November 13, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 42  

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The cream of the Western crop

Dave Picard/Gazette
IF YOU’RE A PROF, YOU CAN WATCH PORN ON A SCREEN THIS BIG. It’s no surprise there are so many students attending this lecture.

Comparative Literature and Culture 020E

Think you can cram nearly 2,500 years worth of the signpost artworks of Western civilization into only one school year? No?

Neither did I before, but in the uncertainty of add/drop week, I signed up for Comparative Literature and Culture 020E; this course is a rush. If you can keep up, you will read the absolute best of the last two millennia, including Madame Bovary, The Odyssey and Inferno, while learning enough snippets of Greek and Latin to sound cultured for years to come.

Usually taught by CLC department head Laurence de Looze, you'll also get to talk about important art forms other than literature, such as architecture, sculpture and music. Every lecture, held in beautiful Conron Hall (University College Rm. 224), is introduced by some topical music, and de Looze, in addition to speaking seven languages, is a jazz pianist. His energy in teaching the material has been unparalleled by any other prof I've had in my time here.

The course dodges nearly everything you'd get in a first-year English course too, so you can truly compare literature across cultures. My essay topic? Talk about three works of art we've seen in the course and relate them to each other.

The freedom and the opportunities in this course are nearly unlimited and I'm still in touch with some of the TAs. That and cultured girls are hot?

-Dan Perry

Tim Blackmore -Media, Information and Technoculture

Tim Blackmore is one of the best-known professors in the faculty of information and media studies. His dry sense of humour and cheerful personality make his classes highly desirable.

Most MIT students will have the good fortune of being in one of Blackmore's lectures. My experience with Tim was limited to MIT 242 -Killer Culture. After my disappointment with not having Blackmore for the introductory MIT 025, I made sure I enrolled in 242.

Tim was always attentive and willing to listen to students regarding in-class material or out-of-class concerns. When I approached him with film clips to add to his "image bank," he thanked me and let me know how much he appreciated my interest.

Therein lies the secret to Blackmore's success as a great professor: he listens to students, adapts his material and discusses matters that may never come up in class. Tim bridges the gap between profs and students.

-David Lee

Engineering 022 - Statics

This half course is a requirement for all first-year engineering students, but there's no reason why we can't all benefit from a little static lovin?

Don't be disappointed if you show up to class and don't get some enlightened description as to why your socks stick to your pants after you take them out of the dryer. This class is actually a basic study on a host of different things that "don't move." To pass the course, students are required to apply a variety of formulas on different diagrams of immovable objects, such as bridges and beams and other static things. While this may seem tiresome, just remember -at least you're not testing on animals that could run away from your poking and prodding.

According to one engineering student and Gazette editor, though "the course can be excruciatingly painful, if you think about what you are studying, hilarity does ensue."

-Kelly Marcella

David Conter -Department of Philosophy

It's well worth the arduous journey across Western Rd. to take a class with Professor David Conter.

I'm currently taking philosophy 241 with Conter and let it be known that in the last two months, he has never once shown up without a smile on his face. Every lecture is delivered behind a grin and is spoken, not read.

It should also be noted he is the chair of the philosophy department at Huron. This comes as no surprise to me, since the man knows his shit. Smart, well-spoken and built? I've often been described with those words, but I've seldom heard of a prof who meets those requirements.

-Dave Picard

Jill Stewart Dehaan -Department of Biochemistry

What's better than little English ladies telling naughty jokes?

Little English ladies who tell naughty jokes while teaching you all about the molecules involved in cellular respiration. Jill Stewart Dehaan is one of the three professors who teach Biochemistry 280a and single-handedly made it the only course I looked forward to attending that term.

With her amusing phrases, witty humour and dirty jokes, Stewart Dehaan actually made me pay attention in the mind-numbing hall of suck that is Natural Sciences Rm. 145.

Not only did Stewart Dehaan keep me awake, she was an excellent teacher who clearly explained concepts and allowed me to leave class feeling like I had learned something; quite different from my usual feelings when I leave a class.

Amazingly, Stewart Dehaan's teaching skills kept me thinking of something other than porn.

-Catherine Clune Taylor

Music 167/267 -Introduction to Jazz

Everyone needs a little jazz in their life and this course definitely adds a little spice to drab school days.

While many may think jazz is one of those "elite" forms of music, think again. This course attempts to bring an incredibly diverse and intricate form of music to the average listener. Remarkably, the diverse jazz catalogue will allow everyone to find a certain style they truly enjoy. Whether it's cool jazz, fusion, hard bop or any of the dozen other styles -the course promises a little somethin' somethin' for everyone.

The class really opens up new avenues for a genre of music we hear very little of and students can develop a serious appreciation for it after this course. From big name jazz artists to musicians you've likely never heard of, intro to jazz is a fantastic elective. And really now, what's better than sitting in a class listening to music and tapping along? Beats boring lectures or math equations any day.

-Kelly Marcella




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