Saturday, November 11, 2006

Another Election Down, Tenure to Go

The words "frustration" and "futility" can most aptly summarize my activities for the past few months. Any lingering hopes that my plight may improve dwindle each day.

There was a time in my life when I enjoyed elections. The exercise of democracy should constitute an inspiring occasion to celebrate human autonomy and the capacity for collective action. My classical training and general demeanor might suggest that I suscribe to Straussian / Platonic suspicions of democracy, but in fact, I acknowledge the empirical evidence that history provides in support of democratic decision making as a check upon poor governance. Somewhere deep inside my stuffing, I still believe that elections are good and important.

However, serving as Ozzie's academic mentor has stripped all personal joy from the election cycle. His work is so mind-numbingly dull to execute that I often find myself envying the plush hoi polloi lounging in front of the television watching Brother Bear. After negotiating and planning with so many groups planning to mobilize voters, I wonder if tired adage, "those who can't, teach" ought to be appended, "and those who can't think, politick." I bemoan the uncurious nature of my fellow teddy bears, but perhaps I should change my frame of reference and praise those I reluctantly call my family and colleagues. My observations over the past few years have led me to conclude that political campaigns run by teddy bears would be more effective, less expensive, and more high minded than those run by so-called "professional consultants." Even bears whose entire vocabularies consistent of one syllable, such as Moose --

Moose: Moose!

Er ... exactly. Even these bears would manage to raise the level of political discourse. I make this claim with no sense of hyperbole and deep regret. Ozzie has promised that once he is granted tenure, we will take a break from voter mobilization and he will assist me in writing my book: The Political Economy of Teddy Bears.

Since Election Day has passed, I can relax ever so slightly and turn my attention towards my other duties. The most critical of these is educating Ricky. Initially, I had high hopes that my efforts would craft a well-rounded scholar. However, I find after five months than my tutelage is for naught. Ricky's most developed talent is drooling and he lacks the discipline to focus on the project at hand. More than a few times, I have found my lectures interupted by slimy hands grabbing and chewing my notes or, even worse, myself. Quite simply put, educating under such circumstances is impossible.

I do not believe that my expectations are unrealistic. The zebras were feral when they arrived in our household. The zebras were a noisome, unkempt, and uncouth lot. However, after much effort, I managed to, first, tame the zebras, and then, in a feat of Pygmalian perfection, taught a zebra to read and write. I will admit that grammar and refinement are not yet the hallmarks of Taylor's prose, but he has made mighty strides in just a few months. Surely, if I can teach a zebra to dress himself, read and write in five months, a human child should be able to at the very minimum replicate the skills.

At least, the zebra didn't drool on me or chew on my nose. It is hard to maintain an aura of gravitas when your nose is being chewed upon.

Moose: Moose!

Sigh ... exactly.


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