Monday, July 2, 2007

"Highbrows. Intellectuals. You're always trying to find hidden meanings in things. Why? A cigarette is a cigarette. A piece of silk is a piece of silk. Why not leave it at that?"

"When they're represented they acquire additional meanings," said Robyn. "Signs are never innocent. Semiotics teaches us that."


"Semiotics. The study of signs."

"It teaches us to have dirty minds, if you ask me."

-- David Lodge, Nice Work (the bit that I always assign in the first few weeks of freshman comp)

"Maybe I just have a dirty mind," said one of the students this morning, "but..."

"It's ALWAYS useful to look at advertisements with a dirty mind," I said. I should have added that it would also be a great asset if she wanted to major in English, but I thought it better not to blow their minds all at once.

We also talked about why ads for men's and women's clothing generally feature half-naked women, though come to think of it, I'm not sure I know the answer to that one myself.

All in all, a pretty good class, even though I didn't get to show any YouTube clips after all. (Note to self: never ever put yourself in a position where you depend on technology. You will regret it.) And I've learned that I can just walk into somebody else's class and teach, without getting butterflies in the stomach or wanting to disappear. When did that happen? I think it has something to do with the job market -- after you've been through the Dreaded Teaching Demo four or five times, you pretty much get inured to everything else.


Bardiac said...

I was told, and pass along to my students, that you need two things to be an English major: a dirty mind, and a fair knowledge of the Bible. :)

Fretful Porpentine said...

My AP English teacher made sure we left high school with both, as well as an infallible bullshit detector. I'm very grateful to him.