Friday, February 20, 2004


One man's fiction is another man's reality.

I’ve been a bad blogger. I can only plead dissertation.

My bedtime reading--to clear all the scholarship out the brain so it will shut down for the night--for the last week or two has been a book called Death and Restoration, by Iain Pears, who many readers may be more familiar with from An Instance of the Fingerpost and The Dream of Scipio. He’s also written an interesting series of mysteries featuring an art dealer/professor named Jonathan Argyll and his girlfriend/fiancee, Flavia di Stefano, who works for the art theft division of the Rome police department. They’re well done, for what the are, which is enjoyable mysteries for those who know a bit about the arts and humanities and who are interested in learning more. Slightly less challenging than Arturo Perez-Reverte, but every bit as enjoyable.

I bring this up because one, they’re worth a read, particularly for bedtime and on the EFX machine. But I also came across a passage in Death and Restoration that perfectly captures the problems in higher education, both those brought on by the ridiculous business model we have had forced upon us by administration and those brought on by the empty, leftist pedagogical practices still in vogue in most of the institutions I’ve had the “pleasure” of teaching in. I’m going to quote the two pages in question in full.

And from there the book moves back into the main story. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I find this a succinct summation of two of the biggest problems facing academic reform today.

Of course, this may speak more to me than to you, because I find myself this term in the position of delivering old-fashioned lectures at the front of a “smart” classroom, competing for attention with the movie screen and the equipment that command the center of the room.

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