Tag Archives: fayetteville

Save the Critical Thinkers!

UAFMy new office is in the heart of Seaver College on the Pepperdine University campus, and after close to a decade in a law school setting it is interesting to be around undergraduate students on a daily basis.  This has led me down memory lane.

I earned my undergraduate degree a full quarter century ago at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  My specific bachelor’s degree was in secondary education, but I took more history classes than any other subject, and my favorite was an upper-division course titled “History of the American Indian” with Dr. Elliott West.  I never carried on a personal conversation with Dr. West but have often declared him as my favorite professor of all time.  As proof, I recall showing up to class one day to discover a sign on the door informing us that class had been canceled — and feeling disappointment.  Even then I realized that any professor who was good enough to cause a college student to be disappointed when class was canceled was something special.

Dr. West was a brilliant scholar who knew his stuff, but he was also an engaging and entertaining lecturer who kept us on the edge of our seats eager to hear what he had to say.  One of his unique approaches was to flat out lie.  That’s right, lie.  Dr. West would intersperse his lectures with outlandish statements that sometimes took us a second to realize were outlandish statements, which had the beautiful effect of keeping our slippery attention.

He told us that he had formerly used that technique with freshmen but abandoned it after one occasion when he was explaining how President Lincoln used to wander around Washington wearing a negligee when a freshman finally raised his hand at the back of the room.  Relieved, Dr. West called on the student who then asked, “How do you spell negligee?”

Given today’s never-ending avalanche of information via social media and news outlets more interested in viewers than objectivity, it makes my brain hurt to wonder how many lies we believe each day without batting an eye.

Critical thinking is an endangered species.  I may not have time to verify everything I hear in this Information Age, but I can sure commit to not believing everything.  I learned that in college.  

This Could Be Our Year

After some time apart, which we both agreed was a good idea, Football Season has come back into my life.  We are both excited.

My team of choice hails from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and is known as the Razorbacks, or more colloquially, “the Hogs.”  Well, team of “choice” is probably wrong: the Razorbacks are mine as my alma mater and as a natural born citizen of the State of Arkansas.  I bleed Razorback red.  (Sure, everyone bleeds that color; I’m just proud of it.)

This could be our year.  Okay, we all know that it’s not going to be our year.  We are (generously) picked in the middle of the pack in just our half of the conference.  Five of our twelve games are against preseason ranked teams—and we are unranked.  And I should admit that it has never been our year, at least not since 1964, which was the year the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty.

But watch out Louisiana Tech!  Razorback Stadium will be rocking on Saturday afternoon, decked out in blazing red and calling the Hogs, and Razorback Nation including fans from Fayetteville to transplants in of all places Malibu, California, will tune in and dream that somehow, against all odds, this turns out to be our year.  Knowing that it won’t.

So what exact flavor of stupidity is this sport?  It seems to be an annual recipe for national depression redeemed only in part by a shared hatred of Alabama.  Oh, but it is not.  Most definitely not.  No, in the pursuit of the lofty prize that only one (darn Alabama) will receive, we will experience the most amazing moments.  Guaranteed.  Every year.  I have never experienced a Razorback national championship football season, but I was there for the Miracle on Markham in 2002.  I was there in 2007 when we took down top-ranked LSU in Death Valley in multiple overtimes.  What memories!

There is one lesson that I tried to instill in my daughters using my very best fatherly-advice voice: Have a goal in life and go for it, but don’t get too caught up in the destination.  Wonderful things happen on the journey toward our crazy dreams.

#WPS