the traditional university. I come neither to bury nor to praise it, but to talk about the needs that learners have (whether students or no) and how those needs might best be met (using both technology and traditional forms and new hybrids of the same).

This discourse was pronounced both “empowering” and “bullshit” on Twitter, and rightfully so I think. Kyra Gaunt, an anthropology professor at Baruch, a TED fellow, and a hero of mine, gave out more truth at the microphone during the Q&A than I heard coming from the stage all night. She correctly intuited”My sense: @sivavaid who really liked your book was doing the academic devils advocacy thing which I hate. #debateisnotengagement”

At some point academics end and you have to take a stand on stuff. My fave Tweet was this one:

@unboundstudent: @anya1anya @sivavaid DIYU Takeaway? future of higher ed is a conversation of the ppl! (Anya Kamenetz, “Video of Debate with Siva Vaidyanathan at Baruch College on 11/18,” 24 Nov. DIY U)


At one point you mentioned that no thing was guaranteed (to last, to remain), and were okay with that, and Siva responded that he hoped university could be, that is must be. I sided with Siva here a bit. I think you’ve got a high self-esteem, and it is this that makes it so that for you now the disappearance of ostensible societal necessities — wiki or what-not — needn’t automatically register as if your safety blanket was suddenly lost to you. You’re more like, well, okay, something substantial did just go down -- but is it possible that what remains and is now better exposed to view, is actually better? And if it is, you’re glad the older, more primitive form is lost, and get to making the more mature and evolved forms reach their potential ends. And if it isn’t, you point out the current flaws, and get back what was wrongly disposed of. You’re fair, appropriately excited by what could and should be, and just as appropriately impatient with the mediocre and insufficient in its loud fight to on-and-on-and-on still-prosper. But most people don’t strike me as healthy as you are, as secure as you are, and actually need some secure place that can withstand their own storms as well as outside ones — some Hogwarts — to exist, for them to have some chance of not becoming mostly survivalist, feral, truly lost — incapable of doing much interesting with sophisticated technology, open acess, not out of unfamiliarity, or from being priced out, but because they haven’t at any time in their lives known the lengthy period of guaranteed support that enables everything else worthwhile (including openness to risk, to loss) to develop. Even if they don’t make it to university, have no plans “thereof,” they intuit and are to some extent buoyed by the overall nurturing, good character of a society, if it is pronounced in its fight to erect and support institutions (government, universities) primarily UNDERSTOOD as for, well, guarantees, respite, fellowship and support.

For you it’s something stodgy, elitist, and inhibiting being rightly challenged by what is vital, most democratic, and promising. But for most of the public my guess is that this conversation will be about whether it wants to eliminate the good parent Dumbledore (the university) for an environment that leaves more and more children unsheltered, exposed to errant mischance (the free market, as it understands it now), with less of a chance of any child misunderstanding it for different (for us to create such a world, what must we truly think of you, dear child?). University that is more aloof, and harder to reach, and the rest of it a wild of perhaps pot-luck success but mostly scammers. My concern is that their increasing support of you (DIY U and such) will not be born of caught-sight of a perhaps better way, but because they think their children deserve a more desolate, less certain environment to unlearn them of their fixed spoiledness. Whatever your hopes, America has in mind to make of your righteous cause, further means to hurt its kids. It’s that sick. Even many of its liberals.

Link: Video of Debate with Siva Vaidyanathan at Baruch College on 11/18 DIY U

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Old Youth

You write about how poverty breeds creativity. You think about how scavenging for wild food gives you the perfect opportunity to slow down, to really appreciate your surroundings. You talk about how frugality is more environmentally sustainable. You pontificate on why creating meals from scratch is cheaper, healthier and deeply satisfying. Then you run out of cooking oil.You love fat. As a child you ate margarine by the spoonful. You didn't know any better. Now you've moved on to more delicious pastures. As a cook you can never resist sneaking in that extra bit of butter, that tablespoonful of olive oil, that dab of bacon grease. You believe that cake is a vessel for frosting, that salad dressing should be two parts oil to one part vinegar, and that packaged low-fat foods are a symptom of the decline of Western civilization. Fat makes food taste good.Under the best of circumstances, you have eight or nine varieties of fat on hand. In ascending order of importance: chicken drip…

Superimposing another "fourth-wall" Deadpool

I'd like to superimpose the fourth-wall breaking Deadpool that I'd like to have seen in the movie. In my version, he'd break out of the action at some point to discuss with us the following:
1) He'd point out that all the trouble the movie goes to to ensure that the lead actress is never seen completely naked—no nipples shown—in this R-rated movie was done so that later when we suddenly see enough strippers' completely bared breasts that we feel that someone was making up for lost time, we feel that a special, strenuous effort has been made to keep her from a certain fate—one the R-rating would even seemed to have called for, necessitated, even, to properly feed the audience expecting something extra for the movie being more dependent on their ticket purchases. That is, protecting the lead actress was done to legitimize thinking of those left casually unprotected as different kinds of women—not as worthy, not as human.   


2) When Wade/Deadpool and Vanessa are excha…

True Detective cont'd

Recently, Rachel Syme wrote this
As the dust settles on the “True Detective” finale, and the adventures of Rust Cohle and Marty Hart fade into the television firmament like the distant stars they found so meaningful, at least one thing is clear: it didn’t quite end the way we wanted it to. There is no doubt that the writer, Nic Pizzolatto, and director, Cary Fukunaga, pulled off a midseason coup, giving us a show in the January doldrums that caused temporary mass insanity. Like one of Rust’s intoxicating philosophical koans about sentient meat, “True Detective” cast a kind of spell over its viewers, convincing them that no matter what it was they were watching it was at the very least something worth the hours of debating, clicking, parsing, and comment-section feuding. Moreover, the gorgeous cinematography depicting Louisiana in the gloaming, the delectable short-anthology format, and the movie-star bona fides made us believe that we were watching something novelistic, even approachi…