Ever since I was an undergraduate I’ve thought that it would be a good idea to reinstitute the pillory. Before we get into that discussion let me back up a little bit.
As this is a new blog I feel like I should provide at least some minimal insight into the cornucopia of brilliance that is my mind. To that end I will provide two insights.
The thing I most despise in all of life is philosophically inconsistent people. (You can look forward to posts ridiculing the anti-globalization movement, affirmative action supporters, religious extremists, and some environmentalist groups.)
I worship efficiency. Efficiency is the highest goal to which we should all aspire. Some would argue that enlightenment is in fact the highest goal, but having reached enlightenment long ago I can say with certainty that it is not. (I urge all of you to simply accept that I am right about this. You can’t possible win in an argument with me because until you reach the stage of enlightenment you can’t possibly understand what exists beyond enlightenment.)
Back to the pillory.
One afternoon, approximately 5 years ago, I found myself sitting in an undergraduate class minding my own business and trying to ignore the inane lecture as best as I could. The class I was taking was taught by a professor who was worshipped by all of the Birkenstock wearing shower fearing hippy losers, and stupid comments were not an uncommon occurrence. Suddenly I was hit with the feeling that I had been struck in the back of the head. I felt disoriented, dizzy, and ill. But friends this was no ordinary physical attack, oh no I had been pistol whipped by quite possibly the dumbest comment I had ever heard. Some anti-globalization shit head had just made some comment suggesting that the 3rd world would be better off without any contact with the civilized peoples of the world. His comment specifically included an immediate end to all food aid. Now frankly I don’t care about most 3rd world countries. Their inefficiencies make them a drain on all of proper society, but even I would not have been so stupid as to suggest that food aid be cut off. It was while I was recovering from this idiocy that I first came upon the solution of the pillory.
I propose that whenever a particularly stupid comment is made in class, an all too common occurrence at Boalt, very large men in very dark colored suits with even darker sun glasses should drag the offender away. The offender should be marched to Sproul plaza where their quote will be painted on a sign to be hung about their neck. The perpetrator will be placed in the stocks for a variable period of time depending upon the severity of the offence, and whether or not they are a repeat offender.
There are several benefits to such a proposal.
Stupid and distracting comments will be deterred. Deterrence is achieved both through shaming, and through temporary incapacitation.
Class discussion will be more efficient. Permissive professors will no longer be able to allow a single idiot to derail an entire class for ten minutes.
Students can actively engage in the shaming of their peers thereby channeling any hostility or frustration that they may have in a constructive manner.
Finally, and most importantly humor. Who wouldn’t find the stupid quotes funny once they have been taken out of their potentially destructive classroom context.
Several of my readers are probably mildly upset at this modest proposal. “But Jungle Cat surely this will have a chilling effect on class discussion” you whine. True, true, all true. However, while some of you see lemons I see lemonade. It is total cliché bullshit that students benefit from discussion initiated by their fellow students. I have never learned anything of import or substance from my peers, and it’s not because I haven’t listened. There is a reason most professors come from Harvard or Yale and were at the top of their class, and that is because most of your peers are downright frauds.
I NEED YOUR HELP!!!
Now I recognize that this proposal will never work no matter how many people might find themselves agreeing with me that it would make their experiences at Boalt so much better. Therefore, I would like this blog to become a virtual pillory. Please feel free to post the stupidity of your peers along with a few choice comments of your own. You might even feel that some of the things that I say are, gasp improper, if that is the case than feel free to try your hand at shaming me. Good luck with that one.
One last note, feel free to post quotes that you find amusing, offensive, stupid, or particularly telling, but do not post the name of the individual who uttered them. It is my preference that at least in this forum we should stick to private shaming.