Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Malignant British Leftist accuses others of malignancy

That he and his ilk have destroyed government schooling by their woolly-headed and unproven educational theories and  their virtual abolition of discipline he does not confront. 

And I KNOW what they have destroyed.  In my youth I went to a government school where corporal punishment for infractions was routine and I got as good an education as one could want.  I have the most positive memories of my schooling, unlike the unfortunate children of the egotistical Jonathan Miller

At school in a small Australian country town I learnt Schubert Lieder, translated poetry by Goethe, was introduced to Bach, Smetana and the Greats of English literature (I still spout Chaucer at the slightest opportunity), learnt enough physics to identify global warming immediately as absolute hokum, still remember some chemical formulae and acquired a degree of familiarity with Latin that is still useful.  And although my mathematics has always been weak, I did end up teaching statistics at a major Australian university.  What more could I have gotten from school?  Others undoubtedly got less from the same school but it was all readily there for those who wanted it.

And the school was even multicultural.  There were people from all over Europe there.  I was taught German by a Ukrainian!

Socialist Sir Jonathan Miller has admitted being 'ashamed' that he is supporting his grandchildren through private school.

In a war of words with his own son William, the renowned theatre director said the decision was made to ensure they got a good education.

Sir Jonathan added he was furious about 'belonging to a society which makes such as sharp distinction' between Britain's rich and poor.

There was 'something deeply malignant about a structure which makes it necessary to make these invidious choices,' he said.

He sent his own children to state schools but his son William called the decision a 'cavalier social experiment'.

William has sent his own children into private education, which Sir Jonathan says he is contributing towards.

'I do give them a little bit just to ensure there is some sort of security, but I feel rather ashamed of it and I feel ashamed of belonging to a society which makes such a sharp distinction between the prosperous and the assured, whose future is guaranteed, and those who are not,' Sir Jonathan told the Sunday Times this week.

'It all ought to be state education. It’s part and parcel of this profound and malignant separation of the prosperous from the poor.

'People who have huge amounts of can afford to wrap their children in all sorts of protective educational devices which guarantee that they will become like their parents.'

William Miller claims that he and his two siblings would have fared better had they been sent to public schools and Oxbridge, like their parents, but instead they were sent to state schools to appease the couple's socialist principles

'It turned out to be a cavalier social experiment that saw all three of his children fail to gain a single qualification. He is right to feel guilty: it was a wholly avoidable disaster,' he wrote in 2009.

Miller grew up near London's Regent's Park where his parents' neighbours were intellectuals including Alan Bennett, George Melly, Shirley Conran and AJ Ayer. He started school at Primrose Hill state primary in 1969 and went on to Pimlico comprehensive in 1975.

He says: 'If you were to ask me what I remember about learning, I think I could just about recall that the Romans long baths and hated the Scots.'

But Sir Jonathan himself went to the prestigious St Paul's School in London and then on to Cambridge University.

'One wants to have freedom of choice – it is a very important thing – but there is something deeply malignant about a structure which makes it necessary to make these invidious choices to guarantee your children are enveloped in protected devices,' he said.


Toward a More Inclusive Sexuality

Having read the course listings for several departments of Women’s Studies at places that were once universities, such as Dartmouth, I am considering becoming a deep-sea squid. Many considerations recommend this course. Squids are more dignified than people. They make less noise. Universities run by squids do not have Departments of Lesbian, Gay, Cross-gendered, Transmogrified, Transvestite, and Deeply Puzzled Squid Studies. Lady squids are less infuriated than human females in such courses, and frequently better-looking.  Departmental offerings of fascinating import abound:

WMST488R Senior Seminar: Queering the Global South (D)


WMST698D Special Topics in Women’s Studies: The History of Drag.  C. Schuler

I can’t imagine anything more appropriate to a college education than the history of drag. Perhaps there is a chapter on Elizabethan Englishmen, who wore brightly colored pantyhose and swords. Where I come from in West Virginia, any man who wore panty hose would need a sword, so maybe it made sense.  I am not sure how one queers the global south, but I believe I will move north and, just in case, get a Kevlar codpiece.

There was a time, long, long ago, in another universe, when universities were not chiefly comic. We have evolved. Today you can pay fifty thousand withering dollars a year to let your daughter be an extra in Saturday Night Live at, say, Yale, solemnly studying erotic peculiarities. The appeal is multi-faceted. A major in Women’s Studies (or would it be a majorette?) would simultaneously satisfy the teenager’s natural prurience, allow her a pleasant sense of advanced moral superiority, and permit her to avoid any danger of an education.

A tone of aggressive smugness pervades these not-very-scholarly hives, and a whine of misandry like the sound of a dentist’s drill in an adjoining room. Many have noticed that immaturity in today’s society lasts years longer than it did when the young had to work and raise families. This, plus the control of universities by the students, has allowed the coagulation of adolescent consciousness into whole departments. In these academic sandboxes the idea of critical thought seems to have died, equipping students with the self-awareness than one would expect of a peanut-butter sandwich. A department of militant sexism warring against sexism would be an embarrassment to more-logical beings, such as, I suspect,  any other beings.

There is in such courses much nattering about Women of Color. The inmates of these refuges from adulthood apparently regard themselves as being at one with oppressed women of the Third World, which in all likelihood they have never seen one of. If they had any idea of what an actual Nicaraguan woman thinks of pampered brattesses lolling about a pseudo-educational theme park paid for by their fathers, they would hide under their beds.

However, I subscribe to the Californian principle that if a thing is not worth doing, it is worth doing to outrageous excess. After exposing myself to an afternoon of such course descriptions, I decided that I would get into the spirit of the thing, that perhaps I was being retrograde in not having a sufficient respect for cross-gendered, bicephalous, transalpine, trisexual people of pigment. I decided that maybe the dyspeptic children of Dartmouth and worse had a point. Maybe we should study aberrant, non-traditional sexualities. I’m not sure why, but these days the question appears not to be important.

It seemed reasonable that bestiality should be our next front in the ongoing battle for sexual liberation. While our Victorian and Puritan inhibitions have driven this form of love into the shadows of fear and repression, history shows that it has had a vibrant existence in more-tolerant societies of the past. Among the ancients there were Europa and the white bull, and Leda and the swan. More recently we have had the Lone Ranger and Silver, and Bill and Hillary. Many clandestine amors have been reported of shepherds in the lonely moors of the Scottish Highlands. (It is reported that Scotsmen wear kilts because sheep can hear zippers, but this may be slander.) Taxonomic miscegenation is thus seen to have a lengthy lineage. It merits exploration.

In furtherance of this idea I tossed together a few collegiate courses that seemed to me a good beginning at legitimizing trans-species relations. Proposed offerings:

Introduction to Bestiality. This marginalized sexuality will be considered in the light of historical intolerance, oppression, and the liberation struggle. Basic concepts to be explored:  The sheep as social construct. Countering institutional humano-centrism. The eroticism of the orangutan in the cultural context of the rain forest. The Bolivian anteater, insertor or insertee? A Latina perspective on the donkey and the Tijuanan folk tradition. Laboratory twice weekly, covering practical techniques to include stepladders and the camel, and positioning the iguana.

Managing Cross-Phylum Relationships, with interdisciplinary emphasis on the Cephalopod. The role of tentacles. Animals of Color, centering on the cockatoo.

The Concept of Species: Socially Constructed or Injection Molded? The course will consider this complex subject from perspectives of sociology, gender struggle, and plasma physics. Accommodating differing reproductive sexualities: Budding vs. the egg strategy. Instructor: Señora Rosalita  Consolador y Alicates

Bestiality and the Law. Barking and the principle of informed consent. Recent Supreme Court decisions. Date rape: When “Moo” means “No.”  Negotiating with parents: the danger of trampling.

In my paroxysms of liberational afflatus it occurred to me that a truly inclusive sexuality would have to embody necrophilia, which suffers today from grave discrimination. It seems unmodern to bar people from the consolations of love merely because they are dead. Cannibalism being nothing but culinary necrophilia it seemed reasonable to combine the two. As the reader can see, I’m nothing if not reasonable.

NECCAN 202 Snuff: The Problem of Finding a Lasting Relationship. Techniques for digging up a date on short notice.

NECCAN 402 Fattening prisoners. Soy substitutes in time of peace. Sausages, gravies, and organ meats. The problem of deserts. Kosher. When baby dies.  Road kill. Cannable vs. bottleable.

Enough. Much as I want to contribute to social advance, I believe I will stick with becoming a squid. It will be less embarrassing.


Australia: Queensland Teachers' Union rejects flaw claims in assessments

QUEENSLAND'S senior student assessment system is open to rorting, is prejudicial towards well resourced schools and creates unrealistic student and teacher workloads, a group of teachers claim.

But academics and the Queensland Teachers' Union say the system, set to be reviewed by the State Government, is world class.

The heated and long-running debate hit a new high last week with the Queensland Studies Authority releasing a defence on its website to teachers' claims.

"The QSA welcomes feedback from the education and wider communities ... However, it is vital that debate and discussion about curriculum and assessment is based on factual information," the QSA website states, before addressing 11 "issues".

The Courier-Mail has heard from about a dozen of more than 100 teachers who met recently to step up claims against Queensland's externally moderated school-based assessment system.

Represented by James Cook University academic Professor Peter Ridd, the teachers dismissed views of Stanford University's Linda Darling-Hammond and Australian College of Educators chair Professor Robert Lingard that Queensland's system inspired higher-order thinking skills among students and was world class.

However, the teachers say the system is open to rorting, with better resourced schools able to facilitate continuous student drafts until written pieces were effectively done by the teacher. They also claim teachers are more likely to teach to the test because they are writing them and can more easily manipulate marks.

The teachers are calling for more external exams, for some maths and science assessments to have a lesser workload and to be allowed to use numerical marks rather than "confusing" criteria.

Prof Ridd said academics who thought the system was world class lived "in fairyland".

"It is the overuse of writing, it is the overuse of assignments which is one of the biggest problems," he said.

A QSA spokeswoman said elite schools and those in disadvantaged areas had similar student result curves, proving there was no bias, and while any system had a potential for rorting, no evidence had been offered.


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