We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The major victory of professors of literature in the last half-century — the Great March from the New Criticism through structuralism, deconstruction, Foucauldianism, and multiculturalism — has been the invention and codification of a professionalized study of literature. We've made ourselves into a priestly caste: To understand literature, we tell students, you have to come to us. Yet professionalization is a pyrrhic victory: We've won the battle but lost the war. We've turned revelation into drudgery, shut ourselves in airless rooms, and covered over the windows.
"We've turned revelation into drudgery, shut ourselves in airless rooms and covered over the windows." Boy, have they ever! The kids are fleeing and screaming with fear, instead of having a damn good time reading whatever they want, and declaiming Shakespeare in the park going home, after seeing Henry V onstage, as I did, in my dear, long-past youth.
Spoilsports all of them, or almost all, except Dr. Fleming, who sees right through them.
If only that sort of thinking were limited to the study of literature at the college level. Unfortunately, it is common in many subjects, particularly at the elementary school level, and in disciplines where the teacher is more likely to have a degree in "education" than in any of the subjects she is teaching.
As I remember, there was a subject called science in every grade of elementary school. However, we weren't taught science, we were taught about science instead. There was no hypothesize-experiment-measure-conclude taught until seventh grade, and even then only at a rudimentary level.
There was no history to speak of, only "Social Studies", again taught on the level of people in other parts of the world speak funny languages, eat funny food, and dress in funny clothes, but really are just like you".
Even phonics was taught in a way that totally divorced it from the concept of reading.
The only subject that was taught with anything resembling rigor was actually math, probably because no one had yet figured out a way to make what the sum of two and three should be in a fairer world. I think even then most of my teachers would have been utterly lost without their red-letter edition of the textbook.
It's not just lit --not just the missing novel & poem --where are the beaux arts, the painters and sculptors? It's as if the 18th and 19th centuries clossssed the book on art itself, as if WW1's proved that no one had been paying attention, and all there was left to say about hope and optimism (regardless of theme, communicating it is an Easter-ish act of hope & renewal) was that lucky are those not yet drowned in futility.
Thus the gods tumbled down from Olympus as cynical children, the new gods, uninterested in Beethoven or Van Gogh or Shakespeare, given over to a potty training somehow suddenly sysiphean.