Monday, 23 April 2018

A Knave and a Queen



Oops, I almost forgot what day it is. Happy birthday, Will, from the Knave of Wasps!
As a decrepit father takes delight
To see his active child do deeds of youth,
So I, made lame by fortune's dearest spite,
Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth;
For whether beauty, birth, or wealth, or wit,
Or any of these all, or all, or more,
Entitled in thy parts do crowned sit,
I make my love engrafted to this store,
So then I am not lame, poor, nor despised,
Whilst that this shadow doth such substance give
That I in thy abundance am sufficed
And by a part of all thy glory live.
  Look what is best, that best I wish in thee;
  This wish I have, then ten times happy me.

Sonnet 37
Perhaps not one of his best efforts, but I love that Shakespearean precursor of "some or all of the above" in there. I wonder if they had multiple choice forms in Tudor times? Wouldst thou prefer to be executed by (a) beheading (b) hanging (c) evisceration (d) cutting into pieces (e) burning (f) all of the above? Odd, how many high-profile executees seem to have chosen (f).

Nothing whatsoever to do with Shakespeare, the text on the card below reads, "The pupil is thereby 'schooled' to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new". It's a quote from Deschooling Society, by Ivan Illich, that encapsulates pretty much everything that is wrong with contemporary education. The job of this particular queen, a member of the despicable Michael Gove's despised "blob", is to try and put that right.


4 comments:

Andrew Sharp said...

Thanks Mike.

The sonnet reminds me of all that was said at what we thought was my father's death bed. The bugger rallied before the inevitable a couple of months later.

It's also a delight to see a mention of Ivan Illich. (back when I could be bothered my Guardian pseudonym (I wouldn't have one now and would play it straight) was Notivanillich and as well as Deschooling Society (with it's condemnation of compulsory education as a way of marking people as failures), was particularly taken by Energy and Equity, an argument from which I used in an early blog post. Time Travel

Mike C. said...

Andy,

Hopefully it was all expressed a little less convolutedly...

Re. Illich, it's curious, isn't it, how figures can seem canonical in one decade, only to disappear from view subsequently? For example, I remember how "everyone" was reading Feyerabend's "Against Method" back then (not, um, me, I was reading Carlos Castaneda...), which also seems to have vanished without trace.

Mike

Andrew Sharp said...

Mike

I certainly read "Against Method" but, there again, it was part of my Philosophy of Science course. What excuse everyone else had, I've no idea.

Given what appear to be rapidly reducing attention spans, I suspect that taking the time to read (or carry around so that you can be seen to be reading) an entire book is no longer the done thing.

Illich was a bit of a hero, and I don't have many of those, precisely because he rapidly got down to fundamental principles (i.e what is the purpose of education, who gets the benefit from our consumption of energy) and reminded us of the cognitive boxes we so easily inhabit.

The shortened version of my father's opinion was that he was quite happy to live on through us.

Mike C. said...

Andy,

One of the worst developments in university education (for which I must accept a certain amount of blame for helping to implement) is the making available of extracts from books and journal articles from reading lists via the library's online system... Spoon-feeding of this sort is neither what higher education nor libraries are all about, in my view, and yet that is exactly where we have ended up.

Mike