Anti-intellectual Gym

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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.

Kepler, Kittredge

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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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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