November 8th, 2004

Thinking about St. John's

I'm back in Chicago, but I'm reflecting on St. John's College (in Maryland) and how it handles its Great Books program. Partly I'm comparing it my mind with how Columbia University handled its partial Great Books program back in the 70's. I felt, at the time, that the teachers took the great books and sort of mangled them, by laying quirky interpretatons over the text that obscured the text from the students' sight. It was that feeling of "did this professor read the same book I did?"

Anyway, it looks like St. John's discourages that approach. Good! I mean, there is always room to interpret an old text from a culture that is a bit alien to ours, but there are limits!

Rhyme of the Day:

I'm glad they don't dangle them
Only to mangle them.

(Bait and switch
Is a bitch.)
  • Current Music
    The Boxer, Simon&Garfunkel

"Loose Objectivists Sink Ships"

I didn't write that.  I saw it on a paper sign at St. John's College.  In smaller letters, it claimed to be a message from the Department of Propaganda or something.  There was some even finer print but I didn't get a chance to read it.

My daughter knew it was supposed to be funny, but didn't have any idea what the joke was.  I explained the allusion to the US military "loose lips sink ships" campaign, which began in World War II.

But... having established the allusion, whatever could it mean?  I don't imagine it's meant to imply that Objectivists are undercutting the war effort in any way.

What does "loose Objectivists" mean exactly?  Loose like a lion that escaped from the zoo?  There do seem to be Objectivists running free at St. John's.

And what about the "ships"?  Are they real ships?  Scholar-ships?

Or is it just another silly college sign that doesn't really make any sense at all - that is just supposed to frustrate any effort to "get it"?

Rhyme of the Day:

Objectivists are on the loose,
But the joke remains obtuse.