Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Professor Zombie

Okay, I'm back--mostly. All that driving in the pouring rain took a little something out of me, and then I had to face this big pile of papers that did not grade themselves while I was gone, not to mention the urgent need to stay up very late so as not to miss a single pitch of the World Series.

In other words, I'm a little out of it. Zombiesque, even, which is appropriate for Halloween week. I always tell my classes that I'm dressing for Halloween as the scariest thing I know--an English professor--but this year I dressed as an English professor whose brain cells have been scattered all along I-90.

So in lieu of something coherent to say, here are some random bits of flotsam that have washed up on the shores of my feeble brain: 

Overheard at a meeting: "Understanding the assignment is the assignment."

Overheard at another meeting: "Since 51 percent of respondents are satisfied with the program, it's doing just fine." (Which is true as long as nobody notices the other 49 percent sitting over in the corner screaming in fury.)

In a related matter, saying "No one I know has that problem" does not count as evidence that the problem does not exist.

Nobody on campus is better at festive decorating and inventive costumes than the library staff. Nobody!  You should have seen the duo dressed as Dunkin' Donuts, whose costumes involved basketball nets, basketballs, basketball jerseys, and giant plastic "donuts."

Speaking of libraries, Greta Van Susteren apparently thinks libraries are "vanity projects" that waste students' tuition dollars (link here). Her argument is based on the assumption that everyone can find everything they need to know on their smartphones. Who can spot the flaws in that argument? (Hint: start with the words "everyone" and "everything.")

Reading responses suggest that my comedy students simply don't "get" satire. "Where are the jokes?" they ask, as if jokes are the only form of comedy they recognize. So what do I do with that? Maybe I'll tell them about the stand-up comic I saw on television in Toronto last week, a guy in Toronto making fun of people from Alberta and Quebec. Comedy travels, but sometimes it loses something along the way. 

Just like me. Would someone please point me toward my classroom so I can go up there and try to make some sense? 


No comments: