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Archive for March 29th, 2005

Fair and Balanced Heart of Darkness

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Spending the day grading papers that I should have graded
last week… Starting to develop the psychopathia correctitus that I’ve been
warned about.

Physiological or psychosomatic that my right eye seems to be
failing? Warned about that too…

The paper’s on Heart
of Darkness
and Things Fall Apart. Somehow,
I’ve manage to provoke 80 percent of my students into a variation on the
thesis: “In ‘An Image of Africa,” Achebe calls Conrad a racist, when in reality
it’s Achebe who is the racist.”

Whoops. Not exactly what I meant for them to take home from the course. Nice practice for deconstructing defenses of affirmative action… "It’s the feminists who are the sexes…" "It’s the gays who are intolerant…" "It the African novelists who are the racists…"

Disturbing sign of the times: almost all of the papers
employ the words “bias” and “balance” as key terms in advancing their argument.
Wonder where they got that from? Not their instructor…

‘What I had really intended to say was that in your article
I noticed you had used two words which have become obsolete. But they have only
become so very recently. Have you seen the tenth edition of the Newspeak
Dictionary?’

‘No,’ said Winston. ‘I didn’t think it had been issued yet. We are still using
the ninth in the Records Department.’

‘The tenth edition is not due to appear for some months, I believe. But a few
advance copies have been circulated. I have one myself. It might interest you
to look at it, perhaps?’

‘Very much so,’ said Winston, immediately seeing where this tended.

‘Some of the new developments are most ingenious. The reduction in the number
of verbs — that is the point that will appeal to you, I think. Let me see,
shall I send a messenger to you with the dictionary? But I am afraid I
invariably forget anything of that kind. Perhaps you could pick it up at my
flat at some time that suited you? Wait. Let me give you my address.’

Written by adswithoutproducts

March 29, 2005 at 2:25 pm

Posted in academia