Classes, Bloomberg, New Hampshire in Mid-July
07.18.2010 81 °F
“Within that conflictual economy of colonial discourse which Edward Said describes as the tension between the synchronic panoptical vision of domination-the demand for identity, stasis-and the counter-pressure of the diachrony of history-change, difference - mimicry represents an ironic compromise.”
Translation, please. Anyone? …Anyone? …Bueller? Come on. Winner gets a free night’s lodging in White River Junction’s finest Hotel Coolidge. How about I throw in a cot as well?
This quotation is taken from an online discussion forum for one of my classes that meets every week, this specific post was a student’s response to an article authored by Edward Said. If you have no idea what this quotation means, you are in good company. I guarantee I have less of an idea, and I read the article by Mr. Said. I am all for a liberal arts education. I am all for discussion, the flow of ideas, the hearing out of other varying perspectives, and compromise. But please people…let’s make sure what we are talking about is tangible. Let’s make sure we can completely and irrefutably back up our statements, and that we have a real belief in those statements. More importantly, let’s be most certain that we could actually explain those statements. Let’s not tangle ourselves in lofty minded vocabulary that no one can decipher, just so that we can tote that title of ‘ivy league’ around like some flowing garment of pretentiousness. Let’s have some real deliberation. Real discussion. Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of our opinions and backgrounds and lets work with each other to find out where our perspectives differ. Then we can debate. Then we can make claims. That is where we will learn from each other.
The one thing I liked about Michael Bloomberg’s visit was exactly the opposite of this post, I found his speech practical, understandable and well articulated. (Link to story here: http://now.dartmouth.edu/2010/07/michael-bloomberg-tells-dartmouth-students-why-he-won%E2%80%99t-run-for-u-s-president/) He seemed upfront about his opinions regardless of his audience or constituents. Granted, this could be just the shine of a polished politician. But overall I was impressed with his bipartisan nature and openness, particularly because I come from a city run by a man named Daley since I was born. I guess I had overlooked the importance of being mayor of New York City, as Bloomberg informed us that he has the eighth largest army in the world in the NYPD, and that their budget outweighs many countries GNP. I have my differences with him on several issues, but I felt that he was relatable in many ways and liked that he appears to be an independent thinker. I don’t know if I would vote for him for President in 2012, but he let us know that I won’t have to make that decision anyway. He won’t be running.
Classes are still going well. In particular, my creative writing course has been really great, mostly because of my professor.
And as a rule, I’ve found the discussion in person to be much better than online. I guess you can’t think up phrases like “synchronic panoptical vision of domination” on the spot, you can’t just click the thesaurus button on your computer...