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Wendell Berry, Andy Catlett

First passage:

Starting with those conversations so long ago with Aunt Sarah Jane, I have learned to understand the old structure of racism as a malevolent convention, the malevolence of which is hard to locate in the conscious intentions of most people. It was a circumstance that was mostly taken for granted. It was inexcusable, yet we had the formidable excuse of being sued to it. It was an injustice both accommodated and varyingly obscured not only by daily custom, but also by the exigencies and preoccupations of daily life. We left the issue alone, not exactly by ignoring it, but by observing an elaborate etiquette that permitted us to ignore it. White people who wished to think well of themselves did not use the language of racial insult in front of black people. But the the problem for us white people, as we had finally to understand, was that we could not be selectively complicit. To be complicit at all, even thoughtlessly by custom, was to be complicit in the whole extent and reach of the injustice. It is hard for a customary indifference to unstick itself from the abominations to which it tacitly consents. But we were used to it. What is the hardest to get used to maybe, once you are aware, is the range of things humans are able to get used to. I was more used to this once than I am now. Berry, Wendell. Andy Catlett: Early Travels. ( Emeryville, CA: Counterpoint, 2006) 75-76.

Second passage:

Increasingly over the last maybe forty years, the thought has come to me that the old world in which our people lived by the work of their hands, close to weather and earth, plants and animals, was the true world; and that the new world of cheap energy and ever cheaper money, honored greed, and dreams of liberation from every restraint, is mostly theater. This new world seems a jumble of scenery and props never quite believable, an economy of fantasies and moods, in which it is hard to remember either the timely world of nature or the eternal world of the prophets and poets. And I fear, I believe I know, that the doom of the older world I knew as a boy will finally afflict the new one that replaced it.
The world I knew as a boy was flawed, surely, but it was substantial and authentic. The households of my grandparents seemed to breathe forth a sense of the real cost and worth of things. Whatever came, came by somebody’s work.

Berry, Wendell. Andy Catlett: Early Travels. (Emeryville, CA: Counterpoint, 2006), 93.

Great interview

I appreciated this entire interview as both a high school teacher and an adjunct.

This quote about life as an adjunct was money:

Also, adjunctification: The phenomenon in universities in this country today in which about 70 percent of teaching is done by non-tenure-track faculty means that 70 percent of those who are teaching basically don’t have academic freedom. Technically they have it, but they don’t have it in the sense that they don’t have job security. They’re dependent on student evaluations on the one hand and faculty approval on the other. What does that mean? They have to teach in a way that is entertaining. They can’t teach anything too challenging. They can’t teach the basic literacies that students need to understand the world in a deep way. 

As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about critical literacy/doing the reading for class, I was struck by how much of this essay represents a kind of demand for students to grapple with the readings. Most of us set up courses with a wide range of perspectives so that the reading can be the basis for the conversation, which gives a reason to limit things as Professor Brown suggests:

So in your view it’s a kind of category error to think of an academic classroom as a site for free speech? Yes. Not because there shouldn’t be openness for ideas to circulate but because it’s not a free-speech zone. You can’t just say anything. You come into my class on political theory, and we’re talking about John Stuart Mill or Plato, and you want to begin yelling about the Russians attacking Ukraine, I’m going to tell you that’s not appropriate. I’ve given you a kind of extreme example. To the student who starts denouncing Marx — clearly not having read the text, which is terribly common — I’m not going to say, “OK, you get your five minutes and the next student gets their five minutes.” No, it’s not a free-speech domain. It should be a domain in which all kinds of concerns that bear on the topic have a place, no doubt about that, but that’s not free speech.

Saturday Walk

Fire in SW. Was in The Woodlands. Couldn’t quite figure out how to frame the photo.
I need to figure out how to best make this photograph so that I can center the new house at the end of the block but still include the older Victorians along each side of the street.