I’m totally pissed off at my Local U. kids. They came to class completely unprepared to talk about Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail tonight. I spent an hour up there, fucking talking to myself.
I sent them this letter. I hope that at least a few of them are a little ashamed of themselves right now…
Please; don’t ever let that happen again.
Precious few of you came to class prepared today (and those who were “prepared” were really fighting for it). Look; I understand that you’re all lagging. I get that many of you have been sick. I very clearly remember the mid-semester doldrums from when I was a student. None of those things excuses the train wreck that was tonight’s class, however.
I came to class excited to dig into this beautiful and articulate argument, and I spent the hour talking to myself. I already KNOW this piece; I’ve studied (and taught) it many times before. I wanted to share that with you, though, so that you could see an example of a well-crafted, beautifully worded piece of argumentation, so that you could learn from Dr. King’s example as you begin to compose your own pieces of persuasive writing, and none of you came to my party. All of our time was wasted, and I am more than a little disappointed.
For homework, please do on paper what we were going to do in class. Write a careful and detailed analysis of Dr. King’s response to the Clergymen’s complaint, being mindful to look not only at the main points King makes, but the subtle subtexts and inferences that he uses, as well. This is a singularly gorgeous piece of rhetoric for a number of reasons; your job is to see how many of those reasons you can uncover and fully explicate in your analysis.
I’m available via email if you need anything. Enjoy your Veterans’ Day off; I’ll see you again (fully prepared for class this time, please) on Monday.