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Grade school was mostly with one teacher: the first grade teacher, the second grade teacher … For the seventh grade we had two teachers, we split our time between two classrooms. Then junior high saw us commuting from class room to class room to class room: English, math, and to an altogether different location for gym, for recess, for lunch. We had a ground zero, a home room. Home room was supervised by a teacher who also had a supposed academic function. However stupid or ignorant they were they, however far from being a Kepler or a Kittredge, they tended to not be out and out louts. Till one day the gym teacher had to sub for the home room teacher for a particular “study hall.”
This guy, Mr. O’Shea, lowered at us, dumb as an ox. “OK, now Hit those books!
Hiring the bull to organize the china shop. Man, was I ready to appreciate Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-intellectualism in American Life when it came out in 1963.
I like all in my generation used Kittredge’s texts for Shakespeare, read his notes. I never saw him teach but nevertheless use him as an Abraham for teachers. My citing Kepler is deliberately ambiguous: Kepler did as much as anyone to invent our current astronomy for the local universe, he’s a chief architect for our perception of the solar system. Therefore he is one of our greatest teachers. But: in a classroom he was supposed to have put all the poor boys to sleep. Did anyone know what he was talking about? Did anyone care?
So: there are two kinds of teachers: diametrically opposed. Our major local religion celebrates a teacher who got crucified by the authorities soon after opening his mouth. Therefore, I see Christianity ass being one of our truest religions.
2013 11 30 Writing the above just a couple of weeks ago, stimulated me to pick up the Hofstadter, Anti-intellectualism, to refresh my reading. My pages are yellow, brittle. I saw my multitudinous marks and marginalia. I started with the Introduction. After a while I skipped to Chapter 1. I just bailed out. I can’t read it, it’s gibberish. It’s part of the muddle, not a path through the muddle. The root “intel” is at war: you can’t throw out intellect and not harm intelligence. The public is mistaken to believe it can distinguish bluster from intelligence: the Jesus will routinely be crucified: by people who say they’re standing up for Jesus.
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