Today's battles are fought on the keyboard

I was having a great day. Then I read an email about my Shakespeare paper from my TA. He basically said “You’re just restating what we’ve done in class. There is no original thought here. I hope you don’t think that we will tolerate rehashing of our lectures,” and more. It was pretty scathing. Now, I don’t want to be all namby-pamby “my feelings are hurt!” about this, as he said he was just being “direct”, but it was a pretty withering attack- it amounted to him accusing me of slacking off in the class, doing half-assed work, and expecting them to take it.

This is clearly not true.

More went into it, like the “you should have asked this earlier” argument and the “don’t blame the teacher for your mistakes” argument, but ultimately, it turned into a battle. He insults my work ethic, I defend myself, he throws down his gauntlet, I pick it up, we have a duel at dawn. Except he’s the duke and I’m the commoner; he’s grading my papers; he’d just whine to the king and have me imprisoned.

The outcome isn’t the point; the point is that we have no battles anymore. As time went on… jousting matches -> shouting matches -> arguments -> written insults -> emails. And our emails are all cutesy- full of “I think you may have misunderstood"s and “I didn’t mean"s. Nobody even has the guts to call someone out anymore- and if he does, it’s a major etiquette violation.

Is this better? Maybe. The old way was pretty barbaric. The modern way is one step more civilized. But in some senses it’s also one step more emasculated. Part of me just wants to hash this out in a bare-knuckled brawl.

I think I’d win. If I weren’t too sleep-deprived from writing this paper.

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