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The Absent-Brained Professor

Remember when the career of academic was so respected in America that "professors" were commonly considered to be wrinkled maniacs with crazy hair and coke-bottle eyeglasses who refused to drive cars because the ancient Greeks didn't have them? James Lileks has unearthed prime evidence that the ivory tower is as close-doored and clueless-inhabited as ever. The only thing that has changed is that the current generations lack our ancestors' robust sense of confidence in themselves and therefore don't dare make fun of idiots like this, because "--he's got a PhD!!!" That and a quarter will get you a gumball -- oops, no, they've gone up to fifty cents.

Comments (3)

Steve Skubinna [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Well done, Lileks. He doesn't have comments so I am expressing it here (yes, I sent him an e-mail but he's probably over at Tim Blair's intimidating we work-a-day commentors with his professionally polished wit, darn him).

Grand planners like the Perfessor always give me the creeps, because people like me (and like almost everyone else) resent being herded by Our Betters, even if it's for our own good. I want to live how I want, thanks but no thanks. In fact, I damn well WILL live how I want, and Mister Perfessor Design doesn't get to make me do otherwise. That stupid old Constitution thingy says so, and over the years I have at various times sworn oaths to support and defend it. I still consider myself bound by them.

Plus I am a selfish contrarian cuss and don't see why I should march to this guy's tune.

The_Real_JeffS [TypeKey Profile Page]:

I've dealt with the construction of contingency military bases, which are little communities, very much planned in the manner championed by that nutty professor.

And what do you get? An industrial complex that generally sucks to live in. Oh, it works, it's efficient, they go up fast, and you get what you need. There are gymns, clubs, snack bars, the exchange (a general store ranging in stockage from a convenience store to Wal-Mart, depends on where you're at), recreational facilities, mess halls, offices, training facilities, barracks, warehouses, etc.

And it all has the warmth of a dockside warehouse. Functional.

But, invariably, the troops start adding "homey" touches, random changes that reflect the social life that takes place after duty hours. Personalized break areas, an impromptu ball field, an office that is well decorated, and the like. These tend to be random (as far as operations and security will permit), but look very much like a growing community.

So, I can say from personal experience, that this perfesser is one clueless fool. Communities grow, perhaps around a central theme, but they certainly aren't designed down to the last nail.

Steve Skubinna [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Actually, Jeff_S, your point about military bases is very well made. I had been thinking about prisons as an example of a top down planned environment for humans, housing and maintenance of.

The sad fact is, people don't take well to being pigeonholed, even by sooper dooper geeeeeniuses like the Perfessor. The more you try forcing them into your plan the messier the end result gets.

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Don't worry, he's just chopping broccoli.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 5, 2007 10:45 PM.

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