Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Class #10

5:11-5:14 Professor writes title of course on board and breaks into constituent parts. For 9th time this semester.
5:15 Professor opens exterior door. Struggles to choose appropriate doorstop, settles on lectern.
5:16 “What is this story about?” “What happens in this story?”
5:16-5:19 Review of content.
5:20 Preston Sturges mentioned. Unclear what he has to do with anything.
5:21 Professor reminds class that Lyndon Johnson “is important.”
5:21-5:23 Professor blames Iraq situation on Vietnam. Somehow ties both of these to OPEC’s use of force.
5:23 Professor tells story about daughter. Point seems to be that his daughter is a moron. Suggests that World War II was entirely a result of World War I, with no other causes.
5:23 Ooops, we’re back on Preston Sturges and his film “The Great McGinty.” Gonna have to check that out on imdb today.
5:24 Dukakis?
5:25 Professor celebrates that broken clock is gone. Asks student if they are personally responsible for its removal. Student disavows knowledge.
5:25-5:26 Oh lord. We’re back on the Duke, somehow.
5:27-5:28 Electoral politics of the American south, 1900-1960ish. Reminder, for third time today, that job of a public official is to get elected and re-elected.
5:28 Thematic minute from hell! “What happens in this story?” “What is this story about?” “The job of politicians…”
5:29-5:31 Student asks substantive question challenging professorial rant. Professor stares at the ceiling, fiddles with windowshade cord. Answers question with a series of alternating run-ons/sentence fragments, then attributes all political change in 20th Century to death of previous generations. Professor appeals to second student to answer question in his stead.
5:32 While students begin discussion of material, Professor writes “where start” on board and repeats random phrases from student conversation.
5:33 Professor lists things we don’t inherit from our parents.
5:34-5:35 Professor claims that Americans are anti-party in their political beliefs and tendencies. Oh God. We’re back on the Articles of Confederation. This has nothing to do with anything, though I’m interested to learn that the Articles did not have an executive. I didn’t know that before.
5:35 Class is now aimed at uncovering the purpose of fraternities.
5:36 Professor sits in student seat, fidgets with attached desk.
5:37 Professor goes on rant about the laziness of American fire fighters. Tells story involving a car seat.
5:38 I tuned out for a second. Professor is now talking about Tammany Hall—I missed the link, but I somehow doubt it would have made any sense anyway.
5:39 SAT (as in the bubble test,) is lauded as a democratizing force.
5:39 I really hope that I’m just not paying close enough attention, because I think he just said sexual orientation is a choice???
5:40 Professor finishes rant from question asked at 5:29, asks if question is answered. Student says, “I guess,” prompting Professor to share that the answer has made him tired.
5:41 I will be impressed if we can get through a single day of this class without him mentioning Newt Gingrich. Today ain’t the day, though.
5:43-5:45 Professor asks why we make policy at all. Review of main themes of course.
5:46 Professor lists the central disputes which have made up the small number of readings we have done thus far.
5:46-5:48 Professor launches into discussion of Dennis Hastert and his knowledge of Mark Foley’s pedophilic activities. Gingrich is mentioned again.
5:48-5:49 Monica Lewinsky, Catholic clergy, and pedophiles mentioned in discussion of something… maybe illicit sex? Class argues over how old Monica Lewinsky actually is.
5:50-5:51 Student suggest that Tom Reynolds may be negatively impacted by Foley scandal. Professor asks who Tom Reynolds is.
5:51 Professor examines seating chart while student rambles on. There are 17 people in this room. INCLUDING the Professor.
5:52 Oh God. While counting the number of people in the room, I just heard someone say NAMBLA as part of the discussion.
5:53 Still talking about Mark Foley. Not sure why this is relevant, interesting, or distinct from any number of op-eds.
5:54 Rant against vague political terms. “Judicial activism” targeted. Professor observes that Monica Lewinsky looks like every girl he went to high school with, laments that they weren’t as “aggressive” as she was.
5:54-5:55 “What happens in this story?” “What is this story about?”
5:55 Hey, we’re scribbling notes on a manila folder!
5:56 Discussion has returned to “detention centers”. Where’s the corequisite discussion of the semiotics of the Holocaust?
5:57-5:58 Professor complains about chalk dust on hands. Mentions that he thinks he eats chalk. Asks class if we know anyone involved in campus emergency medical services, ridicules emergency response crew for driving fast on campus, suggesting they were “on their way to save someone from their hangnail.”
6:00-6:01 Brown v. Topeka Board of Education. Explicit topic of conversation right now is immigration policy, but discussion is centered on cost differential between hiring a lawyer and running for Senate. Apparently a lawyer costs less than a successful Senate campaign.
6:01 “What is the world coming to?” Professor sees fit to end his silly platitude with a preposition.
6:03 Professor and student argue briefly about whether student’s hand was up.
6:03-6:04 “Three minute history of American rights.” Time elapsed: roughly 45 seconds.
6:05-6:06 Professor begins list of marginalized American groups. So far: immigrants, gays, handicapped.
6:07 Professor is now listing types of rights. I can’t bring myself to copy them down.
6:08 Professor becomes angry about protection of the rights of “MOLLUSKS!!!” and “crustaceans.” After student suggests economic motivation for concern, Professor conceded “my zoology is not as good as yours.” Discussion may be veering towards reminder than environmentalism is a religion.
6:09 “Environmentalism” said for the first time. Professor ridicules concept of ecosystemic interdependence.
6:10-6:11 Professor is angrily scribbling on manila again. During time, student asks very clear and simple question.
6:12 Professor asks student “what’s your question?”
6:13 Is Boston a fancy city? Professor doesn’t think so. Discussion of the distinction between liners and exteriors of coats, as well as the distinction between real fur and synthetic fur.
6:14 Professor scribbles some more.
6:15-6:16 Ockham’s Razor proposed as model to understand political behavior of Ted Kennedy.
6:17-6:18 Shakespeare believed in “weak men and strong women.” Professor believes in “weak parties and strong ideas.”
6:18 Professor references own book again, claims credit as author for first time. Admits “I don’t even understand it” in reference to part he wrote himself.
6:19 Third paper discussed, although second one has not yet been assigned.
6:19 Class dismissed? He can’t ramble about something else for 11 minutes?


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