Friday, October 14, 2016

october 14

This morning I was preparing for class when I kept getting interrupted.  It occurred to me that all of our communication-- and sometimes, even the way we see each other-- are products of our culture, our environment, where we live, and what we have to do every day.

As I struggled to regain my focus on today's class, I found myself wondering what Ralph Waldo Emerson would have to say about this.  It's all good and fine to study the "Romantics" or the "Transcendentalists" as a unit of an American Literature class, but does his thinking still apply today or was he just another product of his time, a museum relic that reminds us of what no longer exists?

I'm going to think on this more over the weekend.

In the meantime, it's now 8:24 AM and students are walking in.  How can I make a meaningful connection between where we've been and where we're going in our thinking?

How about this:  we're in a class about language.  The presidential election is giving a master class in the use of rhetoric.  The candidates are symptoms, products of the organizations that nominated them, and they speak speak to motivate their target audiences.  But for all the talk it's 1.0.  None of us feel like we're part of a Democratic Dialogue that might actually lead the candidates or the public to greater understanding or better policy.

So, this period, we get our say.  Please take out a piece of paper and write either/both candidates a letter in which you:
  • summarize what you understand about them so far
  • evaluate them-- yes, JUDGE them-- for their speech and actions as you understand them
  • tell them what you need them to know about your future and their role in it
Then we'll have a conversation.

And I'll think more on Emerson and the rest over the weekend.

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