What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.

– Salman Rushdie


Open Letter #1

Dear  ______,

You’ve probably forgotten this by now, but last week you asked me why I seem so disinterested in classes.

While I realize that your question was more likely borne out of exasperation rather than genuine curiosity, answering questions that no one really wants to know the answer to is apparently what an aspiring journalist is supposed to be doing. So here it is.

I do not believe that interest can be manufactured or somehow conjured up by a person at will. It is a response, almost entirely involuntary, that occurs almost exclusively in the vicinity of interesting things. And your course does not inspire anything remotely resembling interest in me. Hell, I can wager that the overwhelming majority of the students that you teach, at SIMC and elsewhere, find your course mind numbingly dull. Which is not to say that it is without merit or that there is nothing to be gained from it. Far from it, that very same overwhelming majority would be greatly helped by the all the “basics” that you peddle, right from verbs and tenses to power handshakes and email etiquette. But I believe I’ve been lucky enough to be brought up in an educational and sociocultural setting which has already brought these skills of mine up to the proverbial mark. To put it rather bluntly, my grammar may not be perfect, but it has certainly not shown any significant improvement as a result of any of your classes. While this may seem like an arrogant statement to make, an impartial observer would agree that most of what is taught in your classes was covered ad nauseum at school level and the only reason the whole charade goes on week after week, is that most people have somehow managed to ignore, forget or completely misinterpret everything they were taught since the third grade.

In the absence of any possible gain in terms of either knowledge or skill, a part of my brain that dislikes taxing itself needlessly makes an executive decision to cease unnecessary extraneous processing. In the lingo of my generation, it decides to “zone out”.

I am no fool though. I am well aware that I am a student, sitting in a classroom for a course, that is a part of a program that I have signed up for, and that in order to complete said program, I would need to pass this course, however ambivalent I may be towards it. Therefore I have and will always perform the bare minimum required of me in order to ensure that I do not have to spend a minute more than necessary in one of your classrooms.

It would be unfair to expect any more from one in my situation.

Hoping this clarifies my disinterest sufficiently,


The Keyboard Combatant