小北的不老歌

Monthly Archive: November 2005

Canned Food

It was announced sometime last week that if a student brings a can of soup, beans, or some other kind of “non-perishable” food to class on Monday, he or she will not be cold-called. In exchange for the professor’s leniency, the student will deposite the canned food after class to a big bin, which will be collected by some law fraternity to benefit the homeless.

I thought about bringing a can of beer. I have quite a few in my fridge, so I won’t have brace the coldness at night for a run to the grossly overpriced convenience stores. I pondered over the appropriateness of this idea, and realized that it was in fact a so-called “fork” for the trained issue spotter: can beer properly be classified as “non-perishable food?” It is certainly no more perishable than soup, and while more liquid than soup, still provides a whole lot of calories just like any other traditionally recognized “food.” Literal construction seems to justify the idea of donating a can of beer. However, from a consequentialist point of view, is giving homeless people beer really a good idea? Do we really want to give alcohol to people who are already in a pretty bad situation? Will I be held criminally liable if the can gets distributed to some underage kids? Proximate cause seems to hold…

So I eventually went out and bought three cans of soup to take to classes. One for crim, one for torts, one for contracts. Beers for myself.

Naked Women Everywhere

Sometime last month when I went into the bathroom in my dorm to take a shower, a girl was just getting out of the shower, wrapped in a towel. I was startled and froze there for a second. She was visibly embarrassed too and explained how she ended up using the shower in an all-male section of the dorm: She was visiting her boyfriend, who was a classmate of mine and also lived in this dorm. I swear I didn’t see anything overly inapproriate.

But today I did. I grabbed my torts hornbook thinking I could spend a nice ten minutes relaxing on the toilet seat while reviewing some torts material, and stepped into the bathroom.

“Ahhhhhhh.” I wasn’t sure if it was me or the girl who screamed first. This time it was a different girl, and she was fully naked, not even having a towel on, just about to get into the shower stall.

A guy, probably her boyfriend, poked his head out from the next shower stall and looked at me in disbelief (or was it anger?). I didn’t know what to say or do, stood there for a second and decided to forego the pleasure of using the toilet.

As I left the bathroom and closed the door behind me, I could still hear the girl going hysterial,

“Oh my god oh my god oh my god …”

沙龙

晚上去参加一个这里中国学生办的沙龙,请了社科院的于建嵘来座谈。坐了三个小时,感觉收获不是很大。老先生痛陈中国现状之诸多弊端,虽说都是事实,但是一来觉得他的诸多说法并非新的观点,而是某种程度上在重复大家都知道的东西:问题不少,领导不好。二来总体感觉下来他没有我所期望的一个学者的儒雅风范,而是一个心不平、气不和的愤青的老年版本,由对现状和过去的愤恨和鄙夷驱使,从抱怨对自己的不平待遇开始到替弱势群体打抱不平,而并非从一个严谨的学者的角度,剥离自己的感情成分,纯理性地来分析和论述社会现象和问题。

或许由于我没有系统地拜读过于教授的著作,但从谈话来看我觉得他与其说是一个学者,不如说是一个社会活动者,或者说更象传统中国社会里的落魄文人。他的过人之处并不在于有如何高明的见解或高深的学说,而在于身处现行体制下,他敢于说大家都心知肚明却不敢说的话。这点虽然可嘉,但是这一定程度上也是因为他不象身在政坛的人士有诸多顾虑:不在其位,不畏其害,说话当然没什么遮拦。

我始终相信文人墨客间喋喋不休的高调争论终将适得其反,导致最后的一点希望都要破灭——之前的教训还少么?而在眼下的游戏规则里只有少说多做,用实际行动来实现哪怕是微妙的一点改进,怀着星星之火可以燎原的希望才是正道。我一贯不喜的两种人:一是文学批评家,二是专挑别人刺的学者——看不惯别人的作为,就应当自己来写本小说或者发表自己的高见,总靠批评他人来吃饭,终归是不光彩的事。看人挑担总是不吃力的不是?现在看来要加一种:专门针砭时弊的落魄文人。当然,任何一个制度下都不能缺了他们,否则没有谏言,但是如果把他们尊为学者大师,纳入决策圈的智库,恐怕国家大业要在无止境的争吵中葬送。

从另一个角度我也发现于教授实在是更象门客而非学者。他对手中有实权的领导们对他的文章的青睐或否定看得很重,对自己的“折子”直达温家宝,自己被国家信访局“请”去谈话,对方对自己毕恭毕敬却又另有算计等等细节津津乐道,这和我想象中的真正的学者之超脱于沉浮之外的境界实在是大相径庭。我所设想的做学术的人,就应当根本不计较不理会这些,而是潜心去做研究,拿出一套自己认为是正确的理论和建议出来,之后除了纯学术讨论之外,不管是当官的还是老百姓的嬉笑怒骂都应当置之度外。

归根到底一句话,看不惯别人当官的、有本事就自己从政来试试,要是有学术修养站在高处做理论研究是一码事,但没有学术修养而站在一边说闲话就是另一码事了。至于我自己,还是觉得当公务员是身体力行实现自己一点点小想法的好机会,但是鉴于要量力而行,就坚持削尖脑袋争取当我那个镇委计生办主任好了。

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另外,搜索了一下,老先生和新语丝的方舟子有点过节,看来争议确实不小。

Civilization

The guy in front of me in torts had the new Civ4 game installed on his computer and played the game throught the class. I snapped a picture with my cellphone to record this gross deviation from the standard time killer known as Solitaire.

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In Between Dreams

偶然的机会听了Jack Johnson的Banana Pancakes,大惊失色,于是冒着雨跑出去把他的In Between Dreams这张专辑给买了回来,翻来覆去听了一晚,爱不释手。

正在盘算 要不要把他之前发行的两张专辑也一并收来听听……有智者说,“鸡蛋好吃,但不一定要去见下这个蛋的鸡。”那么依此类推,是不是一个鸡蛋好吃,也不一定要去把这只鸡下的其他蛋去捡来吃呢?

马里兰餐桌

记得学期初报到的时候,宿舍管理员拿着我的驾照办住宿手续的时候直嘀咕,“怎么会有那么多从马里兰来的?” 当时不甚明白她是什么意思。今天晚饭时在食堂和一帮朋友边吃边聊,说到本科念书的趣闻轶事的时候才发现,一桌大概十个人里面,居然有三个本科毕业于Hopkins,加上我,就一共有四个人是在马州念的书,心下甚喜。

同时心里有有点隐隐担忧。就拿这餐桌边坐的人当作随机取样,除了这三个Hopkins的以外,还有一个Berkeley的,两个Michigan的,一个Harvard的。另外,白天认识了别的班的两个同学,回宿舍一查facebook——一个是Georgetown的,另一个是MIT的。实在是比较地郁闷。不是说觉得自己的母校比别人矮一截所以觉得不自在(儿不嫌母丑不是?),而是觉得自己和这么一群牛校里出来的人一同竞争,肯定要吃亏地。

罢了罢了。物竞天择,优胜劣汰,就算当一回给人垫背的了。