Karen croaked

After typing this title (hours after) I did realize Karen was not the only one passing away recently. My attention span is now such that it is becoming extremely difficult for me to create just one single simple sentence.

The last cycle of deterioration of my attention span started when I saw a picture of someone famous on twitter with a very abusive comment about this person’s performance the night before. Hadn’t seen the performance, didn’t know the ‘personality’ . But looking at the picture it was dislike at first sight. So I added a caustic comment and read other tweets and comments all day. Boy did I learn a lot! Not only was I not really aggressive enough, I use too many words (more than 3 usually), I don’t scold, swear, or use four letter words. I am working on that now and getting more followers!

But I believe I am losing track. This is not about me, it’s about Karen. She died. Because of Covid, she did. She is angry now with me for saying so, but it must be true. Just listen: she was petrified by the pandemic, vaccinated three times, went to a heart surgeon shortly after the third vac and died of cancer in the same hospital. None of this would have happened if other people had vaccinated. With no un-vaccinated mud-people crowding the hospital-wards like zombies in search of for brains to eat, she would have gotten all necessary care and lived happily ever after. So, no covid means no vacs-deniers, means no peasants crowding the hospitals, means no dying of good-people. She died of covid one way or the other. The only possibility of her not dying of this horrible-end-of-the world-pandemic, is that somehow Trump caused her to die (so, probably he did kill her, if not for him calling it the China virus, everything would have just turned out fine). I lost track again, didn’t I?

It’s about Karen. She was a professor at Notre Dame University not too long ago and is lovingly remembered. Former students admire her still and want the world to know that an intellectual giant (under whom they studied, so maybe it rubs of a little) passed away. Not knowing much of her field of study I assumed her to be among smart people like Robert Millikan, Linus Pauling, Richard Feynman or Bob Stanley Pons. You know, people from fields you know a little of and thus know of them and their genius. Allas, some keywords in the deifying prose made me read on and follow some hyperlinks.

As the department internship coordinator, she shepherded countless students through their first experiences in the professional world. Sounds good does it not? But then the trouble starts with the sentence: When she retired in 2019, FTT renamed the Television Studies Award, given to a graduating senior for outstanding work in television studies, the FTT Karen Croake Heisler Televison Award.

If you look at the field in which she was a “professional specialist” it is no longer surprising  she is now mostly known for dumping one sentence diatribes on the internet sounding more like someone who had been a merchant marine (no offence to merchant marines, they are the only ones having a valid excuse for sounding like a merchant marine).

But back (again) to Karen. She is famous for her Sports & TV class, especially for berating students for incorrect grammar usage. Feynman’s students remembered him by hanging a banner from the library stating: we love you dick, indicating maybe that paying a genius so much money for being a lousy teacher (self proclaimed ), is not a very satisfactory adventure. This situation with Karen however makes you wonder what they would have done if he had taught them elementary school arithmetic (while using his fingers and mumbling).

As a catholic, I think it’s good and fitting Richard Feynman, a Jewish man who became an atheist philanderer ended up on Caltech. He found the hedonistic playground he probably needed in later life. All in all a suitable environment. Especially because though maybe his goofing resulted not in a large number of successful graduates, it did give us a couple of new fields of fruitful and productive research.

Would you pay $ 80.000 / year for lessons from Feynman, knowing he himself judged him to be a lousy mentor/teacher. I don’t know if I would. In the modern world it easy to get educated in just about any subject just as a result of abundance, which is materialistic but especially informationally.

Also, there is an old adage: it is not what you know, but who you know. This of course points at the fact that doing actual things (maybe even work and sweat a little) often has less social and even monetary results than exploiting the ‘right’ connections. 

It seems to me though that walking along with a real genius and as a result getting lost in an environment which is so fruitful and rich of intellectual challenges it’s impossible for you to find your way, is incomparably more satisfying than being a sports opinionator with the linguistic capabilities of a twelve year old. So why would you pay Notre Dame University $80.000 per year for classes. You will get molded and influenced by Karen and possibly become a successful talking head. Your future will be single sentence commentaries laced with swearwords and garbage. You will be antithetical to everything an alumni of a once great catholic university ought to be. But hey, you will make a lot of money and be influential.  Come to think of it, Karen died, you will probably be educated by some of her students.


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