Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why Ed McMahon Gets So Little Coverage Here.

Our celebrity mourner from Friday generated a good deal of mail. Here are two pieces that best addressed the issues.

This is a website about sometimes-serious, sometimes-lighthearted issues in the realm of academia, it's not about EVERYTHING THAT GOES ON IN THE WORLD. You want to commiserate about Michael Jackson? Go to just about any other website in cyberspace right now. You looking for a debate about the Iranian elections, or global warming? Damn there's a lot of sites that'll cover those issues, why are you demanding that it be covered here too? If I'm feeling stressed about stuff going on in the world, I'll talk about it with my family and my friends, and maybe in anonymous cyberspace, but not on this particular site. If I want stress about academic shee-ite, this is the place to be, sweetheart. You don't like it, then piss off to the millions of other websites you can visit.

Damn, that student email nicely crystallizes what's wrong with students these days - such a skewed sense of what's important versus what's not important, and how everyone should agree with and change to suit THEIR priorities. This attitude is definitely leaking bigtime into the entry-level workforce now - a friend of mine who works in mid-management in the financial consulting sector was reprimanding a 24-year-old newly-graduated subordinate with a business degree, for deciding to sleep in because she partied late the night before, not bother coming into work that day nor informing anyone of her whereabouts, causing a missed reporting deadline to a client that resulted in a financial penalty to the company. Her response, which involved interrupting her boss in mid-reprimand: 'Why are you getting on my case? It's no big deal. It's not like I killed someone or something.' Sheesh. It oddly made me feel better to know that we don't suffer this shit from young turdlings just in academia.


Ah, thanks for your refreshing perspective and for focusing on the important things instead of being so negative. Yeah right! Your email matches the cynicism level that keeps me returning to RYS day after day. It’s obvious that you have no clue how frustrating it is to dedicate your life to higher education just to be stuck with a group of students who feel that being expected to read a “f*&^*(&king book” is too hard, silly, or unimportant. The bottom line is this: If you’re not interested in truly learning the subject matter, don’t take the class. University is supposed to be a sanctuary for scholarly research and discussion. Instead, it’s become a mass production facility where grades are inflated and failure to learn is overlooked so that every little snowflake can continue to feel good about him or herself.

Students should arrive on campus with an open mind and spend considerable time exploring new thoughts until they find their true passion. However, this is rarely the actuality for my students. They opt for classes that they’ve heard are easy or ones which they believe have a light attendance policy. My favorite, however, which hearkens back to your post, is that many students will avoid—at all costs—classes with a heavy writing load. Why in the world do we demand that young people be able to accurately, logically, and concisely express their thoughts? Because it’s important! Based on the inconsistencies and unapologetic misspellings in your email, I’m not overly surprised this point is lost on you.

Being a good writer is a sign of intelligence and maturity. Writing is a skill can and should be learned through continued education. It’s not a magical power possessed by only a select few. Further, learning to identify reliable sources, following formatting directions, and adhering to strict ethical guidelines is simply a warm up for life in the ‘real world’ where there are bosses who expect tasks to be executed accurately, on time, and with unfailing attention to detail.

Finally, I’m not at all certain why you feel that this blog — one with a clear purpose — should be actively mourning the passing of these celebrities. To my knowledge, none of them were great college students who deserve praise in an academic forum. Before you get all huffy, I’ll agree that we have witnessed the lives and now the loss of 3 very unique and influential stars. However, I do not read RYS to get the latest celebrity news.