Friday, April 11, 2008

Little Downpour

On Reader-Response
Let me pull out my thesis from the post (and enjoyable discussion) below. My assertion is that as reading is such a distinctly individual activity, we should accept differing, subjective modes of reading. We do not all read for the same reasons or in the same way, and that's a good thing. Our reading experience should be for ourselves, so each person should read in the way that is most authentic to him/her. Furthermore, multiplicity of reading perspectives brings greater understanding of a given work: coming at a work from several different approaches, and then sharing what we've found, makes literary discussion more enriching than if we all used the same approach.

I read for ideas: I assert that not to claim that's the way people ought to read, but to recognize my own mode of reading. I do not assert that there is a "proper" or "true" way for every single person to read. When we read, we need not be limited by any approach; we can choose how to approach the work in an authentic way.

I don't deal with cheating terribly often; I think I make my paper assignments distinct and specific enough that it's difficult for students to try find a paper that suits the assignment. The much more prevalent problem I face is unintentional plagiarism: students that don't intentionally pass of another's work as their own, but do a shoddy, inadequate, incomplete job of citing their sources.

What's frustrating about catching intentional plagiarism is the work it adds as a professor. In order to fully follow the university's policy on plagiarism, there is all sorts of extra work I need to do. The student tries to avoid doing the work of writing a paper, and for that I get to do extra work. It's like Dr. Farthing says: "What I don't understand is... when you owe a bookie a lot of money, and he, say, blows off one of your toes, you still owe him the money. Doesn't seem fair to me." Wait--it's not really like that. Except the last part. Actually, here's a better metaphor. Last night my son woke up and wouldn't sleep: I was awake with him for an hour and a half. Now, today, if he wants he can nap as long as he's able. But I still have to go to work and can't get back that hour and a half of lost sleep. Of course he's also not getting a zero on the assignment and a note in his permanent record.

The Wire
I'm five episodes into season one of The Wire, and while I recognize it as a good show, I'm a long way off from understanding why a fairly large number of people call it the greatest show (or one of the greatest shows) ever.

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