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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mail Bag

    Columnist blinded by ‘privilege,’ ‘cliquishness’

    As a scholar interested in social structures that exclude, degrade and attack people, I was shocked when I read Laura Donovan’s column. Donovan argues that it’s not okay to “”snub,”” but that older students ought not to expect the young to “”go out of their way to befriend”” them or “”change [their] instinctive reaction to someone who seems out of place.””

    “”Befriend?”” With such friends, who needs enemies? “”Out of place?”” Thank you, Laura Donovan, for putting data on prejudice into the public sector, where I don’t even need an IRB to use them! Donovan complains that older students make younger ones feel “”uncomfortable or confused. Most of us have been going to school with people our own age throughout life … “” Thus, having your upbringing restricted to people just like you gives you the right to expect to continue so. This is the terrible crime our middle class is inflicting on its children.

    What, exactly, does Donovan propose to do about the discomfort and confusion she suffers? Apparently, just complain vaguely about people who “”could be your mother.”” She refrains from “”criticiz(ing) the older community”” because many have only recently attained the wealth, free time or interest for college. What right has Donovan to list the reasons why an older student should be allowed in her presence? I was taught as a child to seek the wisdom that my elders have to offer. Apparently, Donovan has no use for this wisdom: to her, it’s “”mak(ing) a scene and try(ing) to stand out for the sake of appearing intelligent”” and an “”annoying … constant display (of) their wisdom and inflated ego.”” What is she referring to? Raising hands and speaking in class!

    Perhaps some of these “”older”” students have learned that petty, childish cliquishness is the reason why younger ones do not speak up. Perhaps they have learned that they learn by participating. Perhaps Donovan and her peers should learn this too. Perhaps Donovan just has too much privilege to sees her elders as nothing more than stigmatised sufferers. Who, then, has the inflated ego?

    Bryan James Gordon
    anthropology graduate

    Deceased writer leaves legacy of inspiration

    Andi Berlin’s article on David Foster Wallace is right to point about the tragedy of his death. He was a wonderful writer and a wonderful teacher. She is also right that he was often cranky on the subject of teaching – many writers are cranky. The fact remains that he inspired and helped countless numbers of students.

    I spoke to David Foster Wallace about his teaching, and I know that he took his job as a teacher very seriously. He also did his job very well. He was one of the best. As a member of the Creative Writing Program faculty, I also seek to inspire young writers and students of literature. Every day I strive to help students gain an understanding of literature that is unique to those who create it. That is the real value of Creative Writing as an academic discipline, and it is part of the legacy that David Foster Wallace leaves behind.

    Jason Brown
    English professor

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