Re: (Fwd: *C&CD*) The main problem (*DIGEST*) (17 lines)
Thu, 26 Oct 1995 12:10:57 -0500

On Thu, 26 Oct 1995 wrote:

> Johnathan, you are missing something. Free expression means free expression.
> It doesn't mean, "free only to the extent I speak for myself,
> " Ron Shook

I think I'm still missing something. Is this a complete message? This
is all I received.

If this is a complete message, I'll reply by saying that I remember my
English teacher, long ago, telling me that you shouldn't repeat the words
you're defining in your definition, because it doesn't show that you
really understand what you're defining. I'm not saying that you don't
understand what you're defining--you just haven't shown it, as far as I
can tell.

(And now that I've flamed you, Ron, I'll proceed to flame myself...)

Look, I can see helping students write better essays, even if you don't
agree with the content of those essays. I still cringe remembering some
of the racist, sexist, and homophobic stuff some of my students have
written, and the struggle I had trying to figure out how I could help
them with those essays and look in the mirror. (This didn't happen in
Taiwan, by the way.) You can try to "subliminally" educate (I should put
educate in quotes, too--I certainly don't think I have all the answers to
anything) students to have what some of us might call more open minds,
but in the end if a student wants to write an essay saying, for example,
homosexuality is evil because the Bible says so, all you can do is try to
get them to deal with the issues of audience, purpose, ethos, and all
that stuff.

I know it's possible I'm sounding "holier than thou" (to any and all
"thous")--I don't mean to. I still struggle with what my role really is
as a writing teacher. But, coming back to the issue of free expression
and helping an opponent, well... hell, maybe I am wrong after all.. I
guess I just described helping an opponent with his/her case.

Well, hope I'm an interesting read, anyhow. Now get these voices out of
my head!
Jonathan Benda / Department of Foreign Languages and Literature
Tunghai University / Taichung, Taiwan R.O.C.
Fax: 011-886-4-359-4002 / E-mail: