July 11, 2008

Superego to the stars

All jokes aside about wanting to turn a generation of college students into a horde of my own personal minions (uh, yeah, joking ... it was all just a joke), in an unrelated conversation yesterday I realized for the first time what my goal in teaching college students has always been: not (merely) to impose my politics (moderate, dressing left) on my students, nor to plant the seeds of my appreciation for great and/or Irish literature in them, nor to plant seeds of any kind(!) in them for that matter--but instead to supplant their superegos. (An unrelated goal in grad school was to see who could slip the longest sentence by our dissertation committees without getting slapped. The sentence above wouldn't even have been in contention at 96 words ... 150 would be more like it.)

In fact, my first name, according to some dictionary of first name meanings somewhere, means "supplanter" in Hebrew. Coincidence? (And how about that for a crappy name origin? Why not just name me Brown-headed Cowbird, for heck's sake? Oh well, everybody's name is his or her burden, and I guess there are worse names.

So I was briefly pleased several years ago when students all over campus started wearing "WWJD" bracelets and whatnot, and then disappointed to discover that the J was for Jesus. WTFWJD?

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