Friday, September 09, 2005
Interview with the Terribly Crazed and Dangerous Professor Perry Mills (Part 1)
When did you start teaching at Western?
I started teaching at Western in 1980, when I went back for a Masters degree after being crippled on my carpentry job. The Dean C.F.P.A. hired me on the spot to teach Interdisciplinary Arts, and from there I picked up theatre classes and became a "professor".
Why do you have a glass eye?
I do not have a glass eye. One sees; one does not, having an opaque lens due to an explosives mishap in the '70s. The glass eye syndrome comes from the insufficient tracking of the unseeing memberit "wanders" because it cannot focus. Tape up one eye and view the world as I do. Curbs become a great challenge, steps take on a whole new dimension, and then get on your motorcycle and follow me through some corners: you will notice that the world is one large two-dimensional postcard without any dimension or depth. Why be afraid of corners if they don't exist?
Our society generally considers art expendable, and often sees art culture as soft, indirect, impractical, and faggoty. However, you come at art more like a construction foreman than a theatre professor, with a ferocity foreign to many artists and instructors. You give the impression that art is as practical as a highway.
Art is not for sissies!
What are you trying to teach your students?
Just like "The Lost Tools of Learning" [by Dorothy Sayers] points out, they must learn to think for themselves; any energy disposed to any other purpose is effort wasted. On the way to this ideal, I twit the affected and expose the class system for its exploitation of the unprepared. As a previous hand-out noted, failure marks you: stating that it doesn't changes nothing and it eventually teaches the student that they cannot trust the teacher to do anything except play it safe. The young need stronger stuff, otherwise we are conditioning their failure.
What characterizes professors you've had run-ins with over the years?
You're [presently] documenting the sort of thing that professors "do" in the free exchange of diverse ideas in the academy. They lie, cheat, and back-stab in order to make sure that the corporate ponzi-scheme stays in their control. Hitler found the universities the first to capitulate to the new brutality: nothing has changed. Between the political correctness "movement" and the removal of constitutional guarantees via the "Faculty Handbuch", the Amerikan Proffessoriate has trussed and gelded itself as it awaits the advent of Hitler's avatar. Can you wait?
As one of your terrified students, I found that your stingy praise was meaningful(1), precisely because it was seldom dispensed(2). Is there some intent of manipulation in this(3), or do you call it as you see it every time(4)? In other words(5), if you see that praise will drive a particular student to better work(6), will you offer it despite the facts(7)? Comment on white lies(8).
1. Good. Your native intelligence is emerging.
2. Dispensation follows deserved action! Schmooziness is for the timid and the lost. Get tough!
4. Yes. I have the strength of ten because I know something that the young do not. They don't need praise, they need strong opposition to test their ideas against. If an idea breaks in school-practice, imagine what it could do to you in life!
5. That's easy for you to say...
6. Has praise ever driven you to better work? Isn't praise a cue to "back off" and not show up the retarded? What drives you to better things?
7. No. There is some shit I will not eat.
8. What's "white" about lies? Is racism inexorably tied to our ethics? Tell the truth, it's a rare thing to do and will please those who know a lie when they are being bought-off with one. I can help students, but I can't do it by lying about what they have done. That would advocate idiocy.
Your contempt for students is legendary. Likewise for faculty and administrators. Yet I get the impression that you’re continually open to revising your judgments. What traits tend to salvage an individual from the onslaught of your black misanthropy?
My "contempt for students" reputation comes from the fact that I brook no phonys. My "Black Misanthropy" is derived from those students who have not yet learned that it is the swine who pass them year after year for little or no real work; they are lazy and it is easier to denounce me than to admit that we are all stupid and need good solid feedback on what we have just said, not another Gold Star for being inoffensive.
Your detractors say you’re mean and nasty or that you’re “not nice”. Pretend I’m one of those people, and that I’ll never in a million years change my opinion of you. Why do you torture me so?
In order that you may become a viable intellectual presence in your world. It does you no good at all to pet you for your cuteness and the beauty of youth when you are being denied the tools of learning. You are a fluke of creation, and whether you can hear it or not the universe is laughing at you behind your back. Get smart or die.
Reading the list of charges against you (such as that you called a fat guy “a 400-lb canary who warbles nothingness”, and that you apparently weren’t very sensitive concerning a cancer patient’s reluctance to show her art in her delicate condition, and that you lambast conservatives and liberals alike) gives the impression of lunacy, unpredictability, or rabble-rousing, but beneath it all I find the common thread that you’re quickly sizing up someone’s chosen social identity and ripping it apart to get to the individual inside. Why do you do this? What are the dangers of identity?
The "dangers of identity" are that you are responsible (read Scott Buchanan) for your future. No one can save you, save yourself (study that statement for ambiguity, I dare you...). Read Tom Wolfe's The Worship of Art for a second opinion: if you don't know what you think and feel, the experts will do it for you. This is a deeper-than-usual topic and is the subject of many of the books on my reading list. It's known as "The History of Ideas" and comprises my central curriculum. [John Taylor] Gatto's book ["Dumbing Us Down"] is a fine example.
Cigars are a memory of past smokes and a building of future pleasure, they drive away the insipid and peurile, and insure that only friends remain. Since it takes two hours to smoke a handmade cigar of substance, cigar smokers are possessed of Leisure time and earthy taste, and command respect from the gentility and Loathing from Vermine. A cigar is a symbol of freedom, and a marque of nobility, and points up the difference between Churchill and Nixon.
Posted by Nick at 1:23 AM