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Salient. Victoria University Students Newspaper. Volume 38 Number 8. 1975

Reply to 'One-eyed Academy'

Reply to 'One-eyed Academy'


The Taborns, writing from Germany ('The one-eyed academy', Salient, March 26), are to be commended on their clear-sighted, honest assessment of the escapist nonsense pursued by wierdly motivated arts academics at this university. Indeed, they make some very good points. For example (and speaking personally of course) I have always found it pays to discourage criticism of fundamentals, and, as they so rightly say, the schedule is everything. Written exams? True, a poor measure of a student's ability, no match for the down-to-earth oral examination.

They have good advice too. It does help if you pop the question, 'What's the point of it all?' quite early on in the proceedings, preferably in a large tutorial and preferably before you've actually read anything on the subject: nothing like keeping us all on our toes. Chomsky is an excellent example there. The man is clearly mad, so why not try your tutor out on him right at the start? Ask him (or her if it's a ms.) 'Don't you agree that Chomsky's mad?' And don't put up with any long-winded evasions either.

Finally, may I say how impressed I am (personally) by the Taborns' stout effort all through last year to keep as quiet as they could, consistent with maintaining at least a modicum of integrity. This is just what we academics like, and it really is the best way to get those few scraps of official-looking cartridge-paper at the end of it all, to say nothing of references later on. Moral courage after all is for the next man, next year's batch. Still, there's always Salient, and, who knows, there may be some way of publicising the contents of such courses, some way, surely, of getting the comments of those who even now are being dragged through them?

Good to see we're nice people in the English Department. That's just how we remember the Taborns from last year.

J.B. Pride

(another guru). P.S. By the way, sorry about the high ethical tone.