So, what's the beef? Well, I submitted a packet of information to our faculty development committee and they rejected it. Flat out rejected it. Why? Because, while we are allowed faculty development funds only every other year, in fact, we get it only every sixth quarter at the soonest.
CM Needs Local Cyclists, Not the Other Way Around
As a committed cyclist who logged nearly 4,000 miles last year, one who joined the October Critical Mass ride with great anticipation, I understand why people advocate for better cycling in Spokane and elsewhere. That’s why it was such a disappointment to read Paul Haeder’s clichéd bombast in the January edition of Out There Monthly. I don’t want to spend much time on the Haeder’s failed rhetoric. After all, who can take seriously the notion of bicycling as a radical choice, the idea cycling as an always superior way of transporting one’s self, or that any one cyclist can galvanize solidarity for all repressed cyclists around the world, never mind that that two police cruisers a gauntlet (just barely) make. As Sigmund Freud noted, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar; similarly, sometimes a bike ride is just a bike ride. Unfortunately, this failed rhetoric is just one of the symptoms ailing CM Spokane.
Through the first week of classes that is. Everything went about as well as it could, even if there were only three days of instruction. My American Lit class is looking good based on the first set of journals. I don't know if they are just a brighter bunch of students than I had for my Intro to Lit last fall or if I'm more excited about teaching this class so they respond to that or that I am a bit better prepared this time than the last time I taught this class. I have high hopes for this bunch and I sure hope it pans out. My two comp classes look to be a mixed bag, though it's always tough to tell. I'm worried about my afternoon class, mostly because there are only 12 students at this point. If I lose even a few, which wouldn't be unusual, it will be hard to have a decent "critical mass" for discussions. The other bunch, since the class is in prime time, meaning 10:30 a.m., should be okay. My only trouble with them is going to be getting them enough time in one of the computer labs so we can use the blog to the best of its ability. Next week we have three days scheduled on computers, which is what I was shooting for. The only downside is I would rather have Thursday than Friday, but we'll make do. Having them on computers Friday will save me some work over the weekend, so that's a good thing.
Right now I'm reading The Puritan Tradition in America, 1620-1750. I also found some interesting early American novels by women, focusing on seduction and betrayal. They should be a good counterbalance to the pious stuff the students will be reading. One novel I'll be using in the book clubs is The Coquette, by Hannah Foster, about a woman who is ditched by two men, both suitors, after the death of her fiance. She becomes the kept woman of one, and dies in childbirth. I haven't read it yet, but to learn that there is this whole seduction/betrayal genre in early American lit is exciting. Tomorrow is day one with students. Yee-haw!
The article I wrote for Out There Monthly, entitled "The Politics of Urban Cycling," (also found here: which I called "Git on Yer Bike!")apparently generated quite a bit of feedback, which is always a good thing for a writer to hear. If only it generated me a good bit of money as well. The negative feedback came from a colleague of mine. As he told me about my recent letter to the editor in the Spokesman, I "missed the point" with regard to the local iteration of Critical Mass. You can read his comments here if you wish: Should Critical Mass Continue?". There are a number of points I take exception to that Paul Haeder makes.
Now, if only all the work I didn't get done last year would just take care of itself!