I guess I can't fight ignorance when I'm up against my American Lit professor

I’ve had this professor for two other classes and it’s a love/hate relationship. What she knows (public speaking and parts of American Lit), she knows damn well and teaches it very well. But with that comes this sense of arrogance and that she just simply cannot be wrong; this really sucks when she continues this attitude into areas she doesn’t know much about.

This semester, she had brought up the whole “Ring around the Rosie is actually based on the Plague!” urban legend. When I showed her that was incorrect, she just brushed it off. This is the same woman who, for my final project in Technical and Professional Communication (we had to propose to do something for a business, do it (or pretend to) and write up a full report; I did a dinky website for a tiny business) marked my website grade down because she couldn’t read the text in the screenshots I included in the report.

What happened today, though, SERIOUSLY PISSED ME OFF.

We’ve been discussing The Great Gatsby. This is just about her favorite novel in existence, so she’s been lecturing quite enthusiastically. The last lecture was today, where we wrap everything up. She tells the class that Fitzgerald was raised Catholic (to tie into the anti-religion theme that can be seen throughout the book). Then, just 30 seconds later, she goes into the significance of Jay Gatsby’s real first name, James, “which is the name of Jesus’ brother.”

Now, this irked me when she said the same thing back at the beginning of the semester when we covered Huck Finn, because only some denominations in Christianity believe that. But since I was pretty sure Mark Twain/Sam Clemens wasn’t raised Catholic, I didn’t say anything because if there was religious symbolism in Jim’s name, it would likely come from some Protestant denomination.

But it’s different this time, since she had just said that Fitzgerald was raised Catholic. Catholic belief specifically states that Jesus had no brothers or sisters*. Because of his Catholic upbringing, it seems unlikely that he would use this sort of allusion.

So I raise my hand and say that Catholics, however, do not believe Jesus had any siblings.

That fucking bitch looked at me ever so smarmily and said, “Yes, well, Catholics don’t read the Bible, do they?”

Okay, WTF? There’s silence for about ten seconds as I give her a look that expresses the timeless “Excuse the fuck outta me?” reaction. She then digs herself deeper by saying, “Go into any Catholic church and you will not see a single Bible in there.”

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGODDAMNMOTHERFUCKINGRAZZLEFRAZZLE! Fine, she might not have been able to determine that I was raised Catholic (and went to Catholic schools for 13 years**) by my words and expression, but she is not Catholic and isn’t even Christian at all (she’s Jewish). Yet she assumes this air of absolute authority and she knows NOTHING of what she’s talking about!

I reply with: “Uhm… there are in my church.”

Does she accept this? Of course not! “Well, that’s not tradition. It might be because it’s after Vatican Council 2.”

Oh ho! You have managed to drop in a Catholic ecumenical council name! I shall now magically bow to your authority! I guess that hardcover book with “HOLY BIBLE” stamped on it in gold leaf that I had to lug around with me at school was one of those hollowed out books to store my pens and pencils! And those Jesuits? Bah! They spend their time researching the theology of Batman comics!

Look, bitch, I don’t give a flying fuck if you don’t believe in Catholic teachings, since I’m not even sure if I do, either. I also don’t give a flying fuck if you don’t like Catholic teachings, either. What I do give a flying fuck about, however, is the spreading of ignorance which you are SO damn good at doing! Go shove a Douay Bible (which obviously, in your world, doesn’t exist!) up your ass, sideways!

  • Whether or not you (heck, or I, for that matter) believe this isn’t the point.

** That includes kindergarten, to head off any wiseacres.

Sounds like a dipshit.

I was raised Catholic myself :(. Apparently there was a time when Catholics really didn’t read the Bible, were not encouraged to do so, etc. etc. And this was before Vatican II, etc. etc.

Still the comment about not reading the Bible was a smartass non-sequitur. I sympathize.

You are not respecting her authoritay!

And it sounds like it would have been enjoyable to watch.

Anyone else think that this pit cancels with this pit?

Well, back when the bible was written in Latin, and the average person couldn’t speak latin, and couldn’t write anything, I suppose reading the bible was not encouraged.


That’s completely unprofessional.

It sounds like she’s got something of a hard-on for Catholics. Is she one of those popery-hating Protestants? Or is she an agnostic or atheist who has some problem with the Catholic church?

Or is she just, as Occam’s Razor suggests, an idiot?

This is why I think religion needs to stay out of schools. You’ll end up with people fighting each other over what the 10 commandments are, the right way to say the Lord’s Prayer is, whether worshiping Saint’s is idolatry, etc.

If I were your teacher I would have said “well done”, especially if you raised the issue respectfully (which it sounds like you did).

Okay, Erek, cite? What the Catholic Church did do, was to discourage people reading the Bible without some guidance from clergy or others trained in understanding it. And if you’re at all familiar with the contents, and how they got there, you can see the sense in that. Open the book at random, and you’ll come across something that makes absolutely no sense out of the context in which it was written. (Obadiah, the shortest Old Testament book, is an excellent example of this.)

The Bible was translated into English by Catholics at about the same time as the KJV was produced by Anglicans. I believe the same was true for most continental countries as well.

And you’ll find that throughout most of the history prior to the Reformation, if one could read and write at all, one likely had an education that included being able to read and write Latin.

Not to mention that the Orthodox had the Bible in Greek, Slavonic, Arabic, and most of the other vernacular languages in countries that were Orthodox.

I am not Roman Catholic. But I despise the idea that people feel free to use classic anti-Catholic legends with little basis in fact to attack the Catholic Church.

Well, I’m Roman Catholic as is my wife. Our families have been Catholic for hundreds of years. As is tradition a Catholic bible is given to a couple on their wedding day. With our names printed in gold on the cover, my mom bought one of these.

Send that link to the shitheel and see what she says about Catholics not reading the bible. Then e-mail me her name and the school and I’ll be sure to make a call to the office. And people wonder why many distrust anything professors teach these days. :rolleyes:

And just as many wonder why some people can’t resist sweeping generalisations based on a few unusual incidents.

Yes, I know what you’re saying, but consider things from all aspects being distorted in such ways, then add on the ones nobody hears about, and it all adds up. I’m not saying it’s endemic, but it happens far more often than it should.

Wow, yes; once I included all those unreported incidents, the problem became truly apparent. However, I propose we first tackle the problem of these flying vampire elephants I haven’t been hearing about - they don’t sound pretty nasty.

Sarcasm wins every time. How do you want the pennant designed?

She be Jewish. Which doesn’t preclude the possibility that she is also agnostic or atheist, or (indeed) an idiot.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask for flying vampire elephants, rampant, on a field, argent.

The point still stands, however - given the approximately 14.98 squillion examples daily of professors the world over saying perfectly normal things like:

“the Hohfeldtian model of ownership dictates four types of ownership rights, along with four correlatives and four opposites. We can modally show that these are hopelessly insufficient…” <thunk>

and the fact that we have here one (1) professor being a twonk over a tangential matter (not that this excuses it, of course), and the only conclusion we can really draw is that some professors are twonks, just like binmen, Supreme Court Judges, ice cream taste testers, and people who like to sneak up behind small dogs and shout “boo!”

Basically, I’d just like to know why every pit thread about professors ends up with some guy with a fish supper on his shoulder coming in and banging on about The State Of Professors Today. Hell, would that lectures were hotbeds of political intrigue and excitement, with a frisson of the subversion of tiny minds. Actually, some sleepy young people get told about nutation, make some indecipherable notes that will let them down horribly come finals, and go back to bed.

lol - good stuff, you’ve just summarised my university career :slight_smile:

Bravo! I love when a teacher that is flinging B.S. around actually gets what is coming to them. Sounds like she is an ignorant asswipe who just got mad that you pointed out an obvious flaw in her thinking.

Well, I don’t bitch about what professors do all that often. I bitch about what a few do. And I have some stories of my own of professors spread ignorance and falsehoods. Do I hold every professor suspect? No. But I hold them to scrutiny.

Want to know why?

Because that one professor often has 3 or more classes per week of 30 or more students in each class. Keep in mind that those students are often 18-19 and looking to become “enlightened to the truth”. Audit an intro to philosophy course and you’ll see what I mean.

Now out of those students, how many would take, at face value, that Catholics don’t read the bible? Multiply it by the years the professor is teaching, as well as how many of the students will cite that as fact to non-SDMB members.

Fighting ignornance, indeed.

In the middle ages, the Latin Vulgate Bible was considered by the church to be the ONLY Bible. It was to be read and interpreted by clergy. Translation could lead to mis- or reinterpritation and dissent. Which, in truth, it did. Erasmus’s study & translation of the bible (from, IIRC a sources other than just the Vulgate) is considered by many to be the opening shot of the reformation. Erasmus’s bible predates both Luther’s bible and the King James.

The Catholic church was grossly corrupt and political during this period. Restricting & controlling the populace’s access to scripture-- which, if I understand Christianity properly, is basically their access to God, allowed them to maintain their power. They could (and did) decree all sorts of nutty things, and blame it on the bible. One of the important points of the Reformation was that all Christians would have access to the bible. (At least, in the Lutheran church, which is what I grew up in)

The problem is, this period is often the ONLY impression of catholicism many people get. People raised protestant will get this from childhood. In regular school/college, modern Catholicism is generally discussed only in classes on religion. Medieval Catholicism, however, is intimately woven into just about any class you take about the era. Many people will form an opinion on the Catholic church based on their impressions of it’s worst period, which is probably about where your teacher is at. The entire period between Luther and Vatican II simply doesn’t exist in her head.

This is what I’m stuck on, though. . .

  1. Fitzgerald was catholic
  2. Jay was named for James, Jesus’s brother (according to her)
  3. The Catholic Church teaches Jesus had no siblings
  4. She does not dispute this, instead says that Catholics don’t read the bible (or didn’t before 1962-- which is fine because Fitzgerald was not, to my knowledge, a time traveller)
  5. Ergo, the contents of the bible are irrelevent, because all Fitzgerald would have to go on was Church teachings. . . 1 + 3 + 4 makes 2 impossible. Right?

Your teacher is a moron. By arguing with you, she only proved your own original point.

I don’t know - few, I suspect, given the general stupidity of the statement, and the likelihood of any given student actually paying attention at the time. I know that I didn’t take my tribology lecturer’s word on matters of computational complexity, nor did I take as gospel my graphics lecturers opinions on the merits of Windows versus HP-UX. That’s because I was a student, not a moron. Believe it or not, universities are not places where you simply get crap poured in your brain to be parroted back at a later date.

Basically, one professor got something tangential and largely unimportant wrong. They were too arrogant to admit their mistake, but seriously, I can’t see how you get from there to “[a]nd people wonder why many distrust anything professors teach these days.” It’s just ludicrous hyperbole, and it pops up every single time someone mentions professors, it seems. Enough with the screaming lefty indoctrination crap already. Believe it or not, it’s entirely possible to learn about a philosophy without subscribing to its principles, just as reading the Koran doesn’t make you a Muslim.

Good lord, will these little bastards never stop trying to learn things? Brain condoms all round!

Re the origin of the name, you might want to read these articles:

James Plath, ““What’s in a Name, Old Sport?”: Kipling’s The Story of the Gadsbys as a Possible Source for Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby,” Journal of Modern Literature - Volume 25, Number 2, Winter 2001-2002, pp. 131-140

David F. Trask, “A Note on Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby,” University Review, Vol XXXIII, No 3, March, 1967, pp. 197-202.

I side with those who are inclined to see in the name “Jay” an identification (albeit ironic) of Gatsby with the rich men cited above by using “the ‘stern names’ of ‘the great American capitalists’” (Chris Fitter of Rutgers citing TGG). Fitzgerald wasn’t Faulkner, and was generally more interested in the sins and excesses of modernity than in echoes of scripture.