Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thanksgiving Special "Blast From My Past": DIALOGUE

Hope that you and your family enjoy the holiday... and that 2009 FINALLY sees the completion of the "Golden Age" Disney Afternoon DVD releases!

This piece first appeared in issue #15 of the APA WTFB, released in February 1996. Original contents © 1996 Christopher E. Barat. Revised contents © 2001 Christopher E. Barat.
[Note: The first three lines of this thing are taken verbatim from an actual encounter that I recently had with a student. Rather than stewing about it, I've decided to have a little constructive fun with it.]
SCENE: A computer lab in the Virginia State University Mathematics Department. Dr. Barat and a New (Female) Student are both sitting at terminals, doing some work.
NEW STUDENT: Excuse me, are you a professor here?
DR. BARAT: Yes, my name is Dr. Barat. I teach in the Math Department.
NEW STUDENT: YICK! You know, I always hated math, 'cause I was never any good at it!
[Flash of an interdimensional gate opening: a large number of "Disney Afternoon" characters appear, to the sound of a thunderclap]
SCROOGE MCDUCK: Curse me kilts! We canna let this insult pass, can we, lassie?
GADGET HACKWRENCH: Golly, no! We've got to help our old friend, Chris!
DR. BARAT: What are you guys talking about?
SCROOGE: This student has joost insulted math, lad! Canna you respond by telling her how important math is to us Disney Afternoon characters?
DR. BARAT: Hmm, the comment was so remarkably inconsiderate that I was simply too stunned to think of that approach! Why don't you guys handle it -- I have to finish this syllabus.
SCROOGE: Gladly! Young lassie, wi'out a clear understanding of math, none of the Disney Afternoon business folks could keep their financial books in order!
PETE: Or cook 'em!
DAVID XANATOS: Exactly. An understanding of the intricacies of financial manipulation -- or, should I say, management -- requires a thorough grounding in algebra, calculus, and other types of mathematics.
OWEN: It would seem as though those who actually put businesses' plans into operation and oversee their day-to-day tasks need a firm grasp of mathematics, as well.
FENTON CRACKSHELL ["popping up" in typical fashion]: You can count on that!
REBECCA CUNNINGHAM: Yes, of course! I have to do all the meaningful work around Higher for Hire, so of course I had to pick up math along the way.
GADGET: Golly! And if you want to get into engineering, or inventing, or maybe even tinkering, you have to know something about math! Otherwise, your left-nozzled framistan won't have the proper quasi-lateral dimension to fit into your right-handed doodlethingie... or something. Wait, I can fix that...
GYRO GEARLOOSE: Don't worry if you can't get all those technical terms quite right, Gadget. We inventors still need to have a good, practical understanding of mathematics in order to purchase enough supplies, make adequate plans for building our inventions, and determine whether or not we can make a profit by building them!
NEW STUDENT: Gee! I thought that maybe if I majored in Engineering Technology, I could avoid taking all those math classes and just take Engineering classes.
GRUFFI GUMMI: You gotta face it, kid -- even if you want to get into a job like carpentry and home repair, you gotta know something about making measurements, and that's math.
KIT CLOUDKICKER: And if you think that a keen job like airplane navigation will get you out of math class -- forget it! Navigators have to learn just about as much math as anyone in order to figure out where they're going and how to get there.
LAUNCHPAD MCQUACK: Ya mean, I've been doin' math all this time and didn't even know it?
DARKWING DUCK: Quite true, LP! Even we crusading canards have to conquer calculus! Otherwise, I'd never be able to figure out how to maximize the number of 8 x 12 glossies I can produce to spread my fame around St. Canard, given limitations on film budget, exposure size, camera aperture size, and...
DR. BARAT: Enough's enough, Darkwing! If that didn't convince her of the virtues of math, probably nothing will.
PRINCESS JASMINE: If nothing else, she should think about taking mathematics as part of a well-rounded education. We in Agrabah should know -- we and the other Arab cities are busy helping to preserve Greek mathematics right now.
NEW STUDENT: Hmm...I still don't know if math courses are worth it...
BONKERS D. BOBCAT: Kid, kid, kid, of COURSE it isn't worth it. Why, when I got to be a Toon Cop, I didn't need to know a THING about math!

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