Wednesday, April 20, 2005

a comment from today

The following is a comment someone just made in response to my post yesterday about the Papal Election. I am rushing around today and, with karaoke tonight, am not sure when I will be able to respond to it. If you have a chance, however, I'd be interested in knowing what thoughts you have about it:
Do you think a sociology professor mocking a religion or their procedures, or belittling it with the gambling and alcohol comments, takes anything away from your performance in the classroom? That is, if Catholic or conservative students read your blog, and are offended, do you take responsibility for any of the backlash they dish out to other students because they believe their views are not being respected? Would you or could you tone down the silliness, even though it is your first amendment right, to preserve dignity and respect of other views in the classroom? I have often wondered if the left-wing professors know what they are doing overall to serious discussion. Signed, a liberal.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Et tu, Jeremy?? I recall taking a Soc. class on religion once. Since there are 1.1 billion Catholics, 1.6 billion Muslims and I don't know how many Jews and Hindus and Buddhists there are, it makes sense to look at religion from a number of perspectives. Speculation on the future Pope would be in order as well as addressing perceptions of it all. Frankly I didn't see any ridicule or belittling on your part, or condemnation of religion. Actually, I don't quite know how to take that comment. People would be inclined to ask what a Ratzlinger is, wouldn't they? Some exotic machine that refines minerals perhaps? A surgical device? A wrestling hold?
Well, what if someone say in Italy did concoct a Ratzlinger (am I spelling his name right?) in honor of the new Pope? Some wine and some mint and a couple of drops of say chocolate syrup and say a shot of champagne poured over crushed iced and chopped strawberries? How would I know how to make a Ratzlinger but I'm sure someone has. For all I know a Ratzlinger is an artillery piece used in the Franco-Prussian war. That sounds reasonable. The bottom line is that you are a reasonable person.

Anonymous said...

I second that. Anyone who would read your blog and think that it was a condemnation of Catholicism does not deserve to have their views respected because they are clearly an idiot.

--a smarter liberal

brady said...

Eh, if he had gotten loaded off the proceeds of a winning John Paul dead pool bet, maybe.

And making this a left-wing vs. conservative or Catholic issue is bollocks. (Balls, I say!) The right has no more of a legitimate claim on seriousness or solemnity, OR RELIGION, than the left. This isn't an issue of someone's political or religious views being slammed in one direction, but an argument over what kind of deliberation is appropriate in the public sphere. (Balls, I say, balls!)

And, as usual, it's the humorless, painfully earnest debate and the emotion talk that wins. Damn you, American political culture!

In closing: Doody doody poo-poo, nanny nanny boo boo.

(Also, jeebus. It's not like he posted a picture like this.)

shakha said...
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shakha said...

I think there's a difference between what Jeremy does in the classroom and what he does on his blog. The responsibilities that we teachers have to "respect students' views" do NOT extend to every aspect of our lives. Do I have to be respectful of students in my classroom? Within reason, Yes. Does this mean that in other areas of my life I must never express any sentiment that could offend them? Absolutely not. Jeremy's blog, as far as I know, is not required reading for his classes. It's part of his personal life and students have no damn right to impose themselves upon it. Students could just as well overhear us teachers at a coffeeshop and feel like they're not respected. But as long as respect exists in the CLASSROOM we're doing just fine.

Oh, and a second point: people tend to assume that:

Moderate = Not Political

So as long as we're all "moderate" in our classrooms, we're not being political. Well, as it turns out, moderate is a political position. First off, it's a political position relative to a specific climate (Moderate is different in the US today than in the past, and different than it is in Sweden and Pakistan). Second, to make a claim that left-wing (or right-wing) professors should be moderate in their expressions is to make a particular kind of political claim. You're not asking your professors to be objective (as if often assumed), you're asking them to take a particular political stance. But isn't that just what you were critiquing these professors for (insisting on a particular political ideology)?

Anonymous said...

Dog-gone! For the life of me I can't remember any of the Latin phrases and prayers I used to know as an altar boy back when the catholic mass was done in Latin. I was going to bless Jeremy in Latin but I'm stumped here. Oremus? I think that means let us pray. Wait! patris et felitus(sp?) sanctos - something about the sign of the cross. I'll just give a standard benediction to be used prior to eating:
rub-a-dub-dub
thanks for the grub
yayyyyyyyy God!!!

Anonymous said...

"But as long as respect exists in the CLASSROOM we're doing just fine."
Shakha,
Thanks for your comments about blog v. classroom. Didn't mean to imply that Jeremy's blog was a condemnation of Catholicism, just that some of comments spawned in that post could be seen as offensive to some. This would keep them (conservative students) from participating in a reasonable discussion and could make them feel their views are not being respected. In turn, they respond with the same type of respect to students/issues to their left.

Anonymous said...

"But as long as respect exists in the CLASSROOM we're doing just fine."
Shakha,
Thanks for your comments about blog v. classroom. Didn't mean to imply that Jeremy's blog was a condemnation of Catholicism, just that some of comments spawned in that post could be seen as offensive to some. Did you read them all? This would keep them (conservative students) from participating in a reasonable discussion and could make them feel their views are not being respected. In turn, they respond with the same type of respect to students/issues to their left.

Religious Liberal said...

"Do you think a sociology professor mocking a religion or their procedures, or belittling it with the gambling and alcohol comments, takes anything away from your performance in the classroom?"

Depends. Jeremy, are you teaching about religion? Did you make your comment in class during your lecture? If not, I fail to see how the comment has anything to do with your performance in class.

I'm Catholic. I'm also liberal. On behalf of my co-religionists who take themselves too seriously, I apologize. Sometimes they forget that God has a sense of humor too, and that it's ok to make fun of ourselves every once in a while.

Anonymous said...

As a Catholic, a liberal, a Polish/German/Italian mutt, and someone who has taken a class from Jeremy, I feel that Jeremy has done absolutely nothing wrong. Should I be offended at somebody making pope jokes? Hello! Catholics invented pope jokes. I doubt that Jeremy is eager to seek the approval and respect of someone who has such a sucky sense of humor (as in *no* sense of humor).

Jeremy has to be one of the most diplomatic professors I know and never once uttered anything inappropriate in the classroom (at karaoke, it's a different story). If his students want to come here and be shocked(!!) by his quirky sense of humor and political views, they do so at their own risk.
-JJ

Anonymous said...

A rabbi and his two friends, a priest and a minister,
played poker for small stakes once a week. The only
problem was that they lived in a very conservative
blue-law town. The sheriff raided their game and took
all three before the local judge.
After listening to the sheriff's story, the judge
sternly inquired of the priest: "Were you gambling,
Father?" The priest looked toward heaven, whispered,
"Oh, Lord, forgive me!" and then said aloud: "No, your
honor, I was not gambling."
"Were you gambling, Reverend?" the judge asked the
minister. The minister repeated the priest's actions
and said, "No, your honor, I was not."
Turning to the third clergyman, the judge asked: "Were
you gambling, Rabbi?"
The rabbi eyed him coolly and replied "With whom?"

Anonymous said...

A bus on a busy street in New York City strikes a man.
He is lying near death on the sidewalk as a crowd of
spectators gathers around.

Somebody get me a priest!" the man gasps. A policeman
checks the crowd "A PRIEST, PLEASE!" the dying man
says again.

Then out of the crowd steps a little old Jewish man of
at least eighty years of age. "Mr. Policeman," says
the man, "I'm not a priest. I'm not even a Catholic.
But for fifty years now I'm living behind St.
Elizabeth's Catholic Church on First Avenue, and every
night I'm listening to the Catholic litany. Maybe I
can be of some comfort to this man."

The policeman agreed and brought the octogenarian over
to where the dying man lay. He kneels down, leans over
the injured and says in a solemn voice: B-4. I-19.
N-38. G-54. O-72. . ."

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with what you've posted on your blog, especially since a) you've never given any indication that your blog is For Academic Discourse or even For Seriousness, and b) you have posted a disclaimer on your front page noting that your blog is separate from your job, is not the official position of the university, etc.

I (liberal Polish Catholic) haven't been at all offended by what you've posted. Didn't even cross my mind to be.

--EGP

Anonymous said...

If you could elevate the discussion above say Brady's closing comments, maybe more people would listen and engage in a discussion instead of just feeling offended and turning off. Soc. is about all types of people, right? Plus I wasn't criticizing JF, way to mischaracterize, numbnuts. Just asking a question -- that seems to scare some of youse.

brady said...

I just like saying "Balls."

Anonymous said...

Will there be a laying on of hands for healing in any Soc. classes next term? I still haven't figured out how what is said in a Blog transfers and relates to classroom work. I realize I'm not the sharpest pencil in the bin, but this one has me baffled. I'm also confused how any comments in a blog could or would inhibit anyone else from commenting? I must really be an oaf because I have also failed to see how betting on who will be the next Pope is somehow an insult to Catholics. Aren't Catholics big on bingo, or am I thinking of the Rastafarians here? Isn't that betting/gambling? Jeremy as Judas somehow doesn't work for me. I'm the fellow that was trying to remember some Latin to cast a blessing on Jeremy, but I have failed in that as well. I think I better get drunk.

islander said...
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islander said...
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Anonymous said...

One of the nice things about the unitarian universalist church I go to is the fact that we get to hear so many unitarian jokes during the service.

A unitarian fellow was on death row. The day before his last day before execution, the warden met with him to discuss arrangements. After discussing the last meal, the warden brought up religious council.
"Usually," he said, "folks want to talk to a spiritual advisor."
"That would be nice," replied the convict.
"Would you like a priest, a rabbi?"
"Actually, I'm a unitarian universalist."
"Oh, I see, you'll be needing a physics professor."

Mary, a second grade teacher who is a part of our community, was teaching her class about whales. In her discussion of baleen, she found herself confronted by a second-grader who rejected the information about whale digestive systems.
"Whales don't have baleen. They have big mouths and really big stomachs - big enough for a man to live in. Jonah was swalled and in the belly of a whale."
"I'm sorry," Mary replied, "but it is just not possible that Jonah lived in the belly of a whale."
"My minister and my mother say it is so. They say that science can't explain god's plan."
"Well," Mary sighed, exasperated, "Unfortunately Jonah is not here so we cannot ask him if he lived in the belly of a whale."
"When I die and go to heaven I will ask him all about it," the girl retorted.
"What if Jonah isn't in heaven?" Mary asked, rising to the bait.
"Then YOU can ask him!"

Anonymous said...

Anon, you have really succeeded in elevating the discussion...especially by using the word "numbnuts." That's gotta be an SAT word.