Friday, October 08, 2004

I M Fine 

Another double-duty title today.

First, yes I am doing reasonably well and goodspirited, at least for someone who wakes each morning stiffandsore and who winces at getting out of bed or the car and who is starting, I fear, to enjoy the odd mix of meds a bit too too, though don't they make the linguish fun? Anyhoo. Thanks for the concern, folks. Second day of physical therapy this afternoon wasn't as stretchy as the previous diagnostic session, and the ultrasound massage was kind of neat, all tingly-like.

And second, though I'm a bit late to the table, IM and other cybershortspeaks are in the air again, both on our school discussion boards, where a student use of shortspeak led to a student-prompted discussion about the appropriateness of cyberspeech, which in turn caused me to post the following (and pardon the length; as busy as Mark Twain these days, so I didn't have time to shorten it):
My own concern, actually, is not so much that modern society will reply with something that many English speakers are unable to comprehend. It is that the way people think (when they are trying to think at their best) will actually begin to take on the quality of their common speech. If so, a shorter, simpler speech will result in shorter thought.

I must admit -- reading chatspeak takes longer that reading proper english for ME, which may just be an issue of unfamiliarity. You DO lose some readers when using shortform speech; if that's okay with you, then that's okay with you.

But objectively speaking, the simplistic shortform of chatspeak is less suited to clear and complex thought.

And this from a man who considers holding class in AIM to be a seriously worthy endeavor.

Yes, chatspeak -- like telephonic speech, like casual speech, etcetera ad infinitum -- has its place, indeed. Just not in the kind of deeper discussion one hopes that NMH students would have in such a public forum, and especially not when those selfsame students claim to be handling such weighty matters as those which so often read their proverbial heads here in GSD.

In a nutshell: I say, if you're going to speak of weighty issues, do it with language which carries weight well. If subtlety of argument is key to making your case (c.f. our recent politics discusion, eh?), a language with less subtlety, like chatspeak, will be less productive. If you're announcing a dorm event, though...

It would have been so much easier to just say If McLuhan were alive today, would he merely text "medium=msg?" But the McLuhan nutshell isn't intuitively obvious to the average adolescent. It takes so many words to say it if the shortform isn't there to rebound against.

Mediaheads too wrapped up in electoral issues to notice their usual universe may have missed a timely cultural-scale discussion of the same topic in the Fresno Bee. Though I've said it before, once again I agree with Alex. Also with Stef's nifty comments along Alex's sideline.

posted by boyhowdy | 7:43 PM |

I'm interested in more info on NMH. A number of teachers and administrators left about four years ago to found a new prep school in northern California. Do you know anything about why they left? Pardon the off-topic question.
TWO teachers left for that school in california -- One, the Academic Dean, and the other a science teacher.

They didn't leave TO found a school -- the school had already been founded, funded, and established by a board of trustees that included Steve Jobs. No teacher or school administrator could possibly afford to found a school.

Instead, Janet (the Dean at NMH) was offered a chance to be a head of school by that board of trustees. I havce no way of knowing why she chose to move on, but can guess that part of the decision to move was because NMH had just hired a new head of school (R. Mueller), so if that was the position she wanted, she'd have look elsewhere, eh?

The science teacher left because she was asked to join the new faculty pool by Janet once Janet had been appointed head of school.

Hardly a mass exodus, and hard, too, to treat two NMH folks going together as much more than a quirk of this particlaur scenario. Certainly other faculty in my own 7 year tenure have left NMH to move on to higher positions in smaller schools -- Bob Linscott is now a Dean at Cambridge School of Weston; Tim Seeley is head of a school somehwre, Todd (ex-Academic dean here) is a higher-level administrator somewhere else, and so is Eric Jones. Another dean here left to a higher position at Williston, I believe. And that's just in the last 6 years!

In short, then -- NMH is a big school, but even if it were not, the truth is it is VERY common for administrators to do a peer-school search when looking at promotion, as administrative positions in prep schools don't open very often in a given school.

And teachers go all the time -- out of the 12 or so that started with me the same year, about 4 are left.

Can't see how one could make a case that this single instance of one admin going, and another single teacher following her -- and, as I understand it, for a period of ONLY two years, to help with the start-up -- would then be some sort of "new NMH" or anything. Two being hardly more than one, seems to me just one more example of folks moving on to move up -- a common truth of all schools, and no shame for (or commentary on) NMH in it.

IMHO, of course -- from the trenches.
I think you're right on track and not many people are willing to admit that they share your views. fox lost matthew is an AWESOME place to discuss LOST.
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