Pleasures of grading

Phil Ford

OK, after all that bellyaching, I should add that every now and then you get something that makes the year-end stack of grading a little less burdensome. Enjoyable, even. In fact, damn funny. In response to a question about whether and to what degree Milton Babbitt and Harry Partch’s philosophies have anything in common, one student wrote this:

Had they been locked in a house together, Milton Babbitt and Harry Partch would have made a great reality TV show. While the drama over Babbitt’s tape reels getting in the way of Partch’s lightbulb marimba ensued, their monologues in the confessional would surprise viewers hoping for more disagreements. For while Babbitt would fight for more private time, free from Partch’s constant percussion, their ultimate frustration would be shared: the fear of stagnation in modern music, and the importance of radical reform. What follows are some thoughts on how the episodes might go. (Although, it should be said: who cares if you watch?)


About Phil Ford

Chairman of the Committee for the Memorial to the Victims of Modernism
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4 Responses to Pleasures of grading

  1. ADA says:

    Pretty freakin’ brilliant. An undergrad wrote this? Dang, your Indiana kids are pretty smart.

  2. Kip W says:

    I’d say your student filled that unforgiving minute pretty damn well. Awesome!

  3. Corasmom says:

    And all I get are essays about how abdominable Tom Ripley is (just what we need: a sociopath with a six-pack).

  4. Alison says:

    Grading is my absolute least favorite part of teaching, but I live for students like this…

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