February 18, 2006

Macbeth Socratic Seminar

My girlfriend was appalled when I said that Soctratic seminars were difficult. Well, THEY KINDA ARE!

Socratic seminars would be pretty rad if my teacher didn't give us a test grade for our input, a minimum of two comments supported by evidence from the story and/or thought-provoking questions or remarks just to get a 70. Luckily for me, we took two days to finish the seminar due to large class size. I was pretty stressed out the first day, I could not think of ANYTHING to say, not to mention that I'm in a class of a bunch of AP know-it-alls who take five minutes to get through their pseudo-intellectual b.s. comments (no offense to the really cool and nice people in my class, if any happen to read this).

First off, let me just say that Macbeth is a pretty pointless work that doesn't really contain enough direct social commentary for my taste and may be thought by some to not be real art at all because of that (maybe you like Macbeth, Ron, and I'm sorry if I've missed some big point about the play). In Shakespeare's defense, back then you couldn't really say much about society if it didn't please the King (and Macbeth does contain some appeasement to the crown), but I stand by my disinterest in it.

By the next day, all the upright citizen teacher's pets of the class had gotten in their five necessary comments and I had some space to throw some ideas out there. Maybe I'm just paranoid about pretty much the whole class being smarter than me, but I always sense a feeling of contempt and disagreement from my classmates when I've given a comment in these "graded discussions". Maybe my wording is too simple and brief, or maybe my comments do suck, but I just can't stand how smart these people seem to think they are.

What really gets me is that I know that none of us really give a damn about Macbeth or even Shakespeare, for that matter. However, most of them make it seem as if they've done a lot of thinking about the play and have the most detailed ideas and analysis of it, appearing to be very interested in the story. We seem to be practicing the art of Bullshitting. I know, realistically, bullshitting is an important skill in modern society, especially in the office/formal workplace world, but should we be graded on it? I would rather be graded on some kind of summary or report about the play, instead of how well I pretend to care about Macbeth.

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