maandag 28 mei 2012

Bad Teacher

B A D   T E A C H ER

by Gert Vanlerberghe

- Mr Harris?
- Yes, Atkinson. Do sit down.
- Good morning, Sir.
- And a very good morning to you. Tell me, Atkinson, how does postmodernism manifest itself in DeLillo's writing?
- Well, first of all there's this huge sense of...
- Marvellous writer, isn't he? DeLillo. Don DeLillo. DeLillo Don. Dilly Doe Don. Wonderful. I did like reading Underworld. Very nice piece of writing.
- Yes, Mr Harris, and what, in my opinion...
- I also like Auster very much. His use of metatextuality is bewildering.
- Now that you mention meta...
- When it comes to films, I'm kind of a Kubrick fan. I just can't help it.
- Very innovative director indeed. But, as I was saying, the postmodern...
- AC/DC is also rather good, now that you mention hard rock music. Although I do prefer Bon Scott over the current singer. What's his name? Waits? Tom Waits? I don't remember. By the way, the latest Red Hot Chili Peppers album? Terrible! I'm not talking about By the Way, of course.
- I would say that Don DeLillo...
- Ever been to Salzburg? Salzburg. Not Salisbury. Marvellous city! Very magical, in fact. What with the gardens and all that crap. You have to go there. You simply have to.
- ...used postmodernistic elements...
- Not many people know that, but the bulk of Das Kapital was actually written in Brussels. Can you imagine? It's in bloody Belgium!
- ...in myriad ways, which makes his work...
- By the way, I can see by the look on your face that you're dying to know what I do in my free time.
- I beg your pardon?
- Come on, have a guess. It could really be anything. I'll give you a clue though.
- Sorry?
- Daffodils. And now my lips are sealed. Have a guess, don't be shy.
- Daffodils, Sir?
- Daffodils.
- Well, I don't have the slightest clue, professor. In fact, I thought I was here for my oral exam of Fiction in English.
- Well, I'm a private eye, which basically means that I'm watching people. Haha! So watch it, Atkinson! Hahaha!
- Don DeLillo...
- I'm only joking, Atkinson. Please go on.
- ...especially in Underworld, but also in...
- The part about having sex with my wife that I like the most, is when she ties up my hands and, after a while, decides to let her breasts touch my face. Oh man, I love that shit!
- ...White Noise, really tried to establish...
- Too bad Chelsea didn't win the last round. They really deserved to win this time. Shame!
- Sir, what about Don DeLillo?
- Well, son, what about him? You're here to talk about him, not me.
- Wasn't I supposed to give you a brief...
- That's right, Atkinson. And now that we've come to the end of this oral exam, I have to say I had the impression that you didn't come up with much of an answer to my question and that, basically, you let me do all the talking, give you hints, try to help you out. It just doesn't work that way, I'm afraid. Tell you what, I will give you a 4 and with that some good advice that it is not wise to be this passive during an oral exam, which, eventually, is still all about how much you know about the matter, not how much the professor is willing to help you out. Next time try to focus a bit more on the gist of the topic and you'll be just fine. Have a great summer, Atkinson, and see you back in September.
- Thank you, Sir.

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