Friday, March 21, 2008

NASCAR? Nobel.

Oh, I wish there were a way to let you all be flies on the wall in my classroom. Although that would be kind of gross, and a bit too much like The Exorcist. But oh, to have someone witness this exchange (presented to you in MadLibs form, to protect the ignorant):

Fluff: Next week, we'll be starting [major Amerian novel]. The reason we're reading [major American novel] is because it's the [ethnic group] equivalent of [other major American novel.] In many ways, [author] is the [ethnic group] equivalent of [monumental author].

Student: [monumental author]?

Fluff: Yeah, [monumental author].

silence.

Student: [monumental author]? Is he a NASCAR driver?

Fluff: Is he a NASCAR driver?! SHE'S arguably one of the most important twentieth century American writers! Her [famous novel] was voted by the New York Times the best book of the twentieth century?!

silence.

Fluff: [monumental author's first book]? [monumental author's second book]? Pulitzer Prize winner? Nobel Prize winner? OPRAH?!!

Student: We don't read.

Look, folks. I'm usually not one to bust on the kids for their lack of cultural capital. In their defense, they're taking this class to fulfill gen ed requirements, so all of them are math, or science, or art, or education majors. But holy crap on a cracker!! Is [monumental American author] a NASCAR driver?!! Take me now, Jeebus! I'm comin' home!

The saving grace of this incident is that my department chair is thankfully coming next week to observe my class. She would have shit a pile of bricks if she'd been in the room for this one. Doubtless, my students will bring it up, along with my recent mini-lectures on Spam [the ways that food reveals historical and economic materialities] and Rock of Love [who can forget the words to the national anthem and not be punished for it].

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6 Comments:

Blogger Ashley said...

If [major American author] is the [major American author] I think she is, I once had a student write an entire paper about her--after we'd spent 6 class session on [major American novel]--using male pronouns. There was, however, no mention of Nascar in the essay, so always and forever, you win.

Friday, March 21, 2008 1:31:00 PM  
Blogger Sisyphus said...

spam _is_ important! I'm all about looking at food and class status and, esp with that particular food, the big historical events (like war) that shape our traditions and preferences.

That said, I'm totally not with you on this food choice: "holy crap on a cracker!"

Does _not_ sound tasty.

On the other hand, the book I read with spam in it had a pyramid of shit metaphor. So maybe, you're saying, they _are_ connected?

Friday, March 21, 2008 3:53:00 PM  
Anonymous New Kid on the Hallway said...

Wow. I'm pretty sure I was able to figure out who you mean, and I'm kind of scared.

Then again, I was also kind of scared when during exam review in one of my classes, my students started asking me questions about Judaism and it became clear they had no. idea. at all. what distinguished it from Christianity. Nor that Israel was a creation of the 20th century.

All KINDS of cultural illiteracies!

Saturday, March 22, 2008 1:41:00 AM  
Blogger kfluff said...

Ash---you know, I just had a similar experience in a different class. We were talking about a secondary piece, and the author's first name was Jade. All with the "he argues..." business. Jade?! I think a dude named Jade would have issues, no?

Sisyphus---I just finished teaching that book! I think. And I'm glad to hear that it's not just me with the spam lectures. Do you ever get the students who are like "that's so gross!" until you ask them if they eat hot dogs? I love to remind them that hot dogs are, as the Simpsons tell us, hog anus wrapped in intestine.

NK--Wait, are you trying to tell me that there's a difference between Judaism and Christianity, other than the fact that the Jews don't wear crosses? Seriously? :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008 9:40:00 AM  
Blogger JustMe said...

wow, i mean wow.

and can i just say, holy crap on a cracker is the best phrase ever?! i love it!

Saturday, March 22, 2008 6:43:00 PM  
Blogger kfluff said...

JM---you and Sisyphus can debate that, I suppose. Wherever did I get that phrase? And how appropriate is it around Easter? :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008 10:00:00 AM  

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