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Monday, October 27, 2003

The good news is, the ambiguity in why my constiutional history professor dislikes me has been cleared up. The bad news is that now, instead of having skirmishes which never necessarily go anywhere, we're being openly antagonistic. I've never threatened a professor in a way which leads them to actively dislike me - generally, I'm the type who professors have a certain dispassionate fondness for, but who never really evokes strong emotion. This is new, but not unmanagable. If nothing else, it leads me to prepare for class to a much higher degree than I otherwise would have to.

The revelation came on a paper which was handed back to me today where I defended, to a large extent, the right of employees to contract away their civil rights to employers in any case where they could rationally be construed to have access to all the relevant information. It was based on a number of cases (Lochner, of course, among others) and a general philosophy of government, and ended up being somewhere in the neighborhood of five pages. He essentially blasted me for defending such an "ethically repugnant" stance and using "weak logic" to defend my position. Oddly, he also claimed that I used too much emotionally flowery language in arguing for allowing the exploitation of children. (an ironic charge, since a lot of the things he claimed were valid counterarguments when I approached him after class were "what about children working in mines?" and things of that nature.)

He dislikes me, it would seem, at least as much because I tend not to choose the easier side of the various papers we get to write as because I show up to class on a less-than-consistant basis.

The other odd thing was the condemnation of my writing style, which he finds to be "too complex." Now, anyone reading this sees how I write casually, and my formal arguments tend not to be too much beyond what you read in this blog (more structured, but not especially verbose by comparison). This is the second professor who has called how I write "too complex" (the other being in my other legalish class, legal writing). Is that even possible? When you're doing an exposition about what are generally considered to be higher-level subjects (the basis of the government in society and so on), do you really expect people to write like Hemmingway? "Government should be small. I ate a fish today. It was good. It needs salt." Please.

I can't help but think that maybe I would have been better off as an English major.

cranked out at 11:14 AM | |

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