Thursday, March 08, 2007

Taylor Mali on what teachers make

The perfect riposte to the old "those who can, do..." canard.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow - inspirational and deeply moving.

Rob Spence said...

Wow is the word. What a guy!

bibliobibuli said...

damn good, rob!

i want to pass that on to all the teacher i know, to all the kids i've trained to be teachers

btw ... this article i wrote about burgess and banned books in malaysia is just up online

Rob Spence said...

Thanks Sharon - and well done on a good article on banned books. I left a comment. I'lll also be in touch, if I may, re AB.

hesitant scribe said...

That was wonderful! bibliobibuli - I want to pass it on too! I've always hated that saying, "...those who can't, teach..." because if you can't do it, you can't teach it!

Thanks for that Rob. You've made my morning!

francessa said...

Very very good! Makes up for numerous insults towards teachers ...

Anonymous said...

On a tangent, and certainly not to detract from this wonderful, wonderful piece of work and performance, another of Mali's poems entitled "Totally, like, whatever you know?" is also very good, and so, so TRUE!!
This guy is a genius!!

Rob Spence said...

Thanks, anonymous. Here's that poem, and I agree with you about it:
In case you hadn't noticed,
it has somehow become uncool
to sound like you know what you're talking about?
Or believe strongly in what you're saying?
Invisible question marks and parenthetical (you know?)'s
have been attaching themselves to the ends of our sentences?
Even when those sentences aren't, like, questions? You know?

Declarative sentences - so-called
because they used to, like, DECLARE things to be true
as opposed to other things which were, like, not -
have been infected by a totally hip
and tragically cool interrogative tone? You know?
Like, don't think I'm uncool just because I've noticed this;
this is just like the word on the street, you know?
It's like what I've heard?
I have nothing personally invested in my own opinions, okay?
I'm just inviting you to join me in my uncertainty?

What has happened to our conviction?
Where are the limbs out on which we once walked?
Have they been, like, chopped down
with the rest of the rain forest?
Or do we have, like, nothing to say?
Has society become so, like, totally . . .
I mean absolutely . . . You know?
That we've just gotten to the point where it's just, like . . .
whatever!

And so actually our disarticulation . . . ness
is just a clever sort of . . . thing
to disguise the fact that we've become
the most aggressively inarticulate generation
to come along since . . .
you know, a long, long time ago!

I entreat you, I implore you, I exhort you,
I challenge you: To speak with conviction.
To say what you believe in a manner that bespeaks
the determination with which you believe it.
Because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker,
it is not enough these days to simply QUESTION AUTHORITY.
You have to speak with it, too.

Anonymous said...

You can see a performance of "Totally like whatever, you know?" at:
http://www.joethorn.net/2007/02/27/taylor-mali/
It's just like, hilarious? I can't stop watching it...you know? This guy has TOTALLY been added to my favourites!!
Thanks for the original clip - bought tears to my eyes; when I said 'inspirational and deeply moving' I meant it.

Harriet said...

This is truly amazing and wonderful. I had never heard of this guy but he is incredible.