Monday, May 4, 2015
Public Image Ltd, "Rise"
My favorite teacher in high school was Mr. K. I couldn't tell him, because I'd look like a kiss-ass, and I wanted everyone to know I was rebel who didn't need school because I was already smarter than the teachers. So I disrupted his class, trying to catch him in contradictions or misreadings of the books he taught. But then I'd go home and immerse in Invisible Man, The Awakening, The Great Gatsby, Sula, Amok, All the Pretty Horses, The Metamorphosis, In Our Time, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Democracy, Slaughterhouse-Five, Things Fall Apart, Heart of Darkness and numerous other worlds he opened up to me.
One day, after class, I tried to impress him with my vast knowledge of world literature. "Hey, Mr. K," I asked. "Do you like Thomas Harris?"
Mr. K smiled and barely looked at me, as if he'd already dealt with hundreds of high school boys who liked Thomas Harris. "No," he said. "I don't like Thomas Harris."
I can't remember what my response was. Probably something belligerent about how Black Sunday and Red Dragon transcended the elitist standards of the literature canon set by bureaucratic institutions like Edmund Burke High School.
"Thomas Harris is not a good writer." Mr. K responded. "He just pushes buttons."
I kept arguing with him. But I started to wonder if he was right.