Kirby Urner urnerk at qwest.net
Sat Nov 20 18:40:13 CET 2004

> If what Kirby calls something to the effect of my dark visions of the
> future - an increasingly mechanized, profit-driven schooling - are at
> all prescient ,that it seems time to start identifying more with
> resistors, than with reformers.   I seem to be in that transition.
> Art

I'm all for resistance to status quo schooling, if said schooling keeps not
sharing the good stuff, e.g. linux python internet, whereas time free to
self educate (a precious commodity, we find out, when our jobs don't leave
time for it) might move one deeply into these waters, especially with a good
mentor or two.

I regard myself as a subversive in my role as mentor for Saturday Academy,
as I make the open source world very inviting and comprehensible to
newcomers.  They see me as a thriving adult, but not a teacher, and yet I'm
willing to teach, and they see the connections to the real world, and,
and... anyway, it's way cool.

With regard to profits, though, I'm not sure why there's a disconnect.  I'm
*wanting* smart companies to market to these eager youth, to *help* them
circumvent a stultifying schooling, if that's what's in the way.  I don't
think our difference is over the concept of profit per se, but over the
cheap, underhanded way that some companies "earn" (not) their profits.  On
this, there will be some differences of opinion, but for the most part, I
bet we'll agree at least half the time (re which companies are doing quality

In the case of a monster-sized corporation like Disney, it's
counter-productive to hand in a blanket judgment over some of the schlocky
chachkas you'll find at Wal*Mart or wherever.  With really big companies,
the trick is to drill down looking for smaller units that contain seeds of
the future you want to invest in.  For me, Alan Kay and Squeak were
sufficiently interesting and future-oriented to keep me thinking well of
Disney -- despite a lot of other stuff that goes on.  I have similar
feelings about Pixar (which of course is huge, compared to Squeak).  

EPCOT was a very good idea, but the Epcot of today lies fallow, because the
"imagineers" have largely checked out, or don't get budgets, or haven't read
enough Bucky -- not sure where the problem is, but something's very broken.

Anyway, I'm wanting tomorrow's kids to be advantaged in all kinds of ways,
and that may well mean subverting a dominant paradigm or two, or three.
We'll move heaven and earth to help these kids (including minority kids of
all stripes, any kid wasting away in schlock-ville, in mass-consumer

I had two books for a kid I just had meeting with (his dad was there too, at
a local coffee joint):  'The Church and the Bazaar' by Eric S. Raymond, and
'In the Beginning Was the Command Line' by Neal Stephenson.  Both are
available on-line, but sometimes hard copy saves on future eye-wear costs.
Now, how many high schools do you know that list either of these titles on
any syllabus.  Precisely my point, and I think yours as well.  Am I wrong?


PS:  haven't visited the web site you mentioned yet, but I intend to, and
thanks in advance for the link.

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