Friday, November 21, 2008

point for a penguin

So since we like to talk about grad school things on this site and since grad school is one of the main things keeping me from posting more often than once every 2 months or so, I will post a story.

The setup: Contemporary Political Theory class. 9 - 11:50 thursday mornings. This was my week to lead discussion and make questions for the class. There are about 20 people in this class. Most of the people get along pretty well and are respectful to one another. There are a lot of crazy terms flying around that don't actually mean anything, but there are other people besides myself who don't live (or aspire to live) the purely academic (read bullshit) life of political science grad students. Anyway, everyone in this class is nice and respectful except for this one guy, we'll call him super-prick.

cast of characters:

myself: feisty, had very little sleep the night before, worked very hard to do a good job with this presentation stuff

super-prick: things he is God's gift to everything and everyone on Earth (and probably beyond). Thinks he is the smartest person in class, more so than the teacher or those who have studied more, longer, and in more places than here. He's tall and definitely conventionally attractive (I'm sure some brainless girls have been stupid enough to fuck him over the years, that is if he will let beings of substandard intelligence go near his axis of power). What is, by far, the most infuriating thing about this jackass is that he is so arrogant about knowing a lot about political theory and he is, by far, the most condescending person I have ever encountered. He generally doesn't even look up from his paper when he speaks.

Right before our face off:

The topic of the class is multiculturalism. One of the quotes I found from the book is that universities have an obligation to protect people from racist thought, even if it might go against free speech. Then I gave a quote from the LSU chancellor in a letter from 2006 saying that the university discourages but will not ban the flying of a purple and gold confederate flag. Maybe it wasn't the most theoretical of questions, but it talked about the not so pretty side of culture, and it also related to the culture of this area (the south in general). People are raising their hands and discussing things. There seems to be a good response, then this:

super-prick: (long pause) When I thought about this question (leans back in his chair for a long pause) I was reminded of high school and being stuck with these kinds of question in civics class.

(note: I can't remember what exactly he said, but he said it in a condescending way and basically said to the whole class, since he's too much of a pussy to address me outright, that he thinks my questions were not on his elevated level)

peace bone: (somewhat jokingly) well I did teach high school last year

super-prick: well I guess that fits

(damn son, why don't you just tell me I need to leave your intellectual space since I'm tarnishing your brain waves.)

So the class goes on and more people raise their hands and offer talking points. Super-prick raises his own hand to chime in.

super-prick: I would like to pose my own question (assumingly because mine was so inadequate)

peacebone: (interrupting loud enough for all in the class to hear) oh, is this a college level one?

super-prick: (blank stare and silence)

giggling ensues from a good number of people in the class.

Score 1 for peacebone!


Anonymous said...

I like the way you handled the situation. Unfortunately, up until the second or third quarter of university, I probably was super prick.

Sarah D. said...

Huzzah, Peacebone!
I am by no means justifying what Super Prick said, BUT: the way he speaks to and treats others is not a reflection of his imagined superiority, rather it is a reflection of his fear that he is inferior.
Can't wait til December :)

Fermi said...

I miss that type of class interaction.

Tino said...