|RUDI IN THE UNDERWORLD
Following is the text of Rudi Engbrecht’s presentation at the Kelvin Class of ’69 reunion in June 2003, wherein he meets the Dark One and has to acoount for his 34-year-old sins:
A tribute – class of rm. 57
Grade 10 – 1966-67
Grade 11 – 1967-68
June 14, 2003
We came to a lake of ice….. like clear glass.
looking up……with frozen eyes.
“But Sir”, Mr. E. protested, “I was a teacher who strove to do his best. How can I be relegated to this ‘lake of ice'”?
“Mr. E! You obviously do not understand. Ignorance absolves not consequence – as we so commonly say down here. You have misled the students of Rm.57 – the Ticehursts, the Gregorys, the Arnotts, the Abrams. They trusted you; they were family to you, and you betrayed them. In Canto 32 we read –traitors to family shall beheld in ice, heads bent forward . We have no choice. This will be your fate. To mislead is to invite punishment. You may have had good intentions, but the road to Hell is paved with……… Do you understand?
“No, Sir. I do not understand. I meant well; I was diligent; I loved them. Does this not suffice?”
“No. It does not suffice. Their intellects suffered. They succeeded in-spite of you rather because of you. At best you were a fraud and traitor to them; at worst? Well, it matters no more.”
“But Sir? In what way was I this fraud and traitor?”
“Well. Lets begin then. First. The 5 paragraph essay! Do you know that after graduation from high school, not one of them ever wrote another 5 paragraph essay? Dozens & dozens & dozens of futile, 5 paragraph essays. A fraudulent use time, effort and taxpayer dollars.”
“But Sir. Look at these essays. I have proof. Receipts of excellence.
Krys Sokolowski 54/60
“Yes. These students received high marks – except Mitchell – but on tasks of little or no of significance. So, maybe Mitchell was the most intelligent one. Remember, not one of these students ever wrote a 5 paragraph essay in their professions. Futile. Its like a champion, purebred breeding bull shooting semen blanks into select, purebred cows. Much effort; no result. And worse! When you marked these essays, students knew not your criteria for judgment. No samples of varying degrees of excellence, no clear delineation of what content, organization, style and mechanics meant. No descriptors, no rubrics. Bad! Bad,! Bad! Fraud. Pure and simple”.
“But Sir. I didn?t know……..”
“Excuse me? Remember. In this 9th. circle, ignorance is no excuse for mediocrity.?
“But Sir. I have an essay here from a Carlos Carvallio Filho It has only 3 paragraphs.”
? To Virgins – to make much of skirts, Sir?.
?Oh that one? Read us some of this essay?.
Painful suffering to see a young girl exposing a delightful pair of legs with innocent expression of an angel and the malice of Satan. How painful to be in a classroom surrounded by exposed lasses, whose concept of exposure implies mini-skirts and gymnast-like positions when they sit down. Yet, if ever suffering please me, this was the time…………….
O virgins of today! What torture you throw upon us, makes us, males of this unjust world, by showing what you shouldn?t and, why not say it, not showing what you should. You are Temptation from top to bottom and what is worse is that you don?t care what the consequence of such devlish actions may be. I can still remember the contorted faces of poor young lads, not yet aware of the dangers of this world swallowing air and breathing fire, with their eyes shining and drops of perspiration falling from the tips of their noses, confused and perplexed at a sight so beautiful and yet so terrible. ……………………………………….
?Enough! We remember that one. You are right – 3 paragraphs, not 5. But the writing! Not only unrhythmic, ungrammatic, but lewd and disdaining. Do you know that when his mother arrived in Heaven and read this essay, she drifted into coma, muttering –
how could that teacher let my sonwrite….
that teacher let my son write……
that teacher let my son write……..
This is traitor to family, community, country. A mother entrusts a teacher to instill high, moral value in her son, and you, you the teacher, betrays her that trust.”
“But Sir. He wrote another essay of only 2 paragraphs.”
“And the title?”
“ She, Sir”.
“Say no more. We just couldn’t let his mother read that one.”
“But Sir. They wrote not only essays. Every Friday, they wrote – what in those days we called – creative writing. Every Friday. It was fun”.
“Fun? Yes, you probably all had fun. I see you have come with samples titled ‘receipts of excellence’.”
?Read me some samples then.
by Fran Darling
The sky glows pink in the gentle storm,
I slowly rise from my window seat,
I stroll, and think. And then I find
She listens and does not reply,
“Really! Doggerel, pathetic fallacy bastardized, the speaker first weeping, then suddenly rejuvenating. All just happens! Right? No need to contextualize! Right? And the meaning? What means the last line For I’m in Peace’s keeping ? PersonifiedPeace ? Even Donne with his penchant for metaphysical conceit would turn in his grave on that one! And the diction – But fills me slowly creeping … Since when does a rejuvenating feeling ‘creep’? Only creeps ‘creep’. But go on.
Young Man from Spain
by Ian Gemmill – Stanza 2
There once was a young man from Spain,
“Senseless! Go on.?
They Spent Their Time
by Peter Kernahan
They spent their time in the bowling alley,
“Mr. E.? Do you have any idea what this so called poem might mean”?
“Then why is this Peter writing it”?
“Sir. It was Friday afternoon.”
A Depressing Day
by Jane Bowden
A depressing day,
He shuffled home,
“Mr. E. Has it ever occurred to you that you might have taught these students to ?show rather than tell??”
?Didn?t think so. Another?.
The Clock…….on Friday Afternoon
by Robert Cooke
The clock showed one to four.
Closer came the clock
Then up spake the teacher
by Brian Sharkey
The grain is harvested – its fills
?Oh my God! Has this Sharkey ever farmed?
?No, Sir. I don?t think so.?
?Think so?? Maybe you should have challenged this Sharkey and his classmates to write about something they know something about?.
He Glanced Around
by Max Blouw
He glanced around.
“Oh, moi! Continue.”
by Yael Breitman
She cringes in her dark corner,
surrounded by sorrow…………..eyes….stare liquidly…….remembering that which is nothing . Mr. E. what does one say?” Go on.
Bells are Ringing
by Judy Beamish
Bells are ringing in my head
?Schlock! Pure and simple! One more will do.?
Cold Wind Chills on my Body
by Monica Goldberg
I know the cold wind chills my body
The bright neon lights and glaring signs
The sweet tender morsel of love
?Stop! Stop! This blisters our ears! Is there anything more you would like to say?”
“Well, Sir. You don?t like our essays and poems. Maybe you would like our written dialogues.”
“Dialogues? Mme. Read me some. Maybe we can salvage something.”
Mr. Bates vs. Michael Rachlis
by Kathy Ticehurst & Donna Gowron
Mr. Bates: Allright, you people, stop that racket – you?re in 11-57. I
don?t expect to have to yell at you like I yell at all the other classes. Of course, I can always assign you some interesting extra work.
Michael: But, Sir, we all adore some extra work in Physics, Sir,
because we?re in 11-57, Sir.
Mr. Bates: All right. Lets see (runs finger down class register) now
where?s that big black dot? O.K. Rachlis, there?s gonna be a big red circle around that big black dot, which will increase the psychological value by 25%.
Michael: (stands up, turning red through freckles)
Doomed, doomed! Sir, you?ve doomed me! I?ll never get a job – I?ll have to drop out …….. and carry my white head to the grave. Please, Sir, don?t do that to me Sir. Please Sir?
(Mr. Bates stands serene, arms folded while Michael collapses into chair)
Jack: Well sir, it?s a commonly known scientific fact that the
psychological value would be cubed if you squared the diameter of the circle and added the square root of the number of revolutions in thirty seconds of a stroboscope.
“Honestly! Yes, there is a tension here. But its melodramatic. This Michael muttering on aboutwe all adore ,Doomed, doomed, carry my white head in sorrow to the grave . And more, what does this Jack character – must be Gemmell – right? – mean in that last piece of dialogue, what with psychological value…cubed…….and squared…….. . Is this a new field of psychology?
?I don?t know, Sir.?
?Yes, we know you don?t. But worse. With Jack?s comment, this piece becomes a trialogue – whatever that means. You said you were reading dialogues. You – are stretching our patience! One more – only.
God Bless America
by Peter Kernahan & Brian Sharkey
Allen: (screams) The Americans have every right in this world to
be in foreign countries because they enable these underdeveloped areas to develop their unlimited resources…
Carlos: The Americans just exploit the country and then withdraw
when the resources are exhausted……………….
Allen: Listen Carvalho they really help the people and enable
Carlos: You listen you …………….(Allen) ?Freedoms arsenal is a
vigilant America?….. American pig (simultaneously)
Allen: Shut up you Communist bum the Americans are ……..
Miss Speers: Now, now boys less light and more heat ….. oh uh tee hee
….. less heat more light.
“This is anti-American! Appalling! Absolutely appalling! This Carlos kid. He will be here in this 9th.circle when his time comes – first the Virgin stuff, then the She , now the worst – anti-Americanism. Unacceptable. He will be here for thinking it & writing it & doing it; and you, for letting him think it & write it & do it . Anything else?
“Well, Sir. We wrote stories too.”
“I don?t know. Wally. Do we listen to one more? OK then. Only one though. Only one.
by Grant Mitchell
Irving Gahorficks slammed the door, just as his mother?s lecture was reaching its tumultuous climax. His timing was impeccable. His mother shouted, ?do you know what the opportunities are for someone without university education – ?? and slam, he turned her off. Why shouldn?t he? He knew the answer. Day after day, the speech came like a recorded announcement.
Irving, aged twenty-two, was spending his seventh year at Belinski High. He was enrolled in a grade eleven, university entrance program for he fourth straight year. Many of his classmates had enjoyed his company all four years. The atmosphere in the classroom was ideal for studying. The teacher drawled on at the front of the class, more disinterested than most of his pupils. When he wasn?t skipping class, Irv sat at the back of the ………………
“Stop! Stop! Where is this story going?
?I don?t know, Sir.?
?Exactly! No-where! Deplorable! No emerging plot, probably no conflict nor resolution. Does it occur to you that during your two years with these longing-to-learn-students, you drifted to vacuum? Two long years of vacuum? You forced them to write futile, 5 paragraph essays, allowed them to write immoral, tasteless, unrhythmic, badly worded non-5 paragraph essays, encouraged schlocky attempts at so-called poetry, and, celebrated formless, aimless stories. Stunning! Absolutely stunning! You are the first of the few ever to be relegated to this 9th. circle – along with this Carlos kid when he gets here – whose defense indicts rather than defends. I think I can honestly say – you will be happier frozen in ice than you have ever been living out there on earth.
One final matter. Yes, you are ignorance? Bad enough. But worse, your are naive ignorance, Mr. E.? Absolutely incredible! You are a first here at the 9th.. You never knew of the class tournament in which students pushed their pens across their desks and got points for the distance it extended over the edge without falling. You didn?t even realize that the foot-long pens they brought to class were not used to write your damn 5 paragraph essays. And certainly you never knew about the students who came late after lunch hour because they had been falling in love on busses and parks. Blissful ignorance! Right? Happy amidst this wasting of time and energy, of this wallowing in immoral, inartistic, mundane endeavor, in this simple waste of tax-payer money.
?But Sir. I engaged students. It was they who read Shakespeare. It was not I, the teacher, as was classroom convention in the 1960s.?
?True. But, back to the immoral. Do you remember this kid Schacter? Steve? Steve Schacter! Reading one of Roderigo?s lines (thanks Nick)? Do you remember him reading – in all seriousness – the words las-vicious Moor ? Everyone laughed, and innocent young Steve could only blush not knowing what he had said or done. This is humiliation! Can you imagine how Steve must have felt? Probably not! And then, your comments on essays you marked 0/10. Remember that Mitchell, kid? Grant! Grant Mitchell! His essay on Lady Macbeth? He tried. Diligently tried. Granted he hadn?t read the play. Granted he had winged the essay. But, you offered only derisive comment. You wrote – ?from which Winnipeg poker palace did you get this answer?? And much worse! You insisted he rewrite it. Do you have any idea what such experiences do to innocent, well-meaning young minds? We don?t think you do. In fact, we know you don?t. And Great Expectations ! Six weeks of this painful non-sense discussion, of scene readings and presentations, of tests and essays. Dreadful! No examination of point of view and points of view, no discussion of style and structure, of allusion and metaphor, no opportunity for students to parody Dickens? content and style, to spin from the structures of this novel into writing structures of their own. Mr. E.! Did it never occur to you that these students could have been reading the many great works of literature from all parts of the world, and then talking about what they had read? Have you read Northrope Frye on this one?
?But, Sir. Great Expectations was on the curriculum. Schools insisted we spend 6 weeks reading and understanding it.?
?Oh, my God! Not that one again. That is why I work here Mr. E. and not in Heaven. Too many conventional minds up there. Anyhow. What else? Time we finish.?
“But Sir, I honored students insisting they discuss important literary issues”.
“Oh, discussion you call it. Well, who talked? Mostly you and that cynic, Duncan Irvine; less often, it was Beamish & Gemmell & Backhouse & Sharkey; and, seldom would it be one of the others. And worse! You insisted they talk to you. Mr. E.. I ask you. Why did you not engage them in challenging dialogue with each other? In interactive groups where you could have helped them develop thinking skills – to categorize, to priorize, to use analogy and metaphor; to facilitate rather than irritate; to detect and avoid logical fallacy? Why did you not teach them these skills? Just too much you have missed. We can only conclude that arguments and the samples you have cited serve to reinforce our initial analysis. You belong here in the 9th.
We have one more duty. Too read you your epitaph?.
?An epitaph, Sir? Oh, thank you.?
?Yes. Its an adaptation of a Michael Rosen poem. Michael is British – in case you didn?t know?.
Mr. E. said:
Mr. E. said:
Mr. E. said:
adapted from a poem by Michael Rosen, London, England
And instantly, Mr. E. – head bent forward………..was frozen in ice .
Other Writers About CollapseAlbert Bates (US)
Andrew Nikiforuk (CA)
Carolyn Baker (US)*
Catherine Ingram (US)
Chris Hedges (US)
Dahr Jamail (US)
Dark Matter Women Witnessing (CA)
David Petraitis (US)
David Wallace-Wells (US)
Dean Spillane-Walker (US)*
Deena Metzger (US)
Derrick Jensen (US)
Doing It Ourselves (AU)
Dougald & Paul (UK)*
Gail Tverberg (US)
Guy McPherson (US)
Jan Wyllie (UK)
Janaia & Robin (US)*
Jem Bendell (UK)
Jonathan Franzen (US)
Kari McGregor (AU)
Keith Farnish (UK)
Kristinha Anding (US)
NTHE Love (UK)
Paul Chefurka (CA)
Paul Heft (US)*
Post Carbon Inst. (US)
Richard Heinberg (US)
Robert Jensen (US)
Roy Scranton (US)
Sam Mitchell (US)
Sam Rose (US)*
Tim Bennett (US)
Tim Garrett (US)
Umair Haque (US)
William Rees (CA)
Archive by Category
My Bio, Contact Info, Signature PostsAbout the Author (2016)
--- My Best 145 Posts, by category, from newest to oldest ---
Dying of Despair
Notes From the Rising Dark
What is Exponential Decay
Collapse: Slowly Then Suddenly
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Making Sense of Who We Are
What Would Net-Zero Emissions Look Like?
Post Collapse with Michael Dowd (video)
Why Economic Collapse Will Precede Climate Collapse
Being Adaptable: A Reminder List
A Culture of Fear
What Will It Take?
A Future Without Us
Dean Walker Interview (video)
The Mushroom at the End of the World
What Would It Take To Live Sustainably?
The New Political Map (Poster)
Complexity and Collapse
Save the World Reading List
What a Desolated Earth Looks Like
If We Had a Better Story...
Giving Up on Environmentalism
The Dark & Gathering Sameness of the World
The End of Philosophy
A Short History of Progress
The Boiling Frog
Our Culture / Ourselves:
The Lab-Leak Hypothesis
The Right to Die
CoVid-19: Go for Zero
The Process of Self-Organization
The Tragic Spread of Misinformation
A Better Way to Work
Ask Yourself This
What to Believe Now?
Conversation & Silence
The Language of Our Eyes
May I Ask a Question?
Cultural Acedia: When We Can No Longer Care
Several Short Sentences About Learning
Why I Don't Want to Hear Your Story
A Harvest of Myths
The Qualities of a Great Story
The Trouble With Stories
A Model of Identity & Community
Not Ready to Do What's Needed
A Culture of Dependence
So What's Next
Ten Things to Do When You're Feeling Hopeless
No Use to the World Broken
Living in Another World
Does Language Restrict What We Can Think?
The Value of Conversation Manifesto Nobody Knows Anything
If I Only Had 37 Days
The Only Life We Know
A Long Way Down
No Noble Savages
Figments of Reality
Too Far Ahead
Learning From Nature
The Rogue Animal
How the World Really Works:
Republicans Slide Into Fascism
All the Things I Was Wrong About
Several Short Sentences About Sharks
How Change Happens
What's the Best Possible Outcome?
The Perpetual Growth Machine
We Make Zero
How Long We've Been Around (graphic)
If You Wanted to Sabotage the Elections
Collective Intelligence & Complexity
Ten Things I Wish I'd Learned Earlier
The Problem With Systems
Against Hope (Video)
The Admission of Necessary Ignorance
Several Short Sentences About Jellyfish
A Synopsis of 'Finding the Sweet Spot'
Learning from Indigenous Cultures
The Gift Economy
The Job of the Media
The Wal-Mart Dilemma
The Illusion of the Separate Self, and Free Will:
Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark
Healing From Ourselves
The Entanglement Hypothesis
Nothing Needs to Happen
Nothing to Say About This
What I Wanted to Believe
A Continuous Reassemblage of Meaning
No Choice But to Misbehave
What's Apparently Happening
A Different Kind of Animal
Did Early Humans Have Selves?
Nothing On Offer Here
Even Simpler and More Hopeless Than That
What Happens in Vagus
We Have No Choice
Never Comfortable in the Skin of Self
Letting Go of the Story of Me
All There Is, Is This
A Theory of No Mind
Reminder (Short Story)
A Canadian Sorry (Satire)
Under No Illusions (Short Story)
The Ever-Stranger (Poem)
The Fortune Teller (Short Story)
Non-Duality Dude (Play)
Your Self: An Owner's Manual (Satire)
All the Things I Thought I Knew (Short Story)
On the Shoulders of Giants (Short Story)
Calling the Cage Freedom (Short Story)
Only This (Poem)
The Other Extinction (Short Story)
Disruption (Short Story)
A Thought-Less Experiment (Poem)
Speaking Grosbeak (Short Story)
The Only Way There (Short Story)
The Wild Man (Short Story)
Flywheel (Short Story)
The Opposite of Presence (Satire)
How to Make Love Last (Poem)
The Horses' Bodies (Poem)
Distracted (Short Story)
Worse, Still (Poem)
A Conversation (Short Story)
Farewell to Albion (Poem)
My Other Sites
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.