Sunday, December 11, 2005

Dubensky's Postscript


I'm not sure if it's too late, and I doubt that my attempt at being funny will be successful, but one approach to a bad argument is to forgive it; another approach is to laugh at it.

I wanted to first say that I agree with your conclusion in a few thoughts "that it would be more difficult to hold on to the College's key mission at IIT." But what did you mean by your November 30 blog posting to Ed: "The fact that the announcement was a bald-faced lie was what made me mad"? I'm still trying to figure out what a bald-faced lie would look like.

Is Barbara your research paper adviser? Could you tell Barbara that Michael has studied the Shimer College Student Catalog very carefully, and he needs to know what page in the Shimer College Student Catalog does it state that the purpose of Shimer College is to "take the mission of the College, education, to new those who are overly confident and need a bit of knocking down." Should the Shimer College Student Catalog be rewritten for the next edition in order to integrate this idea of knocking students down into the mission statement? This is what Barbara must dream about after a night of grading papers, especially after the crap that I used to turn in to her in my first couple of years.

Wouldn't Albert be a good professor to work on a thesis question about what constitutes evidence in literary criticism (unfortunately, a tape recorder, legal documents, and citing professionals seem to be more persuasive as evidence than analyzing the style, attempting to perform a close reading, or interpreting the arguments)? If you do see Albert, could you tell him that I received his second phone call on my voice mail which means I now have evidence of his method and he can call for a phone consultation about how to improve his method at 300$ an hour? But since Albert isn't rich, could you tell Albert calling me up in order to make me doubt my thoughts, my writing, and my mental health is not only a perfect demonstration of the kind of pedagogy that he should try to avoid in the future, but it's also not going to work anymore (bad Albert; bad, bad)?

Could you do me a favor since you are a student member of the board? Could you tell the board at the next board meeting that if they put as much thought into how excellent the faculty were truly-in-practice doing their jobs as they and the faculty did into the rhetoric of these arguments that they would have 300 FTE's (maybe only 200 FTE's because Shimer is still a bit odd) before they even knew it? Could you tell the board that maybe they should buy some new Hondas for the staff if they want to attract and retain more students?

Could you also ask David Shiner if Young Kim's Condition is "If Shimer and IIT can agree on lease terms by January, they will hold the space for us without rent for an additional several months"? This is a strangely-worded statement, which I could benefit from some legal assistance in understanding. Does it mean if Shimer College adheres to the strict time frame and agrees to the terms of a lease [agree on lease terms does not necessarily mean sign the lease] with IIT by January then it will save money on a few month's rent (which is a bit amusing, I have to admit)?

This proposal still feels wrong, and I have read a lot of blog entries, attended multiple presentations, and written too many blogs entries. It seems as if IIT respected getting into a relationship with Shimer College enough to be to open to waiting before getting married to Shimer College; I would, therefore, have preferred if Shimer College launched "A More Beautiful Home for Shimer College (Possibly at IIT) Campaign" and then waited patiently for a better facility to have become available at IIT; even if that's naive, I would have been able to support that campaign. We could then have had a chance to really mull it over, think it through, and talk about it (and talk about it; and talk about it; and talk about it).

This blog has become so quiet that I have a feeling that I may have written the unthinkable truth; in my pursuit of truth and justice, if I have written anything true, please point it out to me so I can edit this blog accordingly, because I have not willfully written anything true in my blog postings. Everything that I have written has been written in a dishonest manner and in bad faith, since I sometimes think that Shimerians may be a bit too over-zealous in their faith for Shimer. We should afterall keep them on their toes, so they don't think they can get away with not doing what we go into debt the big bucks for.

I wish that I could end with a quote by Aristotle, but I have a bad memory and I don't have quotes at the tip of my tongue like some people seem to have a talent for. But didn't Aristotle say something to the effect of excellence being a question of the importance of the motive, the end, and the means; if someone knows which quote I am referring to, maybe you could share it with me. I'll check my edition of Aristotle; I'm almost sure it's in Nichomachean Ethics, which I'm glad because I won't reread Posterior Analytics (although it's a catchy title especially if you are sitting next to a good-looking student) even if it had the answer to all of the problems in the world.

Sam, I think I just took that stress pill (laughter) you recommended; as a massage therapist, you would think I would know how to recognize areas of stress in the body and respond to pain in order help the person achieve homeostasis.

Did you know that massage therapists and literary critics share something in common?

A massage therapist who develops his or her proprioceptors can feel the exact location of a hair that is located in a thick book even if there are hundreds of pages in front of it; a literary critic who is good at his or her craft can recognize the signature of the writer by noticing punctuation marks, specific words, phrases, and sentences.



Snorey said...

On the matter of the time frame...

My understanding -- and perhaps someone will correct it here -- is that IIT is primarily looking for a tenant, not a partner. I believe that's a good thing, because a close partnership (or "marriage") would pose a much greater threat to Shimer's institutional survival. From IIT's perspective, it seems this is primarily a real-estate transaction; any institutional ties, however valuable in their own right, are subsidiary to that.

That is the reason for the time limit, I believe. IIT is looking for a tenant, considers Shimer an excellent prospect tenantwise, and is therefore willing to hold the building rent-free for several months *if* it can be assured that Shimer will eventually move in. In this, IIT is being neither more nor less than a savvy landlord. No landlord would keep a property empty indefinitely, no matter how good the prospective tenant might be -- but any wise landlord would be willing to forgo a few months' rent in exchange for a desirable tenant.

I must ask -- why is the "beauty" of the campus such a concern? I myself have always been partial to the Waukegan campus, but few of my fellow Shimerians have ever been willing to call it beautiful.

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

Sam, Could you stop spinning? Your first paragraph, for example, must be a deliberate misreading of my use of marriage, which is applicable to a leasing relationship with IIT. Your second paragraph refers to the time frame, which I have already demonstrated in more than one posting is a farce, unless you didn't read any of my recent postings carefully. Your third paragraph discredits the value of beauty to a liberal arts education, but you'll have to argue that point with Kant, Schiller, and Wilde (not me).

Behind Dish said...

I want you to know that I've been ignoring all of your posts as of late. It isn't your fault that I'm not posting to the blog. :)

Inspector Michael D . . . said...


How come as an alum currently living in Asia you know so much about this transaction?

Has this been written by Young Kim?

Kim was also unusually concerned with the "survival" of Shimer College, which more than one alum took issue to when this move was mentioned in the Chicago Tribune article.

Although this is a minor point, your statement "IIT is looking for a tenant, considers Shimer an excellent prospect tenantwise, and is therefore willing to hold the building rent-free for several months *if* it can be assured that Shimer will eventually move in" slightly contradicts Shiner's recent account of this transaction. In Shiner's account, if Shimer College does not make a move by January then IIT will merely start looking for another tenant, which would mean that Shimer College still has a chance to discuss the move and make an offer at a later point. Furthermore, why would IIT start charging Shimer College rent anyway if Shimer College has not signed the lease, if all Shimer College did was agree to the terms of a lease? If you look at it from that point of view, Young's Condition never made sense as a statement from a logical point-of-view, since IIT would not charge someone if all Shimer College and IIT did was make a handshake agreement.

Saradevil said...

Since I know Sam well enough to say I that I know Sam, I'll say that he is not Young Kim, nor speaking with Young Kim. The reason Sam knows so much about the move is because he spends all his spare time reading everything that everyone is saying. Not reading into it, like some people I know, but actually reading it.

When you finally stop reading "critically" and start listening, perhaps we can stop having these foolish arguments and get to the point. The point, trust me, is far more interesting than calling into question every alum or student you have never met.

Inspector Michael D . . . said...
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Inspector Michael D . . . said...

Sara Davilia,

I have taken a lot of abuse from you in the last couple of weeks in your responses to my blog entries and in your e-mails to me; I have also had my blog entries censored and I have been removed from making entries on top of the blog or editing my already existing blog entries.

But I still respect you as an alum of Shimer College who feels passionately about Shimer College and, more specifically, as an artist who has dedicated her career to the beauty of the body in your paintings on your Web site. In the same way that I respect your paintings, I would like to ask you to respect my art, which is the art that I worked hard to cultivate as a liberal artist, the art of reading, writing, thinking, and listening.

Although you have accused me of not listening, I have to strongly disagree, because when you read a text carefully, you can hear the voice of the writer as if the person was speaking through the text. Close Reading is listening to the author speaking.

Michael Dubensky

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

good faith (1755) : honesty or lawfulness of purpose

good : well-founded, cogent (~ reasons)

good : something conforming to the moral order of the universe

faith (13c): sincerity of intentions

faith (15c) archaic : believe, trust

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

MORAL, ETHICAL, VIRTUOUS, RIGHTEOUS, NOBLE mean conforming to a standard of what is right and good.

MORAL implies conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong (the basic moral values of a community).

ETHICAL may suggest the involvement of more difficult or subtle questions of rightness, fairness, or equity (committed to the highest ethical principles).

VIRTUOUS implies moral excellence in character (not a religious person, but virtuous nevertheless).

RIGHTEOUS stresses guiltless or blamelessness and often suggests the sanctimonious (wished to be righteous before God and the world).

NOBLE implies moral eminence and freedom from anything petty, mean, or dubious in conduct and character (had the noblest reasons for seeking office).

Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, page 807.

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

name : a word or phrase that constitutes the distinctive designation of a person or thing

name : appearance as opposed to reality

in the name of : using the excuse of

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

hoax n (1808) 1 : an act intended to trick or dupe : IMPOSTURE 2 : something accepted or established by fraud or fabrication

hoax vt (ca. 1796): to trick into believing or accepting as genuine something false and often preposterous

shenanigan [origin unknown] (1855) 1. A devious trick used especially for an underhanded purpose 2a. tricky or questionable practices or conduct 2b. high-spirited or mischievious activity

bare-faced (1590) 1: having the face uncovered 1a : having no whiskers 1b : wearing no mask 2a. OPEN, UNCONCEALED (~impudence) b : having or showing a lack of scruples ( a ~ lie)

scruple n (15c) an ethical consideration or principle that inhibits action

scruple vi (1627) to show reluctance on grounds of conscience : HESITATE

scrupulous adj (15c) having moral integrity : acting in strict regard for what is considered right or proper

scrutable [LL scrtabilis searchable] capable of being deciphered : COMPREHENSIBLE

scrutineer (1557) one that examines

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

doubt (13c) 1a : uncertainty of belief or opinion that often interferes with decision-making b : a deliberate suspension of judgement 2 : a state of affairs giving rise to uncertinty, hesitation, or suspense 3a: a lack of confidence: DISTRUST b : an inclination not to believe or accept

doubtful (14c) 1 : giving rise to doubt : open to question (it os ~ that they ever knew what happened)

doubtful : marked by qualities that raises doubts about worth, honesty, or validity

syn DOUBTFUL, DUBIOUS, PROBLEMATIC, QUESTIONABLE mean not affording assurance of the worth, soundness, or certainty of something.

DOUBTFUL implies little more than a lack of conviction or certainty (doubtful about whether I said the right thing)

DUBIOUS stresses suspicion, mistrust, or hesitation (dubious about the practicality of the scheme)

PROBLEMATIC applies especially to things whose existence, meaning, fulfillment, or realization is highly uncertain (whether the project will be finished is problematic)

QUESTIONABLE may imply no more than the existence of doubt but usually suggests that the suspicions are well-grounded (a man of questionable honesty)

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, page 375)

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

evil: something that brings sorrow, distress, or calamity

bad: not sound

bad: an evil or unhappy state

bad: inadequate or unsuited to a purpose ( a ~ plan)

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

method: a procedure or process for attaining an object

motive: something (a desire or need) that causes a person to act

mean: to design for or destine for a specified purpose or future

end: the object by virtue of or for the sake of which an event takes place

end: to bring to an end

end (1607): to put (grain or hay) into a barn or sack

Medea: an enchantress noted in Greek mythology for helping Jason gain the Golden Fleece and for reportedly resorting to murder to gain her ends

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

rhetorician n (15c): 1 a : a master or teacher of rhetoric b: ORATOR 2: an eloquent or grandiloquent writer or speaker

siren song n (1568): an alluring utterance or appeal; epecially one that is seductive or deceptive

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

beauty (14c): 1 : the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit: LOVELINESS 2: A beautiful person or thingl especially : a beautiful woman 3: a particularly graceful, ornamental, or eccellent quality 4: a brilliant, extreme, or egregious example or instant (that mistake was a ~)[and strangely] BOTTOM 9

Bottom 9: a fundamental quark that accounts for the existence and lifetime of upsilon particles and has an electric charge of -1/3 and a measured energy of approximately 5 GeV; also: the flavor characterizing this particle

bottom : BASIS, SOURCE (trying to get to the ~ of these rumours)

bottom: the posterior end of the trunk: BUTTOCKS, RUMP

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

rotten (13c): having rotted: PUTRAID 2: morally corrupt 3 : extremely unpleasant or inferior ( a ~ day) (a ~ job) 4 : very uncomfortable (feeling ~) 5 : of very low quality : LOUSY, ABDOMINABLE (a ~ show) (what ~ luck)

ugly (13cf) 1: FRIGHTFUL, DIRE 2a offensive to the sight: HIDEOUS b: offensive or unpleasant to any sense 3: morally offensive or ojectionable (corruption--the ugliest stain of all) 4: likely to cause inconvenience or discomfort (the ~ truth)

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

sophism (15c) 1: an argument apparently correct in form but actually invalid; especially such an argument used to decieve

sophist (fr. sophizesesthai to become wise, deceive, fr sophos clever, wise) 1: PHILOSOPHER 2 any of a class of ancient Greek teachers of rhetoric, philosophy, and the art of successful living prominent about the middle of the fifth century B.C. for their adroit subtle and allegedly often specious reasoning 3: a captious or fallacious reasoner

sophistic or sophistical 1: of or relating to sophists, sophistry, or the ancient Sophists ( ~ rhetoric) (~ subtleties) 2: plausible but fallacious ( ~ reasoning)

(to) sophisticate vt 1: to alter deceptively 2: to deprive of genuiness, naturalness, or simplicity; especially to deprive of naivete and make worldly-wise: DISILLUSION 3 to make complicated or complex

sophistry: subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation

Argus 1: a hundred-eyed monster of Greek mythology 2: a watchful guardian

Argus-eyed: vigantly observant

argy-bargy (1887): a lively discussion: ARGUMENT, DISPUTE

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

cozy (1709): 1 a: enjoying or affording warmth and ease: SNUG (a ~ lakeside cabin) b: marked by or providing contentment or comfort (won by a ~ margin) 2: marked by the intimacy of the family or a close group

comfortable (1769) 1a: affording or enjoying contentment and security ( a ~ income) b: affording or enjoying physical comfort ( a ~ chair (was too ~ to move) 2a : free from vexation or doubt (~ assumptions) b: free from stress or tension ( a ~ routine

syn COMFORTABLE, COZY, SNUG, RESTFUL mean enjoying or providing a position of contentment and security.

COMFORTABLE applies to anything that encourages serinity, well-being, or complacency as well as physical ease.

COZY suggests warmth, shelter, assured ease, and friendliness (a cozy neighborhood shop.

SNUG suggests having just enough space for comfort and safety but no more (a snug little cottage).

RESTFUL applies to whatever induces or contributes to rest or relaxation (a quiet restful vacation).

cozy n, pl cozies (1863) 1: a padding covering especially for a teapot to keep the contents hot 2: a light detective story that usually features a well-educated protagonist and little explict violence

sdelezen said...

Michael, I am not sure what value I am supposed to take from this litany of definitions. Perhaps you think that the rest of us are incapable of reading as critically as you are, or perhaps you think that we have lost our dictionaries, but I assure you that this is not the case. Could you clarify your intent?

D. R. Koukal said...

An observation: sometimes, when an interlocuter is not discoursing in good faith, the best course of action is to simply ignore them.

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

Him, not them; or interlocuters, not interlocuter.

Inspector Michael D . . . said...
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Inspector Michael D . . . said...

correction: him or her

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

correction of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: man or woman

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

A correction: If you continue speaking in bad faith, I will simply ignore you.

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

correction:interlocutor, not interlocuter

interlocutor [L interloqui to speak between, issue an interlocutory decree, fr. to speak] (1514) 1: one who takes part in dialogue or conversation 2: a man in the middle of the line in a minstrel show who questions the end man and acts as leader

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

a correction: If they continue speaking in bad faith, simply ignore them.

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

Thanks, David!