Episode 005: Leveraging Excellence

Why do bad things happen to good people? Do cheaters ever prosper? And what the heck does it mean to “leverage excellence” anyway? We’re not quite sure, but apparently it has something to do with setting baby deer on fire, Ray Kurzweil, and slurpees. Eminent Texas Tech philosopher, fencer, and all-around good guy Dr. Mark Webb joins us to tackle these issues and lend some academic credibility to our incredible little experiment. Don’t panic if his benevolent, authoritative voice puts you into a trance. It’s all part of the plan…

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2 Comments on "Episode 005: Leveraging Excellence"

  1. Kurt
    30/09/2008 at 12:26 am Permalink

    It was my understanding that reaching the 40,000 student goal is that the University would receive a substantial increase in state funding every year, roughly the same amount as UT and TamU (86mil?). Maybe they will rebuild your theatre then =(.

    Honestly though, they should focus on the staffing quality over at Rawls rather than dumping money into new buildings, some of the non teaching staff, is really not to up to par. But hey at least the Arts and Sciences will be taking over the BA building when they complete moving over the students. Side note, look into the history of that building, youll find they drastically over paid for it, and such, it is built like a tank, extra needless, concrete and steel everywhere, great stuff.

  2. StephenTorrence
    05/02/2016 at 5:50 pm Permalink

    [This comment comes from Ana Huertas, via email]

    When I was small and would leaf through the Old Testament retold for children and illustrated in engravings by Gustave Dore, I saw the Lord God standing on a cloud. He was an old man with eyes, nose, and a long beard, and I would say to myself that if He had a mouth, He had to eat. And if He ate, He had intestines. But that thought always gave me a fright, because even though I come from a family that was not particularly religious, I felt the idea of a divine intestine to be sacrilegious.

    Spontaneously, without any theological training, I, a child, grasped the incompatibility of God and shit and thus came to question the basic thesis of Christian anthropology, namely, that man was created in God's image. Either/or: either man was created in God's image—and God has intestines!—or God lacks intestines and man is not like Him.

    The ancient Gnostics felt as I did at the age of five. In the second century, the great Gnostic master Valentinus resolved the damnable dilemma by claiming that Jesus "ate and drank, but did not defecate." Shit is a more onerous theological problem than is evil. Since God gave man freedom, we can, if need be, accept the idea that He is not responsible for man's crimes. The responsibility for shit, however, rests entirely with Him, the Creator of man.

    In the fourth century, Saint Jerome completely rejected the notion that Adam and Eve had sexual intercourse in Paradise. On the other hand, Johannes Scotus Erigena, the great ninth-century theologian, accepted the idea. He believed, moreover, that Adam's virile member could be made to rise like an arm or a leg, when and as its owner wished. We must not dismiss this fancy as the recurrent dream of a man obsessed with the threat of impotence. Erigena's idea has a different meaning. If it were possible to raise the penis by means of a simple command, then sexual excitement would have no place in the world. The penis would rise not because we are excited but because we order it to do so. What the great theologian found incompatible with Paradise was not sexual intercourse and the attendant pleasure; what he found incompatible with Paradise was excitement. Bear in mind: There was pleasure in Paradise, but no excitement.

    Erigena's argument holds the key to a theological justification (in other words, a theodicy) of shit. As long as man was allowed to remain in Paradise, either (like Valentinus' Jesus) he did not defecate at all, or (as would seem more likely) he did not look upon shit as something repellent. Not until after God expelled man from Paradise did He make him feel disgust. Man began to hide what shamed him, and by the time he removed the veil, he was blinded by a great light. Thus, immediately after his introduction to disgust, he was introduced to excitement. Without shit (in both the literal and figurative senses of the word), there would be no sexual love as we know it, accompanied by pounding heart and blinded senses.

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