Saturday, March 29, 2008

LibriVox is an amazing FREE audio book website. A project that is seemingly sprouting up all over the Internet, spreading the opportunity for those with less resources, such as Ivy League schooling, to seek out, independently, those educations.

I would like to take this opportunity, while I have your attention, to bring up a couple points. I will do this by presenting three things to you.

1. This LibiVox which is a vast library, filled with great titles and authors.

2. Post a short story from Good Will Hunting, the movie. Living in Boston has exposed me to the greatness that this move represents.

3. Post an auditory book, Crome Yellow by Aldoux Huxley, with all links and content for your easy access.

Let's help to get the word out on these opportunities to expand our minds, without the constraints of institutions.

Short story:

Will played by Matt Damon, is a genius from a working class neighborhoods who solves complicated mathematical problems while working as a janitor at MIT. This movie is fraught with marginalizing stereotypes, particularly the veiw that intelligence is innate and that the vast majority of the poor are brutish and dysfunctional social Neanderthals. While the movie presents important opportunities for future critique, in this particular lesson I decontextualize one short scene to expose students to the core of the debate on American capitalism's evolution before they begin to deeply analyze it. In the scene, Will gets into an argument in a Harvard bar with Clark, a Harvard student who is trying to humiliate Will's friend Chucky by challenging him to a discussion on the development of the market economy:

CLARK: I was just hoping you could give me some insight into the evolution of the market economy in the early colonies. My contention is that prior to the Revolutionary War, the economic modalities, especially of the southern colonies, could most aptly be characterized as agrarian precapitalist and . . .

WILL: Of course that's your contention. You're a first year grad student. You just finished reading some Marxian historian, and so naturally that's what you believe until next month when you get to James Lemon and get convinced that Virginia and Pennsylvania were strongly entrepreneurial and capitalist way back in 1740. That'll last until some time in your second year, when you'll be in here regurgitating Gordon Wood about the pre-revolutionary utopia and the capital forming effects of military mobilization.

CLARK: Well, as a matter of fact I won't, because Wood drastically underestimates the impact . . .

WILL: Wood drastically undermines the impact of social distinction predicted upon wealth, especially inherited wealth? You got that from Vicker's Work In Essex County, pages 98 to 10; I read that too. Do you have any thoughts of your own on the matter, or were you just gonna plagiarize the whole book for me . . .You dropped a hundred and fifty grand on an education you coulda picked up for a dollar fifty in late fees at the public library.

The last part is what I found to be the most inspiring, a perception of education that I find near and dear to my own.

I hope you enjoyed that, because it was certainly a pain in the ass to copy, word for word from a recent edition of Radical Teacher that I had.

anyways, on to the book posting:

Crome Yellow

by Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

Crome Yellow, published in 1921 was Aldous Huxley’s first novel. In it he satirizes the fads and fashions of the time. It is the witty story of a house party at ‘Crome’ where there is a gathering of bright young things. We hear some of the history of the house from Henry Wimbush, its owner and self appointed historian; Apocylapse is prophesied, virginity is lost, and inspirational aphorisms are gained in a trance. Our hero, Denis, tries to capture it all in poetry and is disappointed in love.

The author, Aldous Huxley, was born in 1894 and began writing poetry and short stories in his early twenties; this was his first novel and established his literary reputation. (Summary by Martin Clifton)

mp3 and ogg files

Full listing with all of the chapters can be found here:

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