February 23rd, 2006

Thursday night... the next week

Van Hagar belt out Right Now (Live VH1 98 track)...

My PoliSci class instructor has been having us read bell hooks' Teaching Community - a Pedagogy of Hope. In one chapter she refers to another person who spoke the command "Be Here Now" - in that instead of thinking of education as a means to some future end, that learning and studying should be an end to itself, from now 'til the day we pass from this big blue marble.

Be Here Now. It's been ringing in my head as I've buzzed from Santa Monica to Hollywierd and around town. Be Here Now. I notice myself floating away from time to time as I ride, and realized that back in the day, I was quite HERE NOW. It makes the riding the joy that it is to me. It's too easy not to be anywhere inside the Jetta, or in the Amigo (RIP). I've tried to share how riding makes me feel, how it's all about the focus, and how the brain feels happy and alive after a jaunt, be it into the hills for a drink at Newcomb's, or a filtering experiment to SMC, or my "Two lights are too much" Pico purgatory.

Be Here Now. Be in the moment. Experience the now - leave the future to sort itself out, and forget about the past. The now - it's happening.

Crazy Mary, by Pearl Jam, from the Sweet Relief album.

Got my first byline in the SMC Corsair - a sports piece, of all things. Staff writer. Yay me.

"and mary rises up above it all...."

hooks discuss her critique/description of the American system structure we're in:
imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy
surely brings a reaction, doesn't it? But in doing the reading, what she says makes a lot of sense. The PoliSci instructor is leading with a point about democracy in education; trying to make the classroom a place of exploration and enjoyment, as opposed to the authoritarian indoctrination that can happen. Today's class was set up in the round, and Oifer seemed happy to have a concrete example of how it opens the conversation, how it is an inclusive move to help foster understanding. What totally rocked me was the strength and intelligence of some of the students - Will, the crazy haired skater kid, with tats on both arms - he put forth a stunning and persuasive summary of what we had to read. Wow... don't know why - no - wait - I do know why I hold my prejudices so dearly (that I know so much, since I've been around a while) - it was a thought I had during class - that we have a danger mitigation program hardwired into our brains - that we put things into boxes that we know how to react to, thus increasing our chances of survival, right?

So I see a kid, and he looks like the kids who rattle past the den on skateboards, and they seem lost in their own little rolling world. Not too threatening, and seemingly benign. I know how to deal with that 'object'. Then Will speaks his mind.

Holly also spoke her mind, and set me aback a bit, for her seemingly annoyed leg twitch had me thinking she was just here for the grade. Nope - she summarized a point well, had a nicely prepared paper to read from, and mentioned something about the 'anti-immigrant policy of non-bi-lingual education' -- being that this part of the class is trying to get us to the point of radical openness, where we're open to new ideas and new information, I tried to figure out the opposing point of view on how English as the defacto 'official' language of the United States is anit-immigrant. I think I came to the thought that though my point of view - that it's what we use, it's not anti-immigrant was a tad naive. That it's used to build a barrier because it's what we use.

I was also pondering the public education system as an originally democratic tool to empower the masses, now perverted to keep the masses ignorant - No Kid Behind policies that funnel millions of dollars away from the task at hand and into paperwork machines (4GL, anyone?) - and how the elites, say those who serve in government as our representatives, how many of them did the public school thing? Or did they follow the old boy path, through prep schools and Ivy league, into the offices of their parents? and if so, how can we actually enjoy what was promised to us - of the people, by the people - for the people - if those who speak for us have never held a minimum wage job? Or is it all what it is - a mess that can't and won't allow itself to be fixed?

I had the idea, stemming from the comment in hooks' book about how the knowledge if available for anyone to get/take - just read the textbooks, right? So how about a degree from the Los Angeles Public Library? Classes meet in the Day Use room, we'll be reading from a macroeconomics text, followed by some Shakespeare. Hmmm....

Radical consciousness raising - only problem with waking up is the deafening noise when I scream.

'free free set them free'

Be Here Now
:+s+:

dona nobis pacem

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