Sunday, February 20, 2005

Two plus one is many!

Two articles from the Guardian and a promise:

The first article is about the importance of intellectuals standing up to authority and making the hidden facts of power known - "Yes, the world is better without Saddam - but it is not better with the military occupation of Iraq, with the rise of Islamist fundamentalism provoked by this very occupation."
The second is about how religion is bad. Bad!

The promise: for my teaching course I am now undertaking a piece of research based within my institution, the famed City of Wolverhampton College. It, or so I am currently planning, will involve questioning whether teacher autonomy has been reduced by the centralisation of educational control into government hands and the effects of this on the institution and the students - the institution taking on a 'commercial model' and referring to students as 'customers', and the students being ever more tightly constrained within instrumental courses which are designed for the transmission of content into the children's sad little heads.
If all this is pulled off I expect it might be interesting for the purposes of this weblog. So I will inform you of my progresses!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Ask Quote Boat

In the last year of my degree, Edward Said went dead. My university mentor, Dr. John - ever alive with voodoun happenings and his lips crispy-moist with fried chicken stubble, except that he was actually Irish and not really the famous Dr. John at all and his name was really Dr. John Bergin - asked me to read a certain rememberance piece in the TES.

I found this article online and saved it to my hard-drive, not having time to read it.

Now, more than a year on from my saving the article, I find it again amongst silly presentations involving pacman and Jesus within counselling theory. And there is a quote that I would like to quote, that I quote because I saw the quotes by Bobocop and have decided to also jump in the quote boat.

Here is the quote. It is of Edward Said and you can read more in Representations of the Intellectual.

With its famous phrase describing intellectuals as those who "speak the truth to power", Said laid out a powerful case for regarding intellectuals as "those who are never more themselves than when, moved by metaphysical passions and disinterested principles of justice and truth, they denounce corruption, defend the weak (and) defy imperfect or oppressive authority".

I can't really see much else to do with the shiftingly imperfect concepts of knowledge and truth, beauty and rationality which we try to hold on to like bucking broncos (or Buckaroo, if you prefer, you failed obsessives of nerdy English KidKulture) than to wield it like weapon against the injustices and crapnesses of the world. We must accept passions, we must take risks based on unfounded assumptions and our pocket-sized faiths in the goodness of humanity. And we must kick liars like Tony Blair in the chops with words like 'Bliar' which are clever and funny and good!