Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Always Two Sides...

At the start of the Summer Semester, the Middlebury Language School held an opening convocation/ceremony in Mead Chapel. If Josef Pieper were alive and present he would have said, "told you so" since he wrote on the topic of modern man's futile attempt to obtain/encounter depth and meaning in empty secularized rituals.

The school's vice-president spoke about the important and beautiful work accomplished here each summer in helping students experience the riches of other cultures and crossing cultural and linguistic boundaries.

Fine. I agree. That's a worthwhile endeavor. But he failed to mention that the first language school, the German School, was founded in 1915.

Russian School: 1946
School of Arabic: 1982

The U.S. government needs speakers of these languages in crucial times and not simply for celebrating diversity of cultures. I didn't think much more about this until yesterday when two well dressed, smiling folks from the C.I.A. were meeting and greeting us students during lunch.

Always two sides to a story.

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