May 15, 2012

Was watching a little tv this morning, waiting for my son Jude to get ready for his bus: the beginnings of rap, or something like that.  It occurred to me that the racial bond that brought all those artists together was a blessing (of course), but also a bit of a curse.  Group mind.  Merton's herd mentality, America and consumerism too.  Every group runs the risk.  Around here it's the Catholic group mind: the home schooling/great book assemblage.  Scary stuff.  Am way outside that ring, and I don't think it's paranoia to say that I (and many others) are disdained because of that fact.  Better to go down swinging, with boughten self-image at your side. . . .

Another VP appointed yesterday.  Universities everywhere do this sort of thing, it seems to me.  (I have no idea about FUS's motives, so far be it from me to pass judgment.)  It seems like government spending in most cases, no restraint.  The U of Akron created a new position so they could get Jim Tressel.  Couple that with country-wide bookstore fraud, and who pays?  The students--the very people all universities say they are there for.  Every institute of higher learning should pay an outside firm to do a study.  How much of their administration is adipose.  They're all so top heavy.  Welcome to the trough, baby.  (They could do faculty too, that wouldn't hurt.  The country could use more good cab drivers.)

Best books in Contemporary Christian Fiction class: short stories by O'Connor, Powers, and Spark.  (Some of Sparks' are a little tough to latch onto, but she's a great Catholic writer.)  Students didn't like Percy's THE MOVIEGOER, but I think that's because they weren't very good at reading texts to be frank.  My bad in a way.  I assumed they could read fiction--since it was a 300 level course.  Next time I'm got to start at the way beginning.  THE POWER AND THE GLORY is always a favorite.  Endo's DEEP RIVER.  Hansen's MARIETTE was interesting.  Some students objected to all the sexuality though I suggested that the writer walked that line keeps the reader, an edge.  Don't know if I'll do it next time, though.  We also did Bo Caldwell, Mrs. Hansen.  THE DISTANT LAND OF MY FATHERS.  It was okay, nicely Catholic, stealth-style, but I never bought the main character.  We did GILEAD, which is getting old.  We didn't get to Lott on Enger.  Maybe next time.

Students did presents on Bernanos, Miller, Mauriac, Dubus, Waugh, Undset, Rae Thon, and Tyler.  So lots of good stuff, though as I say I have to revamp the course a bit.  The kids in American Poetry made that class a joy to do; the 103s and 332s were great too.  Just a lot of first rate individuals--maybe we're just lucky to get them before they pack up and master ugly virtue.