Tony Gurr

I’m still STANDing…yeah, yeah, yeah!

In Our Universities, Technology, The Paradigm Debate on 18/06/2012 at 9:48 am

Problem is…so are “they”!


So, I told the “dons” that the price on my head just wasn’t enough…the ivory tower fatwā “failed”…and, I live to commit another bout of murderous bloggery!

In that last post, I did give a tip o’ the hat to those darling, tech-savvy, EDUscholar bloggers just seem to “get” that blogging gives them an opportunity to “engage” their public and “fans” – and, enhance their academic reputations to boot!


This having been said…I did get a fair bit of “hate-mail” (all written on parchment, with French quill feathers, no doubt)…

…Jesus, Mary and Joseph…those dons can pen a hate mail! I had to get out the old thesaurus just to get through all wordy-wordiness on the bits of parchment I got in the old snail mail!


Look, I don’t want to run through everything these crusty old “haters” all tried to LEARN me…but the gist went something like this:

1) …needs “qualified” people to write it – i.e. those who have been “trained”! Blogging uses “amateurs” – those people who are “untrained”!

2) …demands “precision of judgment” on texts, blogging is “impressionistic”!

3) …does not encourage “opinions” but rather “analysis“. Blogging is all opinions!

4) …confers power on writers. Blogging threatens the authority of experts because it allows “anyone to write”!


My three trusty doggies have three words for you…





Oh, yes…and…one from ME!



OK, maybe I have been a bit unfair…one good bit o’ parchment deserves another (or at least a few more pixels) – let’s take these ONE-by-ONE:


  • Professionals built the Titanic. Amateurs built the Ark! Nuff said…


  • John Lennon once told a story about his mum and school days… “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” …judging texts from within an ivory tower, does not guarantee “precision”. In fact, it often does the exact opposite!


  • Another very smart cookie, Margaret Wheatley, once said…”And time for reflection with colleagues is for me a lifesaver; it is not just a nice thing to do if you have the time. It is the only way you can survive.” The suggestion that only academics are qualified to “do” analysis is, quite frankly, insulting! I’m guessing all that “book LEARNing” our graduates have been forced to do of late is NOT the reason why they cannot find jobs, afterall?


  • Do I really have to respond to that last one? Shiriously? Shiriously…are you kidding me? I think it was Thomas Jefferson that once wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”



I’m really sorry (actually, I’m not – but it’s so hard to shake off an “English upbringing”) but I’m guessing the manure we have been serving up (or “delivering”) to our LEARNers all these years…needs a bit of refreshing.

And, there are plenty of “blog-enabled patriots” out there…or there will be when they LEARN to use an iPad!


hadi bakalım, do your worst, dons!

  1. Hi Tony,

    Interesting post, and you make some good points. However, I was surprised to see you using the Ark in your armament. Surely, if are going to use a Bible story (and for now I won’t focus on the fact that there is no proof of this story’s existence, and lots of proof against), we should remember that the Ark was effectively built by God. Surely he, being omniscient, is THE professional? If he can’t claim to be trained, who can? Also, the titanic’s demise was not due to untrained workmanship, but rather a calamity. If anyone is to blame, surely it is the person on watch, or the navigator? I just think that this argument is not going to help you win-over those who mailed you hate.

    That said, I totally agree with you on the main point of this post. There is no reason why we, as bloggers, can not criticise and analyse. We are professionals, just perhaps not the right “type”, but does this mean we dont know anything?! I dont think so!

    I like the passion in your writing! Keep it up,


    • Jem,

      Touché – and LOL 😉 Yes, you are totally right…but are you saying the “Ark” is not “real”don’t say it’s so 😉

      It was funny…as I was doing that bit of bloggery, I just found myself getting more and more gob-smacked that some people would actually “say” these kinds of things – worse, “believe” them! I think it’s the “arrogance” – the underlying assumption behind those thoughts – that gets me (almost as much as the inability of some to move with the times – grow, adapt, evolve) 😉

      I guess it’s true that I could also be accused of not “respecting” the qualifications, experience and talent of many a “literary critic” (but I do sing the praises of the more tech-savvy, EDUblogging scholars that have broken the mould). Until we recognise the varied and multiple talents we can all bring to Higher LEARNing (students, community members, employers – to name but a few) – I guess we are not likely to see much change in our colleges and universities. Sad really…

      Now, tell me more about this “Ark business”…is it really not on top of a mountain in the East of Turkey 😉

      Take care – have a GR8 week 😉


    • Jem,

      You have broken my heart with the whole Ark thing – gutted, totally gutted 🙂

      Absolutely – on the student mouths front 🙂 Have a super week – and take care of that iPad of yours 🙂


  2. Hi Tony,

    I actually replied to this the other day, but my iPad seemed to “lose” the comment and then I got annoyed and so didn’t repeat it until now!

    Sorry to be the one to break the news, but it would seem that said Ark is not actually in Turkey up a mountain, and it is more than unlikely that it somehow defied so many laws of physics in order to house every animal in the world! (if it had, what about those evil fish?! They would’ve just got away with it)


    I think we are in an age where everyone can be an “expert” at least in self-proclaimed title by publishing on the Internet. Is this a problem? Are we actually threatening any scholars out there who are these trained gurus of literary criticism that were so offended by your post?! I doubt it….

    What I think is important is that everyone can have a voice. If the is supposed to the the domain of only these elite few, what about the voices of, as you rightly say, all the others involved in education? From teachers to students to anyone else who has anything to do with it!

    There’s certainly more reality and knowledge coming from students’ mouths than the whole Ark thing, people should pay more attention to it.

    Hope your week has been good so far! You aren’t half a busy blogger!!


  3. Hi.

    Just wanted to say I love the use of your images and your writing style. They really work with each other and compliment each other. I agree that everybody can critique literature; even if they don’t have “qualifications” to do it; as long as they can back up their critique.

    Just to say that you are critiquing it through feelings (i.e hating it) is not enough. You need to go deeper- why do you hate it? Really look at what the text is telling you, maybe it’s the ideas in the text- maybe there is one theme that keeps recurring that you don’t agree with- maybe it’s the way the characters are portrayed/stereotyped- Now you’re getting into ideologies and gender analysis just by exploring how you’re feeling! Now all you need to do is find things that agree with what you think/feel and you’ve got sources!

    Most of all: The point is to persuade your readers when you critique- your opinions and ideas are great- but without backup (other works or such) it’s not going to be very persuasive.

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