Given that so far this term 6 hours a week of class time has been primarily devoted to viewings, and thus discussion has been relegated to this blog, the question must arise: what is a blog? I'm not in the mood today to be cutely rigorous, so I'll jump to the conclusion that a blog is by nature an informal medium, and so yes, it is appropriate to be completing my blogging for the week while sick, cranky, and impatient with bullshit.
The OCW (open courseware) once disregarded my lack of consent, resulting in the world having access to my drunk, 2am responses. Since the context framed me and my classmates as knowing what we were doing, I found this embarrassing. Similarly, this blog is embarrassing.
Partly, our standards aren't high enough. I fall victim too, so whatever, it's everyone's fault. On top of classtime and readings, keeping up with the blog is time consuming and mentally challenging, if you want to write some really good entries and responses each week. And so we all, some more than others, cheat. A rambling notation of something of interest, without contextual analysis, and a few 'hey yea' responses, and done for the week. Once we start to go downhill, there is little motivation to turn it around. Except that we lose all hope of discussion, which can really only exist in very good, argumentatively rigorous and informed posts, or continued back and forth through respones and entries that respond to one another. Mostly, we see neither, making this entire experience useless for someone like me, who originally was excited to take the course based on the notion that I would be learning something.
The other problem is more worrisome, and it comes down to whether people in the class are even capable of good analysis. Blah blah blah, everyone's worthwhile, everyone's brilliant, no child left behind and mixing retarded kids in the AP classes makes everyone do better! Bullshit. CMS classes constantly have this problem - a bunch of kids think 'ooh, a class on tv/wrestling/movies! no way!' and move in, so self impressed that they're managing to get college credit for their weekend amusement that they fail to realize that CMS is actually a disciplined study, which here in CMS we take just as seriously as you take CS, or chemistry, or mathematics. And so class discussion goes to pot, we spend classes re-explaining readings, and those of us who are capable of trying to integrate the theory, practical, and intense body of literature relevant to this field are left to walk each other places after class, bemoaning the difficulties of learning at MIT.
Example? Look at all the times you guys are saying 'I think.' I think, I think, I think. Those words are always either a weak way of disowning your own ideas, or of skirting the need to have an actual basis for your claims. I don't care what you think, because I don't believe you know what you're talking about. How about 'I remember?' Dead useful, actually, since this comprises data, and data is what we need in order to apply theory and draw conclusions. But a bunch of random data is useless. Worse than useless, because this gives individuals the false impression that they are 1. contributing, 2. important and 3. know what they're doing. Congratulations for watching a certain broadcast five or ten years ago. Really, good job. Top notch work there.
I gave up hope of an intensely useful class weeks ago. At the moment I kind of hope we get to read each other's final projects. Sometimes people have this weird ability to glom on to something real for final essays, and who knows? I might actually learn something. Otherwise, it's always dead amusing to read poorly written treatments of poorly understood concepts.