[DWJ] long ago thread called Book recommendations

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue Mar 27 15:47:35 EDT 2007


I really ought not to be allowed to look at emails and posts I got
distracted from and didn't finish and send...

A very long time ago, I seem to have been on a "Pigeon-holes are for
pigeons!" crusade (not for the first time) and produced what follows.
Maybe I decided it was incendiary, or something; maybe I just wandered away
to throw a fox out of my dustbin or make a portable toothbrush-rack.
ANYhow, I think it had something worth saying, so the hell with it, I shall
send it now.

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>Robyn Starkey wrote:
>> Actually, I think Frankenstein is heaps easier to teach, and as I said
>> before, I've never been tempted to teach Wuthering Heights, although I
>> did appreciate it as an undergrad. A little less cynicism about other
>> people's professions would be nice.

Mark Allums responded:
>Cynicism?  Did that bit about professors keeping a "straight face" seem
>cynical?  I couldn't say anything about _Frankenstein_, having never
>read it, much less tried to teach it, but I believe what said about
>professors using _Wuthering Heights_ for its being easy to teach because
>a professor told me that when I asked him.


Exercise for the student:

Take the set "academics" with the two subsets "professors" and "lecturers"

(In England at least, not all professors -- not thinking of anyone in
particular -- give lectures; not all who give lectures are professors)

Given a sample of the subset "professors" consisting of a single example

Is it realistic to suggest that a sample of one is representitive of the subset?


Even so, since professors aren't clones, it may be cynical to suggest that
they are all intellectually lazy, but it's idealistic to suggest that none
are.

As in any other set of human persons, within the set "professors" there
will be subsets, for example:

honest/dishonest
wise/foolish
informed/ignorant
competent/incompetent
diligent/lazy
efficient/inefficient
benign/ill-intentioned
generous/mean

(and that's not getting into the ones who are and are not adequate
carpenters or finance-department-wranglers, so that their books are stored
in bookshelves or in heaps)

and any given individual in the set "professors" will fall within several
of these subsets.

Thus an honest professor may be also foolish, ignorant, incompetent,
diligent, inefficient, benign and generous; a dishonest one may also be
wise, informed, competent, lazy, efficient, ill-intentioned and mean; and
so forth.

(anyone who thinks that "competent", "lazy" and "efficient" are not
compatible characteristics has never thought about why some computer
programmers got the way they are!)

If I work on this I can probably insult at least two more professions and
trades, but

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There it ends.  "but I have probably had a go at them already" seems a
likely ending for that sentence, or perhaps "but there's a limit to how
dangerously I think it's sensible to live"....

:-)

Minnow





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