Friday, December 2, 2011

The Wall

I don't have much time these days to write specifically for my blog, but it doesn't take much time to post something I've written for another reason!

Below is a somewhat cheesy impersonation of my classroom walls. My Rhetoric students, who are completing part of the progymnasmata this year, were composing impersonations, so I decided to whip up a model for them. Enjoy!
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Classroom Walls to Students during Spirit Week
You painted me beige and called me classical, and I’ve played my part well. You, on the other hand, have broken character. At first, you performed: you recited Homer within my parameters; you pronounced Chaucer’s Middle English (which, though a bit young for my tastes, might be considered classical); you read Aristotle (though your Modern English translation slightly defiles that great thinker’s words).

Lately, however, I feel inside myself that things are getting a bit too contemporary—which, in my classical opinion, means base. I’ve even seen you enter in your pajamas. Classically speaking, that’s just indecent. Then many of you donned the attire of your favorite athletes. I’m not sure if you realize this, but classical athletes didn’t wear uniforms.

You also defiled the space I define by imitating what you call “nerds.” Don’t you understand you’re all nerds? You should be wearing robes, togas, sandals, laurels—not hiked-up skinny jeans and suspenders.
Yet, it’s true: I’m only acting, too. No such thing as drywall existed in Plato or Sophocles’s day. Back then the building materials (stone, wood, etc.) were more like the people—solid, strong, natural. Real buildings; real people. So, yes, by wearing beige and holding up prints of master painters I’m only mimicking that which is classical. Ah, well, as young Wall Shakespeare has said,
                            All the world’s a stage,
                            And all the walls merely players:                           
                            They have their exits and their entrances;
                            And one wall in his time plays many parts.

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My students did well with the exercise. Some of the impersonations were: a Walmart buggy; a soldier speaking to his gun; a Les Paul guitar; and a mirror.

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