Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Precious Memories 2

When I was taking my required American Lit (1600-1900) course back in college, the professor had an interesting division of grade weighting. There was a midterm project and then a "final" project around which you also had to construct a class discussion and an abstract. Maybe 10% of your grade actually required more work than showing up before 9 a.m.

I, being the smart person I am, determined that if I forced myself to sign up for discussion of a book we did early in the second part of the semester, I'd have effectively the last month of class free from turning in any assignments. Here is an opening paragraph I turned in about halfway through the year, knowing my professor adored me and would let me say anything so long as I supported it with hard work and insight. It regards the first full-length motion picture "Birth of A Nation," as made by the Ku Klux Klan:

"While I disagree with what this dead racist says, I'll defend to the death his right to say it. But not my death. I'm a coward. And perhaps not to the death. To a maiming, perhaps, or at least a serious foreseeable injury." - Professor's only comment? "Voltaire would be proud…."

Great. What kind of work did I produce after I had ensured a 90+ average for the class?

Here's my notes for a full week of discussion Kate Chopin's "The Awakening."
"I have breasts AND indignation!"
Please note the little Disney Magic Castle on the bottom left. Charming, really. That's the book's cover I doodled. With framing. The next week we spent discussing Anarchism, the results diagramed as more of a character sketch for The Real World: SLC Punk!
Anarchy in the UK!
The tiny Goth girl has notes which read "Actually a blond" and "Secretly has My Little Pny collection." After this things start to get a little less cogent.

This, for example, is the entire week's worth of my notes for Jack London's "Call of the Wild."

Yes, a dog in the snow. He is a happy dog.

By the time we made it to "Tropic of Cancer" by Henry Miller, my interpretation of the material had devolved completely into indulging my right brain and sketching the black-and-white nude photo from the cover. To this day, it is one of the best jobs I had done in either shading or the study of hand anatomy. That its medium was pencil on lined paper deeply saddens me. (College ruled, at least.)
Pretty sure I surreptitiously took this in class on my lap with my phone.
Of course, it wasn't just this one class I was I was coasting through without reading any of the material all year. I had a frightening martinet of a Shakespeare teacher who was about 2 dead husbands, 40 cats and 15 years beyond her tenure to give a crap about pretty much anything.
Text reads [from German]: "My leader! My Commander! I am
the hurricane! I am the lightning!"
I repeat to all you college students in the world: Many degrees are more an issue of accreditation than teaching you anything in particular.

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