You’ll be sorry

Somewhere, assumption.edu, I think (while searching for an image of John Singer Sargent’s “Gassed”), I came across a bunch of “class notes” (Why were they there?), including a discussion of what Kipling was trying to say in “White Man’s Burden”. There’s a stanza that boils down to “Do it, and you’ll be sorry, because they’ll blame you, they’ll hate you, and they’ll cry ‘Why?!'”, followed by the professor’s “Why take up the White Man’s burden?”

All the students came up with reasons Kipling was telling his audience, “Go for it”! The prof seemed to go along, as if Kipling were a hawk.

It was the exact opposite of what Kipling said, and they’re paying a fortune to get a liberal arts education from a highly-paid faculty who understand Kipling less than 99.9% of his huge untrained audience.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they all “jumped” to that conclusion because they all came across it, not on their own, but from an equally misguided source, probably a literature textbook.

Elsewhere on that page, a student completely misinterpreted a cartoon, saying that it showed a monkey being carried off against its will (by a “big White hero”), with an arm reaching back, not a limp, unconconscious African man, his arm dangling. A beautiful school in the background she thought ramshackle, and she didn’t mention a corpse, its boots still in stirrups, in the foreground. The “hero” was no bigger than the “monkey”, and was obviously a cavalry officer, just doing his duty.

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