Saturday, March 06, 2004
Saw Gus Van Sant's Elephant last night. Ignoring the elephant here, I was reminded, more explicitly than I had thought about it before, how inane and completely anti-intellectual high school was. Not so much the students, which you expect and forgive for being shallow and naïve and a little dumb; it is the faculty, in their jaded contempt or sun-drenched earnestness, Socrates or Jesus, who put a bad taste in my mouth. I will make an exception for the librarians though, most of whom I encountered were genuinely book-loving people with little pretension (perhaps due to their low status in the faculty pecking order).

A terribly mean-spirited thing to say, I know, for many of my teachers, high school and elsewhere, were genuinely kind and helpful people, even if none of them was intellectually influential. But it is easy to dislike something in the collective abstract than in the concrete, atom by atom. One cannot help making such mistakes even if he is vigilant; it is at least helpful to recongnise them afterwards.