Tuesday 26 March 2013

Social tourism + teaching

Wow, they do love a doctoral 'degree' here. I have found myself swamped with offers of teaching jobs. I have been busier than I can remember, which is why I have neglected this blog. And I was out of action for a week following a miserable hernia operation.

As a result of teaching, I’ve actually been earning money, which goes against the grain a bit. But I went on a bender this weekend, so at least it’s all been well spent.
At the age of sixty, I have finally realised what I am. I am a tourist. But not a tourist of tedious landscapes and pompous buildings. No, I am a social tourist. A tourist of people. Like an anthropologist, I guess, but without the academic restraints (or qualifications).
But isn’t that what’s really fun about banging a broad, abroad? You get to smell different smells (rose water, seriously), see whether Arab chicks shave their cunts (yes), and hear whether they invoke the name of Allah in ecstasy (no, but then she was a hooker). The moment of issue is enjoyable too, of course, but you don’t in fact need anyone else for that. It’s the social tourism that does it for me.
From the social tourist’s perspective, teaching is great too. You get to see different parts of society from up close.
I’ve been substitute teaching at an expensive American private school here. And my God the kids are spoilt. I’ve been teaching 17 year olds in grade 11. Some of the boys are already going to seed; a few are getting on for my size – I’m almost proud of them. The girls, on the other hand, smooch around in sweat pants and fur lined boots (in balmy Beirut, why?) and do their best to drive the boys to distraction.
Now, I like teen porn as much as the next man, and I thought that might be a problem. But I have learnt something: the truth is that you only have to spend 10 seconds in the company of a teenage girl for all those fantasies to be instantly deflated. Teenage girls are children, really, just children, even if an oversight of evolution has erroneously granted them fertile loins and tits.
Anyone who knows me will readily attest to the fact that I am not a tolerant man. But I must say that I have come to pity paedophiles. I am proud of my libido, more so than ever these days, and I applaud myself for every slow tumescence; after all, it is life. As a great man once told me, ‘Wood is King’. But what about the poor fucker for whom that energy is directed, through no choice of his own, towards children, or animals? What can he do? Spend his life resisting it? Repressing it? Or give in to it? He’s fucked on every level. It’s a true Gordian knot, and the only effective blade will be the one that castrates him.
But back to the rich kids. I’ve been teaching ‘Theory of Knowledge’. I was looking forward to it because, basically, I don’t think anyone really knows anything. I mean, most people don’t even know the content of their own minds, let alone anything outside of them. This is a convenient belief for me to hold, since it means that the only consistent way for me to teach is to show that I don’t know anything.
Since the hernia op, I’ve also been on a very pleasant prescription painkiller called Tramadol. An hour or two after topping up, I find myself in a lucid, free-flowing state of articulate  loquacity. I was looking forward to riding that wave in class, and to firing a broadside or two at a number of shibboleths, such as the belief that the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm can provide an accurate description of the fundamental nature of reality.
I went into the classroom ready to blow a few young minds, so it was a bit of a shock when I found myself confronted with nothing but the raised lids of Mac laptops, with the students – even the porkers – practically invisible behind them. 
I asked them to close their laptops, but they said they had to take notes. That might have been true, though I’m pretty sure most of them were sending round photos of their privates – ‘sexting’, I think it’s called. In their position, I certainly would have been.
If you have never lectured to a roomful of computers, you can have no idea how depressing it is. It’s not so much the suspicion that no one is listening, but rather the fact that it’s impossible to make eye contact. I might as well have been a robot, or a voice recording.
Even with the tramadol kicking in, I pretty soon started to bore myself. So I insisted that everyone close their laptops. There was a lot of grumbling, but after repeated entreaties, they eventually humored me. At another time, in another place, I would certainly have bashed a few thick heads together.
I finally resumed, but after just a few minutes I noticed that most of the class were staring at each other’s groins. Was this real live sexting, in the material world (in so far as it exists at all)? For a moment I felt like congratulating them, until I noticed that they now all had their Apple iphones on their laps. But I didn’t have the energy to go another round.
At the end of the class, they all thanked me politely as they filed out.
I saw them cross the yard to the road outside the school. A long line of gleaming black Range Rovers awaited them. Drivers got out to open doors. I spotted a Filipino maid in the back of one Range Rover, balancing an oversize Domino’s pizza box. Observing all this from my classroom window, I was actually quite impressed by how well they had behaved in class.
I’ve also been teaching Syrian refugees and Palestinians from the camps, but that’ll have to wait until next time.


  1. Doc,

    That are some lovely honest posts you made. I really love them, I do. Some real destructive power is going on. I like that.

    You wrote:
    "I should not go online. I should not read the news. It always puts me in a bad mood."

    Well, that is true. Did you think about getting a typewriter? I bought two typewriters recently exactly for this reason: to write undisturbed. Without the internet, without emails or annoying updates and security updates against viruses, without the dependency on electric power, without a screen that does not work in the sunlight in the garden or on the beach, just cheapest paper in a mechanical typewriter, which works always and everywhere, even in my lap. Then I scan it with my computer, when I am at home, then I let the OCR run thru it and I have it all in electronic form. Great, great combination.

    And then I read this wonderful sentence:

    "At the age of sixty, I have finally realised
    what I am. I am a tourist."

    That is great stuff.

    I came across your blog by pure chance. Not by googling, your blog is new and probably you do not care promoting it at all, so it is hard to find it. I stumbled upon your comment of the "Right not to know" on the blog "http://thedailybeagle.net/2013/02/13/uncontacted-tribes-of-the-andoman-islands-do-we-approach/".
    Yes I agree with you completely, but I started a discussion with the author of this blog, a 41 year old lady anthropologist, right there on the blog comments, and cannot stand "the helping goodness" of people like her, this arrogance of knowing everything and helping everybody.

    Now I know (or believe to know) where the right not to know is coming from, because you explained here that you teach Theory of Knowledge. That is interesting. What is this theory all about? But probably this is not so interesting as your observations of human behavior in this "traditional" country where you live. I wonder what is left of this traditional values there.
    Please excuse my English. I am not native speaker.

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