Six day. Been to gym. Listened to first half of episode of Linux Unplugged podcast. Discussion about problems with cutting edge CPUs and how to update microcode.
This is Linux. Whatever happened to extending the lifetime of “old” boxes. All I hear these days is fanbois nattering about selling off their last year CPU boxes for this year boxes. Sounds like the people who use FruitFones.
Off to Nawth Alibam’s Shinging City on the Hill for Home Coming at Huntsville (Alibam) U. AKA the Campus of the Tennessee. Gotta give a few micro-talks about how life was in the old days. Back when it was really a place of learning. Before it became another diploma factory.
Now I’m doing the Yankee Army thing – hurry up and wait – and time to reflect on an article I saw this morning at gym “‘Open the doors and let these books in’ – what would a truly diverse reading list look like?” The thesis of this article is that schule reading lists should reflect the diversity of society.
I find this intriguing for a couple of reasons. First, it comes into my attention space just after the twice elected, twice deposed, chief bigot of Alibam has been accused of pedophilia. Which two things seem to be natural. Especially since the state’s moral compass has announced that pedophilia is biblically approved. This latter from a fellow student at the Campus of the Black Warrior who spent more time at the Baptist Student Center than he ever did in class or studying.
One has to wonder if both fellows are throwbacks to Pre-Destination Baptistry of the first Great Awakening.
The intriguing part is whether the perverse side of human diversity should be included in schule reading lists? And who makes those decisions? The same politicians that I have just cited? Or their rebbes?
But the second reason has to do with my own experiences with readings lists. I have been subjected to reading lists most of my life. As an infant, my parents provided me with books they – via some salesperson or magazine article – considered appropriate. When I started schule, that instrumentality issued reading lists; initially for the summer but after primary schule for the sessioned period as well. In high schule, this propagated to individual courses and in college added seminars and testing programs such as qualifying examinations.
Everyone in authority, it seems, issues reading lists.
Now, I have to reveal the dirty little (?) secret: I pretty much ignored those reading lists. Not completely, but in the main. That is not to say I didn’t prospect the lists for good stuff, but most of it was boring and irrelevant. At least to a STEM Nerd INTRO.
The worst were literature lists, which pretty well – thankfully – died after my Sophomore year of college ended my classroom interaction with literature teachers.
This is not to say that the books on these lists weren’t great works or that they had nothing to teach. But by and large those books didn’t adhere to me and I couldn’t/didn’t learn from them.
As Chickenman sez, “good students are successful in spite of bad teachers.” If a book doesn’t communicate with you well, it’s a bad teacher. (SCP speaks.)
I admit that I know people who can read those books and have profited and learned from them. And I envy many of them. But it balances out. I can read and learn from STEM Nerd books and the majority can’t. And the story of reality is, in some ways, a lot better than the story of human society at some spatio-temporal coordinate set.
Those lists failed me, mostly because of a lack of diversity. I never got a high schule or college reading list with any science fiction books included. None. And SF was my staple escapism/mind clearing reading then. And I even learned stuff about science and society thereby.
Which I didn’t get from the reading lists.
Now, I am told that there are lots of reasons why reading lists are biased. One reason I enjoy is that of Literature teachers (sic.) They claim that inclusions have to be “great literature.” My question – unasked or ignored if asked – is ‘who decides these books are great literature?’ I suspect the answer is ‘Literature teachers.’
I also suspect the Literature teachers get away with this because the politicians who approve the textbooks don’t care. They want to make sure the children are not subjected to evolution or climate science but they don’t care if they are subjected to regicide or adultery.
When I went to work for the Yankee army, they gave me reading lists as well. And again, I picked what I could learn and found others not on the list. Some of which were written by once and future enemies.
I do have another thought on this. If the lists were truly diverse, then wouldn’t all the lists coalesce into a union of Book In Print and the catalog of the Library of Congress? And then how would we assure that all of our children are properly roboticized? (As in the Czech word for worker.)
Happily, this ignoring or selected sampling of reading is fairly common except in the most authoritarian of schules. I know several people who got through high schule on Classic Comic Books and college on Cliff Notes. Which is probably more compliant than I ever was.
I had occasion a few weeks ago to miss a luncheon of my graduating class of high schule. I had a conflict and found out after the fact that my senior year “English” teacher had attended. I was glad I was absent; I may not have learned much from her but she was honest and sincere and I would not like to have been honest in answering her questions. Especially about how and where I really learned sybtax and composition and “literature.”
And Heinlein trumps Dickens every day. For me. Understanding their commonalities is left as an exercise for the student.