The Grandest Insult

Three Types of Student Roam Campus

What’s the worst thing you can say to the student body of a research university?

That they could stand to study a bit more.

The funny thing, of course, is that Wednesday’s Red and Black opinion column never goes anywhere near where I’ve gone in recent days, condoning as it does some good debauchery so long as one also reads some text for class every week:

The trooper goes out and parties, maybe not as often as the other types, but that’s because he actually is learning the exam material and not just regurgitating it for the exam. You see, the trooper has figured out the key to getting good grades: spreading out class work. Three to four hours a day of reading, outlining, researching or writing is all one needs to be prepared for class, tests and assignments. The result is a person with a social life, good grades without sleepless nights and a clean conscious.

Yes, it is funny that a column talking about study habits misfired on “conscience.”  But the relatively moderate tone of the thing wasn’t enough to calm the rage of the Dawg.  Thursday the wrath came down.

Now the comments section on this puppy is pure Internet idiocy, and I’m not pretending that Internet idiots are anything but what they are.  But the R&B itself published (i.e. put in its daily printed-on-paper publication) two rather nasty rebuttals, one in Wednesday’s “Letters to the Editor” and the other as a column by the editor herself.  I’m not saying that I ever attributed much dedication to any sort of educational philosophy to the Red and Black, but the editor’s comparison of overcoming a wine hangover to reading Aristotle, learning cell biology, or doing the fieldwork associated with a teacher education degree tells me volumes about the publication and the constituency it serves.  (And if, on the astronomically distant chance that Otto reads this, I should note that you have no idea what “real life” is, kid.) For what it’s worth, I agree with Miss Otto that people who consider studying a waste of one’s best years should avoid it.  I’d just prefer that they stop sucking up the class slots, tax money, teacher time, and all the other resources that any decent college pours into an actual education.  The hiring line at Hardee’s is open.  Go get ’em, and enjoy that booze when you cash your paycheck.

I don’t have all that much more to say about this save that I figured these little pieces were relevant to what I’d written before, and since the R&B is our own beloved campus newspaper, this might be interesting to those who had read along and posted in my own little micro-debate.  I had been thinking about writing a post about the unsustainable economy of the research university, but the student body end of things never did occur to me.  I’m going to have to start some mental revisoins before I dig into that.

Cross-posted at Dawg Cogitans.

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