Thursday, September 24, 2009

1.3 billion Chinese people can't be Wong (Kar-Wai)

Apropos of the title, a graph of Chinese population over time from Wikipedia:

Two comments: 1. It's growing. 2. I am not sure what this had to do with the title of this post. I don't really know what that title even means.

Anyway, Today's lesson is called "Elective Courses: A Window into the Chinese Psyche."

That's actually not true, about electives being a window into someone's psyche. Anyone who tried to analyze me by looking at my electives in Junior High and High School would conclude that my main interests are William Faulkner, science fiction novellas, and xylophone ensembles. (I will say, though, in passing, that I did some mean xylophone improvisation at my 8th grade assembly performance. Some loves never die.)

So, now that that's out of the way, let's draw some arbitrary, unscientific, possibly offensive conclusions about China from the elective classes that my students have decided to take!

Well, actually the only conclusion that I feel like drawing right now is that Chinese people love watching movies and hate doing math. I reached this conclusion by observing the fact that my History of American Cinema class has over 50 students, and my Introduction to Number Theory class looks like it may have exactly zero students.

(The number theory class will start in a few weeks, but we had a little elective class selection fair today where students could walk around and ask us questions about our courses. The only people who came up to me were students wondering what "Number Theory" meant. When I explained it to them, every single one of them walked away.)

From these experience, I have decided that Chinese people love watching movies and hate doing math. Note that this isn't actually offensive, because it's the opposite of a stereotype! If any of you thought that the math class would be more popular, then you are super racist. And wrong. Racist and wrong.

But I think the fact that Chinese people love watching movies and hate doing math (I just called you a racist, so my fact automatically becomes true now) is just a symptom of the fact that the whole world loves watching movies and hates doing math.

Also, a word of warning for you all: if you ever decide to teach a cinema class, you may put "this class will require a significant amount of reading a writing" on the information sheet in order to discourage people from taking your class lightly. This will not work. Three of my students said in class on Saturday that the reason they wanted to take the class was that they wanted to relax with some movies at the end of the week.

In retribution, I've decided that our syllabus for the next 10 weeks will just be the curb stomping scene in American History X on repeat for an hour and a half every week, except on days when I'd rather watch Eraserhead.