Re: snapshots -Reply

Kenneth Robert Wright (kright@OREGON.UOREGON.EDU)
Wed, 17 Jan 1996 18:37:27 -0800

Fair enough. Your counter balance was appropriate, for words do mean
things. I should not have so flippantly posted my "think for yourself
maxim." It is important to me that my students question everything
except, as someone pointed out, when they question just for the sake of
questioning rather than to expose an inconsistency on my, or someone
else's, part or to inquire into an idea they want to know more about.

I'm not so sure, though, that you and I would see paranoia occuring at
the same point because what might seem paranoid today could tomorrow turn
out to be a question we should have answered. For example, if
someone in my hometown had asked in the 1940s, when the land that now
contains my parents' home was cotton fields for miles around, just where
the nematode pesticide was going and how long it would last, he or she
would have gotton raised eyebrows all around, but maybe the ground
water there would be drinkable today.

Also, I feel students tend to put far to much faith in their teachers and
far too little faith in their own critical-thinking powers. I have on
occasion said things which none of my students would let pass
unquestioned if said by one of their peers, but which were accepted as
true, or at least unquestioned, because they came from me. So
once in a while a "your teacher may be wrong" lesson is in order.
However, I don't send them from my writing classes on to classes from
other teachers, who may not appreciate having their ideas constantly
questioned, for I do make them aware of the political realities as I see
them, and, if I've done my job, I've given them an awareness of audience
that will make them assess the rhetorical situation before pushing their
inquiries to the "paranoia" or pestiferous level.

Ken Wright

On Wed, 17 Jan 1996, Nick Carbone wrote:

> > On Wed, 17 Jan 1996, Kenneth Robert Wright wrote:
> >
> > > Of course I don't merely spout out my cute little saying as if it means
> > > anything out of some context, Nick.
> Ken,
> I meant it when I said I assumed you did, and that I understood
> the reasons for using the maxims--in context yours and Ben's are more
> than just cute little sayings. So is the cliche you mentiond about
> not wanting to sound paranoid, but someone's out to get me. There's
> truth to that as well, and it ran through my mind as I e-mailed my
> reply. I kept thinking of all the times I was (am) justifiably (to my
> view) leary. Didn't mean to sound like I was being dismissive. In this
> context, the context of the list's exchanges, I wanted to throw in a
> counter-balance.
> Nick