“The greatest poverty is not to live
In a physical world, to feel that one’s desire
Is too difficult to tell from despair.”
-- Wallace Stevens, “Esthetique du Mal.”
At the outset of a new school year, the news media offer helpful tips for college students: “Choosing the right major,” “6 tips for surviving dorm life,” “5 things you should never say to your professor,” stuff like that. Rarely do they offer practical advice for students who find themselves enrolled in a course taught by a faculty member who’s a total crackpot.
Or to put it more succinctly: another year, another collegiate breast-feeding controversy. Possibly you remember the brief sensation about this time last year, when Prof. Adrienne Pine suckled her infant daughter in front of a classroom filled with students attending her “Sex, Gender and Culture” class at American University. The embattled anthropologist explained that she’d brought the feverish baby to work with her rather than cancel the first class of the semester. When the child began crying, Pine put her to her breast and went on with her lecture. Some of her freshman students were taken aback.