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Steve Likes to Curse
Writing, comics and random thoughts from really a rather vulgar man
What's a pro letter rat? 
Friday, July 21st, 2006 | 01:04 pm [college, commentary]
Steve

Last night was my final session of HIS101 with Mr. Gift, so I have to find other college-related things to write about.  Seems as good a time as any to bring up Professor Sheffield, my sociology teacher.  She’s not a full-time college instructor.  In real life, she’s a medical social worker.  I’m discovering this is one of the perks of taking summer classes: schools desperate for instructors will allow classes to be taught by people who, in the fall, would not even be allowed on campus.  Not that Professor Sheffield isn’t a knowledgeable woman; she knows her shit, that much is obvious.  She just isn’t much of a reader.

 

Meaning she’s not very good at reading things aloud.  She’s brought in books to recommend to us, and she was accepted into graduate school at the University of Maryland, so I assume she is reasonably literate.  She just has this habit of mispronouncing words during lectures, and it’s a little disturbing.  Important words.  Sociology words.  Like, proletariat.  She reads it and out of her mouth comes “pro letter rat.”  That’s an awfully demeaning way to refer to your postman, isn’t it?  Really, Professor Sheffield, some respect.

 

Making this more perplexing still is the fact that she has no trouble at all with words that seem a lot harder to pronounce.  Bourgeoisie, for instance – nailed it the first time, every time.  The name of noted functionalist Max Weber – pronounced VAY-ber – homerun.  The word moresMOR-ays – child’s play.  And yet proletariat, which has a very intuitive pronunciation – all you have to do is sound it out – is mangled almost beyond recognition.  Like I said, it’s disturbing.  Imagine sitting down in a college level English class and hearing your professor tell you that today you’re going to learn how to conjunctigate verbs.

 

I’ll cut this short today so I can get back to training Whiskers, my pet rat.  I’ve got him trained to run to the post office for me, open Ashley’s mailbox, and bring the letters back clenched in his little teeth.  A few more weeks and I think he’ll be good enough to turn pro.

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