19 June 2020

0 zoomed

i've been stridently avoiding zoom, because i knew there would come a time where zoom would be unavoidable and i didn't want to be zoomed out when that time arrived. 

that time was scheduled to arrive next week. and yet, somehow, it came a week early and, already, i am like, NO MORE. 

this maybe isn't entirely zoom's fault and has more to do with the fact that the zooms being had this week, ultimately, make no fucking sense. 

if it is hard to wrap one's brain around the fact that one is seeing actual people in these brady bunch boxes, it is even harder to wrap one's brain around the things they are asking us to believe and do. 

we are opening for the fall! we are teaching face to face! we are having three class meetings in the whole semester! there are only 23 rooms on campus that can hold 20 socially distanced students! there are 160 rooms that can hold 4! fall break is cancelled (but not really)! everyone will go home at thanksgiving! we are going to give students a real life college experience! the students have told us this is what they want! we'll all be totally safe!  

NONE OF THIS SOUNDS POSSIBLE OR TRUE, RIGHT? 

(in the pandemic days of yore, back when i was in the vocabulary business, i made a video on cognitive dissonance, so if you're like oline, i need a pep talk from you in big glasses and a sequin muumuuhere ya go.) 

this was all conveyed in a departmental zoom session, led by our acting summer department head, who looks like alfred molina and whose zoom background made it appear he was broadcasting from the red light district. 

my question about developing protocols for when we or our students fall ill remained unacknowledged in the chat. which reassures me greatly, for sure. 

i interviewed for a teaching gig the other day (on zoom, obvi) and, speaking as someone who has done this, i would not recommend it. because, in the best of times, the mental gymnastics involved in communicating how you would teach a class you've never taught are strenuous. and these are not the best of times. 

communicating how you would teach a class you've never taught in a global pandemic at an institution that is claiming it will be delivering teaching F2F come fall is really fucking dumb. 

sample question: what museums or plays might you take the class to?

PLAYS?!??!!??!!??!?!?!?!!?!?!!!!

for real. 

i do not feel i am tooting my own horn when i say i deserve some sort of pandemic special category of oscar for the performance i gave of someone who was not laugh/crying/screaming on the inside whilst delivering an answer on my plans for taking a group of 60 students to the kennedy center next fall. 

it was an answer that would have sounded excellent in a world that no longer exists and which feels completely deranged in the world we live in now. 

the kennedy center is not open, nor is it likely to be. there are no productions, there are no plays. mass gatherings of more than ten people are prohibited. 

last march, i honestly didn't believe things could ever be handled much worse in higher education than they were at that point. i was wrong. 

the intellectual exercise of... what?-- chicken? capitalism? survival of the fittest? existential denial?-- that we are engaged in right now is the most profoundly fucked up thing i've ever witnessed. it will not end well. 

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