Tomorrow, before dawn, I shall set out for RDU airport to start a new adventure in my long life. On a day on which the temperature threatens to hit 95 in the Big Apple, I shall fly to LaGuardia, catch a cab to Morningside Heights, and after touching base in various offices and having lunch with Todd Gitlin in the Pulitzer building café, I will go upstairs with him to launch Sociology GU4600, “The Mystifications of Social Reality.” I feel a little as I did in 1958 when I went to the first meeting of my section of Social Sciences 5 to begin surveying two millennia of European history for a class of Harvard preppies who had learned a good deal more Roman history at Choate, Groton, and Philips Academy than I had managed to swot up in the preceding several months.
Columbia these days turns out to be less efficiently run than a V. A. hospital, if that can be imagined. Over the last sixty years, I have one way or another taught at close to two dozen colleges and universities, and Columbia is by several orders of magnitude less well run than any of them, private or public, big or small, rich or poor. Thus it is that as students begin the first day of the new semester, they will find that our course [alone among all the others] is listed on line as meeting in a room TBD. We shall see whether anyone shows up.
Every Tuesday this fall, save Election Day, I shall fly up to New York, sometimes returning that night, sometimes staying over. This means that there will be a regular hiatus in my blog postings, but I will keep you informed as to how it all goes.
Wish me luck.