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View Diary: To Nelson Mandela, my favorite college professor (20 comments)

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  •  Thank you for this remembrance. (5+ / 0-)

    At that time I was teaching part time at the University of Tampa, whose student body was very conservative even if the school's liberal arts programs seemed to me to be pretty strong, though not necessarily teeming with "radical" faculty. I was a novice adjunct in the English dept. and in that small pond, I suppose, was considered "radical" to some of my young students (I was barely 30 myself at that time). While you state (or understate) the impact of your teachings in humble tones, I believe it's harder to overestimate their potential impact. If you touch one student deeply enough to be moved as you were by those who ultimately moved you, the impact magnifies so many times over. The ripples on the pond cliche comes to mind. Anyway, what I really wanted to share was that a small (and it was small) group of politically awakening students built a "shantytown" on the campus at that time as well. The irony (and I wrote a letter to the student paper to point out the built-in irony of this event) occurred in the form of a much larger group of drunken students celebrating "Gasparilla Day," another of many U.S. rituals to legitimize drunken, violent excess, in this case celebrating the pirate Jose Gaspar. The drunken celebrants indiscriminately destroyed the shanties and in some cases assaulted the peaceful occupiers of the shanties. Could anything more clearly exemplify the separation between the ideologies and behavior of the anti-apartheid group and those who represent, what? I'm not even sure what exactly the violent reactionaries were "representing" here, consciously, at least. Unconsciously, they represented for me the perpetual historic reaction of those who see themselves aligned with the "power" against anyone who dares even question the brutal exercise of that power. In microcosm, it perfectly reflected exactly what the students wished to bring to the campus' attention, which to me affirmed the integrity of their cause and means for communicating it. Your experience helps me see it, in retrospect, as those students at UT might have seen their experience.

    I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake. ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

    by dannyboy1 on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 05:26:00 AM PDT

    •  Most "wild men" seem to be right-wingers. (1+ / 0-)
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      dannyboy1

      Those Gasparilla partiers essentially represent a "wild good time" and well-learned fear of "hippies".  They think they're the ones fighting the power, so they have to think of you as either Communists or hippies.  And if you say "But we're not hippies", that's your first mistake.

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early; don't mistake an unfulfilled dream for a lost one. A dream has no deadline!

      by Panurge on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 08:31:32 PM PDT

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