Wednesday, May 5, 2010

So, I Lit a Fire

Yes, even I sometimes have to read what students write. It's really a waste of my time. But every once in a while, it pays off. I just came across a paper in which a student uses, as an example of a morally inappropriate reaction to a harm, a case he claims to get from the Beatles song "Norwegian Wood." To be clear, I do not think this is intended to be a joke.
Suppose one morning your girlfriend leaves you without explanation or forewarning or even cause. You just wake up, and she's gone. It would be wrong to set her apartment on fire, like the gentleman in the famous song by the Beatles does.
I was totally puzzled, until I noticed "Norwegian Wood" in the references and then recalled the bit about lighting a fire. I guess I'd always naively supposed the guy lights a fire in the fireplace.

The paper gets a C. Happy end of the semester everyone.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Positive that McCartney himself has said that the last line refers to the girl's home being set alight, so... you suck?

Anonymous said...

PS. Confirmed by Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegian_Wood_%28This_Bird_Has_Flown%29. (And, no, I didn't edit that in myself.)

Spiros said...

I'm with Socrates (AP. 22b-d)on this one: McCartney doesn't know shit.

Anonymous said...

So Spiros--you're a postmodernist in grading?

Spiros said...

Not at all. The grade had nothing to do with the interpretation of the Beatles song.

Anonymous said...

It's still a pretty dumb example to bring in. Kind of like if I were to use the U2 song where someone lets a beautiful day get away as an example of irrational behavior - the question being: Why the fuck would you mention some such random song to illustrate something when it actually doesn't help you to illustrate it?

Anonymous said...

I always thought, that 'Norwegian wood' refers to pot, so that the last line means the guy lit a joint in the morning after.

Anonymous said...

Why would 'Norwegian wood' be a good name for pot? Do they grow a lot of weed in the Trollheime mountain range?

Verification word: CORUG.

Anonymous said...

Drat! Perfect opportunity for a Dead Milkmen reference, and your student missed the proverbial boat:

"You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I were to say to you
I didn't set your house on fire"

Word verification: swellind

Anonymous said...

Yes, even I sometimes have to read what students write. It's really a waste of my time. But every once in a while, it pays off.

I thought you were talking about student evaluations, not student papers! But I guess I was just being stupid, because we never have to read those.

The Brooks Blog said...

You remain my hero.

Glaucon said...

I am just an ordinary guy, burning down the house.

Spiros said...

They're living on nuts and berries.

English Jerk said...

Look over there! A dry ice factory! Nice place to get some thinking done.

Glaucon said...

I can't define love
when it's not love.
It's not love,
which is my face,
which is a building,
which is on fire.

Anonymous said...

It does suck as an example.

But the interpretation is right. The opening lines of the song make clear that the room itself is of Norwegian wood. When, at the end, Norwegian wood is mentioned again with the fire, it is pretty clear that that is what's going on.

Anonymous said...

"Suppose one morning your girlfriend leaves you without explanation or forewarning or even cause. You just wake up, and she's gone."

The paper contains this kind of perfectly acceptable writing and you gave it a C? You must have much better students than I do.

Anonymous said...

The ought to be more careful--they're setting a bad example!

The Beatles, that is.

And Spiros, I was kidding about the postmodernism!

Spiros said...

OK. Can we all agree that *Fear of Music* is top 5 of all times????

Anonymous said...

I, Zimbra, say that animals' heaven is a drugs paper "Memories Can't Wait" in Mind while playing air electric guitar in cities pictured in Life during wartime.

Agreed Spiros!

Spiros said...

9:24: genius.

Dan said...

Maybe its because I am ethicist, but my main interest on reading this post was - does he really do wrong in burning down his girlfriend's appartment. Doesn't she *deserve* it? Maybe it will make her think a bit, and not behave so disgracefully in future.

Certainly of the two, she behaves worse - for treating a human being so heartlessly is worse than damaging a bit of property.

Let's assume he can do it without damaging neighbouring appartments - or change the example so she lives in a detached house...

Sorry for the interuption, now you can carry on wittily discussing music & grading...

CTS said...

SO, I'll bite: why a C? Just because the 'example' was stupid?

V word: conmara (isn't that in Ireland?)

Spiros said...

Why the C? Not because of the badness of the example alone, but the badness of the example is an indication of the general C quality of the paper.

Glaucon said...

I'm a sucker for Remain in Light and prefer it over Fear of Music, but the latter definitely makes my top 5 of the 70s, which (off the top of my head) also includes:
Bowie, Ziggy Stardust
Elvis Costello, This Year's Model
The Clash, The Clash
Eno, Another Green World.

Adeimantus said...

I pick Fear of Music, though for the single best cut I'd go with "Once in a Lifetime", and Remain in Light is on the whole awesome.

I'd put Abraxas on my top LPs of the Seventies list. From the other end of the Seventies.

Anonymous said...

Very good - but not top 5. Its not *musical* enough.

CTS said...

By the way: an expert on rock music (spouse) informs me that the song is based on a short story in which, yes, the young man setrs fire to a woman's house. Alas, he cannot recall the story title or author.

CTS said...

Spiros @ May 7, 2010 11:00 PM;

I guessed as much. :-}

P.S. 'hagaros'?

Generic Viagra said...

Norwegian Wood the name of the Beatles's song, remember me the festival in Oslo, Norway, I have been there many times and the music was spectacular I love edition in 1994!22dd