School of the New Vague: Lecture 1

Welcome, class!
Please find your seat with your ass!

We start the semester with this most important topic
And like everything we teach here
We’re unclear as to our opinion on it

Brave/Stupid (this is written on the board)

Opposite sides of the same coin?

How do you feel about thought experiments? Here’s one:

Your bomber was shot down over Nazi Germany, you’ve been captured and you’re now a prisoner in a Stalag Luft —

Yes, Todd, assume it is WW2 and you’re —

Uh, pick any rank you want, Todd and —

Sure. You can be a lieutenant-colonel bombardier, Todd. Whatever. It’s your thought experiment. Be a damned viceroy as long as you’re in a Stalag Luft in Germany.

ANYWAY. Conditions at the camp are awful – Nazis, beatings, interrogations, awful food. Will you survive the war? Hard to tell. Your buddies are sick, guys are dying.

Some prisoners are digging a tunnel. Escape attempt, and you’re invited! However, to get across enemy territory you’ll have to dress as a civilian and —

Sure, Todd. You can dress as a girl —

Yes, a buxom German farm girl is fine. Not sure it will fool anyone but you can make it work, Todd. I have faith.

And if you’re dressed as a civilian and captured, you’ll be shot as a spy.

So, is it brave to try to escape, or stupid?

Or, is it brave to stay, or stupid?

Is it a race to the finish line, or from the starting line?

Oh really, Todd? So, that’s what’s important? That’s interesting —

Sure, Elke. Sorry Todd. Err, Elke. Das ist ein guter Name.


You’ve met me somewhere in Montreal. Perhaps I took your picture! Please send me a message to say hi, or get a copy.

Vous m’avez rencontré quelque part à Montréal. Peut-être que j’ai pris ta photo ! Veuillez m’envoyer un message pour me dire bonjour ou en obtenir une copie.