While outlining the requirements for our first critical essay of the
term, I notice a hand rising in world-historical time at the back of
“What if I’m ideologically opposed to revision?” asks the red-
headed boy in a “New Slaves” t-shirt.
A city bus unloads its pageantry outside the window. A handful of
sparrows erupts from the equestrian statue on the quad. I remember
Sun Tzu’s advice to humanities instructors, which I review on
index cards at the outset of each academic quarter.
Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.
“What exactly is your ideology?” I ask, stroking my beard.
“I’m a Zen Naxalite crypto-Objectivist,” replies my interlocutor.
“How about you?”
I have no choice but to improvise. “Pro-recycling, anti-genocide?”
A voice from beyond my peripheral vision says, “You’re nothing
but a pseudo-Kantian neoliberal mirage with meta-narcissistic
“No, I’m not.”
“Yes, you are.”
“No, I'm not.”
“Yes. You are.”