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A question about a sentence from "Liberal Arts for the

 
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laiyuda



Joined: 10 Oct 2003
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 1:39 am    Post subject: A question about a sentence from "Liberal Arts for the Reply with quote

Dear all,

I got a question about a sentence from "Liberal Arts for the 21st Century":

Liberal arts is changing faster than ever, but not fast enough to accomodate the increasing pace of history. We cannot make ideas run the gauntlet of centuries before admitting them to academia.

What does the underlined sentence mean? I don't quite understand by "make ideas run the gauntlet of centuries before...."

Sad

Thank you very much.
Steven
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sbourque



Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 158
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To "run a gauntlet" is when someone runs quickly between 2 lines of people who beat him with sticks as he runs--in the figurative sense it means to undergo a strenuous and painful test. (The runner must make it all the way through without collapsing, otherwise I guess he is beaten to death.) So, your text means that good ideas should be adopted without delay, the implication being that academia is very very slow to adopt new ideas.
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rusmeister



Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Defense of the Gauntlet:

Actually, it says, 'ideas', not 'good ideas'. Taken as is it says we should be experimental - fine to a point, but unless we're building on what we have learned, we're re-inventing the wheel (at best).
Ideas SHOULD be made to run a gauntlet. The ones that have run the "gauntlet of history" work.
We know that we should teach grammar, and we know that we should teach usage, thanks to that "gauntlet".
Don't knock tradition altogether. In other words, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Having said that, go try the new idea once in a while! Make it run the gauntlet. But after you get egg on your face a few times, you'll appreciate the gauntlet better.
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