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Re: Bracey vs. Schlafly

Years ago, John Updike compared Salinger to Hemingway - saying that Hemingway was a writer of external action and Salinger a writer of internal action.


>>> mkluznik@HOTMAIL.COM 09/05 3:11 PM >>>

Catcher in the Rye? Wow, that's an overhyped book, if ever there was one.
It's one of the most valuable first editions in the US...I've got one but
plan to sell it on Ebay. Don't tell the bidders on Ebay that I have such a
low opinion of the book.
Some psychologist once did an analysis of some of our most popular novels.
He/she attempted to calculate IQs of the authors by looking at thought
complexity, sentence construction, ideas, themes, etc. He/she concluded
that J.D. Salinger was one of the least intelligent of all the authors
he/she reviewed.

I've heard that the Canon has been laid aside on some campuses for less
important works. What a pity. How does one get through American Lit.
without having read Moby Dick, Huck Finn, The Great Gatsby, As I Lay Dying?
Some of those Dead White Guys actually had some interesting things to say.

>From: "George N. Schmidt" <Csubstance@AOL.COM>
>Reply-To: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
>Subject: Re: Bracey vs. Schlafly
>Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2001 07:12:12 EDT
>In a message dated 8/30/01 4:57:09 PM, mkluznik@HOTMAIL.COM writes:
><< Also, I haven't spent much time on campus
>since the mid-80s when I worked on a graduate degree. However, I think
>a few of the things she says might be worth reflecting on. >>
>More than a dozen years ago, I had a student teacher from Madison (U of W)
>who refused to teach "Huck Finn" or "Moby Dick" in my 10th grade Hnors U.S.
>Literature class. Bizarre as that event was, it was followed by an intense
>discussion of what book she would be willing to teach (we had limited
>supplies of various texts, and I always insisted that every child in every
>class have a copy of the text to take home each night -- not just use
>sets"). I wanted the students to read one 19th Century U.S. novel, but by
>time the quids, pros, and quos were done, the only novel she was willing to
>teach that we also had enough copies of was "The Catcher in the Rye"
>your chronological imagination a bit..).
>The agenda (I couldn't call a lot of that activity a lesson plan, really)
>came out slowly, but finally was all there when the young lady tried to
>a discussion on "phonies". By then, she had confirmed the conclusion she
>reached before she ever came to our school -- that all teachers were
>in the sense that Holden Caufield rants about. She had the kids sitting
>around in a circle and was trying to lead them to the revelation that the
>teachers at that school were phonies. I was listening from the other end of
>the room (it was a large room, my first "computer classroom", but that's
>another story).
>Finally, I heard one of the Heavy Metal white kids in the class ask, "Do
>really want me to be honest?"
>When she said "Yes, of course..." he said, "You're the biggest phoney I've
>met in a long time. You don't know anything about us, you come here with a
>bunch of ideas about us, and now you're trying to get us to talk about how
>bad our school is..."
>She cried, etc. At the end of the experience, I learned (from her) that she
>had never read any of the books in the Canon. I asked what kinds of courses
>she had taken to get a degree in English, and it was the kind of list the
>anti-PC people discuss. It wasn't just Dead White Guys she was steered away
>from. Although she had "studied" "Black Literature", she hadn't read
>Son" or "The Autobiography of Malcolm X". Insofar as I was able to gather,
>the curriculum she had followed to get her degree had only one common
>an intense aversion to testosterone and the behaviors associated with it in
>the stereotypes. She never quite got it -- that she was stereotyping just
>about everyone at that working class high school (as the kid had pointed
>as viciously as her mentors must have taught her to do.
>That was one of the first times I realized that a a lot of the teacher
>bashing and union busting we would later see was coming from the
>seminar rooms and incomprehensible journals of the professariat. Since
>I've had the chance to get a more balanced view of that problem, but it's
>still there. As Mike points out, just because Phyllis Schlafly says it
>doesn't mean it's wrong. Even Rush Limbaugh's old clock tells the right
>twice a day.
>George Schmidt
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