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Does Joe Simpson deserve this?

letap73letap73 Posts: 1,608
edited June 2012 in The bottom bracket
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  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    edited May 2012
    They dubbed him a “crevasse w
    ”, condemned his work as “boring” and even claimed he would lead them to fail their exams.

    Is that it? Kids forced to read a book make inconsequential comments on website populated by idiots, reported on by a newspaper (getting its revenue by generating stories when the real stories have run out).
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 25,182
    Indeed - I'm surprised it's and English Lit book though...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    I'd imagine that kids will slag any author off they are forced to read. It's just now they get to publish their childish whining and make themselves idiots in public in ways my generation could never have dreamed ot! Ultimately, Touching the Void is a cracking read and I'd probably be bored to know any child who couldn't see that. But, on the other hand, I think Joe Simpson is known to be a bit of a prat and I don't think he's done himself a service by retaliating here.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Wirral_paulWirral_paul Posts: 2,476
    "The book and the film were as accurate as they could be and they don't come anywhere near describing what it was like."

    Hmmmmm - maybe the kids were actually on to something!! The above doesnt say too much about the quality of his book really. Sounds like he's gone out of his way to make himself a target for all those kids jumping on the bandwagon with some of those replies too!!

    No real sympathy given the story as described there!!
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,386
    It's been a long, long, long time since I had to worry about English exams but the way I remember it is that you had to critique the book you were to read.
    Surely if the book is as bad as the students are making out, then their job should be made easier?

    Sounds like baiting children jumping on the bandwagon and him swallowing hook, line and sinker.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • usedtobefastusedtobefast Posts: 145
    It's been a while since I read it but a cracking true life adventure tale - still can't work out if he's the luckiest or unluckiest bloke around. Saying this however it was never going to win a Pulitzer for the quality of writing but that's not why most people read it. I suspect this book was chosen for an exam text because it would be less dull to most teenagers than Shakespeare, Keats, Tolstoy etc and therefore a higher chance that more kids would actually read it.

    I've read most of his others and one of the most memorable moments is when he describes having laser surgery on his eyes (I think it's in Game of Ghosts), it makes you wince.
    Trainee BC level 2 coach ... and that's offical (30th June 2013)

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  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,299 Lives Here
    daviesee wrote:
    It's been a long, long, long time since I had to worry about English exams but the way I remember it is that you had to critique the book you were to read.
    Surely if the book is as bad as the students are making out, then their job should be made easier?


    That's not really how it works.

    A critique is not a criticism, nor does a critique require an opinion about the book.
  • afx237viafx237vi Posts: 12,630
    Reading the article, he sounds equally as juvenile as the kids complaining about the book.
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,386
    That's not really how it works.

    A critique is not a criticism, nor does a critique require an opinion about the book.
    No. But having an opinion makes it easier than doing a critique on something you don't care about.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • shouldbeinbedshouldbeinbed Posts: 2,660
    good job John Steinbeck had carked it before I had to trudge through The Pearl :twisted:
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    Would it be fair to guess that most books set for coursework these days get the same barrage of online inanity, ranging from the petty and puerile to the precociously pretentious?
    I am surprised that Simpson was provoked enough to respond. My guess is that climbers can take climbing ever so seriously, not just because it is indeed a matter of life and death, but also because of the pseudo-spirituality that they imbue it with. So if anyone dares to trivialise it, it can be met with the sort of reaction the vatican would give to someone writing graffiti on the altar in St Pete's.
  • Cleat EastwoodCleat Eastwood Posts: 7,508
    I suppose he could get the law involved...but...well....would he have a leg to stand on. I thank you. :D
    The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns
    momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.
  • nickelnickel Posts: 476
    Is it me or do the kids seem to think he set out writing his book with the express purpose of making it part of the GCSE syllabus just so he could annoy them? When I did my GCSEs it was Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.

    Set in the American depression, largely about death and culminating the death of one of main characters. I'd take Simpson's struggle for survival any day.

    I set fire to my copy of Of Mice and Men straight after the exam with a blow torch, but did I blame Steinbeck for writing the bloody book? Of course not.
  • Cleat EastwoodCleat Eastwood Posts: 7,508
    thats because deep down you recognise the book as the treasure of world literature that it is.

    Whats interesting is that you can see Of Mice and Joes book were chosen - emotionally charged and symbolic of mans innate nature to overcome adversity so what I'd like to ask the kids is- if they found the point cobblers what book would they like to read - what qualities do the yoof see as emblematising human nature? I thank you.
    The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns
    momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.
  • nickelnickel Posts: 476
    thats because deep down you recognise the book as the treasure of world literature that it is.

    Whats interesting is that you can see Of Mice and Joes book were chosen - emotionally charged and symbolic of mans innate nature to overcome adversity so what I'd like to ask the kids is- if they found the point cobblers what book would they like to read - what qualities do the yoof see as emblematising human nature? I thank you.

    I think in my case having covered the book constantly for 6 months and having read it cover to cover 4 times with annotations on every single page I was simply fed up of it.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    They should consider themselves lucky; I was made to wade through Far From the Madding Crowd. To date Thomas Hardy has failed to respond to any of my abusive tweets.

    And no, Joe Simpson doesn't deserve that kind of censored . He's a mountaineer first and foremost. I'm glad he wrote his books, and as a former climber myself, enjoyed reading them enormously.

    Not a good choice for an Eng Lit syllabus though...
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,299 Lives Here
    daviesee wrote:
    That's not really how it works.

    A critique is not a criticism, nor does a critique require an opinion about the book.
    No. But having an opinion makes it easier than doing a critique on something you don't care about.

    Meh.

    Teacher gives you a critique. You learn it.

    Teacher tells you how to put said critique into an essay/answer. You learn that.

    Job done. A's all round, everyone's happy.

    apart from the mail, which will say things were much tougher 50 years ago.
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,386
    Meh.

    Teacher gives you a critique. You learn it.

    Teacher tells you how to put said critique into an essay/answer. You learn that.

    Job done. A's all round, everyone's happy.

    apart from the mail, which will say things were much tougher 50 years ago.

    Seriously :?:
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,299 Lives Here
    daviesee wrote:
    Meh.

    Teacher gives you a critique. You learn it.

    Teacher tells you how to put said critique into an essay/answer. You learn that.

    Job done. A's all round, everyone's happy.

    apart from the mail, which will say things were much tougher 50 years ago.

    Seriously :?:

    Pretty much.

    I took a good hard look at the mark scheme for a few exams I took (history) and worked out you didn't need to write in continuous prose, only full sentences.

    Off I went, writing little bullet point sentences - saved myself a lot of writing time.

    Got full marks. *hero*

    There were other examples at AS level with essays whereby you'd just lean two essays off by heart. All you had to do was re-arrange one of the essays depending on the title emphasis and you'd hit all the marks needed in the mark scheme.

    Exams are a game. Helps to know the rulebook inside out. Giving a sh!t about what you're writing about is probably more problem than help. Giving a sh!t about doing well in the exam will serve you well.
  • shouldbeinbedshouldbeinbed Posts: 2,660
    keef66 wrote:
    They should consider themselves lucky; I was made to wade through Far From the Madding Crowd. To date Thomas Hardy has failed to respond to any of my abusive tweets.


    With you on that one. We had that in 4th year and went on strike to get a different book a couple of lessons in (with the teachers quiet support) it was the most turgid and tedious 70 odd pages I've ever wasted my life plodding through. We got to read King Henry V instead
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,386
    Pretty much.

    I took a good hard look at the mark scheme for a few exams I took (history) and worked out you didn't need to write in continuous prose, only full sentences.

    Off I went, writing little bullet point sentences - saved myself a lot of writing time.

    Got full marks. *hero*

    There were other examples at AS level with essays whereby you'd just lean two essays off by heart. All you had to do was re-arrange one of the essays depending on the title emphasis and you'd hit all the marks needed in the mark scheme.

    Exams are a game. Helps to know the rulebook inside out. Giving a sh!t about what you're writing about is probably more problem than help. Giving a sh!t about doing well in the exam will serve you well.
    In which case the Daily Mail have it right :cry:
    There is more to getting an education than passing exams and if the above is true then the education system is failing. I read reports of how employers are finding it hard to recruit young people with basic skills. The above explains why. :cry:
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 25,182
    Have to agree with Rick here....If you want to know what soemone knows, set them an essay,if you want to know how fast someone can write or how well they can play the system, set an exam.

    I wrote down everything my teacher said for my GCSE english and english Lit books in the margin, then come the exam just scribbled it all down as fast as possible - A's in both! I know jack all about how to properly critique a book, hence why I read cycling autobiographies so much!

    Now maybe I'd like to know but as a 15/16 yr old trying to get 10 A's, I just did nt have the time to care...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,299 Lives Here
    daviesee wrote:
    Pretty much.

    I took a good hard look at the mark scheme for a few exams I took (history) and worked out you didn't need to write in continuous prose, only full sentences.

    Off I went, writing little bullet point sentences - saved myself a lot of writing time.

    Got full marks. *hero*

    There were other examples at AS level with essays whereby you'd just lean two essays off by heart. All you had to do was re-arrange one of the essays depending on the title emphasis and you'd hit all the marks needed in the mark scheme.

    Exams are a game. Helps to know the rulebook inside out. Giving a sh!t about what you're writing about is probably more problem than help. Giving a sh!t about doing well in the exam will serve you well.
    In which case the Daily Mail have it right :cry:
    There is more to getting an education than passing exams and if the above is true then the education system is failing. I read reports of how employers are finding it hard to recruit young people with basic skills. The above explains why. :cry:

    No. The mail's saying exams are easier.

    They're obviously not.

    Just kids are wising up to the fact it's ridiculously competitive out there, so they're going to focus on giving themselves the best chance. Learning stuff you don't need for the exam is a waste of time for them - rightly so. If anything, that's pretty reflective of work ;).

    My 6th form put on 'drop in' classes at lunch time every day, focussed on purely exam technique. Whether that was revision, things people find difficult, particularly issues/problems that students tend to struggle with in exams etc

    They were totally voluntary but they were regularly 20-30 of us in there every lunch time. This is what makes me quite sad when I read those mail articles. The grades are going up because kids are working hard at it.

    The exams are no harder - I know because my mother sets exams and they're as hard as they were 20 years ago. They have to be. It's just kids know they're not going to have a hope in hell unless they smash the exams out of the park. It's not that the kids are having an easier life as papers suggest - they're working harder earlier.

    When I look at the uni application process my parents went through in the '70s, to mine in the late '00s, it's totally unbelievable to me how easy it was for them. Totally unbelievable.

    As for all these reports of graduates being rubbish when the turn up to university - my mother has been lecturing at Cambridge for 20 years now - and she's convinced the standard of student she has now, in terms of preparation, work ethic and attitude is noticeably better now than it was when she started.
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,386
    No. The mail's saying exams are easier.

    They're obviously not.

    That depends on how the Mail writes their stories. I haven't read them.
    If they are reporting that the exams are easier that may or may not be true as far as I know. Your mother says that they are not so I will bow to better knowledge.

    My point (and maybe the Mails?) is that if students are being prepared to pass exams as outlined above, then what are they learning? From what is written above, they are not even learning how to research a subject, far less know the subject. Surely this is more important long term for the student than passing an exam verbatim and then forgetting it?

    I think we are a long way from Kansas* Toto :wink:

    *OT
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,299 Lives Here
    daviesee wrote:
    No. The mail's saying exams are easier.

    They're obviously not.

    That depends on how the Mail writes their stories. I haven't read them.
    If they are reporting that the exams are easier that may or may not be true as far as I know. Your mother says that they are not so I will bow to better knowledge.

    My point (and maybe the Mails?) is that if students are being prepared to pass exams as outlined above, then what are they learning? From what is written above, they are not even learning how to research a subject, far less know the subject. Surely this is more important long term for the student than passing an exam verbatim and then forgetting it?

    I think we are a long way from Kansas* Toto :wink:

    *OT

    If you want a student to learn to research a subject, make sure they're at University. They'll learn that there. I became a historian when I studied it at University, not because I did a bit at A level.

    School in terms of education is about passing exams. You get set a target, a goal, and given explicit ways to achieve it. In that respect, it's excellent preparation for work. After all, you get given a task, you learn to make sure you know exactly what they're looking for, and you learn to focus all your resources into achieving that. Not doing anything else superfluous.

    The better teachers / pupils will learn enough so that they're better prepared for the next stage. My teachers were good enough that we finished the syllabus so early we did some AS work when we were at GCSE, and the work ethic and emphasis on taking responsibility for our own learning at 6th form put us in good stead for University - but it's still goal orientated.

    That's the way society is nowadays. You want a free market where there is significant competition, people will become more efficient due to competition. Students and teachers are now more efficient at exams than they were. It's pointless learning a lot at A level if you come out with Bs instead of As.

    I don't really see a credible alternative. It's the way all schools are going across the developed world.
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,386
    I don't really see a credible alternative. It's the way all schools are going across the developed world.

    I guess that is where we diverge.
    To me, going to university is where you go for further education and to specialise. I think we will agree so far.
    However, to me going to university should only be for a percentage of students. I won't pin a number but definately the minority. For the majority of students, high school is the end game. They finish school and look for a job.
    If they haven't learned anything other than outlined in posts above then they are not going to be prepared for the big bad world as adults.
    PS:- For what it is worth (Family and social, not professional), I only know one person long term unemployed and that is her choice. I only know one person who went to university and he didn't graduate (Clever but too much social, too little effort). He is also the only person with an unsettled career and no path. University is not the be all and end all.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,299 Lives Here
    daviesee wrote:
    I don't really see a credible alternative. It's the way all schools are going across the developed world.

    I guess that is where we diverge.
    To me, going to university is where you go for further education and to specialise. I think we will agree so far.
    However, to me going to university should only be for a percentage of students. I won't pin a number but definitely the minority. For the majority of students, high school is the end game. They finish school and look for a job.
    If they haven't learned anything other than outlined in posts above then they are not going to be prepared for the big bad world as adults.
    PS:- For what it is worth (Family and social, not professional), I only know one person long term unemployed and that is her choice. I only know one person who went to university and he didn't graduate (Clever but too much social, too little effort). He is also the only person with an unsettled career and no path. University is not the be all and end all.

    It's different now. My office is a good example. None of the bosses went to university, yet, when they're hiring people for their junior positions, they won't hire anyone who doesn't have a degree from a top 10 university.

    Nowadays, a degree just gets your CV read by HR. When my parents were growing up, university got you a job.

    That's the difference. So, so so many jobs for people out of education (i.e. no proper work experience) require a degree just to get a look in. For sure, once you're on the job ladder, your degree increasingly becomes irrelevant, but it's that first step which is so difficult.
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,386
    It's different now. My office is a good example. None of the bosses went to university, yet, when they're hiring people for their junior positions, they won't hire anyone who doesn't have a degree from a top 10 university.
    .
    Which begs the question - What is the future for those who can't/won't go to Uni? Or don't graduate? Full time dole?
    PS:- The guy I know who failed at Uni has worked full time. Lots of jobs and no career path but no dole.
    This thread worries me for the future of my nieces, nephews and grandchildren; none of whom are likely to go to Uni. :cry:
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,299 Lives Here
    daviesee wrote:
    It's different now. My office is a good example. None of the bosses went to university, yet, when they're hiring people for their junior positions, they won't hire anyone who doesn't have a degree from a top 10 university.
    .
    Which begs the question - What is the future for those who can't/won't go to Uni? Or don't graduate? Full time dole?

    That's why "everyone" does go to university, despite papers and top tier students mocking their degrees!

    People talk about it being a waste that 'everyone' goes to university, yet they don't understand what motivates everyone to go. They think it's because they want to doss about, but that's patently not. Fees were already £3,000 a year when I was there, plus living costs (and uni has strict rules on the hours you can work a job), and now they're £9,000. My debt leaving was £20k, and now fees are 6k higher.

    There was a small drop off of students who now can't afford to go/put off, but there are still enormous amounts applying - and a lot of them won't be straight A students. Why? Because they know a degree gets your CV seen.

    I would comment about people without degrees but to be honest, I have no experience with any one of my friends not going, nor, do I know much about jobs that haven't required a degree. I imagine there are plenty out there.
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,386
    That's why "everyone" does go to university, despite papers and top tier students mocking their degrees!

    Strange.
    I have a nephew and a niece both leaving school this summer. Neither are going to Uni. Neither will get a degree.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
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