Re: When I was young and misunderstood

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I argued with the teacher and tried to explain, but got in trouble for back-talking.

This was the worst thing about elementary and middle school, wasn't it? Any attempt to explain oneself was construed as further evidence of guilt and made punishments worse.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:11 AM
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What an awful story! I know this is just your basic internet-sympathy comment, but wow, your teacher acted in a really strange, petty, child-hating way. Incredible that she just escalated the meanness over weeks!

When I was doing my student teaching, I very quickly realized that teachers--those towering figures of justice and appropriate behavior from my childhood--really did develop petty, stupid dislikes of specific kids. Many of them did nothing to check this behavior in themselves but instead built up various rationalizations.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:14 AM
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You'll always be Alligator to me, Heebie.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:14 AM
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-really did develop petty, stupid dislikes of specific kids. Many of them did nothing to check this behavior in themselves but instead built up various rationalizations.

It really is awful. In the baby room at Hawaiian Punch's daycare, one girl was pegged (mildly) as a "bad girl" because she was grabby and it was a problem. She was about one year old, of course. I had a sinking feeling that this girl was getting labelled at one freaking year old, but she ended up moving away.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:17 AM
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Any attempt to explain oneself was construed as further evidence of guilt and made punishments worse.\

That's not how I understand it. It's not that trying to explain oneself was further evidence of guilt. Trying to explain oneself is "talking back" an offence in itself.

Upon reflection, I think this is preparation for dealing with the police when getting arrested -- we're trying to prepare our kids, so they will stay quiet until the attorney shows up.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:18 AM
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As a sensitive child, this always totally bugged me. I got kicked out of a store once, because the owner suspected I was shoplifting. But I wasn't shoplifting! I was arguably loitering, but the only thing I shoplifted in my life was that bag of english muffins I carried out of a covenience store by accident. Didn't the shopkeep know that?

There are a couple other things like that and, yeah, wow, they really stick with me.

On the other hand, heebie is clearly using "undue" in such a weird way in an attempt to draw out the pedants.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:19 AM
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I should have said "When it was totally undo"?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:22 AM
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"When it was totally not due", maybe. Anyhow, I'm not engaging with your malicious plan.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:23 AM
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"...possibly the most malicious thing an adult ever did to me when I was growing up."

Maybe it wasn't her idea. It sounds like she might've/could've received last minute instructions from a stage manager that forced blocking changes.

And isn't this the sort of thing parents raise hell over? Both the casting inequity and the last-second hook offstage? Still, if that was the worst thing from your childhood, you got off pretty easily.


Posted by: steve macdonald | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:30 AM
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a stage manager

Goddamn meddling primary school stage managers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:32 AM
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Maybe the DP was having trouble lighting the chair so it'd look good in the IMAX 3D release.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:36 AM
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At some summer camp I went to as a kid, they had a rule that you had to eat all the food on your cafeteria. One day, I got a big dollop of icecream because I thought it was strawberry, but it turned out to be some nigh-inedible grape concoction. My cabin counselor took me aside, bitched at me for 20 minutes, then revoked my canteen privileges for the rest of the camp.

In idle moments, I still daydream about pushing that asshole into the lake...


Posted by: salacious | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:41 AM
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6: I had a few incidents like this as a kid, except in my case there were malicious kids involved who just for fun pinned the blame on me. Learning that other people could lie more convincingly than I could tell the truth was a harsh but important lesson.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:42 AM
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Maybe it wasn't her idea. It sounds like she might've/could've received last minute instructions from a stage manager that forced blocking changes.
And isn't this the sort of thing parents raise hell over? Both the casting inequity and the last-second hook offstage? Still, if that was the worst thing from your childhood, you got off pretty easily.

1. No stage manager. Dinky elementary school play.

2. Parents raise hell if they find out. I was deeply ashamed and carefully kept the whole thing from them.

3. I said it was the most malicious thing an adult did to me, not the worst thing that ever happened to me. Grandparents die, stressed out parents, cruel peers are all different categories. Nevertheless, yes, I got off pretty easy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:54 AM
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What kind of bullying were you doing?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:57 AM
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I have no idea, except that I was generally an exuberant, outgoing kid. I assume that the conversation with Valerie was taken as bullying. But in fact, Valerie was much higher than me on the social popularity continuum, even though we happened to be friends, so any charge of bullying was ludicrous.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:59 AM
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Just so I understand -- the 'bullying' you were in trouble for was asking your friend not to try out for Alligator? Or was there some other thing the teacher was thinking of?

And yeah, teachers taking arbitrary dislikes to children, particularly in grade school, happens and is lousy. A fourth grade teacher didn't like my big sister, and had her placed in the slow math track for fifth grade. My sister didn't realize she should have brought it up with my parents, and they didn't find out until a few weeks into the next year. Fascinatingly, when my mother inquired, my sister's placement test (and only hers) had been lost, and the school decided to reassign her. But she was wrecked about it, and nervous about being bad at math, for a year or so -- that kind of thing can do a lot of harm.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:01 AM
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the 'bullying' you were in trouble for was asking your friend not to try out for Alligator?

As far as I know, yes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:03 AM
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Parents raise hell if they find out. I was deeply ashamed and carefully kept the whole thing from them.

I always kept this kind of thing secret from my parents too, but not because I was ashamed. My belief was that there was no situation so bad that it couldn't be made worse (aka more embarrassing) by my mother getting involved.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:03 AM
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I only had malice from one teacher, an English teacher when I was about ten who decided I was full of myself and needed taking down a peg or two. I probably was quite full of myself -- my previous English teacher had given me a bit of a big head about my writing -- but petty malice is still a bit rubbish. (It didn't work: I just decided he was an idiot with no taste -- I really WAS quite full of myself.)

Anyway, the follow-on is this. This was in the town I grew up, were my parents carried on living. And when I was visiting them, I'd often wander round the town,m on errands or just idling. And occasionally I saw old teachers, bent little people now mainly. I never saw him, though I know he taught at the school till retirement, and is still involved in its alumnus network.

And I've wondered occasionally what I would do, if I encountered and recognised him. Nothing (I hope): because even a verbal revenge on a little old man would be worse than the original crime (in my case). But I bet he did this with lots of people.

The best I can get out of it is that he had a pretty sad and stunted life; where he ended up a disappointment above all to himself -- hence the malice in the first place?

Anyway, who on U/F ever actually revenged themselves on crappy teachers?


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:05 AM
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But as a general rule, I think the parenting advice is good. And not just 'thinking the best' -- I think it's largely a mistake to assign motives, good or bad. If you worry about the actual behavior, you're in better shape than if you start theorizing about what the kid's thinking -- they're obscure little beasts, and very easy to misinterpret.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:05 AM
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I remember the worst feeling of the whole thing was faking bravado through the actual day of the performances.

I wonder how good a job I did - are 5th graders very convincing? Or did everyone sense that I was faking, but I doggedly kept faking if they asked me any light inquiries? I have no idea.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:06 AM
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22: Did you really not even tell any of your friends what was going on?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:09 AM
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23: I didn't tell anyone that I was upset. They knew it the sequence of events, but I was trying as hard as I could to act like I was shrugging it off, to draw minimal attention to everything.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:12 AM
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Why was Valerie snitching? That little sell out was the weak link in the chain.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:13 AM
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The lousiest thing about the story is the last bit -- getting pulled out of the chorus. Getting unjustly punished is annoying, but it's going to happen sometimes, and you deal. Having a grownup do something unpleasant to you where you suspect that it's meant as punishment, but they're denying it, is just awful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:13 AM
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24: And I thought I was the strong, silent type!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:13 AM
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It's good that it happened, in a way, because we all have to learn sometime that authority is usually wrongly apportioned and wielded. But it's infuriating even to read. I'm still mad at my roughly equivalent figures. I'll never understand people's nostalgia for childhood, partly because of shit like this!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:14 AM
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Why was Valerie snitching? That little sell out was the weak link in the chain.

I don't think she did. I think she was surprised by the whole thing. I think they probably caught wind of the "scandal" by eavesdropping on different conversations, of which I may not have been a part.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:18 AM
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Awww, I'm sure you would have been a very fashionable alligator, Heebie.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:19 AM
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By the way, I LOVE and find it totally validating that everyone is engaging with me on this story and hyperanalyzing. I've certainly told the story to Jammies and a few others, but it's never been aired out and picked apart like it always wanted.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:20 AM
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29: Or asked her straight up when she auditioned for 16 out of 17 parts, and she answered truthfully without realizing it would get you in trouble.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:20 AM
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Anyway, who on U/F ever actually revenged themselves on crappy teachers?

My parents, along with a number of others, managed to get my high school to pretty much force a teacher to resign. It took some convincing at first, because the guy had won some national teaching award the year before. I forget exactly what tripped him up; some of us somehow built a convincing case that he was intentionally losing assignments turned in by students he didn't like. And I think the administrators were unhappy to learn about the lab equipment he made us order and pay for out of our own pockets.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:21 AM
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32: Sure, that's very plausible too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:21 AM
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||

No more masturbating to Robert Culp, and if the Greatest American Hero had been on just a year or two later, I would have been at risk back then.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:29 AM
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because the guy had won some national teaching award the year before

These things are generally such crap. They often require the teacher to apply for them, rather than having students or administrators submit nominations.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:31 AM
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33: I wasn't really thinking of parental pushback, which was probably at work in my case more generally. My mum was a tough lady, and aggressively supportive* -- I'm not sure I told her about the above, because I'm not sure I entirely twigged it till years later. At the time I pretty much thought: "This guy's a dick -- this too shall pass." (I was sad, because till then I always liked English lessons, but I wasn't especially bothered.)

What I mean is: meeting your nemesis 20 years later and pushing them into the ornamental pond explaining at brilliant length how small and evil they were.

*The one time I encountered kid-on-kid bullying, she -- rather brilliantly -- intuited he was doing it because he was lonely and unhappy and viciously bullied by his own older brother; and advised me to suggest to him that we go to the pictures together during the school holidays. I did; and he became slightly pathetically friendly.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:32 AM
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"go to the pictures" -- yes, Edison's kinematograph was touring that season for the first time.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:33 AM
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I'm siding with the teacher -- she was like the Securities and Exchange Commission (or maybe Federal Trade Commission) of fifth grade Maurice Sendak musicals. Trying to make sure the auditions are fair and free and open to all, and to make sure that at the end of the day the play is of the highest possible quality, because selections were made based on merit.

And then there you go with your collusive backroom deal to divide the market and unfairly put on a worse show, harming not only fairness of the process but the quality of the end product. Nice deal for you and your buddy, but for the schoolbas a whole, not so much. "Bullying" is a fair stand in for "self dealing anticompetitive behavior. Damn straight you should be sitting out the play -- be thankful that there weren't monetary sanctions.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:34 AM
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I think everyone has school experiences of this time. Sucks, though. A lot of teachers just are bastards. I did have the pleasure of telling of telling our high school deputy head to fuck off, though [over some shenanigans surrounding our school play/musical].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:36 AM
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39: You're an attorney, right?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:39 AM
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What I mean is: meeting your nemesis 20 years later and pushing them into the ornamental pond explaining at brilliant length how small and evil they were.

Sadly, the teacher who was my nemesis is famous and, I suspect, rich, so I don't think I could make him feel small and evil.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:46 AM
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Pond it is then!

This kind of payback must happen more often than anyone hears about. And hushed up so as not to encourage our uglier revenge fantasies...


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:49 AM
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35. Well get masturbating to denis hopper as hard as you can then. Time is running out!


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:57 AM
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My sixth grade math teacher punched me in the stomach. Not very hard.

It was after I had skipped from 3rd to 6th (count one grade due to a weird birthday) and my father cried bin front of me over my awesomeness as evidenced by tests.

I though I was equal as a person to said math teacher, and considerably smarter than him, and showed it. I sneered a lot. He was a little rumpled guy in his late twenties, 5'7", often needed a shave, and I think he drank.

I had some kind of intuitive contempt, and I think he felt it. I guess I was right. I forget what precipitated the fight. He held me after class and no one else saw it. He had a foot of height and 100 pounds so I didn't punch back. I didn't tell anyone.

Anyway, since he was my equal, I just chalked it up to experience, and was careful with him after as if he were a schoolyard bully. He gave me high grades, so I don't really know what was going on.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:02 AM
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They fuck you up, your mum and dad. Especially if they have a judgmental (emphasis on "mental") Judeo-Christian ethic that insists we're all born "evil."


Posted by: cassanthropy | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:05 AM
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20: Anyway, who on U/F ever actually revenged themselves on crappy teachers?

No, although I do see one of the para-professional hall monitors from HS quite frequently around town. Just saw her at Target last week as a matter of fact. She was always hassling the smart kids who ate lunch in this one dead-end hallway, so I did have beef with her back then. The really weird thing is that it's been 20 years since I started HS, and she looks EXACTLY THE SAME. It's like The Picture of Dorian Hall-Monitor or something.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:06 AM
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44:It's Dennis, and don't joke, I kinda love the guy.

I think I have watched him since the 50s. Rebel? John Wayne movies?

Hopper survived and prospered for fifty years, while Robert Culp had a miserable career.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:06 AM
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45 is pretty awful.

A good friend of mine was beaten up by her stepfather during a teacher conference, and the teachers just sort of looked away. It's a stunning story. The stepfather was super abusive.

The next day he forced her to go to class wearing a midriff shirt and a short miniskirt. As she was a future butch lesbian, this was unbelievable humiliation. This part is the most horrifying to me. Apparently most of his anger towards her was about her failure to be feminine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:07 AM
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since the 50s

Rebel Without a Cause, Giant, and Gunfight at the OK Corral are the 50s movies I recognize from his IMDB listing, plus a bunch of TV.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:12 AM
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@47: A friend wrote a memoir of his time at school -- including in some detail intellectual beef he'd had with other teenagers about a variety of projects and a sorta-kinda political protest he'd organised; feeling that it wasn't really fair just to write up from his own perspective, he contacted a couple of them, and got a lot of really interesting Rashomon-type stuff about the various events and clashes, and about what was going on in all their heads at the time. So maybe you should ask her about it?


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:16 AM
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Yeah, all those. As a little kid, I would have seen the last two. Sons of Katie Elder was the John Wayne movie, but that was 1965.

Night Tide 1961 is an interesting little AIP experiment.

Like the Fondas, although older than me, I feel like I have watched Hopper change and grow and mellow.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:24 AM
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An Orwell essay on being miserable at school.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:25 AM
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Also, and this has been said here before, everyone should read Boy by Roald Dahl.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:33 AM
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The JROTC instructor who sexually harassed me and the other female cadets died of cancer. Of course, the high school built a monument to his sorry ass. Karmic victory: Partial.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:46 AM
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When I went to school, corporal punishment was still legal in Scottish schools. So teachers could hit the kids with a leather tawse; which opened up opportunities for sadistic bastards [although the most sadistic teachers I came across were female primary school teachers, rather than high school teachers].

No teacher ever belted me, though, and I was under instructions from my father to inform any teacher who wanted to that if he/she did, my father would be at the school to extract physical retribution the very next day. But being generally cheeky but well-behaved I was only ever threatened with it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:50 AM
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I had a boyfriend who grew up in rural Texas. In their middle school and high school, the boys got paddled and their girls had to clean the bathrooms with a toothbrush. Somehow I find it hilarious that this was happening in the 90s. Didn't they know that everywhere else, it was the 90s?


Posted by: hg | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:59 AM
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I think they stopped using the tawse in my school when I was about 13 or 14. According to wiki it was made illegal nationwide in 1987.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:04 AM
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This persecuted-by-teachers stuff never happened to me as far as I remember, but I think I might have been happier and/or better-off if it had. My father was a school board member at my own school, and my mother was a guidance counselor at a nearby school. When I got bullied, my mom sat down with me, the bully, the teacher, and talked about what to do to prevent that and/or make up for it. (I know this happened at least once, and it probably happened more times that I can't specifically remember.) Some degree of being singled out for advanced classes is inevitable in a public school as small as mine was, but I definitely was singled out a lot more in that way than anyone else in my grade - for no benefit I can see. When I accidentally committed a misdemeanor in front of a hundred witnesses (a hit-and-run in the school parking lot), I had to apologize to the guy and damages came out of my savings and that was it.

I hated all that. I mean, I obviously don't wish I had got bullied more or got a criminal record from the hit-and-run, but in more general terms I hated being singled out for special treatment like that and often I suspect that I would have turned out to be a better/happier/more assertive/whatever person in later years if I had fended for myself more often on problems like that as a kid.

This just goes to show, the school-age years are angsty and everyone can find something to regret or some grudge to nurse.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:06 AM
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Margaret Thatcher, bless her heart, made corporal punishment in British state schools illegal in 1987. A woman I work with, who must be about 40, got three strokes of the cane for eating a chocolate bar, presumably shortly before that, but it was exceptional enough by then to be worth conversation in the pub. (Formally it remained legal in private schools until 2003, but I imagine they'd all given it up well before that.)


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:08 AM
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60 me. Don't know how that happened.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:09 AM
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My gran had a story about getting the tawse (this would be in the teens of the last century). That -- after some unspecified naughtiness -- she was offered the choice of being welted or doing detention. She chose the belt, and the teacher beamed with fond pride, saying to one and all: "Bessie is a brick!"

(When I was researching a book about British public school culture a few years ago, I discovered that the boys at one of the major public schools -- possibly Harrow, I'd have to look it up -- staged a major protest in the 1840s, a sit-in strike, when caning was threatened with being banned.)


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:11 AM
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I could pretend to make this somewhat topical, but really I just want everyone to see the latest performance by Kraab niece #3.

youtube.com slash user slash abaco1966#p/a/u/0/M0qqI71D2kI

(Sort of Google-proofed because people on the intertubes are creepy. Except for you. Yes, you, in the blue shirt.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:14 AM
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re: 1987

I think it stemmed from some parent choice thing, and some EU court cases, rather than being an active policy of the Thatcher administration.

To be honest, I remember a few gratuitous and nasty beltings in primary school [by the aforementioned lady teachers], but in high school it was very rare. I can only remember it happening a few times over the 2 or 3 years I was at high school when it was still legal. We did have one PE teacher [also Scotland under-18 and under-21 football coach] who used to threaten it, and would send kids to bring it to the class. But when it arrived, he'd usually just belt the desk. Which used to tear an impressive strip of varnish right off the wood. That was usually enough. I don't think I ever remember him actually using it on someone in earnest.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:16 AM
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62. It used to be a common meme among defenders of corporal punishment that children, given a straight choice of being hit or losing some liberty, would choose to be hit. It seems a strange calculus to me.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:16 AM
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re: 65

I can believe it. I remember boys at school making the same choice.

i) it was over quickly,
ii) they needed to look tough in front of their friends.

I suspect ii) was a big part of it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:19 AM
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(When I was researching a book about British public school culture a few years ago, I discovered that the boys at one of the major public schools -- possibly Harrow, I'd have to look it up -- staged a major protest in the 1840s, a sit-in strike, when caning was threatened with being banned.)

Was this because the older boys caned the younger or is that a later iteration? Or am I generalizing from a childhood reading of Boy in which the young students are routinely bullied and caned by the older ones? (I think I might have a different political outlook if I hadn't read Dahl's memoir, that Stephen King novella about the guy who is imprisoned on false charges and Jane Langton's The Fragile Flag as a child. I'd probably be a Republican.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:19 AM
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Totally OT: If we're FB friends, can you go post the names of your favorite novels about immigration to the US in response to the question on my wall? Thanks, dudes! Batsignal out.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:20 AM
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The only time I remember being spanked by a teacher was in second grade, for not completing my math homework. I feel like I'm forgetting one other incident, though.

children, given a straight choice of being hit or losing some liberty, would choose to be hit

I think it depends on what you mean by "hit". A spanking, leaving no lasting injury? I think as a kid I'd generally have been happy to have that over most other punishments I received. (Usually I got both.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:25 AM
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I would also like to bitch that I was accused of plagiarism in first grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade, with my parents called in to meet with the principal. In 1st, it was true; I'd memorized a very long story from a book and wrote it all out word for word, around three pages of kid-paper. Guilty, but sort of impressive!

Fourth grade, it was a poem I'd written in class, and in fifth, it was a short story. In both of those cases, my mom made things a lot worse by telling my teachers they were jealous because I was nine and smarter than they were. Thanks for helping me get along in society, Mom!


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:26 AM
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70 is all-around outrageous. A first-grader isn't culpable for plagiarism, and later on it should have been handled better.


Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:30 AM
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@67: I'm not sure if the story I read was clear on this; it wasn't much more than a footnote, unfortunately.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:31 AM
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I've remembered a bit more about the story @62: key to it is that, while boys were always given the belt for this offence (whatever it was); girls had the choice of that or detention. So Bessie was a "brick" because she stoutly faced the "boy's" punishment.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:34 AM
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I think I have a very distorted view of how much parents should intervene in these sorts of things, because I always hated it, but I also recognize that my mother is crazy, so it's possible that interventions by normal parents could be, at least at times, helpful.

I remember once in 4th (?) grade, there was some stupid certificate that was given out by the teacher at the end of the year for the highest grade in English class, and I ended up tied for the highest grade with some girl, and the teacher opted to give her the certificate instead of me, because I'd gotten into significant disciplinary trouble in that class that year and the girl had been a model student. I couldn't possibly have cared less about this, at all, in any way. But somehow my mother found out (not from me) and raised absolute hell, in a very public manner, about the grave injustice that had been done, since I had in fact been tied for the highest grade in the class. The teacher eventually relented (under pressure from the principal, who was sick of dealing with this) and printed a second certificate for me. Good lord was that embarrassing. I'm pretty sure the certificate was in the garbage within a week or two.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:35 AM
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I realize guess the story in 74 doesn't actually sound that bad repeated here, but trust me, it was awful.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:41 AM
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74: I think parental intervention should be pretty minimal for anything not, um, trajectory changing. But there's a big role for parental emotional support when something unjust happens (like, I don't know if Heebie's parents should have come in kicking ass and taking names if they'd known about the musical. But some handholding about how these things happen, it's not your fault, and it won't seem so bad in a month or two would have been helpful.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:51 AM
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re: 74

Funnily enough I have a similar story, our high school used to give out a 'Dux medal' to the top academic student in the 5th year. Because it was given out in, I think, May it was awarded based on the results of the prelim exams sat in January, rather than on the actual final marks. The year I sat those exams there was some sort of cock up with the English paper, and the questions set were considerably harder than they were supposed to be [or were marked harder, or something]. With the net result that only two people in our year, I think, got As for that exam. Me and one girl, iirc. Almost everyone else either failed, or just scraped a C. Despite that, when the Dux medal was handed out in May, sure enough, it went to some other kid. And I _knew_ for an absolute fact that he'd barely scraped a pass for that exam, and on all other exams had received more or less the same mark as me. I can only assume it was awarded to him for the same reasons: he was a quiet swotty child and a prefect, whereas I, by that time, had long hair and much more of an attitude.

My parents would never have intervened, though. Even if I had discussed it with them, which I didn't.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:51 AM
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I hate parental intervention. But I do try to win when dragged into it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 11:22 AM
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I think many parents/people in general underestimate the power of plain old sympathy. In a lot of cases, saying "Oh, honey, that's awful" is likely to be far more helpful to the kid than intervening. (Except in cases of abuse or significant harm to the kid's education, etc., of course.)

This is another variant of the listening vs. giving advice or trying to fix the problem discussions we've had before.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 11:30 AM
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I recently read a parenting tip: always mentally assign the best possible motives to your children.

I think this is excellent advice for dealing with other people's children, too, and indeed for going through life generally. I find I'm happier if I don't assign malice or other bad motives to people, even when I disagree with them or don't like their actions, unless I have actual evidence to the contrary. And by "happier" I also mean being happier with my own behavior in handling conflict, disagreement, etc.

Anyone who can't see the wisdom of such an approach is obviously a malicious littlle weasel.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 11:38 AM
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I think this is excellent advice for dealing with other people's children, too, and indeed for going through life generally. I find I'm happier if I don't assign malice or other bad motives to people, even when I disagree with them or don't like their actions, unless I have actual evidence to the contrary.

Sound advice, but I think part of the point with children is that the standard for "actual evidence" ought to be pretty damn high (whereas an awful lots of people treat children's behavior as if it were coming from adults). So, even given what you would consider actual evidence of bad motive on the part of a adult, if the behavior's coming from a child you ought to work a little harder to see if there's any possible, less bad motive that could potentially be in play.

I'm not sure, but I think the advice is traceable to Alfie Kohn--is that right, Heebie?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 11:48 AM
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I am having a lot of trouble right now with a student who sleeps and texts in class all the time. I don't like being angry in class or parental, but she decided to complain about her grade and ask for several extra meetings with me before and after class to discuss how I could have thought she deserves a [whatever]. So I met with her and was very clear. She doesn't understand the material, isn't trying, is rude to her classmates, doesn't listen to them or me, takes poor notes, is barely conscious, etc. But none of it judgmental. I just said, hey, this is your behavior, and that's fine if you don't have a problem with the grade you're getting, but your complaint about the grade makes me think you would like some advice, so here it is. Advice given.

So, five minutes later, she's passed out in my class. I wake her up. She falls asleep again. I wake her up. She starts texting. I tell her to put her phone away in her bag. She falls asleep. Etc. It's embarrassing, but if she actually wants a higher grade, I feel honor-bound to help her get it.

If I had a lower opinion of her motives, I might suspect she wanted a higher grade without actually putting in the extra effort to learn something in my class. But no one would do that.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 11:51 AM
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81: Good point.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 11:53 AM
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re: 82

This probably makes me a bad person, but fuck that person. They can fail.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 11:55 AM
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Sleeping in class the way you describe isn't going to happen unless she's genuinely exhausted, I wouldn't think. While that's likely something she has control over on a larger scale, it seems likely that the falling asleep is involuntary while she's in your class. Not that that helps you much (although I suppose you could tell her that she can't learn unless she comes to class well-rested enough to stay awake).

The texting is just rude.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 11:56 AM
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I'm not sure, but I think the advice is traceable to Alfie Kohn--is that right, Heebie?

Yeah, it was from this. (Which I originally didn't link because I wanted all the attention to be on ME. But by comments in the 80s I feel placated.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 11:57 AM
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I think it's obvious she has some kind of attention disorder. She's not dumb, but will randomly start talking about Disney movies or something during a serious discussion of poetry. And the stuff we're reading is really only for those capable of deep, hard zoning, so I'm sure it's driving her crazy. My guess is she knows she wrote a shitty paper, but because she's not able to pay attention, she cannot hear her classmates talk about their brilliant ideas and doesn't know what an A is, and that her parents urged her, without any knowledge of the situation, to ask why she got a bad grade, even though that's really fucking insulting since I wrote about two solid pages of handwritten notes explaining exactly why on the damn thing.

Also, her super-helpful parents decided her spring break is going to be a week and a half longer than everyone else's, so can she please turn in the paper that's due when she gets back, and also skip the entire unit on the third poet?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:03 PM
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Unconditional Parenting is surprisingly good. It's easy to caricature his positions based on his short NYT articles (as so many of the NYT comments tend to do), but the book-length presentation is fairly convincing.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:05 PM
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OP: You all know they made a Simpsons episode about this right? It was a pretty good one.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:06 PM
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87: You can't do anything but grade what she gives you, and warn her that the process she's following isn't going to give her good grades. I just wouldn't take the sleeping personally.

Is there any way to advise her that she might want to withdraw, and take the class another time when she's in a better place for it, without it coming off as a threat? Or is it too late in the semester to drop?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:06 PM
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Is there any way to advise her that she might want to withdraw

She seems pretty withdrawn already.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:08 PM
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87. From your description, I'd guess she needs rather more specialised help than you can give her, but I've no idea how you convey that without sounding as if you're saying, 'You're nuts. stop wasting my time.'


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:08 PM
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90: Oh no, nothing taken personally. As I told her, I slept through class all the time in college, but the important thing is that I had a pretty good awareness of why I ended up with shitty grades. It doesn't bother me that she's ignoring me as much as it bothers me that she imagines she's doing A work in a class full of super-geniuses. Seriously, her classmates are so smart they scare me. How does she not hear them and think "Ohhhhhhhh..."?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:09 PM
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Also, her super-helpful parents decided her spring break is going to be a week and a half longer than everyone else's, so can she please turn in the paper that's due when she gets back, and also skip the entire unit on the third poet?

Wow. Although it seems like basically everyone I knew in college asked for extensions on every assignment, often near the last-minute, and got them, so maybe the first is not so unusual. And when I was grading classes, my response was pretty much "sure, whatever" whenever anyone asked about extending the due date for an assignment. But those were tiny, laid-back classes.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:12 PM
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89 contains way too much information (in the FYI, rather than the TMI, sense). My brain, it hurts.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:15 PM
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Although it seems like basically everyone I knew in college asked for extensions on every assignment, often near the last-minute, and got them, so maybe the first is not so unusual.

The only thing that got me through college was being too clueless to realize I could ask for extensions until halfway through senior year. If it had occurred to me that I could move due dates by just asking, I wouldn't ever have gotten anything done (like, say, the brief I'm writing now, which is on its second extension.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:16 PM
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Yeah, I didn't really understand the system. Once I mentioned to a friend that I was up until 5 AM writing a paper and then had to get up at 8 in order to do a problem set that was due at noon. "Why didn't you ask for an extension?", they asked. "But I didn't have a good excuse for putting things off," I said. Their blank stare made it clear that I was totally misunderstanding the whole "extension" thing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:19 PM
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We had caning in primary and secondary school, but I managed to avoid it. It was pretty rarely used, and only for serious infractions, but every time you visited the headmasters office there was that nice little cane sitting in the corner to remind you that there were limits to what you could get away with.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:20 PM
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I also never asked for extensions on any assignments. I figured that if you were given an extension, you'd just get yourself in a hole because it would overlap with the next batch of assignments from all your classes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:22 PM
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The school I taught in in Samoa had the worst of both worlds -- no formalized corporal punishment, but condoned casual punching of bad students if you could carry it off. The Vice Principal knocked a fourteen-year-old unconscious once while I was there.

Schools with formal corporal punishment, it seemed like a reasonably tolerable system -- teachers I knew used it as threat, but very rarely had to follow through.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:22 PM
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GOSH, THE VIDEO LINKED IN 63 IS CHARMING.


Posted by: OPINIONATED SOCKPUPPET AUNT | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:23 PM
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The only thing that got me through college was being too clueless to realize I could ask for extensions until halfway through senior year. If it had occurred to me that I could move due dates by just asking, I wouldn't ever have gotten anything done (like, say, the brief I'm writing now, which is on its second extension.)

Whereas I asked for an extension for one class after my roommate, who had previously tried to commit suicide, announced to everyone in our dorm that I had driven her to it (which I hadn't, I don't think; she had serious mental health problems. But I was the freaky-deaky outcast of my year and I'm sure everyone believed her) and then I'd gotten horribly sick--but nope, I couldn't have an extra week to write my paper.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:23 PM
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96/97: seriously? Is this a cushy small-liberal-arts-college thing? I'm pretty sure things didn't work that way at Big State U.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:24 PM
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103: I don't actually know about MIT -- I never asked for an extension while I was there. Does U Chicago count as a cushy small liberal arts college? Because extension were easily obtained in most classes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:27 PM
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101 gets it exactly right. Anyone who refuses to watch that video is obviously a malicious littlle weasel.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:30 PM
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A very squeaky wheel friend of mine at U of Michigan got extensions all the goddamn time. I think it is a function of how well you can handle TAs.

He also bragged that he could lift at least one grade per semester out of sheer brute force arguing with all his instructors. I found this infuriating.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:31 PM
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102: Oh, that's awful. I had a roommate who tried to starve himself to death one year; there were four of us living in a dorm apartment, and he told some school-affiliated psychologist that we had made him feel unwelcome and miserable. Luckily the resident head of our dorm understood that this was not the truth of the situation, and was saintly enough to hand-deliver meals to the guy and sit around long enough to make sure they got eaten.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:32 PM
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I am one harmonious little weasel, because I watched the video and found it adorable.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:32 PM
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I mean, for example, not that it's an extension, per se, but it's sort of similar: I got a mediocre grade in linear algebra despite having high-A-level scores on every one of the exams, because I failed to turn in too many of the problem sets on time, even though I did them all on time, because I missed class fairly frequently because the class was very early in the morning and I worked until very late at night on an off-campus job that semester, and I frequently just couldn't make myself get out of bed in time. I thought the combination of getting near perfect scores on all the exams, plus "Look, here's all the problem sets! All of them! Done! And dated! And I swear I haven't backdated them!" would have been enough to buy me a little mercy, but no.

And my general sense was that's how things generally were, not that that professor was just a meanie.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:32 PM
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I mean, the problem sets weren't even graded by the professor. The points were awarded just for turning them in.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:35 PM
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With 109, I would have expected the student to slide the homeworks under my door as soon as possible after missing class.

I wouldn't have been too sympathetic if the first time I ever heard of this scheduling problem was at the end of the semester. I would say "Why didn't you raise this issue with me at any point during the semester?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:36 PM
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On the student AWB describes, what 92 said. I mean,

So, five minutes later, she's passed out in my class. I wake her up. She falls asleep again. I wake her up. She starts texting.

Is the class at 8 a.m.? I've only skimmed the thread, but this student sounds like a serious candidate for referral, if there's any process in place for that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:40 PM
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The incessant whining about due dates in my Grad school courses drove me to near distraction. You've known about the assignment for two weeks and it took about 3 hours of work to do. No we don't need an extension on every damn assignment.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:40 PM
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111: I raised it early on, and was told to make more of an effort to get to class.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:40 PM
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107: Curiously, I had actually saved her life by realizing that when she said "Gee, I feel funny, I think I'm going to lie down" she was trying to get me to ask why she felt funny so that she could tell me she'd taken all her pills in time for me to get the RA, who then delayed and delayed for literally about 40 minutes before calling 911, while my roommate got groggier and groggier.

The thing is, if I met someone like that now I'd know what to do--she was a very gentle, very insecure person who would have blossomed if she'd had steady support from people who made her feel secure and loved. But I was all caught up in my own miseries and honestly withdrew from her and made other friends. I try to be different now.

The upshot was, though, that she felt unloved by me--which was perfectly true at that point!--and I still remember her coming in to the student coffee house and announcing at the top of her lungs that it was I, I who had caused her to overdose. Poor kid.

Weirdly, I was also a bit envious of her because she was extremely beautiful in this early-nineties JCrew model way. So the time she took my clothes without telling me and dressed up as me for a party, my nineties grunged-out fat girl dress hanging on her slender figure? She meant it as a compliment; I was freaked out but also deeply shamed.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:41 PM
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Is this a cushy small-liberal-arts-college thing?

At DFH College, it totally depended on the prof. But a huge intro class was maybe 100 students; most other classes were 25-35 students or smaller. I would think at Big State U it might be more of an pain in the ass to give a lot of extensions and still get grades in on time?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:48 PM
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When I was doing my student teaching, I very quickly realized that teachers--those towering figures of justice and appropriate behavior from my childhood--really did develop petty, stupid dislikes of specific kids. Many of them did nothing to check this behavior in themselves but instead built up various rationalizations.

I really hate this sort of thing. It also often spreads via bitching in the teacher's lounge so that by the time a particular student gets to another teacher's class, that new teacher already "knows" that this is a "bad" kid and treats them accordingly from the get go.

Teaching is very difficult, and I fully appreciate the need to vent about students and classroom frustrations, but it really does need to be balanced with a conscious effort to limit/overcome that type of pigeonholing.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:50 PM
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104: The quarter system removes any need for feeling guilty over extensions (says I). OK, we didn't get extensions; we took incompletes. 3-4 papers in a 10wk quarter really wasn't always do-able. In grad school at least, folks took 1 incomplete per quarter and wrote the papers over the summer.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:50 PM
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I would think at Big State U it might be more of an pain in the ass to give a lot of extensions and still get grades in on time?

I'm sure that's right, but I think that fact bled over to create a culture where that sort of thing just wasn't expected or done (absent truly compelling circumstances), even in smaller seminars and the like.

I guess it's possible there was a secret underworld of extension recipients about which I was just oblivious, but other than someone missing an exam because they were in the hospital, or something similar, I wasn't aware of anyone ever getting an extension on anything.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:53 PM
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I find I'm happier if I don't assign malice or other bad motives to people

With kids, there's the need to distinguish between intellectual maturity and emotional maturity. A kid that says something perceptive still can't handle their emotions and should have age-appropriate expectations for self-control. Also their understanding of the world has huge gaps. So yes, think well of kids.

With adults-- well, most contemporary Buddhists stress compassion. Thich Nhat Hanh is good. For me, this is a real struggle to do. I don't like complete solitude, but I generally regret learning about other people's thought processes. I can whip up some compassion later, often, but I would just prefer not to know how most folks think, with a few wonderful exceptions. Ancient Buddhists seem to place less stress on compassion.

Also, does anyone else think that the Lotus sutra is overrated? Dhammapada is great, but, uh....


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:54 PM
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The thing is, if I met someone like that now I'd know what to do--she was a very gentle, very insecure person who would have blossomed if she'd had steady support from people who made her feel secure and loved. But I was all caught up in my own miseries and honestly withdrew from her and made other friends. I try to be different now.

Yeah, I sympathize. I can't really say that my other roommates and I handled our situation very well. We already knew each other, and the fourth roommate was assigned to our apartment by a lottery. He seemed more interesting in playing online video games at his desk nearly every waking hour (even if we were playing similar video games with a group in the common room), and after a while we didn't make a huge effort to include him in things because he turned us down so many times. But we should have noticed sooner that his reclusiveness was turning into depression and he was rarely emerging even to eat. If I were in a situation like that again, I would try to be more perceptive, but I'm still not sure what we should have done. At any rate, he survived, then transferred out of the school partway through the year. Hopefully he found someplace he felt more at home.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:54 PM
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interesting s/b interested


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:56 PM
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116. At DFH College, the only time I asked for an incomplete was when my mother died. Otherwise, I figured there was no slack. After all, the motto is ___ & Labor.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 12:56 PM
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I left a bacalao (stinky dried fish) in the middle of the pile of unwashed clothes that was my gold-chain wearing dorm roommate's closet.

120 me.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:00 PM
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Oh, very cute video.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:00 PM
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104

U Chicago count as a cushy small liberal arts college?

The U of C has been called many names. "Cushy" seems almost certainly not to be one of them! I mean, it shares that air of luxuriant, almost indulgent intellectualism, but it's also so hardcore it's hard to imagine lots of coddling about deadlines, or many students asking for them. The air of punishing rigor is such a point of pride there...


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:02 PM
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I left a bacalao (stinky dried fish) in the middle of the pile of unwashed clothes that was my gold-chain wearing dorm roommate's closet.

I'm sure you had a perfectly non-maleavolent reason for doing so.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:02 PM
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But to be more serious, some actions are obviously maleavolent, but a lot of actions that I find rude/insensitive/hurtful/wrong/etc. have a plausible non-malice-driven explanation, and I find I'm happier if I assume that's the case until proven otherwise.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:07 PM
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I got extensions of a week or so on papers several times during senior year of college, twice for medical issues (not a lie; I was in the hospital, and then my dad was in the hospital with cancer). In grad school, I got extensions fairly often, which were known as Incompletes, as oudemia mentions upthread. The rationale to the professor was that I could give them a piece of junk on time, or something actually worthwhile in a few months, and I preferred to do the latter. It relies a lot on the instructor's trust that you will indeed produce something worthwhile.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:10 PM
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It was a joke, a way to let him know that being incapable of personal hygiene outside cologne applying and brand knowledge was a problem, since talking about the mess and stench hadn't done much good. I did no permanent damage to his goods or any at all to his scrawny little person, how is that malevolent?

More power to you for being able to think well of others.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:10 PM
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I generally don't ascribe malice to people, but I often over-ascribe incompetence. This is problematic in its own way, because I forget that reasonable extenuating circumstances happen to reasonable people. I try to work on it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:12 PM
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how is that malevolent?

I can see into your heart.

More power to you for being able to think well of others.

I just said I try.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:18 PM
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Hmm. So a fella with a gold chain whom you think to wear too much cologne gets shown what's what by having baccalà left in his closet? Eep, thank goodness for the analogy ban.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:25 PM
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You mean it's like a black fly in your Chardonnay?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:26 PM
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With kids, there's the need to distinguish between intellectual maturity and emotional maturity.

Oh man, especially adolescent kids. Or their moms.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:31 PM
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How crappy is it to let kids try out for multiple parts, and award them such, while other kids are assigned to a chorus with younger kids? And how crappy was it for the younger kids? Heebie, your teacher was a sociopath.

I find this story frustrating. Even as an adult I'm inept at handling situations like young heebie's.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:33 PM
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136: Agreed. Our 4th and 5th grade musicals didn't have try-outs -- we were just assigned parts. This was presumably problematic in other ways, but at least we weren't aware of them.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:42 PM
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Heebie, your teacher was a sociopath.

I'm sure she had perfectly non-maleavolent reasons for doing what she did.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:43 PM
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She was trying to be fair, but was just really, really incompetent at it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:46 PM
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perfectlynonmaleavolentreasons.com is available!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:47 PM
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Heebie, that story is pretty wrenching and I think lots of kids who were smarter than expected at one point or another have similar stories. Mostly I had great teachers but (a) I was tracked into all the advanced classes and (b) clearly some portion of the overall teaching population had become so deadened by the endless repetition and their own failure to connect with their students that they had grown resentful of the kids and started to find excuses to blame them. I also knew from early on that one or two simply liked to be able to boss around lots of little people who were formally their subordinates.

That said, yes, I did get contemporary revenge on at least one of them. There was a substitute teacher in my district who was famously awful to students but in good with the county in some fashion. In 9th grade we had him for a day in our math class and even by his standards he was in rare form: rudeness that turned quickly to open and personal insults, explicit and sincere sexism (I was a kid raised on Bloom County, I knew sarcasm when I saw it) and an open statement that no one would ever believe us if we repeated what he'd said. It was an advanced class and we were kids who had grown accustomed to some degree of privilege/power within an academic setting so I convinced a handful of my classmates to write up their version of events, as did I, and we turned them in to our teacher when she was back the next day. She read them, pulled the emergency break on whatever the lesson plan was for that day, talked about it with the class and then raised eight shades of hell down at the front office and though the guy didn't get fired by the county he did get banned from subbing in our specific school.

I once also responded (in 7th grade) to a teacher's threat that he "ought to paddle [me] good" by sticking my chin out and saying, "But you won't and we both know it," and he backed down.

Maybe this makes me an asshole, but my parents had a reputation already as being tremendous hell-raisers in defense of their kids and I was perfectly happy to take advantage of that. Among their best friends now that they're all old is a teacher my mother repeatedly nearly got fired for slights real and imagined against her precious flock.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:48 PM
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140 would be awesome.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:51 PM
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127 to 141.3.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:55 PM
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142: I believe you mean "awesome.com", Di.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 1:56 PM
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141: I can't find the appropriate archives link to make a joke about your mom's concern with protecting your rectum.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:03 PM
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I can see into your heart.

Let me see if I can tidy up, wasn't expecting company. Don't let the seething miasma of ennui and despair sear your retinas.

Malevolence takes willpower; sloth, greed, and jealousy are usually sufficient to explain behavior.

I really liked my print shop teacher in HS. It was either an easy class for stoners (hi!) or something that kids who weren't going to college took seriously. Yet he somehow managed to keep the shop clean and manageable, instilled a sense that doing a job right was worthwhile, and that fogging the negatives or leaving paper scraps in the press rollers was just not to be done. He did this without being a hardass to kids who weren't especially interested in listening or learning anything.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:04 PM
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145: Take your pick.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:06 PM
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What's with the consistent and repeated misspelling of "malevolent", M/tch?

(Stands for "maleavolitch"?)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:14 PM
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148: I'm sure there's a completely harmlless explanation.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:16 PM
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148: Male a volent: Man who flies. Alternatively, Man who pretends to be a vole. IT'S VOLE!!!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:18 PM
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I'm pretty sure it's all due to passage of the Health Care Reform bill.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:19 PM
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Of all furries it is the burrowing kind who stand to lose the most under HCR.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:22 PM
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Take your pick.

Like freedom, archives are messy.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:30 PM
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152: Right. Vision care under the new plan sucks.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:30 PM
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Like freedom rectums, archives are messy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:31 PM
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155: Excepting Fontana's, of course.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:35 PM
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Male-volent (L. malus, an apple + volens, wishing): 1. horny as hell, supposedly in reference to the story of Adam and Eve; 2. inclined to scrumping (q.v.); 3. nostalgic for mom's apple pie.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:36 PM
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157: I love the word "scrump".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:41 PM
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lw's 146.last is excellent, and makes me smile.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 2:59 PM
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I really liked my print shop teacher in HS. It was either an easy class for stoners (hi!) or something that kids who weren't going to college took seriously. Yet he somehow managed to keep the shop clean and manageable, instilled a sense that doing a job right was worthwhile, and that fogging the negatives or leaving paper scraps in the press rollers was just not to be done. He did this without being a hardass to kids who weren't especially interested in listening or learning anything.

Huh. Did you go to my high school or something?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 3:23 PM
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HBGB, your teacher sucked ass. I am shaking my fist right now.
as far as dennis hopper goes, my parents lived at some weird commune he ran in taos or something for a while, while my mom was pregnant with me. (I was actually conceived in their VW van while they were driving around california) church of the five star or something? there were confrontations with the local cops involving shotguns, that all I remember being told about it. I should ask my mom. oh, and she decided they were going to take off when she looked behind her while she was crapping in some trench toilet and a dog was eating the shit. that was the final straw somehow.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 3:41 PM
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Yeah, somehow.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 3:44 PM
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Don't know about the Taos compound, but Dennis Hopper was one seriously evil dude in the 1970s -- Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is full of stories of his incredible violence, psychosis, wife beating, etc.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 3:51 PM
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With kids, there's the need to distinguish between intellectual maturity and emotional maturity.

Oh man, especially adolescent kids. Or their moms.

Di, are you saying I am lacking some kind of maturity??? I hate you! *cry* *slam*


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 3:52 PM
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163: and now we have the kinder, gentler Dennis Hopper, who by all accounts is so fried he can barely put a sentence together, resulting in his part in at least one high profile current television show being cut back so severely, and so awkwardly, that at one point in the finale of the season he was in there's an awkwardly inserted line about how his character (the big villain of the season) is not available to deliver the climactic rant (explaining his evil plan to the captured hero) because he's sleeping.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:09 PM
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I've told the story in 165 before, I think, because I love it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:11 PM
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I was out for a meal with a teacher friend, so I asked her about the revenge thing, too: had she ever heard of it happening? By which I mean, someone -- damaged or believing themselves damaged as a kid -- planning and and as an adult effecting a revenge that wasn't through proper channels. Or maybe not planning it, but seizing the opportunity when they found their former nemesis standing haplessly by the volcanic chasm.

She hadn't and was -- like me -- intrigued that she hadn't. I will now ask my sister -- no longer a teacher -- and her close friend V, who trains teachers.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:18 PM
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looking online it seems like my parents tried the church of the five star first, where anarchist hippies were driving out some original christian communards and then moved on to new buffalo, the dennis hopper one. in my mom's re-telling the whole scene was summed up by the joni mitchell lyric "acid, booze and ass, needles, guns and grass, losta laughs..." except with fewer laughs. we had a sort of failed hippie farm in our south carolina home when I was a kid, too; the raising of ducks and rabbits for food was problematized by the fact that no one could handle killing and butchering them all that well. our only consistently profitable venture was growing weed.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:18 PM
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having just spent two weeks with my new york family, 60% of whom are constantly lit up on a combination of bourbon and dilaudid, I am forced to conclude that everyone in my family is fucking crazy. occasionally I think, oh yeah, maybe there's a reason why I live 15,000 miles away from everyone!


Posted by: alameidaa | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:21 PM
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remember the 90s NYC sex line, 1-900-PEEE, where "the extra e stands for extra pee"? my name can be like that too.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:23 PM
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re: 118

3-4 papers in a 10wk quarter really wasn't always do-able.

I presume you mean 3 - 4 papers per class, and you had many many classes running at the same time? Because here at Oxford it'd be standard for some tutors to set them a paper a week, every week for the entire term, and they may have several tutors.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:24 PM
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171: No! I mean total -- but these are 30pp research papers, for which you practically need to come up with the topics by the 2d or 3d weeks of class. Of course in classics, we have have the additional joy of language exams and sometimes even quizzes on 30 or so pages of Greek or Latin a week as well.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:29 PM
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my totally favorite ever grad school exam was when I had the translate the london times obituary of winston churchill into latin in the style of cicero for prose comp. most practical activity EVAR.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:31 PM
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I love 170. Extra pee!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:31 PM
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173: Ahaahah. Just the other day I was telling someone about how pleased I was with myself when, translating an MLK speech in Attic prose, I rendered "Mississippi" as "Μιττιττιππι."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:33 PM
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schwing!


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:35 PM
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truly and verily did the Robyn Bird show make an impression on me as a frequent young visitor to NYC in the 1980s. One of the signs that you were entering "dangerous" NY, now entirely gone.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:36 PM
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I don't understand 175, but "Mittittippi" has surprisingly many Google hits. Some of them OCR failures.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:37 PM
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I don't get it. Why taus?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:38 PM
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most practical activity EVAR.

Dare one point out that you were after all in graduate school in classics?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:39 PM
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so it seems more attic. alternative schools of though would have you go with boeotia, as being full of dumbass hicks.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:40 PM
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Atticization -- replacing double sigmas with taus. thalassa becaome thalatta, etc.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:40 PM
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-o!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:41 PM
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thought
and yeah, neb, that is a reasonable objection.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:41 PM
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There is a current b-rk-l-y classics grad student whom I think alameida would like.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:44 PM
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re: 172

Ah, much longer papers. So a different type of work altogether.

I studied Old Norse, and Anglo-saxon as an undergrad in Glasgow, so I'm familiar with vocabulary tests, and set reading and so on.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:45 PM
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I don't think I ever had to write a paper longer than ten pages for a class. And that was double-spaced.

These days I can't seem to write a paper under thirty pages. Which is around the same point that I start to fear it's so long no one will bother to read it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:52 PM
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As my latest draft of my latest chapter begins to exceed 50 1.5-spaced pages without quite getting to the main point, I begin to become worried that something is going seriously wrong.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:54 PM
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I regularly assign papers anywhere from 3-12 pages long, and some of these students will hand me a fucking 25-page brick no matter what. "Really?" I say. "Oh, you should see how much I edited out," they respond. These kids today!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 4:59 PM
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161 is great.

Meanwhile, Opinionated Academic has been teaching her remedial group. This week, 3 out of 8 showed up. At least for this group, performance is directly correlated with effort.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 5:06 PM
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189: so you give them bad grades, right?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 5:08 PM
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re: 189

I had a tutor who used to set papers on things like James Kelman short stories [which are often 2 paragraphs long], and ask us to write the entire paper in 250 words. That's an interesting exercise in brevity.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 5:11 PM
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I did get particularly peeved with one such young lady a few semesters ago, and insisted that she must learn to be more flexible. Since then, she has learned that a failure to achieve the rhetorical goal of the assignment through a lack of brevity results in a lower grade.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 5:26 PM
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193: Well said. A+.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 5:27 PM
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I tell my students that if they go over the page limit by a significant amount I will simply stop reading. Too mean?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 5:38 PM
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As my latest draft of my latest chapter begins to exceed 50 1.5-spaced pages without quite getting to the main point, I begin to become worried that something is going seriously wrong.

Not *that* shaggy.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 5:48 PM
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My mom was adorable, five feet two of pure maternal force. I never thought to tell my parents how ostracized I was, so I don't know whether she could have solved that somehow. But the day after I mentioned that I didn't like math as much anymore because the teacher was so bad, I was in the other class with the superb teacher. Thanks, ferocious mom.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 6:01 PM
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My mom's pretty ferocious too, but she didn't always use her powers for good.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 6:07 PM
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Who are these new undergraduates, who produce too-long papers? They're cutting and pasting willy-nilly, or engaging in word salad, aren't they? This may be the result of the relatively new-found familiarity with text that LB was pondering a while ago.

Still, I'd never encountered that in undergraduates. Grad students, sure. Dammit, what do you mean, you want no more than 25 pages?!?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 6:15 PM
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They're cutting and pasting willy-nilly, or engaging in word salad, aren't they?

Not mine. Sometimes they're a little loose around the thesis, but I'm talking serious overachievers--very smart, great writers, just a little out of control of their projects.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 6:19 PM
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200: Ah. Yeah, that's a skill. Not sure how you teach it. Mostly just say: "This is a very local project. Address this issue and this issue only." Like that helps. It would be great if you could show/provide examples of excellent 8-10 page papers, but that's outside the scope of most courses other than composition classes.

I suspect one tends to learn that sort of thing backwards, in reverse. You come to see how many pages it takes you to say *this* sort of thing. And how many pages it takes you to say *that* sort of thing. It's really pretty difficult to figure this out going in.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:38 PM
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At the end of a school year a friend and I took one teachers books, threw them out the window, then called everybody in for juice and milk box target practice. The rumour was that when he complained, the admin basically said, who cares. He'd already been fired; turns out that hiring the deputy leader of the local fascist party was not a good idea. In fairness, they were scrambling when a teacher went out in mid year with some sort of health crisis.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:43 PM
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Not *that* shaggy.

If only I could make my dissertation somehow end with this sentence.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 7:49 PM
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I have been hired to write a speech, a draft of which is due tomorrow. It should probably be in the same ballpark as last year's speech. I've got about 1800 words down with the last third still in outline. Last year's speech was 5200 words.

And also halfway decent, which this is by no means.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:04 PM
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God what a whining prat I am.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:08 PM
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Give us prompts and we could write paragraphs for you. I seem to remember you helping people here draft letters, so we owe you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:10 PM
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"Friends, when I stood before you this time last year, things were different. But now, they've changed."


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:20 PM
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"Indeed, one might say that they are no longer the same."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:24 PM
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I could upload last year's speech and have you turn all the we're-going-to paragraphs into we-dids.

I noticed reading last year's speech that I wrote a very exciting bit about a program that was so new at the time I interviewed people for the speech that I got to name it.

There is no mention of this program in this year's reports. Oops!

Alore, andiamo.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:25 PM
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"Faith and begorrah, education is a drawing out, not a putting in."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:25 PM
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"Let me be clear: the situation of a year ago and the situation of this moment do have their similarities. Yet, they are not identical."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:25 PM
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"We face new difficulties, or should I say 'challenges'? Yet, in those challenges, I see opportunities."


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:27 PM
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alore s/b allora


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:28 PM
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203: "No soap, radio" might be more likely.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:28 PM
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Yes, you've got to have a bit of Pat and Mike.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:28 PM
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ERROR

IT IS EITHER "FAITH AND BEGOB" OR "BEGORRAH"

NOT BOTH, SOUL SISTER


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:31 PM
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Are you going to give me a real topic to work with, or am I going to have to stay general? I can do speech cliches all night, buddy.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:34 PM
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One way to reduce the requisite number of words is to drive the entire audience out of the room in bored exasperation.

"The topic I have chosen today is: Whither the West? And whence its discord? Whence, as T.S. Eliot might say, the winter of its discontent?"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:37 PM
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Just put in a lot of "(pause for laughter)"s.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:38 PM
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Don't give her a topic.


Posted by: Speech cliches | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:40 PM
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"Memory, begon, that's a strange thing altogether. How hard remembering is, and how easy forgetting! But we shall not forget, nor shall we fail to remember, the efforts of [NAME], who's worked so hard with us over the years and brought us success after success."


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:41 PM
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One year ago, I stood before you at this annual event, last year, and gave a speech outlining the important features of the past year, that is the year leading up to the speech I gave, a year ago. Today, I give a similar speech - similar in content, if not in exact words. For this year, like last year, I will be recounting the important events of the past year, dating back to my previous speech, last year.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:41 PM
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"Memory, begob", rather.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:41 PM
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"Although right now it may seem like the world getting warmer...the winter of our, their, and its discontent is evincing ever more gelid. And so is the planet! Damn you, Al Gore! But I digress. Fate, just like the moon, is a harsh mistress. And a mistress, as you know, your eminence (gesture toward eminent person)...is a harsh moon. (pause for laughter) Now, on the subject of growth potention in our time. Well, first we have to define the time scale. The scala temporae, as the Greeks might say. How granular, or quantizational, should we let ourselves get away with turning out to be? This issue is not a facile one."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:43 PM
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Growth potention is a simple function of growth retention, of course


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:46 PM
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"First, to set aside the easy, slovenly division of the year, or the fiscal year, to put it more precisely, into quarters. Why must there be four quarters? Is it because the number twelve is divisible by four? Well, the number twelve is divisible by a literally unprecedented number of numbers, for a number its size. Food for thought. Now, onward toward my point. And I do have one! [pause for laughter] Indigenous people worldwide have differerent ways of perceiving, and describing, numbers. And colors. Some would call this tie you have on [scan through audience in failed attempt to find someone with blue-green tie] green, while some would call it...blue. And some would call the sky green! Because they have no word for two. Similarly, numbers can be quantized differently, into packages, or "packets", like data. Let's run through some examples."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:47 PM
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"In this time of change, the important thing is progress. But not just progress, progress together (join hands, interlock fingers). Will our community face the challenge of a new way of doing things with our old methods? Or together (join hands, interlock fingers), will we forge something new? Something bigger, as big as our challenges?"


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:49 PM
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Sweet. Thanks, guys. If I go hunker down and work on this thing for a good hour, I bet I could come back here and my work would be done.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:49 PM
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203, 214: Suddenly I am run over by a truck.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:49 PM
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Topic: "South America: Sleeping Giant on our Doorstep".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:51 PM
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"The year, for example, is not 365 days. It is 365 and precisely one fourth days. I'm no math major, but I'm pretty sure that is not divisible by twelve. Or by seven. Or by anything! Think about it. Now, turning to our accomplishments this year. Well, I still have my speech from last year...and well, you're asking me what's changed? Well, what's changed. Well, short answer, second verse, same as the first. Long answer: Well, we've overcome many hurdles and dismounted all obstacles in our quest for dominance in our laser-like focus of our conquest of excellence. And when you talk about excellence, you're talking about a guy like some of these great guys from history. Great men, I should say. Cordell Hull, Senator Dick Armey, Lance Armstrong [gesture toward wristband]...and yes, even Eleanor Roosevelt.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:52 PM
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222 is quite funny. The punctuational pauses and the cadence are exactly right. To make me laugh. I'd talk to that guy afterwards.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:53 PM
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And you talk about people in our organization...we've all got a role to play. Who here knows what a spandrel is?"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:53 PM
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Topic: "Alex Rodriguez: Ninny, or nance?"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:55 PM
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Cryptic ned, I'm not asking for your exact name or anything, but who the hell are you, that can write such amazing speeches off the top of your head? Do we know your background at all?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:55 PM
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The only thing I know about Cryptic Ned is some degree, I believe, of Pennsylvanity.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:56 PM
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I like Megan's [join hands, interlock fingers] part. Clearly you should continue doing this until the speech tells you to do something else with your hands.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:56 PM
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[redacted].


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:57 PM
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Never mind, maybe that's someone else.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:58 PM
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I don't believe my portion of the speech tells the speaker what to do with his dick. You must have written that earlier.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:59 PM
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I realize it's responsibly vague, but could someone strike 238?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 8:59 PM
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Something bigger, as big as our challenges

Man, you don't to forge something that's only as big as your challenges. This is America!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:00 PM
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Ned's superpower is parody speechwriting. "Cryptic" is to throw off the bad guys.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:00 PM
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"Well, a spandrel, is something that arises when you are building architecture. When you're building a piece of architecture. Or just sketching it out, like the modernists do. Me, I'm a purist. Well, you build these arches, and then it's like, the part in the middle, the part you didn't even think about...hey! In between these arches, there's another architectural feature! Well, evolution works the same way. Who knows which parts of the, let's say, monkey body arose because they were useful, and which parts were just side effects of other parts? Well, I sure as hell don't. I'm no simian orthonomist. My name's k-sky, and I'm here to say: I like [NAME OF ORGANIZATION] in a major way. [pause for laughter] And well, there's a lot of reasons to like it, particularly, though not especially, this year. This year being the last year we have been in existence, so far. Last, but not least. And hopefully not last either! [pause for laughter] Now, onward toward the details of what we've been up to in our cubicles."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:00 PM
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Stricken!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:00 PM
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I imagine that Cryptic ned is always writing speeches, always committing them to memory, always ready to repeat them in a way that gives the appearance of extemporaneity.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:00 PM
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In ten minutes I'll strike it for real.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:01 PM
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I thought my superpower is parody writing, but I feel vastly outclassed.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:02 PM
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Never mind. I must have meant the thing with the cup.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:03 PM
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Well, okay then.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:03 PM
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Do you actually want it redacted or what?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:05 PM
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A good way to amuse the crowd would be to have an incredibly poorly-written and stream-of-consciousness speech, that you are obviously reading off a sheet of paper and have obviously practiced reading many times. Even better would be if they can see each line of your speech scrolling past, via projector, just before you say it.

238 must be a reference to this. Thanks for remembering, guys!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:05 PM
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Yes, please.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:07 PM
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Video of [YOUR SPEECH HERE].


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:07 PM
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"Hi, folks. I've decided to mess up the party, and that's exactly what I'm going to do.

"I'll start with [person who introduces you]. This inhospitable personage invites us round and instead of a meal [personal pronoun] puts on the table some awful sour stuff. I enjoy eating and I know what's what when it comes to food. You can't fool me with sour muck! I even go into restaurants on occasion and see what sort of food they have there. And I cannot stand it when this particularity of my character is not recognized.

"Now I'll move on to [person on the dias]. He didn't shrink from telling me to my face that every month he composes ten thoughts for the betterment of [organization].

"In the first place, he's lying. He doesn't have ten ideas, it's fewer.

"And secondly, I think up more. I haven't counted how many I think up in a month, but it must be more than he does."

Etc.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:11 PM
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Dias?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:16 PM
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"Since the dawn of time, mankind has asked one question: have we utilized our synergies and grown the pies of our core competencies. I am here to say to you: our future has never been brighter. It is outshined only by our present, and possibly the Golden Era we remember as though wide-eyed children--the shinging City on the Hill. In the next fiscal year, we will rebuild that shining City, withthe gifts of our hands, and labor, which is not to say childbirth, though mothehood will be honored once more by the strong Children of Tomorrow."


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:16 PM
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"Gents, ladies, and gentesses. We won't be backstabbed by the forces of gentility. We'll say what we really think matters to the truth, the integrity and the iniquity of this organization. And the validity of our concerns is as follows: No news is good news. That's right, everything is ticking along just tickety-boo. Is there a way we could be concerned even less than we are? Absolutely, because at present, it's hard not to describe a lot of us as negative nellies, fastidious freddies, and basically just overly-cautious hedgehogs, in Irving Berlin's locution. Can we speculate about the effect the credit crunch will have on hiring? It would be irresponsible to do so. But it would be irresponsible not to do so. [pause for laughter] In shah'allah, as they say, I'll try to pore over some highlights of what's going to happen when we get that big wad of cash. We've really been in a holding pattern, and any crisises have been barely blips on the radar. Is there a crisis? If there is, it's hit us less hardly than most. Just look at this graph [click to slide 2]."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:19 PM
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Dais.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:21 PM
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"What's the plural of crisis? Crisi? [pause for laughter] It's probably like penis. Speaking of which, this graph definitely becomes tumescent towards Quarter 4, and that just looks great with these colors I chose here. And when you look at the NON-normalized data, the trend is even clearer. We're blasting a road to victory through the tangled weeds of time. The British empire may be more powerful than ever, as we can see from the Dutch leaders of our world at this moment, but in the four-dimensional space of our world - that is to say, including time as one of the variables - the lancing of the boil of this economic crisis has really already occurred, in one of the multiverse. Why not just wait for it to happen here? Short answer: We don't need to."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:23 PM
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Come on megan, help us out! We need 3400 words/.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:23 PM
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Man, I just want to stand up and follow Cryptic Ned into the FUTURE! While increasing my sales goals.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:24 PM
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Parts of 258 are really channeling Babbitt.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:28 PM
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The time of dawn is approaching; I can sense it. All that is past will have been a prelude, all we think of as history will become pre-history. For what I am about to tell you today will form the dividing line between the old world and the old ways, and the new. There will be no return.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:28 PM
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Holy crap, ned, you're on fire. If you don't mind, I'm going to grab a couple of those choice paragraphs and edit them slightly to serve as a program note to Wagner's Siegfried Idyll.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:29 PM
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-e


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:30 PM
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I TILL THE DAWN OF TIME, THAT TODAY MAY SPROUT FROM PREHISTORY'S LOAMY, UM, LOINS?


Posted by: OPINIONATED CELESTIAL GARDENER | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:30 PM
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Why not just wait for it to happen here? Short answer: We don't need to.

You ghostwrite for Friedman, don't you?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:30 PM
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Oops, 266 retracted. Anyhow, 268 gets it right.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:31 PM
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"The answer to our question, that is to say, our challenge -- not our conclusion, that's not the sort of question I mean [pause for laughter] is...quite simply, to turn you, me, and the rest of us, though many of us already are...into go-getters. Can a clear vision of the future be far behind, if we focus on the present enough to optimize it, to man-handle the possibilities as soon as they foment themselves? The answer should be obvious. We've been doing good work on this, not to say we didn't do good work last year, but we've really been focusing on avoiding distractions this year, by layoffs, layoffs, and some good old-fashioned pink slips. [pause for laughter] But not until the end of my speech! [pause for laughter] Now. Among the less productive members of society, though as Mrs. Thatcher said, there ain't no such thing as society, are the following: [NAMES OF FIVE COLLEAGUES]"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:32 PM
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OK I'm confused-- jokey work references are OK but saying Richard is bad? In my mind remarks critical of professional or personal acquaintances or superiors are the real taboo, that and discussing money openly.

I have been invited to make you feel complacent and satisfied about our organizers and yourselves, in that order. This slide has one short word in a huge and ragged font, in white on a black background, which I will ignore while I namedrop. This industry was almost nothing just a few years back, so self-congratulations should be mentioned. Discreet megalomania, vague promises. A slide with data, excited spoken phrases making some tenuous connection to the promise of significance. Now it's gone, replaced by a childish diagram of boxes or ovals connected by arrows.

No, I can't do this. Perhaps sobriety is my problem.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:32 PM
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Ned's Sarah Palin's speechwriter. I thought it was obvious. He dumbs it down a little for her needs, but otherwise the same touch is there.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:33 PM
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Can we change the name of this thread to "Vapid wisdom"?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:34 PM
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thread s/b blog


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:36 PM
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I've heard rumors that that kind of crap is really the normal dispense in many large corporations, but I didn't believe it. Ned was severely parodying, right? Severely?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:38 PM
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Oh! My bad. Take a breather; I'm in!

As we stand here today, feeling the sun on our faces but also the breeze at our backs, there's a kind of energy. This is the energy that will lift us over the potholes and fences of life. Like that breeze, it is a little playful, but like us, it means business. The business of making our community come together (bring hands together, interlock fingers) to improve this city and these blocks. We walk on these blocks, these streets, but do we take the time to really see them? Sometimes we do. We don't always like what we see, but then we must ask ourselves, what is to be done? Will we use all of our gifts, each of us contributing our own special thing, to create better? Have we given our energy the tools it needs to fill those potholes? Friends, I think we have. But we could do more.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:38 PM
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I think we're parodying several things at once, parsimon, not even knowing what kind of organization k-=sky works for.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:39 PM
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Honestly, the jambalaya could use a little more of this stuff.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:41 PM
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That's the great thing, though. K-sky's been hired by an artisanal parody manufactory.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:41 PM
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Ned is all of us. All-hail all-one the great synergizing!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:42 PM
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The organization is a city. The speaker is a mayor.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:42 PM
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I know! K-sky could give a lot more direction if he wants a tailored speech out of us.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:42 PM
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Not, to be clear, the city or mayor of Los Angeles.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:42 PM
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277: Right, right. Just alarmed for a moment that this kind of thing might not be too far off the mark.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:42 PM
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You can use 276!

Do you have water problems? Boy howdy, am I ready with the water speech.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:43 PM
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Does the city have any resources that it would like to leverage into dynamic public-private partnerships going forward?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:45 PM
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I bet you could write a cracking speech based on the Moral ABC.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:45 PM
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Oh god, virtually none of mine is usable in that context.

Just steal stuff from here. There's even two slideshows! Just find and replace.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:46 PM
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They won't sap our vital fluids.

We asked for water, but the economy gave us gasoline.

This brave this oerhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire.

If not us, who? If not now, when?

Nope, I'm out.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:50 PM
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|| Can CBS get a new announcer for Xavier - Kansas St. right now? Yeah, the official blew the non-call. You don't have to keep saying it again and again. Anyway, it serves the coach/team right for not trying to win the game through playing normal basketball. You shouldn't have to rely on officials to hold on to a lead. |>


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:51 PM
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Cryptic ned, everything you've written here tonight is entirely usable in any context. K-sky would be doing the mayor a great disservice if he left a word of it out.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:51 PM
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The overriding issue for participants is how to manage growth in Fresno so that its physical beauty and small town atmosphere are preserved. Other common issues are to ensure that planning provides for services, housing, education and jobs to match the rate of growth. Controlling growth; pressures from neighboring counties. Maintaining local control; lack of enabling legislation; Dillon Rule constraints. Services not able to keep pace with growth. Communication infrastructure. Transportation corridor: traffic on key roads (15, 29, 17, 28) for transients and commuters; local access. Jobs: need more employment opportunities in county; create opportunities for youth to stay. Workforce retention, especially in schools. Affordable housing, especially for people who actually work in the county (teachers, firefighters, police, etc.). Expand Tax base beyond real estate: attract clean industry; hi-tech fixation. Maintaining balance of urban/rural and diversity. Permitting process difficult, especially for child care. Busing distances. Preservation of historic resources. Recreational opportunities, services, and other activities for youth/ seniors. Water/sewer: controversial - may be a way to control growth. Division within County: north/south. Projection of no farms by 2010. Lack of regional planning. Water. Air quality.


Posted by: Speechomat | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:52 PM
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Vision Speech II: The Visioning


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:54 PM
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||
The House has passed the "fixed" reconciliation bill.
I think this calls for speeches.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 9:56 PM
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Is it a vision thing we're after?

First of all, friends, I'd like to thank you all for coming out here. It's great to see you all tonight, and it's really great how many of you I recognize. That's the beautiful thing about our city; it's gotten bigger, but it's still small. You know, it's a small town and it smells good. People still know each other. That's one of the tasks we face today, folks. How we can get bigger without failing to stay small. We need to ask ourselves, you know, we've gotten a lot of businesses coming in over the past year and we've completed a lot of municipal projects and that's great, our employment numbers are way up. One project I'm particularly proud of is the new city hall we just completed, twenty-five floors. I think I need a few more to be honest [pause for laughter] but nevermind. But let's ask ourselves, what do we need, now, to really make our world come alive? What does it take—don't laugh at me now—to make us sing? Like I said we've had a lot of successes this past year, I'll be mentioning several of them specifically in just a bit, but I've got to warn you, we might have to do a little belt-tightening this coming year, so what will we do while we're waiting for the next one to arrive? That's what I want to address in this speech, how we can really pull together as a municipality and a community.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:04 PM
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Is civic engagement necessary? Rather, we should ask *why* it is necessary? Just look around. It's impossible to underestimate the vibrance, and diversity, or what I call "devibrancy", of this population. Is there a way to envision three parallel universes at once? Because that's what I'm thinking about for our fair city. We can shrink, we can get bigger, or we can stick around, kinda sorta like a damp muffin in the microwave. Haw! [pause for laughter] Now, let's get cracking. First things first! Let's remember the fantastic start we had to the year, with that [OBJECT] dropping in downtown [CITY NAME], and how we felt. But how did we feel? Well, I felt blessed to be a part of it, and of you. But what of you? What part of you were you a part of? It's kind of funny, how I could be meaning either you singular, or you plural, there. Because really, it's everyone I'm talking to. Not just these bigwigs here! Not just these hoi polloi up on the dais! But all of you!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:12 PM
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Ned is totally wasted on lab science. Or whatever it is he does for a living.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:15 PM
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Don't hold back, Witt. I am certain that you can help out here.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:15 PM
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The lab science, or whatever, probably just pays the bills.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:16 PM
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"With green eyes and blue balls did we budget.
It was clear always we'd fudge it.
Prop 13 was a joke,
And now we're all broke.
Fuck you clowns."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:16 PM
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That's right! Get up and boogie! That's right! [thundering applause] Now, what did God make here in our city? Well, it's tough to ask, but it's even tougher to answer. The big guy upstairs brought us providential spirit, as he would say. Is there anything wrong with that? It's wishful thinking to think there is. There's a lot of small towns outside our city, and we thank them for their piddling $27 commuter tax...but we thank them even more for injecting cash into the economy. And we resent them even more for paying taxes in their municipalities, and then complaining that we don't have money to plow the roads on that final mile to work. Why can't we cooperate on matters of public safety and coordinatory co-involvement? I'm proposing that we get designated as the next city to have its snow plow routes optimized by Google and some of those eggheads in the business school at [NAME OF LOCAL UNIVERSITY]. This is the 20th century, people! This is here! This is now! We are young! We run free! And that's what children mean to our future. I see a lot of future four-dimensional spacial modelers out there, or whatever the hell those guys are always on about, at those meetings about LEED certification and putting potted plants between the pillars at our hometown bank. [pause for laughter] Is it any wonder that we've been visited by three consecutive popes? The future depends on morality, and morality depends on me. And more importantly, you.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:19 PM
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We stand here today in our fair city. We know it as a city, but before it was a city, it was a town. And before it was a town, it was a place. It was a place back then, and it is a place now. A different place, to be sure, but right here, then and now. I think a lot of us, all of us, really, keep a piece of this place in our hearts. So we walk around on the place, but carry the place at the same time. That's the type of love and care that builds a city. Not bricks, not sidewalks. Not schools or buses. But heart-places, walking around.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:19 PM
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DOMINION OVER ARTIFICIAL ISLANDS! THE BORDER MUST BE UPDATED!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:21 PM
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I'm too earnest to be any good, neb. And besides, I'm off to swim sleep.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:23 PM
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"Webster's defines a city as..."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:23 PM
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Cryptic ned, was this always hiding inside of you? Have you been waiting to write speeches your whole life?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:24 PM
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Hey! It's a big night! Which means I'm lucky to be celebrating it with such big people! It's true! No, no, I don't mean physically big, except for a couple of you [ hold for chuckles ] -- hey, you work hard, you play hard -- I mean big-hearted. [ pause for quiet ] And, I guess, listen: I say that for a reason. I stand up here tonight not in front of a faceless group of anonymous workers, but in front of a family. I mean, that, a family. Because you -- all of you, even the big ones [pause for laughter] -- are some of the biggest hearted, most caring people I've ever met in my life. I know it may seem like what we've tried to do is trivial, or is maybe unimportant in the scheme of things, but can I tell you something? All of you, can I tell you something? When we set out on this project, it could have been good or it could have been bad. It could have meant something, or it could have meant nothing at all. And you know what? Thanks to all of you people -- nobody else! You! -- thanks to all of you people, it meant a whole hell of a lot. Give yourselves a hand. And I mean that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:24 PM
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Is neb writing his Moral ABC adaptation? Can he throw some Time Cube in there?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:24 PM
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K-sky, how's the word count?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:26 PM
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I'm imagining ned leading a nomadic life, moving from board meeting to civic meeting to popular demonstration to street corner, changing dress to blend into the crowd, always listening, absorbing the language, becoming each cliche.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:26 PM
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Life! It's life that has fucked you bastards over! Join me in the isotonic embrace of death's limpid womb!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:27 PM
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3194. Although a fifth to a quarter of that is just chunks of departmental reports that I pasted in, so it'll probably fall back a touch when I turn that into speech.

3214 when I add in 311. That's good stuff.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:30 PM
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310: William Gibson's The Behooving Kind.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:31 PM
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Is neb writing his Moral ABC adaptation?

Oh, you know, I found a pdf of a soap label and it was just too hard to read.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:39 PM
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No dedication anymore, these kids.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:40 PM
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"I like my booties and my boobs like a capital letter 'B'. That's how it is, how it better be. I preferably rather have two or three girls in the bed with me. Close your ears, ma, you ain't heard nothing. I always pay, ma, let a brother hold something. I'm basically coming from nothing to something. When I say nothing, meaning pockets full of lint and buttons. So why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to go to university?"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:40 PM
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Kinnock Kinnock.

Who's there?

Biden.

This is really a big fucking deal.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:42 PM
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ned, some of this stuff is publishable. I could easily see it in a Philip K. Dick or Harlan Ellison piece. Or William Gibson? I haven't read the one Tweety mentions, I don't think.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:44 PM
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Seek it out, pars.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:45 PM
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Actually, ned must work for the University of California.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:47 PM
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That hurt to read, fake accent.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:50 PM
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319: You'd called it something different in 313, but it still sounded familiar -- and yeah, still sounds like something I've read. Ah. Yeah, probably in the Burning Chrome collection.

I haven't read as much Gibson as I'd like. I don't adore everything I have read -- Idoru got on my nerves for some reason -- but otherwise I'd like to pick up more.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:54 PM
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You'd called it something different in 313

HE WAS MAKING A JOKE


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:54 PM
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What? Me? Since when?

The nerve!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 10:57 PM
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Night, y'all. Fun evening. Good luck finishing your speech, k-sky. Surely you can use some of what we wrote.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 11:01 PM
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OH.

Man, I get all sincere when I'm really tired. 'Night.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-25-10 11:03 PM
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This may be the very speech that embarrasses me into getting a job in television.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 12:04 AM
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4200, sans conclusion -- which is fine to hand in, they'll have room to put more stuff in and I'll get a sense for the conclusion from their response. But now I need to go back through to see if it makes any sense. Will the Brits will catch me?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 2:21 AM
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Catch you doing what?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 2:41 AM
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staying up working. Which I'm done. If I'd just been a little quicker to bed, you'd never have known.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 3:24 AM
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Sleep well. you must be well west.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 3:28 AM
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cryptic ned, you rock. very first time I'm in some kind of speech-needin' situation, like maybe trying to explain why all the anarchist hippies stole the wood stoves and now all the original commune members are freezing to death in new mexico, I'm'a turn to you. you've got the "vision-thing".


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 6:40 AM
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How delightful to wake up and have all this to read.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 6:55 AM
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If you read closely, you see that I've got the vision thing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 9:02 AM
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very first time I'm in some kind of speech-needin' situation.... I'm'a turn to you.

...Bu- bu- but if you need parodies of McMegan, I'm still your fella, right alameida? Pretty please? [dabs tears from corners of eyes]


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 9:25 AM
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Also, I can do rockin' PowerPoint slides, with graphs an' shit.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 9:27 AM
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334: Face it neb, your work will always be underappreciated. But there is some solace in that.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 11:51 AM
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This post title triggered an ancient earworm from Sir Paul McCartney and Wings: "When you were young and your heart was an open book...you used to say, live and let live (you know you did you know you did you know you did)." Many thanks for that.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 4:13 PM
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Tales of Actual Much-later Pupil-revenge to date: 0


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 5:49 PM
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339: When I recently ran into my now-retired-but-still-super-rad AP English teacher (the one Drew Barrymore's teacher character in Donnie Darko is partially based on {which I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before}), I bought her a cup of coffee. So that's like, you know, the opposite.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 6:39 PM
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Yes, KR, you're my go-to powerpoint graph dude, never fear.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 8:29 PM
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I just found out that my retiring colleague was a student of Jaime Escalante, when he lived in Bolivia. I don't think my colleague is seeking revenge.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 11:05 PM
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I used to be really worried that my high school latin teacher would be disliked and resented by his son, when his son grew up, and that this would lead him to a kind of confused despair.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-26-10 11:23 PM
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Tales of Actual Much-later Pupil-revenge to date: 0

If, as Lillian Hellman is supposed to have said, "living well is the best revenge," then I have avenged myself on several of my former teachers.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-27-10 2:57 AM
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My husband was very badly-behaved for his A level Maths teacher, and she is now Head of Maths at our daughter's school, but hasn't taught her yet. So he is now worrying about having to meet her again at a future parents' evening. Teacher revenge!

(Fortunately he has a common surname ... unfortunately I think he's pretty easily recognisable.)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-27-10 3:20 AM
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Hah. My sister and I both had a history teacher who taught my father at a different school when he was a kid. Dad was wondering whether to bring this up at the first parent conference, when Mr. Marienhoff forestalled him by squinting at him and barking "[Breath]? You owe me a paper."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-27-10 7:00 AM
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"[Breath]? You owe me a paper."

Yay!!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-27-10 7:14 AM
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My Dad and I had a math teacher in common, but Dad had him for calc in high school and I had him for geometry and algebra in middle school.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-27-10 7:24 AM
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20

Anyway, who on U/F ever actually revenged themselves on crappy teachers?

I always vote against the school budget (when I vote on it at all which is not often given the elections are deliberately held on weird dates to make voting no more trouble). Does that count?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-27-10 9:54 AM
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I regularly assign papers anywhere from 3-12 pages long, and some of these students will hand me a fucking 25-page brick no matter what.

I do the citation version of this. If I am told to produce a paper with an average of eight to ten citations, I will throw in about twenty-six. This is because I figure I need all the help I can get proving my point, and because footnotes make the page smaller, decreasing the real estate for my vapid maundering. It is a cunning plan which is probably totally transparent and yet still appears to work.

As far as injustice goes, when I was in first grade I had a science question marked wrong because I wrote that a butterfly emerged from a chrysalis when the teacher wanted me to write cocoon. I am still bitter about that, twenty-seven years later. But that pales before the injustice visited upon heebie. What kind of fairness is it to let people take multiple roles when others are not even cast? It is elementary school, not Broadway.


Posted by: winna | Link to this comment | 03-27-10 12:37 PM
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I had a maths teacher who'd also taught my dad. He was very extremely ancient, used the phrase "99 times out of ten" a lot (we never knew if it was a joke or a mistake), and tripped over the doorstop two lessons in three. On the plus side, he had calculus down cold, and soon so did we.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-27-10 12:56 PM
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My sister had a math teacher who was a TA for my dad when they were receiving their respective graduate and undergraduate educations. They (my father and this teacher) had the same first name, and their daughters … also had the same first name! I think.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-27-10 1:50 PM
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I believe I have mentioned before that I had a long and bitter dispute with my 3rd grade teacher over whether Jamestown was settled before Plymouth. She just wouldn't give in, pronouncing textbooks, encyclopedias, etc to be incorrect. This was in Texas.

She took her own life a few years later.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-27-10 2:13 PM
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Or so the coroner said.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-27-10 2:40 PM
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I always vote against the school budget

Oh James. You know, I've always wondered who it was who always voted against the school budget, and, well, now I know.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-27-10 7:51 PM
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UPDATE UPDATE:

My friend V got back to me, with these tales:
"Revenge as a dish best eaten cold doesn't really apply to pupils and teachers as they move away from each other. Best dealt with hot. When I taught in Infant school and gave young [Anon E. Mouse] a telling off, he promptly asked to go to the toilet, went outside the class and walked up and down over all the lovely children's paintings drying on the floor outside the room, ruining them all. He's now some kind of foreign correspondent for [Redacted Media Conglomerate]. To be honest I still need revenge on him for that.

"I also taught a boy who hated a teacher at Secondary school, and when adult he returned. The horrible chap was by then headmaster. The former pupil first set fire to his car, then the shed in his garden, then his house... and then he went to prison.

"My experience of revenge later in life would be hearing about abused pupils hunting down former teachers... exposing them, having them beaten up, killed. I can't recall where I heard it but there was a tale told of a whole group from a former orphanage school who organised sustained and lengthy revenge as an adult gang on a horrible teacher who was by then a failing old man...and they cared nothing for that. No pity. So it goes."


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-29-10 11:02 AM
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walked up and down over all the lovely children's paintings drying on the floor outside the room, ruining them all.

That's awesome. I like that kid.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-29-10 11:07 AM
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I believe I have mentioned before that I had a long and bitter dispute with my 3rd grade teacher over whether Jamestown was settled before Plymouth. She just wouldn't give in, pronouncing textbooks, encyclopedias, etc to be incorrect.

Huh, that's odd. Did she cite any countervailing evidence in support of her position?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-29-10 11:37 AM
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