Friday, September 03, 2004

Dancing King 2.0

Guess what? I went clubbing again last night! This time, it was free to get in (but I did spend some money on drinks!). Six of us went this time. It was Kenya, Albert, LJ (all from San Fran - and just met Albert & LJ), a cute American girl from Boston named Katie, Evan (from Columbia) and myself. I know what you're all thinking - cute American girl. Hmm.

Well, she was very pretty. And I was interested. But then I learned 3 things. She's an undergrad, she's 20 (and has a boyfriend 'back home'). I think i'll pass on the cute college girl this time.

At any rate, we ended up at this club called O'Rielly's or something like that. We had struck out at the other two clubs (both closed), so we thought we were just going to a pub. Turned out we lucked out and found a 3-story club. We danced like crazy until almost 2. I headed home (and ended up walking like 30 minutes to get to "my" bus, when I could have walked 10 steps and caught a bus home).

Now, I should back up a second. I had my 2nd intro class yesterday and I'm a little...perturbed by it. I've already mentioned that I think we're reading the wrong stuff, but it's more than that. I try to be respectful but there's an awful lot of really stupid shit being said in class by both the students and the professor. For example, a student who shall remain nameless actually asserted that the problem with the US 'democracy' is that when you vote for president, the electors in your state can vote for whomever they want to - regardless of the popular vote. Not only is that incredibly stupid, it diverted the conversation away from things that were based on fact to things that were based on speculation (but what did the Prof. expect when he asked why the US population doesn't participate in elections?).

My professor also asserted that Saddam Hussein and Kim Il-Song (and Il-Jung) of North Korea were irrational leaders (something I challenged him on and he backed off of - i mean, we had just finished talking about leaders that make miscalculations...).

But it's problematic. I don't want to be disrespectful and I know my professor is highly respected in his field and at his regular job, but I really feel like he's doing a horrible job with this class. I had the same problem at Emory at times and I'm still not sure how to deal with it. I feel like I have a more extensive background in this material and most of my classmates don't understand what they're missing so I'm not getting any feedback from them when I air these issues. But it should be telling that after spending 4 hours in class, I have less than a page of useful notes.

At any rate, my Japan class is completely unlike that. It kicks ass and I kicked major ass in it today. I was super ready, probably more prepared for that class than I've ever been for any class. Not to toot my own horn too much (I've always believed in modesty), but when most of the class is completely unprepared, the 2 other students who did some of the reading shoot wide of the mark when they participate, and I'm the only one who is on point and specific and accurate, well it makes me look damn good. (Yes, I'm that guy, but I don't give a fuck. This isn't some big game, this is my life.)

The professor is a quientessential English woman, probably in her 60's who's been studying war and politics all her life. For example, she interviewed former POWs from WW2 prison camps, as well as concentration camps. Very knowledgeable and very interesting. I think it will be a great class.

So the short of it is that I have two very distinct classes and professors. One does not establish much credibility, while the other does. I'm positive I can get an A in Japan, but I'm going to have to work hard to get an A in the Intro class - and I'm not just worried about studying (I can handle that). It's the politics of the Intro class that are potentially troubling. If previous experience is any guide, I really need to restrain myself during class sessions.

Once in college, in a Southeast Asia class the Prof. asked about some of the differences between Thailand and the US and a student said "Santa Claus", I smirked as did several others. It showed up at the end of the semester when he lowered my participation grade for a bad attitude. It was total bullshit (I mean - Santa Claus? Fucking Santa Claus? You're seriously spending $28,000/year on your 'education' and the best you can up with is a jolly fucking fat man in a giant red suit that doesn't even exist?) - but the lesson is: be respectful of total fucking dumbasses even when, by rights, they should be ridiculed back from whence they came. "All the world's a stage" said Shakespeare. And "All the world's politics" say I.


Blogger liondog said...

remeber white boys can't dance and I don't know a heidt with rythem....

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that santa clause analogy ... that was courtesy of an emory grad student too. you're right though stephen; gotta check your reactions. this is larry.

9:35 PM  

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