Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Give And Take

My Media Literacy course has fallen to the budget-crisis-without-a-rubric; I am teaching it to a full load of kids next term and then, sadly, it will not be taught again. I am too mad to say more about that, and I use the term mad deliberately, as angry would have been the right word until yesterday I began to go insane thinking about it.

Instead, sick of bureaucra-speak and institutional politics, sickened by the pretense of pedagogic soundness which clearly does not after all underlie the attack on my course, frustrated by the lack of honesty which seeps like root/rot/rat poison through this community and its members, I've been thinking about Shel Silverstein's classic The Giving Tree. There's an ongoing debate about the text, nicely represented by, of all things, reader's reviews of the book at amazon.com, but at the risk of alienating my scant readership (yes, you), I hereby present my own take on the text, one which I suspect Silverstein, always the wry cynic, intended as a kind of reverse object lesson:

Give and give and give and give, selflessly and with no return, until you are a stump.

Then, at the end of your lifetime, after about 50 years of loneliness and misery, when you have nothing left to give, you will be appreciated. Maybe.

Of course, you'll still be a stump.

Goddam stumps. At least they're good for sitting on. Smiling and pretending that it's wonderful that you'll still have a job after all might work for some, but what no one here realizes is that I'd be happy to leave if I wasn't going to be happy to be here. Is it so unusual to be willing to be broke rather than do a job you don't want to do? It shouldn't be, and it is, and that makes me sadder and madder than ever.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:52 PM |

Post a Comment
coming soon
now listening