Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Rainey Knudson on "The Cult of Memory at Texas A&M"

The Mustangs of Freedom
Tearing Down the Wall

Despite her 'worst' intentions, Rainey Knudson - in "The Cult of Memory at Texas A and M" (Glasstire, June 7, 2015) - can't help but say some good things about Texas A and M:
[T]o this outsider anyway, the A and M campus feels unattractive, humorless and a little silly. They have more bronze statues than you can shake a stick at, there are overbearing messages of social conservatism everywhere, and if you're interested in good art, you're out of luck, at least in the public spaces. These people couldn't paint bigger targets on themselves for ridicule if they tried, right? And yet: the president of the school famously leaves the door to his house on campus unlocked. Students and faculty will tell you not to lock your car, that you could leave a computer lying somewhere on campus and it would still be there when you get back. And it would. That's the flip side to all the sanctimoniousness at A and M: there really is a palpable, profoundly likeable sense of honor at the place (and I'm not just saying that because it's one of their six core values that's repeated all over campus).
See? A and M is 'likable enough.' That's my summation of Knudson's view, and I agree with her view - speaking as the Baylor alum I am, required by long tradition to be anti-A-and-M - and yet, like Knudson herself, acknowledge their sense of honor. And there's more from Knudson:
Recently, an artist who taught at both UT Austin and A and M told me that, while the UT students were far more urbane and sophisticated than A and M students, they were also more disinterested and seen-it-all-jaded. Whereas the A and M students, with their earnestness and ingrained respect for authority, were more attentive and worked harder. My friend was somewhat at a loss as to which was preferable.
If only Christina Rees - Knudson's colleague at Glasstire - could have been as gracious about art in the Ozarks . . .

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