Dictations

(Sic)

Too many members of my generation (postwar birth, 1960’s student) have a nasty way of ridiculing their juniors for their ignorance of history and their native tongue.  Outrage at the students’ ignorance of U.S. history was expressed recently in the newspapers, but most of the test questions published were requests for an ideological opinion on the causes of World War I or the Civil War, not questions of fact.  To most of them, my answer would have been “none of the above.”  Quis examinatores examinabit? (dog-Latin for the obvious).

Middle-aged professors are fond of drawing up lists of student howlers—as if it is entirely the students’ fault if no one our age has chosen to teach them anything.  A Professor Anders Erikkson has even pulled together snippets he had published in the Wilson Quarterly into a book that includes such gems as: “The Reformnation happened when German nobles resented the idea that tithes were going to Papal France or the Pope thus enriching Catholic coiffures.”  Sure, the student cannot spell Reformation and confuses coffer with coiffure, but the professor probably has no problem with his own purely ideological (Swedish, perhaps?) take on the Reformation, which the student was imperfectly regurgitating.

Hendrikkson explains his title Non Campus Mentis as “a typical student...

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