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· Late Night Thoughts on New-World Illiterates, Tutored and Untutored ·

I've spent much of the past week preparing for the new year. If you're keen on academic rites, you already know my story. It began Monday with welcome-back meetings, moved to freshman advising Tuesday, turned Wednesday to two faculty meetings, returned to more advising Thursday, and lapsed today into some needed chores of copying and syllabi-shaping. There's beer and barbeque tonight, or, rather, there were, since I also had a wedding rehearsal to attend — which justifies my failure to make my subjects and verbs agree.

So at midnight I have thought to wed — shotgun-style — subjects and verbs, words and actions, of two obvious illiterates. They're not illiterates, of course, since they're quite able to write, but they don't write well. They are, alas, "Illiterates, Tutored and Untutored."

The first addressed our faculty meeting Wednesday afternoon from the lofty heights of Regional Accreditation, in a style mediated Microsoftly by the dominant abstractions called "Bullet Points." Dr. Power B. Point, you can call him, had this sentence to share on a slide entitled

The New World Order

Shifting societal values, attitudes, and expectations foster application of critical thinking skills in the form of questions regarding the relevance, significance, and efficacy of traditional measures (grades, certificates, degrees) as meaningful indicators of educational quality and institutional effectiveness.

Now there's a natural-born communicator. Actually, he's well-credentialed and degreed, "tutored" in the compromising and educationizing styles I abused in February and October. I can almost hear Malcolm Cowley say, "This dude's been adorned with laurel branches and flowering hegemonies," and Jacques Barzun, "Such is the educationist mind everywhere." Too bad Dr. Power Point's work hasn't been seen by Pootwattle and Smedley.

My next example is more difficult. It's the almost-Joycean musings of a semi-conscious girl on the realities of today's high schools. Included in a recent newspaper editorial — the editor threatens one day to print all his letters unedited — it marks not the sad arrogance of power but the sorry ignorance of technique, which is, of course, a bit more easily corrected. In any event, I give you

Ms. Molly Bloom

You see high school telivision shows when your little the drama's, Musicals, Chick filcks so much more. you wonder if thats what high school is realy going to be like wow i am aa cool kid i am in a pink ladys jacket on grese but thats not how it goes i thought it was that way when i was little. i think the people writning the scripts are aboustly mastaken high school isnt like that well besides the drama there are pros and cons of high school the only actuate people is all the dramma iam in many 'clicks' Semi preep, hicks, Friendly, Scrubs christian and more i really dont see them like that its just they way peopel dress and talk i have been in a few areument with one of my good frined now about __________ high school dril tean and ohter such as fighing over a boy man that was bad then people can lie to you and say this boy likes you and you will have your head stright up high thinking he does and the next day flift with him o boy howdy. The pros are the friends you get! . . .

Well, all I can say we get at "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is this:

Maybe do nothing but "subvert" the one and "convert" the other?

That's A New-World Order.

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