I spoke to students today on a subject that I know fairly well. SwampMan called me yesterday afternoon, and told me that a person required a class taught and wanted to know if I were available. “Sure!” I agreed.
Over dinner, I asked him which aspect I was supposed to be teaching: Marketing, production, what? He shrugged. “I dunno. I didn’t ask.”
“Uh, I need to tailor my class for the subject I’m to be teaching! You got a phone number for me to call?”
“I DO!”, he said. “I left it at school.”
Bang head on table. Whatever.
So, I went off to teach a class on God only knew what today. I brought along some books that may or may not have been on the subject that I was supposed to be teaching. When I got there, I found that I was supposed to be teaching an aspect of the field that I was the least knowledgeable about. I didn’t consider it all that important and, in fact, I hadn’t kept up on the latest fads or theories as I’d dismissed consideration (for me) years ago.
You see, the part that I was supposed to teach about was subjective, and I’m an objective kind of person. I want data. I want measurements. I want repeatable results. If I do not have data, I will generate some.
What I really hate with the heat of 10,000 suns is when somebody says something like “Ms. Kansas is sooooooo much prettier than Ms. Nevada.” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? How can this be quantified? It CAN’T. It is merely the opinion of one observer at that one particular point in time about how one particular woman’s hair, clothing and makeup gave the illusion of greater beauty to that particular person than another woman’s hair, clothing, and makeup. Personally, I think beauty contestants should be run through the shower and all makeup and hair care products scrubbed off. Then, with their hair piled up in a towel and the girls in a comfy sweat suit, we’d be free to focus on their face without the distraction of paint. Perhaps, at that point, I’d render my opinion of who is more attractive, but it would still be only my opinion. Your opinion may vary.
I explained my dislike of subjective materials, told them some of the criteria for choosing certain attributes over others, and told them that the criteria in artificial constraints was much different than in real life, and that nobody wins every time.