Monday, September 14, 2020

Meditation 93


14 September 2020

Two questions for today: is there a moral fiction, and can the university be saved? We can’t learn to dance around these questions, as Dance may be on the chopping block, along with Theater. They’re cutting back on performance, easier when we’re all just heads in zoom boxes, casting side-eye at ourselves. I can't take up space in my box. I can't make myself a barricade outside the next Board of Regents meeting. If I cry in my box, no one notices, as there are walls between us. How can you mend an invisible wall? Someone other than you controls the “mute” button. I remember the Robert Frost Motel, a small white building beside a minor highway near East Running Brook, or was it West? Either direction is now monetized, with islands of inherent value starved of students. If not enough students sign up for poetry, then poetry dies. It’s the new democracy; the minority gets—at best—re-organized. Re-name religion philosophy so it survives, but don’t let anyone major in it. The report says that students in religion cannot get jobs. But prayer has been monetized for centuries, and some institution reaps its rewards. Our president is the Pope of IT. It depends on how you define IT, I suppose, but his vision is for a university that trains workers of the future. It’s hard to train the future, but we’re on it, because it’s the rhetoric demanded by the acknowledged legislators of Hawai`i. Think how many students can get taught in their boxes, and how few professors it will take to speak into them. Break-out rooms promise liberation, but only re-organize the cells. I come in like a drone, hovering over their conversations until I’m assured they’re having them, and then I hover on. I remember an essay about hovering in Romantic poetry; not drone, nor even bee, but a perfectly metaphorical hovering in place. Do you want cash for that, or will you check it at the door like your privilege?

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