Thursday, August 10, 2006
Hot for Teacher
I received the student evaluations of my graduate seminar on anti-heroes in noir fiction in the mail yesterday. They were pretty good with little complaints. Most of the comments on the weaknesses of the seminar were about my nervousness. I have to admit that I was not in prime form at the beginning of the seminar, but as it went on I think I was more comfortable. Another criticism was the limited time, which I've been complaining about since the beginning. Student seminars are only an hour long, while the faculty seminars are an hour-and-a-half. (And the student ones are usually more in depth, so it doesn't make sense - but then again, that's the logic of the program, by which I mean there is no logic) I really wished I had an extra half-hour so I could have gone into how to develop anti-heroes more.
People seemed to have liked the use of clips from The Untouchables. Anything to avoid reading. And apparantly, I seemed to know what I was talking about. Thank god I was able to fool everyone.
The funniest comment was my use of curse words. "Clean up the language." What a fucking load of shit. I read some lines from a couple of books and quoted a few people. My favorite was a quote by James Ellroy who said he "wanted to give crime fiction back to the shitbirds of history." Someone didn't appreciate Mr. Ellroy's comment. Too bad. Earlier in the semester there was a huge exchange on the MFA program's listserv about people swearing in postings. That really pissed me off, but that's another entry for another day.
The second funniest comment was someone's objection that Phillip Marlowe can be seen as an anti-hero. The names on the evaluations are cut off, so we have no idea who wrote what; but I have a good idea who wrote this. That little exchange during the seminar was unbelievable. But more on that later. Yes, Virginia, Phillip Marlowe is an anti-hero.
But, like I said, they were all pretty good, so I'm happy.