He told me to go back to the beginning. And so I have.

I should record my Art and Culture class. Although, I’m not sure this class is ultimately going to be good for anything (boo, Core requirements) but a laugh. I won’t say this is the most interesting professor I’ve ever had, but he’s certainly the strangest.

The first day of our class, the professor–Dr. Inigo Montoya, I will say, because I’m not exaggerating the physical similarity–opens with a fairly moving speech. Not more than a few weeks ago, we had a student pass in a very tragic accident. I didn’t know him (I know almost nobody on campus), but he truly seems like an amazing and influential person to the university. Dr. Montoya knew him pretty well and announced that he was dedicating all of his classes this semester to him.

That was fine. But he used this tribute as a springboard for a Sorting Hat-like speech about finding our passion. No, no passion, capital-p Passion. What started as a lovely tribute turned into a fire-and-brimstone warning about what happens to life if you don’t follow your passion. Dr. Montoya has apparently followed his passion all over the world, doing whatever the hell he wants.

He rails against money and materialism. He says, with all the judgment in the world, “I won’t judge you if you want to spend your life pursuing money–but you must truly find and follow your passion if you want to live life properly!” I’m told he drives a Jag.

“Find your bliss and the money will follow,” he says. Do the passion. Maybe not my passion. He asks people to raise our hands if we have a passion. I raised mine, he called on me, I said, “Dramaturgy!” And he hesitates because he doesn’t know what that is. And then he’s like kind of like, “…okay.” and moves on. Thanks for crapping on my passion, man.

He fashions himself as a bit of a Renaissance man, I think. An archaeologist, anthropologist, artist, art critic, scientist, philosopher. Whatevs. And he does seem to have a enormous wealth of knowledge. I would kind of love to see him on Jeopardy or something.

His neighbors think he’s strange because he does Tai Chi on his roof every morning. He also said his neighbors think he’s a businessman because he likes to dress nice.

Dude, if they’ve spoken with you for a minute or less, they definitely don’t think you’re a businessman.

He says he’s going to teach us to be elitist–not elite, like Aaron Sorkin would say–but elitist and proud. Such as, in the end of the class, we will become art snobs. Right now, we know nothing. But by the end, we’ll be able to spit on people who aren’t ‘artists’.

What constitutes being an artist? Beats the hell out of me. But I certainly know what doesn’t make you an artist:

  • Excessive tattoos
  • Strange piercings
  • Funky hair colors
  • Taking Oxycontin.

Lesson of the day: Crack is whack. Be above the influence. Also don’t take Oxycontin.

At least he’s very anti-drugs. I wonder why he’s so crazy about not taking drugs. He mentioned it multiple times.

Also, he doesn’t distinguish between subjects—Leonardo didn’t, so neither does he–so we’re not just in an art and culture class. We’re also in a science class, an astronomy class, a religion class, a _______ class. I know the Big Bang has had a considerable impact on culture, in that it created all life and y’know stuff like that. But nobody in the Paleolithic cave painting period did anything to depict it.

“It’s not naked; it’s nude…” he says. Has anybody else seen Calendar Girls? He has this whole tirade on the difference between pornography and nudes. He hates it when people consider ‘good art’ as pornography. And he almost shouts at us to eliminate our taboos about naming our “private parts”–he definitely wins the penis game. He was almost embarrassingly loud, shouting, “It’s a penis!” But that was intentional.

Sometimes my mouth says things aloud without checking with my brain to see if it’s a good idea. So sometimes I make jokes to myself or repeat funny things that people say. The purpose of this being I had a major Doctor Who nerd moment. Montoya says, “Why just a few years ago, we discovered the purpose of Stonehenge!” And I answered,–luckily only loud enough to myself–“Yeah, as a resting place for the Pandorica. Duh.”

Sometimes I feel like neither of us should be let out of our houses.

The class is hilarious. Despite the coursework, I look forward to the semester’s lectures.

Have Some Fun Quotes:

I watched a lion have sex once. It was boring. She didn’t seem to enjoy it, neither did he. They didn’t have dinner or anything.

Thumbs, we gotta have ’em.

Right now, we’re in the Dark Ages. [in context, given that we’re just destroying the world. Maybe in 10,000 we’ll get better at taking care of earth]

1 in 600,000,000,000,000 chance you’re in this room with me. You won the lottery.

I don’t teach boring classes. I don’t.

Do we live in caves? Have you lived in a cave? Have you been to a cave? You haven’t been to a cave? You should go to a cave. We would never live in caves.

[Question: What were they doing in the caves where they painted? He demonstrates Cro-Magnon dancing.]

The [Cro-Magnon] were dancing. They were dancing. Dancing always leads to sex! So I’ve heard.

We’re all walking cosmos.

What if the free-lance floating molecules of Mozart were in this cereal?

You know what you hear when you open the door to a woman’s bathroom? [he makes chatting motions with his hands and kind of goes, ‘blahblahblah’] They’re just gathered, chattering. Is that sexist? I don’t care.

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One comment on “He told me to go back to the beginning. And so I have.

  1. If John was “insecure, but very voluble”, Paul was the “intellectual dandy” of the group, who was already making his own art collection. “They were almost middle class,” says Blake. “They’d had an education of sorts, they weren’t ruffians.

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