I Bet That You Look Good in The Classsss-Room (I'm Not Lookin' For Romance)

OK, so every person who has ever taught at University level has this moment where the "generation gap" between you and your students slaps you in the kisser. This moment, for people of my generation, normally comes when you attempt to make something in the classroom relevant to "last night's episode of The Simpsons" or "that episode of Seinfeld where people think Kramer is a retard" and receive blank but pitying stares. When you find yourself making witty references to Blue's Clues or Dragon Tales, you might get amused reactions, but you've completely lost 'em.

However, being the gargantuan consumer of teevee that I am, someone who attempts to keep her finger on the pulse of what them there young-uns are digging these days (I am, indeed, proud owner of a Facebook Account) I like to think that I am still relatively good at connecting with these young minds I have been charged with bending to my will educating.

I like to think that... But I am clearly deluding myself.

Flashback to about an hour ago. My classroom. I have a student who is writing a research report on Illegal Downloading. (Hey, I know about that. I am hip, techno-savvy prof who knows aaaallllll about that).

Student: "Uhm, so I am finding research on how illegal downloading is a Bad Thing. So I am going to write about how it is a Bad Thing."

Me: "Interesting topic.... (insert part here where I ramble about "Audience" blah blah, and "Purpose" blah blah, and "balance" blah blah).

Me: "Also! (gives knowing look) Is illegal downloading ALL bad?"

Student: (blank stare)

Me: How about the argument that it's good for independent music and musicians? That it only hurts the corporations? Have you found any research that presents that perspective?

Student: (blank stare)

Me: For instance, what about that group? You know. The ones who became huge purely through making their music available for free via downloads. They got big. You know the ones. They're huge.

[yes. I know. and I am charged with helping these guys get artikalat].

Me, practically yelling to class: "Whoozat group? You know. The ones. The ones who got big off the internet. They had that song. You know. They're English. Uuuuuhm. "I think that you look good on the dance floor." That one. You know.
[resists impulse to sing it with authentic accent inflection]


Me: You Know!!! (begins desperate clawing at laptop. googles lyric). AAAHHHH! The Arctic Monkeys! THEM! The Arctic Monkeys. You've heard of them, right? Right?

Class: UNIFORM BLANK/PITYING STARES. Slow shaking of heads. A few snorts.


(I give up).


jon deal said...

And look at you getting all "socratic" with your probing questions!

I've never heard of those artic monkey people, so I know I'm completely out of it.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

My students had never heard the phrase "cold war" and didn't understand the concept. I am old and they are ignorant of history.

Kristen said...

I taught Music Appreciation and my students had never heard of billy joel.

And as for downloading, I totally gave them an assignment where they were required to download songs, probably illegally, onto a cd.


Jenny said...

Who are the artic monkeys? Maybe I need your class.

But yeah...I work with a girl who was born in the 80's. THE 80's! I'm not supposed to feel this old at 32.

toyfoto said...

So where I'm coming to grips with kids who don't know a thing about REM you've proven you are cooler than your class. I'd be feeling pretty cool if I were you, just underappreciated.

Jozet said...


Well, my husband is all over The Arctic Monkeys and I think that he thinks he's pretty cool for knowing who they are, but that's a pretty good indicator that they're time in cooldom is spent.

sweetney said...

oh that was awesome.

sunshine scribe said...

And this ... THIS ... is why we love you. LOL

Ele said...

Hello! Your students don't know the Arctic Monkeys? Our hipness score for today is as follows:
Joy - 1
Students - 0

Nuff said.

Kelly said...

your students are definitely less hip than you are and should be ashamed of themselves. I'm willing to bet that the majority of music-listening college students have at least heard of the arctic monkeys. I might have to conduct an informal survey on campus this week. I first heard about them from one of our professors, so there!

Mommy off the Record said...

I think that a paper examining the benefits of illegal downloading to independent artists would be a GREAT paper topic. Can I take your class? Only thing is, I don't know who the Arctic Monkeys are either.

ozma said...

OK, this has only happened to me 10,000 times.

But I wish I had the British accent to do it in. Or any accent. I suppose Hungarian--and I'm thinking Zsa Zsa Gabor in "The Aristocats." (Or was it Eva?) If I could speak exactly like Zsa Zsa as "Duchess" in "The Aristocats" I'd be stylin'. Because you can say any idiot thing and somehow when you can't remember something with a Zsa Zsa accent it only makes you more adorable. Damn, damn, damn. Why were my parents not Hungarian?

Still, I think the British accent must help some.

Her Bad Mother said...

Today, I used Thomas the Tank Engine to explain the Socratic notion of the Noble Lie.

Blank stares.

(BTW, I check in on this blog every few days and for some reason I did not see these posts. Probably my fuck-up, somehow. Frustrating.)

Tina C said...

I sat in on a class and when the prof. mentioned nancy sinatra, one kid asked if that was frank sinatra's mother. i couldn't believe he'd heard of frank and not nancy. anyway, i'm always shocked when one of my students is a fan of indie rock, because i don't think too many young folks are anymore...

Anonymous said...

oh dear, just woke up my little one with my laughter... doh!

Because of said little one sleeping on my lap, I can't play your videos... must remember to come back with no baby on my lap.

Marmite Breath said...

My husband likes to sing the song "Mardy Bum" to me. And he also thinks it brilliant that they can rhyme "Summat" with "Stomach". Mark of a brilliant lyricist, that!

And his southern ass sings the songs in a Sheffield accent. It's terrifying and piss-inducing all at once.