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Shameless Self-promotion Sunday #43

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 15 years ago, in 2009, on the World Wide Web.

It's Sunday. Everybody get Shameless.

What have you been up to this week? Write anything? Leave a link and a short description for your post in the comments. Or fire away about anything else you might want to talk about.

10 replies to Shameless Self-promotion Sunday #43 Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Nick Manley

    I’ve been reading Lolita

    Avoiding doing schoolwork. Am I the only one who finds traditional college paradigms dreadfully boring? Textbooks suxor ( :

    I am pondering dropping out of college to pursue open source self-education — Bohemian esque move on my part.

    John Gatto was at the recent Liberty Forum in New Hampshire! Really disappointed I missed him. Check out a blog post on his talk below:


  2. Mike Gogulski

    Explained some things about DROs and the dangers of the state, here (fair warning: 4k words).

  3. Black Bloke

    When I asked JTG about college he said that he recommends taking the online correspondence courses for college success. He recognizes the utility of a degree when it comes to finding work to support yourself, but he also wants to balance that with the need to live a life worth living instead of being subjected to a classroom and traditional schooling environments.

  4. Laura J.


    There are some genuinely great, meaningful experiences to be had from college life, but if the program you’re in is making it harder to have them rather than easier, then you’re probably not in the right place. There’s a lot of variety out there in what sorts of methods are used, what sort of values are promoted, and what sorts of skills and achievements are cultivated, so if you’re finding the program you’re in right now more tedious than rewarding, or aren’t sure it’s usefully preparing you for things you want to do with yourself in life, it’s definitely a good time to take stock of your options for making your course of study more interesting and/or shorter within the program you’re in, finding another program to transfer to or even another institution, or doing something else entirely.

  5. Aster

    Black Bloke-

    Could you write to me (aster_perelandra@hotmail.com)? I’ve wanted to ask you about your cafepress site, but don’t know how to contact you.

    thanx, Aster.

    on other matters, I appreciate and concur with most of what I’ve seen you write here.

  6. Nick Manley

    Black Bloke,

    I’d like to discuss Ayn Rand with JTG lol. I once read an interview where he said he liked all the Libertarian thinkers but her — I wonder if he has some of the same misconceptions about her that I often encounter. I’ve concluded that some individual leftist people I do generally respect have a distorted view of the totality of her philosophical approach — not that some of her more “conservative” commentary might turn off people.

    Laura J,

    Thanks for the advice! I am very academically inclined, but I am horrible at structuring time for formal study. I am more of a layabout reader and writer — is impractical for breaking free from your parent’s subsidy though lol.

    What do you think about Great Books approaches? I’ve been pondering trying to get into St. Johns — would be easier without a 39,000 dollar a year price tag. My other concern is about the culture of the surrounding area — the point being I know little about it. I thought of Berkley too, but I haven’t researched it much. I’d be out of state and that adds 10,000 or so to the cost — can’t remember exactly what the total is, but it was somewhere in the upper 20,000’s. I have a college fund but am not sure how much is left in it — financial crisis depleted some of it. Do you have any advice about obtaining financial aid or scholarships? I am not opposed to milking the government for aid money, so no need to limit suggestions to only private sources.

  7. Laura J.


    If there’s a program really sticking in your mind as somewhere you’d like to be, and you’re reasonably sure you’ll be able to find some way or another to afford it without taking on any unmanageable debts, heck, go ahead and get to work on your application. It would probably be a good idea to see about making campus visits if at all possible to the programs you’re most interested in; it can help fill in those blank spots you’re worried about as far as the feel of the community around campus goes, and at some programs, showing enough interest to go to the school and talk to admissions staff can boost your chances of admission a bit.

    As far as St. John’s goes, my brief summary of my thoughts on it is: I don’t think the program is for everyone looking for a college experience, but if you think it might well be the program for you, then it could well be. I was quite interested in them myself back when I was doing applications for such things; I ended up not applying, as I was very certain in advance that I wanted to study Japanese language and culture in college, which their undergraduate curriculum is not particularly conducive to. I think if I had gone there I would’ve enjoyed it a lot, but I don’t particularly regret that I never applied, as I’ve had pretty good experiences elsewhere. I don’t like that their curriculum is largely uniform and all quite mandatory, but I can appreciate how it can cultivate a well thought-out course of study and a strong sense of community, and I don’t think that “The Western Canon!!!” is something that EVERY undergraduate student should necessarily focus years of their youth on, but I’m glad that the program exists for people who do in fact want to study just such a thing. One thing to watch out for: last I knew, they don’t accept transfer credit at all, as they want all students to experience their curriculum in full, so going there may entail starting from square one as far as getting your degree goes.

    As far as “Great Books” approaches in general go, I distrust them to whatever extent they tend towards the Eurocentric side of things. More broadly, I do think that making a point of dealing with a rich body of interrelated primary sources and direct commentaries thereon is a much better way to go about studying literatures and histories and interrelated topics than having to go through years of textbook distillations of tertiary sources (or worse!) before you’re permitted to actually deal with more than the occasional excerpt of a real text. I could rant at length on the subject, but the hour constrains me a bit right now. :)

    I don’t have much in the way of specific advice on financial aid or scholarships, except to look around as much as you can for whatever sources may be available to you, take your applications for them seriously and get them in on time, and be wary of financial aid packages that involve taking on a lot of debt unless you have good reason to believe you’ll be able to pay them off within a reasonable timeframe.

  8. Nick Manley

    Laura J,

    I am honestly not too informed about what kind of college programs exist in the U.S. or the rest of the world — for that matter. I resisted going into college and eventually did so for reasons of access to health insurance plus apathy — I can’t really recall all of what was going on in my head at the time.

    The Great Books appealed to me, because I like reading difficult primary material. I am more of a solitude type of learner. If I am left with a book alone, then I can think about its implications in more peace. I appreciate exchange with experts in the field too…just find letter grades handed down by authorities to be a poor way to measure genuine progress. It produces a lot of pressure that hasn’t existed for me when doing something on my own initiative. I find myself absorbed by extrinsic rewards rather then pondering the material. It frequently leaves me feeling unmotivated and uninterested in the material.

    If you want to rant about this further, then you can email me at chessanarch@gmail.com ( :

    I keep a long contact list of informed and interesting people in my email account. It would be good to have someone to email to talk about this kind of stuff. Your advice has been helpful!

· April 2009 ·

  1. Nick Manley

    Laura J,

    There is a consciously classical liberal college in the works. It has a Randian and somewhat conservative bent. You might find it too Eurocentric, but it’s going to incorporate some liberatory methods too.


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