A useful lesson

When I was about 15 I had an English teacher who didn’t much care for dissenting views. A critical or negative essay about one of our set texts would be marked down as, or so it seemed, showing insufficient appreciation for the magnificent literary powers of the author. In quasi-Orwellian fashion we were supposed to like whatever it was we were given to read. Conversely, I found, if I wrote an essay praising the text and full of flowery phrases like “innate symbolism” (still damned if I know what that one meant, >20 years after I wrote it) then I got an A or A+ regardless as to whether or not my essay corresponded to my actual views on the book in question. At the time all this did was put me off all literary criticism and associated arts studies for the rest of my life (so far). Years later I regard it as one of the most important formative experiences of my school years, and critical to resolving quandaries like the need to mainstream gender issues into a proposal that has little to do with gender.

ps. For those who like their critics not to hold back on the sarcasm, the full-frontal demolition job on the **** one has to put into funding applications is here.

pps. Actually I liked the Orwell!

One response to this post.

  1. […] is to realise when one is guilty of facipulation; to understand when the reality falls short of the proposal rhetoric. Knowing this, we will hopefully strive to ensure the manipulation part is minimised. In short, a […]


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