December 27th, 2007

October Edge II

(no subject)

Today, Jamie and I met up with Johnno and Mr Falcke, two of our teachers from high school. Johnno - Mr Johnson - was my Study Of Religion teacher, the only class that was regularly intellectually stimulating (which isn't to say anything bad about my other favourite teachers, but rather a critique of the statewide curricula). I never had a class with Mr Falcke, but he taught the maths class that Jamie topped and Jamie thought quite highly of him. We met at a cafe in Robina and talked for roughly 1.5 hours; had our time been unlimited, I'm sure we could have kept going until dinnertime!

We had one moment of brilliance that I am going to have to fight tooth and nail to execute in the future. Well, it was mostly Johnno's idea. We were discussing university, e.g. how Johnno disrupted lectures that he found intolerably boring and how I'm going be a nerdy professor one of these days. So we settled on how to make a course really interesting. It's quite simple, really. At the start of the course, announce that "There are twenty lectures in this course. Six of them will be pure bullshit." Anyone who can correctly identify the six bullshit lectures passes and does not need to take the exam. The exam also contains fake questions on the fake subject matter, and anybody who actually answers them fails, as they have failed to show the intellectual discernment required to separate fact from fiction and still simply believe everything that they hear. I think that would be pretty brilliant and teach an important lesson.

I'd love it if Johnno applied that to his SOR class too. He could present a number of religious movements and see if his class could identify the fake one. You could have your unlikely-but-true movements, and not just your rabid loons like Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church but cargo cults and the Prince Philip Movement that worships the Queen's husband. And then create something fictitious, such as a liberal Islamic cult that does not accept Muhammad as a prophet, a kind of Messianic Islam, "Muslims for Jesus". I thought that idea was hilarious and I would love to see how many people would genuinely think that the Prince Philip Movement is the fake one rather than Muslims for Jesus.

Well, in any case, I can certainly say that I have had a good day. It's interesting to meet your old teachers as an adult rather than as a student. I wonder how many people even go and catch up with their old teachers, but Johnno was such an exceptional bloke - and though I didn't get to know Mr Falcke much due to never being taught by him, he's a pretty good guy too and it was nice to see him, particularly for Jamie. I miss barely anything of high school, most of it was intellectually stifling and socially awkward, but today brought back good memories of the bits I did enjoy, and added onto it in a new way.