Elitism was Tam lin

Ven ven at vvcrane.junglelink.co.uk
Wed Sep 13 20:09:33 EDT 2000

So Nat and Helen went to Blackstock, sorry Carleton. marvelous! I 
was never sure if it was a "real" place or not.  Has anyone read 
Elizabeth Hand's Waking the Moon? Its set at a college too, "St 
John the Divine", and has thematic similarities, tho its rather 
darker. it also features a plot twist that completely took me by 
On 12 sept Kyra wrote
> While I would absolutely never say that higher education is
> necessary or in any way important in making friendships, etc., I do feel
> that some sort of affinity is important...  I'm speaking from a very
> personal place here because for the first eighteen years of my life I felt
> practically all alone in the world except for my family.  This mostly
> wasn't that bad - I am an introvert, after all - but when I look at the
> quality of my life in high school compared to now, in college, it makes a
> difference.

For me it was primary school that made me feel like an alien. And, 
while I don't believe in selective schooling, at the time it felt as 
though passing the eleven plus saved my life. (an exam which 
determined/s whether children went to a grammar school, largely 
good or a secondary modern, often mediocre). It was at my 
grammar school that I met people with whom I had an intellectual 
affinity. We shared a lot of things, tastes in music, a silly sense of 
humour, a certain non conformity (well, ok, some of us rather 
gloried in outweirding the other pupils and teachers). Not all of us 
were great readers but everyone read.  But I have to say it was in 
part a defensive group, there were too many of us and we were too 
adept at being strange to be a target for bullies (what a contrast to 
my primary school! and those of at least some of my friends) and I 
now think it was a bit too cliquey and limited. There were other 
people I wish I had  got to know as well.

There were lots of likable, intelligent people around me at > high 
school, but none of them _were_ as interested in reading, in 
thought, > etc. as I was, and that _did_ make me feel lonely.  I 
was shocked to find > how many people here at Swarthmore were 
actually interesting and pleasant > to talk to.  It sounds pretty 
stupid now, but before I came here, I > honestly thought that my 
family was pretty unique in the world.  And now > that I have 
people my own age aside from my brother I can just talk to or > 
hang out with when I am feeling stressed, instead of just having my 
> homework, my parents, and Ethan, I really think it made a big 
difference > in my life.  So, yes, I do think that reading, that an 
intellectual bent > make a difference to a person.  Again, I'd like to 
repeat that this has > nothing to do with higher education (or the 
number of quotes a person > knows, or the impression they give 
you in the first month you know them) - > I think that a person can 
be interested in the life of the mind and an > person with whom I 
enjoy spending time no matter what they choose (or are > able) to 
do with their life - however, I do think that those last two > things 
are correalated for me.  There are lots of people whom I consider > 
to be good, kind, wonderful, admirable people whom I really cannot 
look > upon as friends - friendship isn't just about admiration, it's 
also about > wanting to spend time with a person ;-). > Yeah, 
absolutely, I can't be doing with people who won't think myself.  I 
think I was trying to say that in the end its not the shared interests 
or even ideas that matter that friendship can be a deeper affinity, 
not readily explained. 	

Oh no I've really messed up the fomatting now...................

Lizzie wrote
					Hmm.  I would agree that being a reader makes 
a difference in a > person.  (I'm sorry I can't quote but my college's 
email is ARCHAIC and > impossible to use.)  I'm thinking here of 
something that was said in my > children's lit class the other day--
the teacher declared that reading > encourages a sort of empathy 
in children--it gets them to think of other > people as people, with 
feelings and ideas.  An example here is my younger > brother.  
He's fourteen, and the only person in my family who doesn't read > 
a lot.  He much prefers one of his six thousand different video game 
> systems or any movie starring a SNL alum.  (I can quote most of 
"Billy > Madison," which is a very stupid if funny movie involving a > 
twentysomething man who goes through school again, starting in > 
kindergarten.  Just in case those of you who aren't from the US live 
in > countries where Adam Sandler isn't worshipped by the 
fourteen year old > crowd.)  Anyway--although I love him very 
much, I don't find in my baby > brother the sensitivity to others that 
I would like to see.

I sympathise but I don't think its reading that makes the 
difference........ My not-much- of- a- reader friend Sid is a 
psychiatric social worker -- and you have to be pretty empathic to 
do that! I'm starting to think I'm taking Sid's name in vain here I'll 
have to see what he thinks of all this.


About Tam Lin--I didn't like that book (although it did make me > 
eager to go to college, in the hopes that people there would 
actually > enjoy reading and learning. . . well).  A lot of the reason 
is that it > made me feel stupid for not knowing a lot of the works 
referenced, and not > being able to recall huge passages of the 
ones I did know.  I've got a > HORRIBLE memory for quotes, and I 
hate being made to feel stupid just > becaus I can't quite 
remember exactly what was said first on the > forty-seventh page 
of a random Thomas Pynchon novel.  Janet was so > smug.  I can 
just see her and (I can't remember his name--wasn't it > Tom?) 
growing old and smug together in some academic setting with all > 
these kids they'd name good old names while looking down their 
noses at > trendy namers, and feed them lots of granola while 
laughing behind their > hands at the moms who still buy 
wonderbread.  It's not the old names or > the granola I object to--
it's the sniggering. 

What a great picture you paint but what exactly is granola--is it like 
muesli? I have a suspicion that PD writes with the complete works 
of Shakespeare  on her desk and a small reference library at hand. 



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