Monday, November 3, 2008

My friend, Linda

The first time I met Linda, we were having an argument about hypnobirthing. I didn't think I liked her much, which was a gut reaction to being disagreed with. Admittedly, my internet style at the time was rather self-absorbed - not that I've improved much - and I didn't do a great job of talking about the issue in that particular disagreement.

Today, however, I love her words, even when I don't agree with them. She spends a lot of time, like me, sitting and reading and thinking. Then she writes it out thoughtfully and authentically. I quite admire her. On her blog this afternoon I read this lovely post, "thoughts on learning," which anyone interested in school and unschool and education should read. Excellent points, all around. Despite the fact that I have a secret prejudice against Gatto.


Linda said...

Well I am so pleased and honored to be called your friend. Thank you.

But oh no! That's so long ago I don't even remember it, what did I say?? Or was it my attitude? I tend to debate in a lofty more-logical-than-thou way which I know can get pretty irritating. Whatever it was, I'm glad you have forgiven me for it.

I'm curious to know what you don't like about Gatto. I definitely have my quibbles with him, but it's kind of like the Obama thing, he's not perfect but I'd rather have him around than not. Oh, I don't know if that's even a good analogy, my head is hurting from worrying about the outcome tomorrow too much to make sense, I should just go to bed. Crossing fingers, xxoo, and goodnight.

Rachel said...

Anna, nice post. Nice link to Linda (love Linda). :) I was actually leaving a comment to ask you what is it you don't like about Gatto, but now I see that Linda has already asked you that. I consider you to be a very thoughtful writer as well and am always interested in your opinion.

Looks like you guys have been up to lots of fun this month! I love Aleks' books, my favorite part being the envelope with specific instructions as to who can and cannot open it.

anna kiss said...

Linda, it's really not your fault that we disagreed! I was just affronted that you didn't by default just accept what I was saying as brilliant and true. I think we were having some pseudo-semantic differences, which happens frequently on the internets. You can read the thread, if you like. No need to drudge it all back up again though. I was also new to the internet, if that helps.

On Gatto - I have not read Dumbing Us Down, just part of Underground History, but I ended up putting it down due to frustration. I think that what he has to say about modern schools is good. I feel that in general though, he makes some sweeping generalizations that lead to rather significant leaps in logic. To follow all of this up, he also offers an "historical" narrative that I believe totally romanticizes schooling in colonial America, as well as the circumstances at that time in general. His historical perspective is hugely flawed and not at all backed up with anything. And ultimately I don't disagree with his conclusions - I unschool after all - but his methods of explaining it are rather flawed.

Another thing about the generalizations and leaps he makes is that it became very clear very quickly that he was quite the libertarian, which, as an anarchist, I am as usual turned off by. He makes assumptions that lack realistic perspective about people's lives and struggles. He dismisses a lot and in many ways throws the baby out with the bathwater.

You know, I voted for Obama because I'm becoming a bit of a pragmatist. For the same reason, I largely disagree with a lot of Gatto's assumptions.

Hope that makes sense.

Linda said...

I haven't read Underground History but he's alluded to those things in other writings, and I agree with you about them. I wish he'd just stick to critiques of the modern system.