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Apr 17, 2004 11:20 pm

Finding Good Conversation ...

More out of curiosity than anything, I wandered over to David Horowitz's public lecture at Emory on Thursday evening. The setting was odd. Emory's largest lecture venue is also the sanctuary where my family worships weekly. So, the cross was veiled and, fortunately, Horowitz spoke from a simple temporary lectern rather than the pulpit. He should think himself a biblical prophet! His talk was, of course, all about himself, celebrating discrimination against him, primarily, but by extension other conservatives. What he said was neither particularly coherent nor especially informative. I suspect that most of the 400 or 500 of us who heard him knew that this was more a spectacle than a serious public lecturer. As he did last year, Horowitz singled out the only African American student to ask him a question for a warning about being"half-educated." He wasn't doing sensitivity training, after all. Nothing personal, you understand.

That's the bad news. The good news is that I joined a group of Emory's graduating seniors for refreshments after Horowitz spoke. Over pizza and beer, we talked about the war and the uncertainty of their futures. They'd recently had two suicides in their community and, allegedly, a disgraceful incident of fraternity hazing. They described student life as they've known it at the university as lacking intellectual centeredness or vitality. Like students I met at Alabama State a decade ago, they relished the chance to talk informally with an older academic person. You have to wonder what the $35,000 a year pays for. But, we were no longer seated than the talk flowed and ideas crackled. I loved every minute of it. I'd do it all day and into the evening, if possible. It's its own reward. It's the way my life was meant to be lived. So, here's to students. I miss them!

Update: And while we're at it, if this guy can retire at 104 after teaching for the last 44 years, I'm ready to begin my career. Let's roll! Bring it on!

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More Comments:

Ralph E. Luker - 4/17/2004

Hey! "Geezer" is in the eye of the beholder! If you're lucky, you'll get to be one some day.

Andrew Ackerman - 4/17/2004

Hey, it was a great evening. I even go to refer to Ralph as a "geezer" -- which is certainly more succint than "older academic person"! No offense.