Windup Wire

A Reflection on Art, Justice, and Meaning in Our Time

Tag: privacy

Our Secret KGB Lust

http://www.salon.com/2014/06/03/the_day_i_left_my_son_in_the_car/

In the above article a woman gets in trouble with the police when she leaves her son in the car for five minutes on a cool day to go into the store.  The police only know about this because someone with a camera phone, who clearly wishes they were in the KGB, informed them.  The best part of the article is when another mother talks about the odds of a child being harmed left in the car for five minutes vs. driving to the store.  People’s threat factors are way off these days.  Also, just watch Mad Men to get an idea how our parents grew up.  As Terry Gilliam says, “kids bounce.”

How many times has some virulent anti-gay figure turned out to be gay?  Is the reason that we claimed to hate totalitarian Communism all those years, and I am referring to the Soviet kind for the moment, because we secretly loved it?  Why do we need a secret police when citizens feel that it is their duty to inform on other citizens for things other than serious crimes?

One of the things that I find most disturbing about modern social interaction is how nothing is private anymore.  It is one thing if someone wants to disclose their own information online, but we now no longer give people the choice most of the time.  From the disgusting world of TMZ to friends checking you into places on facebook without them asking, it is just getting ridiculous.  Are we Big Brother?

If there is a flip side positive to any of this it is when people use their electronic devices to speak truth to power and protect their fellow citizens.  I am thinking especially of when people take videos of police abuse.  If only more people would realize that we’re all in this thing together.

Teacher as Dictator

This blog is not about me.  It is definitely a list of my thoughts and views.  It is biased and judgmental.  What I mean is that I have no desire to go over my personal life unless I can tie it into some larger theme.  I will occasionally give over to shameless self promotion, but such is the modern order of things.  I can be a very private person at times.  I don’t like people knowing where I am at all times.  When I speak to someone I like it to be for those that I intend it for.  If I’m in a restaurant I prefer the darkly lit quiet ones where the booths are high.  I tend to like to bypass small talk and get right to the heart of matters if possible.  Small talk wears me out.  Although there is a perverse side of me that occasionally likes to make people uncomfortable with my thoughts and ideas, in person I generally like to make people feel comfortable.  I have no desire to impose my thoughts on diners and staff that are not looking for it, and I have no desire to have theirs be imposed upon me.  So I want to have a real conversation with the people to whom I’m talking, but I don’t want to trouble those who aren’t looking for it.  Live and let live if possible.

I say this because I definitely have some of the tendencies of an introvert.  The reason I just talked about myself was so I could jump topics and talk about school.  It seems like college these days, I am going back for my second degree, is more about group work and projects and student speeches than it was the first time around.  Because of my nature and because of my thoughts as a student, this drives me absolutely batshit!

First of all, I am going into ridiculous debt for school.  If I am paying this money I personally want to learn from a really great teacher that can impart their knowledge to me.  It seems often in college classrooms that the blind are leading the blind.  Despite having introvert tendencies I have no fear of giving speeches or being in front of people.  I have spent too much time on stage for that.  But while a speech may teach the person giving the speech something, more times than not it leaves the class bored and uniformed.  Each class is probably costing me at least a couple hundred dollars.  I’d much rather hear the professor talk than other students.  Still, if a class spends one or two periods giving speeches, there is at least the chance for knowledge.

My worst pet peeve is group work.  I can’t tell you how many times, in the few classes I have taken, when the professor tells us to get into groups while they sit up at their desk and work on god knows what.  Usually after about five minutes of working on whatever topic, the group usually descends into, “What are you doing this Friday?”  I don’t necessarily blame the professors.  It seems that education is generally going this way.  More hands-on group learning.

What I am finding is a lack of critical thinking through this kind of learning.  Students will find the quickest, easiest path, to getting something done.  I can’t help but feel that if the class is going to participate, a deep discussion moderated and led by the professor is going to be more informative.  They are the ones that have spent years studying their field.  Usually college professors spent years in a field, not only because they want a job, but because they are passionate about their area of study.  I want a person like that teaching me.  Not someone that is taking the class to satisfy some elective and maybe or maybe not bonged eight beers last night.

Also, because of my personality I would rather observe, unless I had something meaningful and insightful to add to the conversation.  If I don’t feel I have anything smart to say I would rather not speak.  I feel like this form of learning almost forces ignorance to arise.

Everyone learns differently.  There are some that might excel in this kind of learning environment.  I could be wrong.  Maybe the majority of people like this.  I do not.  I can’t help but wish there was at least a little more balance in the classroom.  In the real world I want democracy in which everyone’s voice can be heard.  In the classroom I want a dictator, that is carrying knowledge down to the uniformed masses, from the mountaintop.

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