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The Freeway Flier and the Life of the Mind Paperback – October 11, 2011
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This is a book about faculty striving to make a living that leaves time for the mind It is also a book about true friendship bemused observations small creative triumphs and glimmers of hope for part time faculty and other thinking people who fly along the highways and log into the libraries of our brutal post modern world
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Top Customer Reviews
On the other hand, this was a two pronged book. The other half of the articles were written by the authors about their two personal experiences. I applied the two focal question test and was left confused. What was the purpose of writing about the authors confusion and/or personal opinions about food, religion or politics, or the fact that they played instruments and wrote poetry? What purpose are they trying to achieve in this book by writing that they find the act of communion in the Catholic mass revolting and the crucifixion morbid. Why do I care that Snow personally feels that the Viet Nam vets "got what they deserved" by being spit on and called baby killers. Of course Mr. Snow refused to be drafted by writing about his high minded values and being such a moral person he admits he had no problems having sex with these same baby killers. These were the same soldiers he compared to ordinary Nazis and whom, per Snow, "we do not forgive" because "duty" or "following orders" is not an excuse. This high minded oratory flies in the face of the fact that Snow had no compunction having sex with them. How could I possibly care or value, in any way, Mr. Snow's personal opinion when he admittedly demonstrates that personal values can be put aside for his personal gratification. More importantly personal opinions are generally sought out from those we admire rather than wrapped in the guise of an educational book. Applying the two focus test to the second part of this book, what is the purpose and does it accomplish its purpose? The purpose of an educator is to inform. Not espouse our personal opinions. While I agree with Mr. Snow that the Nazis actions were "unforgiveable" as an educator we do not let our personal opinions flavor our lectures or our writings, unless of course our purpose is not to inform or educate but merely to convince. If the purpose of these personal experiences was to inform, entertain or enlighten it failed. If on the other hand it was merely to convince or as personal propaganda I leave that answer to the reader.
While the book is thought-provoking, it does not attempt to be the final word on any issues in the ivory tower. In fact the structure of the book is such that both authors have sections. Thus, the book does not try to give definitive answers in the world of California higher ed. Subjects range from what it means to be student-centered, failing students, tracking, remedial coursework, music, philosophy, poetry, etc.
Waggoner and Snow have created a great collection of quotes, poetry, songs that is rather like a pamlipsest. One needs to reread passages often to catch all the meanings and associations. And so the story ends with the Road Scholar driving on to her next destination, while the mind is already lost in its own journeys.
It is a great triumph to read a work by adjuncts and about adjuncts that is highly entertaining, engaging, and intelligent. This book is a novelty in that regard.
Whether you are an educator or not, this collection of musings speaks to the universal themes of needing to feel valued for your contribution to society and the need for self growth and actualization. The majority of people in today's world work long hours and have many obligations outside of work that make it nearly impossible for them to pursue their passion whether that be writing, music, research, art, or something equally rewarding. The adjunct experience perfectly highlights the trials and tribulations of those who work too hard for too little pay, but still strive for excellence in the work place as well as in their personal endeavors.