Thursday, November 1, 2007

MTV, What Have You Done...?


When I'm not testdriving new tunes or awaiting a band's upcoming release, I'm teaching English to college freshmen. They shuffle into class with their bloated bookbags, faces long and haggard. I stalk the room, still feeling trembles of last night's whiskey and water, that generic Benadryl I'm currently dating. A heel has broken off one shoe during my walk from the neighborhood where I park so I don't have to purchase an $80 parking pass, despite the fact that I've received at least $80 in tickets for parking within five feet of a fire hydrant, within an inch of a no-parking zone, within thirty-six inches of a lush residence probably owned by some university cop who scribbles these dainty pink fuck-yous on his lunch break.

My broken heel clanks along a half-step behind the rhythm of my voice. It mocks my authority as I tell my students everything they need to know to get an A -- how to push that great big button inside me, how to turn me on, how to pretend to care half as much as I'm pretending to care. As happened today in my 1 p.m. class, the precise person who should be paying attention was fast asleep upright in his chair, which, admittedly, in a 20-person classroom, takes balls.

So how does one reach these children who, although only a meager eight years younger, seem so diametrically opposed to the core of my being? How do I get them to attend class, listen, write down the wisdoms and witticisms I pass down, or even more unimaginable, to write an analysis? The very word analysis makes eyes glaze and burn red, veiny, and I know that's not just the pot they smoked before class. So, I decide, I'll make them write about something they care about, something everyone cares about -- music! This, my friends, is where I went wrong.

This isn't Nicole snob time, I promise. It's not that they chose to write about Gym Class Heroes, or Fall Out Boy, or Evanescence, or Rascal Flatts, or the Fray, or Christina-fucking-Aguilera, or I swear to God, Lional Richie (OK, maybe that's part of it). It's that when given the opportunity to write about something they are passionate about, to delve in deep, to strip the lyrics bare, naked and shivering, they could be so utterly passionless. Can nothing be said for the mysteries of the turn of phrase, the perfect cord change, a flurry of violins, a defiant horn, a wailing guitar, "secrets [a]sleep in winter clothes"?

3 comments:

Femme Fatale said...

P.S. The above picture is from one of my actual classrooms. Isn't it creepy?

Mandy said...

That is a creepy scene. Reminds me of an insane asylum...maybe it's the green tint.
Almost everyone loves music or claims to in some form or another so I can see why it'd be disappointing that they did not put their hearts into it. I would have been all over that assignment.
And Rascal Flatts...I bet that shit is deep!

Girlfriend said...

Oh my oh my...you poor thing. Does anyone pass your class?