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Gord Barentsen

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Posts posted by Gord Barentsen

  1. Hi Ima,

    I've attached your essay with some edits and comments.  I'll briefly summarise them here with some suggestions for the next version:

    1. Brilliant insight
    2. Another brilliant insight
    3. Yet another brilliant insight

    We can discuss these ideas some more in our next session.

    My Essay-EDITED.docx

  2. About the discussion forums

    The forums are where most of the real work is done between sessions!  Here is where I interact with students between sessions, offering insights and comments which they can access 24/7.  I can also post any useful information I come across which may be relevant to my students' interests or assignments.

    Each forum post consists of a topic; topics which receive several replies become discussion threads, which allow students to dive deep into issues and carry on important discussions which remain in their Space as long as they're a client.  These threads can be used to prepare for written assignments as well as study for oral presentations and final exams.


    How can students use the forums?

    Motivated students can do lots with the forums!  They can:

    • Post questions about ideas arising from tutoring sessions or their English class
    • Post assignments and essay prompts for us to work on between (and during) sessions
    • Post research materials relating to their assignment(s)
    • Carry on detailed discussions to build a sophisticated body of knowledge about an issue

    And much more!

    Check out the sample discussion threads for more information about how the forums can work for you or your student!

  3. I had a cursory look at this; what I really like about it is that it tackles anthropocentrism, which will always get vigorous thumbs-up from yours truly.

    What made me giggle a bit is that at the same time the author sort of reinstates this anthropocentrism by suggesting at a couple of points that we can "improve" on Nature.

    • Thanks 1
  4. @petrichor, I'm so sorry to hear about this.  Where does your friend live?  Now America I hope...unfortunately, that place is a disaster and not getting better anytime soon.

    I wish I could say more, but all I can really do is wish your friend well in these crazy times.  I hope he and his family are all right.

    • Thanks 1
  5. Well, I'm buried under a pile of preparatory reading (as always) for my next writing project.  To be honest, COVID didn't change that much for me - I was an academic shut-in before and that's continued largely unchanged. :$

    It's still a bit strange to see the streets still deserted, even if things seem subliminally geared towards a re-opening (at least that's what the reno work and lights on in storefronts behind locked doors seem to suggest).


  6. I (finally!) got around to reading this article, because it speaks to something which has been in my mind for a long as an educator.

    I thought this was a very provocative article: although I don't teach in the secondary school system, I can't honestly say that everything in that article is foreign to universities, which are some of the most conservative institutions around.  Particularly:


    Do we have to surrender civil liberties in order to become “professional” teachers? 

    The official answer is yes. We should not write articles about sex; we should not be openly gay; we should not express political opinions; we should monitor and censor what we post online; we should surrender certain civil liberties; we should do as we are told. At least this is the case in the eyes of the education system. 

    Now, one of my dissertation supervisors was openly gay, and in higher education it really isn't such a big deal (at least as far as I've seen).  But my issue with all of this is that secondary schools are sending generations of snowflakes to university - students who are ill-equipped to handle some of the more controversial issues about being human, including, yes, sexuality.  I realise that education is fundamentally indoctrination, although (and here's where I disagree with, say, Chomsky) I think theory and literature and philosophy can help you break through the paradigmatic restrictions of school.  And I guess that's what's threatening people in this article - not breaking out of the school paradigm, but the introduction of matter into that system which administrators and bureaucrats can't handle (emotionally or otherwise).

    But I also think this is related to the idea of companies and other employers surfing your Facebook page (and in some cases demanding access!) to image manage.  I'm ambivalent about that; should employers be able to control what you say in public about them?

  7. I'm also wondering about Benjamin's relationship to Romanticism...I know some writers on the political left have traditionally criticised Romanticism for being (at best) apolitical and (at worst) supporting fascist ideologies which tend to be about blood and soil (nice organic Romantic things 😉).

    Of course this is a pretty radical reduction of Romanticism, but...

  8. 54 minutes ago, NotWithoutMyOntic said:

    Since it's your birthday.....happy birthday @Gord Barentsen!

    birthday GIF


    birthday cake GIF

    lol....just kidding.  Thanks for the birthday wishes!

    I know I have been an absentee landlord around here but I've been busy with project deadlines and bla bla bla.  Will be around a bit more in the future when things settle down a bit.

    In the meantime....you guys are simply wonderful for helping support the public side of the site by showing up and contributing when you can.  Thanks! ❤️

  9. The logical result of Fascism is the introduction of aesthetics into political life. The violation of the masses, whom Fascism, with its Führer cult, forces to their knees, has its counterpart in the violation of an apparatus which is pressed into the production of ritual values.  --Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction"

  10. I think its important for everyone to remember that language has a history.  the age seems to be marked by authoritarian powers who want to insinuate control over as much of public life as they can, and this usually begins with either abolishing or rewriting history (including "Make America Great Again," which invokes and at the same time erases a mythical Golden Age of American history).  This includes attempts to make language static, which does a lot to close down discussion and particularly discussion which reminds us that things change.

    Look at the word "nigger."  That word obviously has a huge emotional charge in America, but it has also been re-appropriated in the last few decades to point to something other than its pejorative meaning (the obvious example: in hip hop and gangsta rap "nigga" tends to mean a fellow black person or gang member or...you get the picture).

    As you all know I'm an old-fashioned political crank in this respect who is totally in favour of hitting people over the head with these kinds of things, so I support the phrase in the spirit of having dialogue about it.

    • Interesting... 1
  11. So I was researching more Jung for my book revisions and ended up looking for a copy of the Jung-White Letters - correspondence between Carl Jung and a pastor by the name of Victor White.

    The book is either expensive or hard to find, but when I looked on bookfinder.com imagine my surprise when...



    Funniest thing about this is that if there actually were a "performance" of this I'd be tempted to go see it....😀

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