SCRAPS FROM THE EDITOR'S WASTEBASKETThese are excerpts from a regular column in The Vector an informal, unofficial, and unheralded publication I edited during my years teaching at Lock Haven University. In response to overwhelming demand (a couple of people at least) these are being archived here for those strange people who enjoy wallowing in nostalgia. Some of the references to then-current events may be puzzling, but feel free to skip them, or relate them to more recent events of similar nature (which can always be found). References to internal politics at Lock Haven University may be easily transferred to situations at other academic institutions. A few explanatory comments have been added in square brackets.
Vol. 1 No. 2. April 1977
UPDATE ON TRIVIAL STUDIES PROGRAMLast month we printed a modest proposal for a new major in "Trivial Studies." Reader response was invited; the responses which have trickled in are a mixed bag.
One respondent saw no need for such a program, because "schools all across this land have replaced their traditional programs with trivial studies, but have retained the old program names."
To the person who asked, "Will the exams in the Sexual Practicum course be oral?", we can only suggest that such inquiries be directed to the instructor.
A reader from Mansfield State College (yes, the VECTOR reaches that remote outpost of civilization) sent us a complete syllabus for a course he thought belonged in a program of trivial studies. The course is in mathematics, carrying course number 48√5 and is titled Sexual Hypotheses in Topology I. Its course description clearly indicates that attention has been paid to the latest concepts of educational theory:
"The course will be an optimal logistical projection of the standard topics in this field, emphasizing total organizational concepts and functional reciprocal options. Small group discussions will be used to facilitate responsive monitored capability. Also, popsicles will be served."
To ensure that students will have the ability to handle the course content, the prerequisites are "K through 6, or permission of instructor." Since this is an upper division course, it is limited to those having less than or equal to 5 arms." Mindful of the difficulty of attracting students to math courses, the syllabus includes the following catalog description:
"Bored? Tired of the usual routine of learning? ThenZAP! POW! WHAM! This course is for you. Fun! Intrigue! Door Prizes! You'd better sign up fast, man, since a limited class size of 350 is desired. So go get truckin'!"
THE FINE PRINTIf it seems to you that the printing has gotten smaller on some pages of the vector, don't be concerned that you might be going blind. We've reduced the size of some text to conserve paper without curbing verbosity. It also makes the censors work harder to find something objectionable.
THE SEDUCTION OF POETRYWe often wondered why people are attracted to trite and trivial statements when they are expressed in poetic style. One reason may be that the visual layout of a poem is strangely seductive.
Get the Point? This is not very interesting Or even rewarding, But if You have read this far already You will Probably Read as far as this, And still Not really accomplish Anything at all. You might Even read on In spite of misgivings, Which brings you to The line you are reading now. And though by now You should know better You are probably still Dumb enough To keep right on Making a fool of yourself By reading All the way to the end.[You know, we haven't seen this little classic anywhere since we used it here in 1977. We do note that the little card with "Please turn over" printed on both sides is still going strong.]
CAMPUS NEWS AND NOTES