Playing Hooky at the Lyndhurst Academy

Posted By on September 19, 2015

I should probably be reading and commenting on student papers, so I am trying to see if I can come up with a good reason for playing hooky, and I’ve found it. I’m reading Ta Nehesi Coates Between the World and Me.

It is a terrifically moving fusion of autobiography, philosophy and advocacy that really should be read and thought about or with by any educated person in the United States (not to mention elsewhere).

I just got to page 26, where Coates is describing the bad circumstances and consequent results of his own Baltimore public school system (mis)education: he and his fellow students, Coates says, were being taught to memorize “theorems extracted from the world they were created to represent.”

Suddenly that seemed very familiar. That’s exactly what orthodox Shakespeare scholars do for a living. Some of them are so expert at it that they frequently can’t distinguish between the theorem and the reality itself.

p.s. (10/8/2015) – check out this notice of Mr. Coates award of a MacArthur grant,  just a few weeks after my blog!  Congratulations, Mr. Coates!  I am still reading the book…..

About the author

Roger Stritmatter is a native liberal humorist who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Contrary to rumor, he does not live on North Avenue. He does, however, work on North Avenue. A pacifist by inclination, one of his heroes is John Brown. But he thinks that Fredrick Douglass, another of his heroes, made the right decision. Stritmatter's primary areas of interest include the nature of paradigm shifts, the history of ideas, forensic literary studies, MS studies, renaissance literature, and the history of the Shakespearean question, the latter a field in which he has published extensively.


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