Much like Boris Karloff in the classic Frankenstein movie, I’ve attached electrodes to myself. One is on my left eyebrow, the other high on my right forehead. When I ﬂip the switch, I see a ﬂash of light, and a thousandth of an ampere of current surges through my head. The electrodes burn slightly. Some other practitioners of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation report increased focus, greater creativity, or relief from severe depression. I just feel weird. It reminds me of my ﬁrst earthquake. An earthquake is not quite like having your body shake, or your chair shake, or your house shake. The world shakes. The world, a ﬁxed frame of reference you’d always taken for granted, becomes unﬁxed. A milliamp through the brain is nowhere near as earth-shaking, but it’s just as weird. You know that feeling you have when an electric shock isn’t being applied to your brain? That feeling goes away, and with it one more assumption about the way life works.
Ed. note: After seeing this thread about a student’s unhappy experience with a class on rock and roll, I started a discussion with Seamus McGee, who has academic experience of his own in this area. He shared the following thoughts.
I’m curious about the department through which the course is offered, because that would strongly affect the approach. To be honest, most of these complaints seem trivial, but that’s only because I don’t have a sense of the larger methodological approach for the course, and so I don’t know if the complaints are grounded on the kinds of expectations that might be legitimate to have for this kind of class. Assuming it’s some general history of rock class, I don’t think the history of the formation of the Pistols is particularly important, even though it’s more complicated than either the student or professor seem to realize. On the other hand, it would be extremely important in a course taught through a different field, like, say, cultural studies, where most scholarship on punk takes place. I honestly don’t know why you’d want to spend much time on Zappa, though at the same time using Bizarre as your example for indie labels’ move into major label relationships doesn’t seem like a very good choice to me, although again, it depends on why and how you’re discussing that issue (i.e. whether you care about the politics of indie labels, which you usually wouldn’t for this kind of class).
Continue reading A critique of Rock School