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Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Two Life Philosophies of Brother D

During 2001, my first year of college, I enrolled in one of those "honors track" classes called Intellectual Traditions of the West (or, as the swanky honors program people called it, ITW). It was basically a survey-style literary philosophy class.

I found very quickly that I didn't have a taste for honors track classes. They basically take all the students who think they are The Shit intellectually and put them together so they can try to out-smart each other and brown-nose the professor. I get it. All you snotty little overachievers are brilliant. Now can we get back to Plato, please?

But the professor of this class provided some much desired comedic relief that helped keep my intellectual-snot-head-induced nausea at bay. His name was Professor D, but I liked to think of him as Brother D, because he looked like a General Authority in the making. Only happier.

Brother D was clearly very intelligent; he just wasn't very good at choosing words, and frequently ended up phrasing his thoughts in comical ways. I found myself more often feverishly writing down the silly things he would say verbatim instead of taking notes on the discussion of the philosophical text.

7 years later, while going through some of my old files, I stumbled upon my collection of Brother D's sayings. While I can't say I got much from Lucretius, Herodotus, or Aristotle in that class, I think I can say that I did manage to learn some philosophy in ITW after all.

I give you The Two Life Philosophies of Brother D:


Brother D's First Life Philosophy:
When lost for words, repeat the ones you’ve already used.


“And if you look at the extent to which these countries extended…”

“He [Aristotle] thinks that bad education is bad.”

“You can imagine what a tremendous find that would be for someone who wanted to find that.”


Brother D's Second Life Philosophy:
Why take the time to be specific when two words will sum up all sorts of things?


“There were others who were kind of interested in doing things… but anyway, they ended up doing some interesting things.”

“They were doing things. They were doing things just to kind of do things.”

“I can do all the kinds of things that I can, you know, do.”



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11 comments:

Sarah Bellum said...

I love the lost for words one.

Trovan said...

He sounds like he'd make a great orator.

Claire said...

Was Brother D perhaps a descendant of the good Reverend Spooner?

"Yea, though we see through a dark glassly."

"Someone is occupewing my pie."

"You don't really want to hear me speak. You're just hoping I'll say one of those...things!"

Please see Bryson's The Mother Tongue for an excellent anecdotal trove regarding Reverend Spooner. I believe you will enjoy it.

Oh, and I rather enjoyed the Honors track, but only because verbal evisceration of the smug is a bloodsport for me.

Finally, if you get the chance, read "Gloria" by Keith Maillard. It changed my life and made me re-examine my college experience, as well as my thoughts on literature (ugh...I know how that sounds, but trust me)...and you remind me of Gloria in some important ways, Sra (I mean this as a compliment).

And thus ends the longest post comment EVER.

Sra said...

That's right, I forgot about the word "Spoonerism" which was coined because of the Reverend's tendency to jumble things. Thanks for reminding me about that wonderful phenomenon!

Thanks also for the book recommendations. I love getting book recommendations. I'll put them both on hold at the library.

Sra said...

P.S. You, dear Claire, are clearly very intelligent. True intelligence speaks for itself. It's the people who feel like they need to show off their intelligence with brown nosing and forced language that drive me nuts. I would have loved to see you battle it out in an honors class, though :)

natabird said...

I am laughing out loud right now. I remember you quoting him all the time. I am also remembering the turkey man in the newspaper and our world religions professor.

Sra said...

Ah yes, Professor Dean K. Chatterjee -- be still my heart! I think I still have the turkey man in a book of scraps somewhere. I'll have to dig it up and scan it for all to see.

The Over-Thinker said...

Spill it Sra....
Has Brother D dumbed it down a bit now go by "W"..hmm??

Sra said...

You'd have to dumb it WAY WAY down to bring Brother D down to level W. He's a smart man, like I say, just not a man of words. W, on the other hand, is neither.

Sra said...

You'd have to dumb it WAY WAY down to bring Brother D down to level W. He's a smart man, like I say, just not a man of words. W, on the other hand, is neither.

The Over-Thinker said...

Spill it Sra....
Has Brother D dumbed it down a bit now go by "W"..hmm??

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