Topics to be taught in education. Well; reading, writing, basic arithmetic. Beyond that, I don't think any topic should be mandatory - though all topics should, ideally, have teachers available.
Ideally you'd run most of school through a clubs' system that hooked onto activities that people would be likely to do in jobs. Have faculty overseers for clubs that knew who to get in to teach particular skills, rather than bothering teaching everyone everything, regardless of their interests or skills, in a sort of academic shotgun.
Teach skills, not subjects, is, I guess, the idea here.
Lucrece wrote:What the author says the text says is what the text says. I can say Harry and Draco were just actually bickering closet cases in Harry Potter, and that Snape was just sexually frustrated, but if J.K. Rowling says otherwise, it's her authorship and vision that stands as true. How can you even say that the author's explanation of his creation is just his "opinion"? Will I suddenly have license to call whatever you post on Facebook, blog entries, and autobiographical notes as just "opinion", that I have just as valuable a claim to interpreting what your text is about as you -- the guy whom the text wouldn't exist without -- do?
Yes, you do. I can clarify what I was trying
to say - what I meant
by the text - but at the end of the day words don't just say what a person wants them to mean. If what I say convinces everyone on my friends list that I support something I don't, that just means I've expressed myself poorly - not that my words suddenly said something else. Words and devices hook on to experiences and examples in life, and that's what drives their meaning - not what someone unilaterally decides to say their meaning is.
We're using culturally defined standards, that everyone has a hand in creating, in an attempt to communicate our meaning. And, given that our knowledge of these standards varies with our own experiences, sometimes the attempt fails. Sometimes what we say isn't what we mean. And even on the, rare, occasions where we've said precisely what we mean, what people understand is not always what we said.
Some people are just bad communicators.
A writer can, of course, say in an interview or a commentary that a character in a book has whatever properties they like. But that does not make that part of the story, or part of what the story says. It just makes it part of what the writer has said - which may or may not get integrated into the meaning that the character has for any particular person.
If the author writes 'war' and means 'peace,' then the author needs to buy a dictionary. Regardless of how much the author protests to the contrary, what the text said was war
. And it's no different with larger, more ambiguous passages of text. The number of words does not change the situation, it just introduces more possibilities for error.
Now, that said, there's a clear difference between the statements:
'I did not like the Character of Iago,'
'Iago represents unlikeable character traits,' and,
'Iago was not written to be a likeable character.'
One is a statement about the reader's response to Iago, one is a statement about how the way Iago is portrayed would be responded to in our society, and the other is a statement about the author's intent. Only the last one does the author really have any special knowledge of that would make their word of any more worth than anyone else's.
If J.K. Rowling decides to say that Snape wasn't just sexually frustrated. And I say that he is. Well, there's a very good chance we're just talking about two different things. There isn't actually a Snape that we're both talking about. Characters aren't real. They're just things we imagine in our heads when we read. And pretence to the contrary is just semantic convenience.
I can say that I imagine Snape as sexually frustrated, and she could say that she tried to write Snape not to be sexually frustrated - but the only argument we'd be likely to have where we'd both be talking about the same thing would be if we were both talking about how what she wrote was perceived by wider society, and in that conversation the author does not enjoy a privileged position.