Minden Press-Herald

Tuesday
Sep 30th

Of Course, It’s All in the Course

PAT MUG077School bells have rung across the nation, and kids are all in their places with bright shining faces. From pre-kindergarten to high school, we parents and grandparents hope each institution of education is preparing the next generation for that great big wide, wonderful world that awaits the well prepared.

From pre-kindergarten through high school, the learning experiences cover mostly the basics. At the college level, we hope our little sponge brains are absorbing a little more than the basics as we struggle to produce the leaders of tomorrow. But, we ask, just what are some of those offerings, which cover more than simply the basics?

After reading about the College of Charleston's comic book offering promoting lifestyle choice, your humble observer thought you might be interested in knowing what some of our colleges and universities are presenting as educational choices. You will be (a) surprised, (b) confused, or (c) ready to pack the bags and get back into college.

Keeping up the times, Appalachian State University gives its students a chance to consider "What If Harry Potter Is Real?" Those who think this is a chance to imagine riding broomsticks and walking through brick pillars at a train station, think again. The course asks whether history is really history or just a fantasy presented to us by those in a position to decide.

Students examine the issues of race, class, gender and the role of multiculturalism in shaping our "real" history. And, these young brains must determine how fantasy can reshape how we look at history. If the kids are interested in how fantasy may shape history, simply ask the current administration.

Forget those college majors which require a foreign language. Just attend the University of Texas and make up your own. In Austin, students are offered "Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond" as a respite from that pesky English which seems to stump us all.

Why learn Klingon? Why not. Pig Latin is a little too difficult for some and Southern is completely out of the question for anyone north of St. Louis. YHO is working on his bachelor's in Bumblespeak, also known as BS, or the language of Washington, D.C.

As if Chicago didn't have enough problems, Columbia College in that fair city offers its students "Zombies in Popular Media." The course's final projects ask for "thoughtful connections between student disciplines and the figure of the zombie." If there is a connection, we're in trouble.

As we know, zombies are brainless, drone-like creatures who lack free will and blindly follow a potion-master. Often, zombies feed off other humans. Sounds a little like Congress.

Ecologically correct is almost as difficult to understand in some cases as political correctness. But at the University of California-Berkley, kids can spend their parents' dollars in the classroom of "Joy of Garbage." Here, young people learn how to "manage" garbage and how to create less.

Perhaps UC-Berkley staffers could manage more and create less by ignoring the recycle bin and tossing this course material directly into the incinerator.

And, the favorite of YHO: "Humanities 3: Navigating Pornography," a class offered by Pasadena City College. Who would have thought the site of the very classy Rose Bowl parade would also be home to an institution which turns porn into an educational experience. Well, maybe for some it is.

While checking the on-line course possibilities, however, we find this class may be in doubt. Professor Hugo Schwyzer reportedly is taking time off to seek treatment for bi-polar disorder after it was revealed he was exchanging sex texts (sexting) with an amateur porn star. The "star" was actually scheduled to speak to Schwyzer's class.

In preparation for that much anticipated speech, sources claim some students of the class had enrolled in UT's "Invented Languages" just in case.

Time and space is short, but faithful readers might want to check out Amherst College's "Taking Marx Seriously: Should Marx be given another chance?" or the Ivy League stalwart University of Pennsylvania's "Adultery Novel."

For the socially conscious, there's "Whiteness: The Other Side of Racism" at Mount Holyoke College and "Blackness," an offering from Occidental College.

And do not forget to investigate "American Dreams/American Realities," a course presented by the very prestigious Duke University. Here, students uncover the myths surrounding America including "rags to riches," "beacon to the world" and "frontier." Apparently, the Duke brain trust believes nothing defines the American character more than educating Americans in how to tear down America.

In the words of someone more intelligent than even he knew, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. While knowledge can deliver, it can also be used to deceive. Hopefully, someone knows the difference.

Pat Culverhouse is a journalist and political columnist who lives in Minden. You may contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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