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.
College students’ reading habits ain’t what they used to be, laments Ron Charles, a senior editor at The Washington Post’s Book World.
The Chronicle of Higher Education’s monthly list of best-selling titles on college campuses, Mr. Charles notes, has lately been dominated by the vampire tales of Stephenie Meyer and the inspirational stories of Barack Obama. Forty years earlier — amid the passion of civil rights, Vietnam, and the women’s movement — student tastes ran more along the lines of Howl, Soul on Ice, and the poetry of Sylvia Plath.
Today “we have a generation of young adults away from home for the first time, free to enjoy the most experimental period of their lives, yet they’re choosing books like 13-year-old girls — or their parents,” he writes. “The only specter haunting the groves of American academe seems to be suburban contentment.”
Not everyone shares his alarm, reports Mr. Charles. Mike Connery, who writes for the Web site Future Majority, says that the top titles are simply what people are reading to escape. They absorb their politics through blogs and social networks, he says.
Mr. Charles isn’t buying that argument. “For the Twitter generation, the new slogan seems to be ‘Don’t trust anyone over 140 characters,’ he writes. “What you see at the next revolution is far more likely to be a well-designed Web site than a radical novel or a poem. Not to be a drag, but that’s so uncool.” —Don Troop
Ed. note: One more of those "the kids these days" pieces. But if Soul on Ice and Sylvia Plath are anybody's idea of soulful, I must live in the wrong universe.
The comparison is between what sold best at bricks-and-mortar bookstores on about 3-dozen specific campuses and what books a bunch of literary types remember being topics of conversation 20 and 40 years ago. Can we make valid conclusions from such a comparison?
"Forty years earlier — amid the passion of civil rights, Vietnam, and the women’s movement — student tastes ran more along the lines of Howl, Soul on Ice, and the poetry of Sylvia Plath. "
I read that sentence and pulled a blank on the titles and the poet(?). As I went to Colorado Mines in the late '60s & early '70s, I knew I was insulated from a lot of foolishness going on at Boulder (CU) and other schools in the Denver Area & Colorado Springs. What astounds me is I don't think I have ever heard of these. I thought I read a lot, but maybe not.
just listed to a lady named Anne Neal, of the American Council of Trustee Administrators (or something very close) talking about the modern undergrad core
curriculae (--lum?) & how it is that we manage to send out K-12 teachers & other bachelor-degreed functional illiterates who seem to've skipped all the now-elective core courses in favor of courses on variations of 'how to advocate for social justice' (is that even a proper sentence? Doesn't the 'for' improperly modify? need Meta!). Anyhoo, she was good, check her out
on the menu at 2:44 or search the box for her name or segment tag "what you should've learned in school".
The 'for' usage is correct in that sentence. I did have to read the sentence several times to get it, but I think I did. I didn't see the video, but I can speak from experience that the most ridiculous and useless degree in undergrad and graduate work is ED. The courses are lofty in theory and subterranean in application. During my twenty years teaching secondary English, I, we, had to take in-services every year, and a 501-502 course in education. I'll sum up the graduate courses with this: Most of us in the trenches walked out after a few meetings. When we didn't walk out, we complained bitterly that the professors were utter fools with no clue of the real world, and then we sought out an alternative course on our own.
As for the curriculum for a Masters in education, it is a fixed, non-choice syllabus - at least in Virginia. Which is not to say it isn't alien to the needs of real-world teachers.
Our best teachers turned out to be retired military - once they got over the shock of the lack of discipline in the schools. Most quickly fixed that in their own classrooms, however, and ended up some of the most popular teachers. Like them, I took no ED courses in college, never intending to teach, and had to take a set of ED courses in order to become certified. I don't think I could begin to come up with a single positive expression about any of those courses.
I will say this: It doesn't take education courses to make a good teacher. It takes guts, knowledge of your subject, and a willingness to discipline the first punk so coolly that no other student wants to take you on. Then is when the learning begins. And as any good teacher and parent knows, every kid quietly begs for discipline.... which is equal to love.
Douglas2 has a point. My memory of the William & Mary college bookstore in the early 70's was that it stocked very little popular literature, and thus, sold little. What I remember reading, or others reading, is likely to be biased in favor of what is, uh, memorable.
Assistant Village Idiot
as a 7th grader I hated math, no room for error or your own creativity. I enjoyed making the class laugh with my silly antics. Mrs Cato was a frail gray haired math teacher, about 83 years old, with unsightly purple veins on her arms and hands. First day of her class she informed us, while drilling ME with her cold blue eyes " I can be nice or I can be mean as a snake" ..
..she scared the wits out of this tough guy. She asked me come to her room after school, needed help cleaning graffiti off the desk tops,.. was then I discovered how wonderful and wise she was.
Instantly, we were a team, I didn't make the class laugh..
..she taught math.With chalk dust flying from the black-board she never looked back. Had it not been for her I would still be lost in a world of not knowing how to balance a check book, make investments or her favorite, plane geometry.
Thank you Mrs Cato, for the love you gave.
Who has time for pleasure reading in college? I was an English major, so I was working on 1-2 novels a week for class. Also taking Spanish, econ, poli sci, art history, bus law, etc, which kept me busy. Started out as an elec. engineer, so the first year and a half were busy with chem, physics, calculus, comp sci and diff eq.
When I wasn't studying, I was waiting tables at the faculty club so I could pay for my books and my weekend meals, which weren't covered by the meal plan.
When I wasn't studying or working, I was hanging out with my boyfriend and my friends.
I also wasn't particularly interested in pleasure reading, as I was doing enough forced reading!
jester ... I love your story about Mrs. Cato. She taught you more than you knew ... among which facts is the fact that old folks are young folks in rusted out bodies. And she taught you to love knowledge for its own sake, which will save your life every day when you are 80, like me.
P. S. We hate the "purple veins" too, but they're a badge of honor for us survivors.
I never let school interfere with my education, cf. I read any fantasy and sf and anything Arthurian I could find (not much heroic fantasy in those days - now there's whole shelves of it and I don't read it). Children's literature, lots of theater. I had a go at just about any genre, but didn't take to many. Radical politics, Norse and Welsh history.
Only Tolkien and Lewis now qualify as memorable.
Assistant Village Idiot