Field of Science

Academic hope lives!

There are times in academic life when you nearly despair; when intellectual pursuits seem the lowest priority of your young charges, drowned out as they are by the banal cacophony (always wanted to use those two words together) of popular culture. What if students spent as much time discussing botany as they did unreal reality programming? So we grasp at the slightest indication, the merest glimmer, any hint of intellectual activity, and there it was. A decal of our university's mascot spray painted on the sidewalk, itself not unusual, but someone had added a speech balloon and in it was the question "Who was John Galt?" True, true, hundreds of students will walk past that every day and never give it a thought, but maybe one, just one, will decide to find out who John Galt was. And what if two of them actually asked each other, "Who was John Galt?", and decided to follow up on their curiosity. And imagine if three, three whole students wondering throughout the day about John Galt, and then deciding to see who he was and why he was important enough to ask about. And what if every student in my class walked in, looked at me, and asked, "Who was John Galt?", why it would be a movement, a real intellectual movement. So today a data point shall be gathered by asking my class, "Who was John Galt?" But we are speaking of a class that had never heard of the mutiny on the Bounty, or even seen any of the movies. Care to take any bets? Anyone? Anyone? Still someone was clever enough, and intellectually playful enough to have painted the question on the sidewalk in the first place, so hope remains, an intellectual student still roams our campus.


mr_subjunctive said...

Then you're a cockeyed optimist next to me. We agree on reality TV, but I don't think of Atlas Shrugged as being less fictional or more realistic than Jersey Shore.

mr_subjunctive said...

Unless you mean the Scottish novelist.

But the spray-painters didn't.

The Phytophactor said...

While clearly a curmudgeon in comparison to my Pollyanna, mr subjunctive does have a point; Rand's hold on reality is every bit as tenuous as the Jersey Shore, but you don't have to actually read, in fact it probably helps if you can't, to know the answer to "Who is Snookie?" so don't rain on my optimistic parade.