Monday, April 16, 2007

A Healthy Physics-Inspired Rage

I am proud to say that I am among that happy few, that band of brothers, which has never attended a Physics 15a section (except the first one). Today I received the following unfortunate note from "Esteban," the more paternal of the two TF's:
Dear all,

There are a few of you who consistently don't come to section. What I'm about to say is for your benefit, not because I want to micromanage you, so don't take it personally.

It is the policy of this course that section grade is based on attendance and that it counts for 3% of your final grade. This may seem little but...

I just checked last semester's grades and found, to my surprise, that 108 students out of a total of 127 were within 3% of having a different letter grade.

I also was surprised to find that all of those who got a final A- were within 3% of getting an A or a B+.

I figured you may be surprised to know that too, in particular if you haven't been showing up.

Where to begin ripping this outrageous passive aggression apart with my rhetorical fangs? I'll ignore the internally inconsistent "I don't want to micromanage you," and I will forgo bothering to address the pathetic "for your benefit," and cut straight to the chase: what exactly it is that Esteban finds "surpris[ing]."

Tell me this, Harvard Physics Students: what are the odds of NOT being within 3% of the grade either above or below the grade you receive? Is it even possible for that condition not to be satisfied? The last sentence really puts the icing on the cake. I reproduce it below in full:
I figured you may be surprised to know that too, in particular if you haven't been showing up.
First of all, "Esteban," if you were so surprised by this, then, since you attend every section, shouldn't everyone be surprised? Second of all, what in the name of our Lourd and Saviour Jesus Christ does section attendance have to do with knowing this inane, possibly tautological, and anything but surprising fact? Finally, who exactly do you think you are, power-tripping over a bunch of freshmen (and me) who, in the hours in which they weren't attending your section, probably had more sexual intercourse than you will ever enjoy in your entire life? Perhaps the last answers itself.

1 comment:

Andy Hall said...

I don't really see how making fun of Esteban for not having sex is useful for your argument. In fact I think it detracts significantly from it. At first you're on point, and then suddenly you resort to petty ad hominem attacks (pronounce with em-a ellided). Not only that, but clearly inaccurate attacks, since everyone knows that people named Esteban are playerz.