Philip Coates

Mark Twain, The Great American Writer

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Here's the course catalog blurb for a course I'm teaching starting in several weeks:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

America doesn't have a Shakespeare, but we do have a Mark Twain. Many consider him the greatest quintessentially "American" writer. He is arguably the most influential across the last century and a half. He simplified language, brought about a more natural way of writing, wrote books that generations of school children and adults warmly remember, was a great satirist. Twain is often not only deeply perceptive about people and their ways, but is enormously, laugh-out-loud funny as well. As a work of social criticism masquerading as a simple adventure story, "Huckleberry Finn" may have swayed more people against racism than almost anything else in American literature.

In addition to readings from his novels, essays, stories, and speeches, we will view parts of "Mark Twain Tonight", the celebrated DVD reenactment of Twain on stage in his travels across America starring Hal Holbrook, in his white suit and cigar bringing Twain to life.

The anthology we will use is "The Portable Mark Twain" (to be supplemented by class handouts). Please order a cheap used copy from Amazon.com -two weeks- before class starts, then read the introduction and the first three items. Get the Penguin edition edited by Tom Quirk, not the one by Bernard de Voto.

BRIEF BIOGRAPHY:

Philip Coates is a graduate of Brown University. He has a Master's degree from the University of Michigan. He has extensive teaching experience -- in the business world, as a corporate trainer at Hewlett-Packard, as a tutor, and in the classroom at multiple levels. Phil is also a published writer and a popular lecturer. He has taught, been involved in workshops, or done research in a wide range of subjects over the years. These include literature and language, oral and written communications, self-improvement and leadership, thinking and persuasion, and philosophical psychology.

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Coincidence Phil, I just recommended Kaplan's Twain bio to you on Current Reading thread.

http://www.cmgww.com...bout/photos.htm <<<<photos from a nice Twain website

http://www.marktwainhouse.org/house/floor_plans.php <<<<this is the museum site with a "virtual" tour of the home...just click on each room on the floor plan

very cool technology

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Coincidence Phil, I just recommended Kaplan's Twain bio to you on Current Reading thread.

Daunce--not a coincidence, but synchronicity.

I will defer to Phil, but Twain's view of synchronicity was fascinating.

Phil: this looks like a fascinating course. Go Blue.

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Thanks PDS,

I used to teach literature, composition, and history mostly but I've gravitated more and more to literature. One reason is that unlike most subjects, literature courses keep changing a little bit (for those teachers allowed to select their own curriculum.)

I'm teaching two other courses this term as well...I can explain**.

> Go Blue.

I was only at Michigan for a year, so it took me a second...Did you go there? Ann Arbor was a lovely college town.

** Actually no I won't. I always knew Michael would eventually prove to, like Linz and Diana, kick me out or start deleting posts of mine he didn't like. And that just started today. So he just crossed the line for me: Sayonara.

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And now the end is clear

And so I face the final slurring

My class, draw ever near

I'll rant my case of which I'm certain

I lived a life once full

I patrolled the same old highway

And less, much less than this

I did it the wrong way

Regrets I'll not admit

for fear of annihilation

I did what they made me do

I am not a self-creation

I planned the same old course

I underlined upon the blackboard

And less, much less than this

I'm the injured party

Yes there were friends I'm sure you knew

Whom I bitched out and left in ditches

But over all, my mania grew

I taught and taught and taught some more

and stiffened up to fight the War

I've cursed, I've bitched and moaned

I've had my fits, hysteric whines

And now as my classes end

I find richly self-deluding

To think I wreck'd myself

Forever molding on the shelf

Oh no, oh no, not me

It was the other guys

For what's a man but what he's taught

If not the pupils forever wrong

To rant the same old plan

To ungrateful classes

The record shows I crashed the bus

And scuttled far away

Yes the completely wrong way

Edited by william.scherk

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I always knew Michael would eventually prove to, like Linz and Diana, kick me out or start deleting posts of mine he didn't like. And that just started today. So he just crossed the line for me: Sayonara.

I'm not going to ban Phil or even moderate him, but I just don't have any more time to babysit his neurotic need for attention by constantly spitting on OL and OL members. He insisted on spitting after plenty of warning and transfers of posts to the Garbage Pile, so I started deleting.

It takes time and effort to transfer that crap he was putting out prolifically. I not only had to read it, I had to figure out what to do with it and fiddle with it. To delete it, all you have to do is open the post, select the text, copy/paste a prepared message over it, hit enter and presto.

Ahhhh... That's better...

Believe me, there's no Nobel Prize for literature being lost.

I have learned the hard way that some people will not respect you unless you show them their limits the hard way. Phil got to that point with me after a butt-load of flexibility and goodwill during months and years. What he does with that limit is now his problem, not mine. I've had it. He respects me or he stays away. I couldn't give a crap one way or the other. I used to, but that's past tense.

Phil wants to play martyr, that' fine with me. I don't give a damn. He lives in la-la land and I'm sick of trying to entice him to give reality a shot. I'm used up.

These last few days have become a full time job for me, what with babysitting Phil's whining and spitting on OL and trying to deal with the enthusiasm and odd rhetoric of a new poster from the postmodern world.

I had literally stopped working in order to look after these two to make sure OL didn't get damaged.

So finally, it has settled down.

Enough with the crazies.

I don't know what the hell this new poster is going to do, but I'm hoping it will not be as bad an experience as Phil has made himself. I even hope it will grow into a good one, but only time will tell.

At least, right now at this moment, I have some time to start thinking about my own work again.

Michael

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One more time, while the irritation is still pulsing in me. Let me get it all out.

I always knew Michael would eventually prove to, like Linz and Diana, kick me out or start deleting posts of mine he didn't like.

Just look at that crap.

Of course Phil "always knew." That's exactly what he wanted and pursued.

Pick, pick, pick, pick, pick.

Months and years of crap.

That loser never had any intention of being a positive member of this community and developing cool stuff to share or working out ideas and projects with others.

I pegged him right (in a thread the Garbage Pile) as a destructive person.

Michael

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One more time, while the irritation is still pulsing in me. Let me get it all out.
I always knew Michael would eventually prove to, like Linz and Diana, kick me out or start deleting posts of mine he didn't like.

Just look at that crap.

Of course Phil "always knew"; That's exactly what he wanted and pursued.

I, too, was struck by the wording "always knew" and I nearly posted earlier to say something about it. How could he have known he'd eventually be kicked out or have his posts deleted unless he was intending to nag until one of those results was achieved?

I didn't post the thought earlier because I didn't want to entice Phil back to give a little lecture about latching onto imprecisely worded details. But since you've already mentioned it, I might as well second the suspicion that the wording is revelatory.

Ellen

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I thought it was a neurosis or a queer mental functioning, but it ended in blatant lies. Maybe it was lies all the way down all the way back.

--Brant

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I might as well second the suspicion that the wording is revelatory.

I think it’s just Phil on a rant. I say don’t read anything into it.

Here’s hoping his next appearance, surely some months from now, starts off with an apology for past behavior, and that he thenceforth changes his ways. I don’t think anyone comes here for the fun of going round and round with such a stubborn, strutting cross between a mule and peacock. Last time he flounced, did anyone emerge as a replacement target? I don’t think so. If someone had, there’d be evidence that it’s an element of OL’s raison d'être. I just find it annoying, I didn't miss it and won't miss it.

BTW, credit where due, the image of Phil in front of the blackboard was done by Jonathan. It's set up so that you can add the text, and that's all I did to it.

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I might as well second the suspicion that the wording is revelatory.

I think it’s just Phil on a rant. I say don’t read anything into it.

Here’s hoping his next appearance, surely some months from now, starts off with an apology for past behavior, and that he thenceforth changes his ways. I don’t think anyone comes here for the fun of going round and round with such a stubborn, strutting cross between a mule and peacock. Last time he flounced, did anyone emerge as a replacement target? I don’t think so. If someone had, there’d be evidence that it’s an element of OL’s raison d'être. I just find it annoying, I didn't miss it and won't miss it.

BTW, credit where due, the image of Phil in front of the blackboard was done by Jonathan. It's set up so that you can add the text, and that's all I did to it.

It would appear that Phil needs to lay off the carbs. Just sayin.'

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It would appear that Phil needs to lay off the carbs. Just sayin.'

Even worse is that wrinkly, ill-fitting shirt. Would you show up for a trial looking like that? Someone introduce Phil to a tailor and a dry cleaner, stat! And when they ask if you want starch, answer yes! Don't get me started on the gentleman's neckwear...

Here's a model Phil could emulate:

120122hunter.jpg

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It would appear that Phil needs to lay off the carbs. Just sayin.'

Even worse is that wrinkly, ill-fitting shirt. Would you show up for a trial looking like that? Someone introduce Phil to a tailor and a dry cleaner, stat! And when they ask if you want starch, answer yes! Don't get me started on the gentleman's neckwear...

Here's a model Phil could emulate:

120122hunter.jpg

It is indeed true that tailored men's wear in underrated.

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So when are we going to see some?

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It would appear that Phil needs to lay off the carbs. Just sayin.'

Even worse is that wrinkly, ill-fitting shirt. Would you show up for a trial looking like that? Someone introduce Phil to a tailor and a dry cleaner, stat! And when they ask if you want starch, answer yes! Don't get me started on the gentleman's neckwear...

Here's a model Phil could emulate:

120122hunter.jpg

It is indeed true that tailored men's wear in underrated.

I've decided to buy and read the book. I seldom read fiction any more.

--Brant

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So when are we going to see some?

See some what? Tailored men's wear? I don't know that Bidinotto's shirt was custom tailored, but it looks like it fits and at least it's not all wrinkly. Once you start getting your shirts customized there's no turning back. I usually need to have the arms shortened for shirts of my neck size. I went to Hermes in Berlin, on Friedrichstrasse (or was it the Kudamm), while I was on vacation a few years ago, and they had shirts marked down 50%. They still came out to like $300 each, but after that, DKNY? No thanks.

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