Saturday, November 28, 2009
* The Academic Industrial Complex (Killing Huck Finn Once and for All)
"It is a rare person who is naturally inclined to sit still for sixteen years in school, and then indefinitely at work, yet with the dismantling of high school shop programs this has become the one-size-fits-all norm, even as we go on about 'diversity' ". (Crawford, p. 73)
SHOP CLASS AS SOULCRAFT: AN INQUIRY INTO THE VALUE OF WORK
Matthew B. Crawford
Matthew Crawford ( Ph.D from the University of Chicago and a motorcycle mechanic), reminds us several times in his brilliant ---alternatingly dense and coarse --- book, of the words of Anaxagoras: "It is by having hands that man is the most intelligent of animals."
He raises the spectre of America becoming a nation of disembodied brains, skilled in reading the social cues of a managerial culture, but divorced from the joy of knowing things empirically from the process of "analyzing" them with our hands.
He does not raise the spectre of a nation which seems to be handing its children's education over to a monolithic Academic Industrial Complex, which devises brain measurements and instruments to test those measurements, instruments which require no more use of the hands than keyboard choreographies.
In his last speech as president, Dwight D. Eisenhower addressed the nation in 1961 and warned of the dangers of a Military Industrial Complex, dangers we have seen, and see now, in dubious military proposals for Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ike forgot to clean his glasses and see what was else was boiling on the national stove: The Academic Industrial Complex which is about to drain the Huck Finn joy out of American childhood forever.
When I was a child in the 1950's and hung around the livingroom on an afternoon watching TV, my mother would issue her hated but wise command which I can still hear even today: "Go outside and play and don't come back until supper."
There are no such commands being issued in homes or even in the recess-free, obesity-prone school populations today.
Instead, eyes are rivetted to screens, ears to earphones, and hands to keyboards.
And we wash our hands of it as we post the standardized test scores of our standardized children on our standardized refrigerators with our standardized magnets.
". . . all made of ticky tacky . . ."
Posted by Paul D. Keane, The Anti-Yale at 7:15 PM