Saturday, December 27, 2008

"Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you you would cry..."

I'm currently undertaking an MSc in Medical Anthropology, and despite the subject being amazing, the academic staff truly literate and fluent in their subject, what a pain in the ass students are!!! As preparation for the coming modules I have have had to read a poem by W.H. Auden called 'Heavy Date'. Despite having spent much of my youth reading, I don't really like literature. I don't mind books that 'do' something, i.e. from scientific texts to social scientific narratives, but I can really find by chapter 2 of a book I am thinking 'Fuck this! Why should I indulge your vanity?

The poem did however make me think of the past term, and the words that Professor Chomsky once wrote to me 'It doesn't take a good education to see the truth, it takes a good education to miss it'

Thus was it in a particular lesson when I said that all children (I'm soon to welcome my fourth child into the world), were manipulative. This was met with horror by some of the students; I tried to explain that a baby has to manipulate as it has no way of achieving basic tasks by itself, i.e. nappy change, milk, blanket pulled up. One student pointed out to the class, that I was using the word with no negative connotation, something I would have thought was fucking obvious in the context of babies!!!! They didn't hear the words, they weighted what I said with their own understanding of the word. Manipulation, coming from the Latin manus, meaning to alter something in accordance  with desire as if that had been effected by the hand. Sure it has a negative aspect, but get over the knee jerk reaction to words that are weighted negatively in YOUR mind, not necessarily mine!!!!

I think CSN pretty much alluded to what I was saying in the chorus of 'Teach Your Children', 'Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you you would cry, so just look at them and sigh, and know they love you'.

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