Information

On whether the information we exchange is tolerated or understood.

I only give as much information as you can handle.

I had a high school geometry teacher—who also coached wrestling, worked on the football team and was rumored to have been struck by lightning—who explained what “grading on a curve” meant and if I got it right, it basically implied that if the average score on a test of their design was very low, it meant the class was too hard, but if everyone tested high, it was an indication of his class being too easy. The teacher would “fix” the grades accordingly. If the tests were so easy that everyone got a high grade, wouldn’t it stand to reason the tests should be improved, and not the grading rubric? For that matter, why couldn’t everyone just get their merry little grade of 100% and let’s all be on our way, right? And sure, if everyone failed, then no one failed. I can understand that. I was made to understood that there were only so many people who were allowed to have perfect grades, or the grades would not matter.

When I taught (very very briefly at a private art school), it was implied by the powers that be, that everyone got an A or a B. We weren’t grading quality or performance or even attendance, but rather, how seriously these kids understood that they paid tuition.

As a music major at a school where clothing was optional and grades didn’t exist, the closest to a graded adjudication I recall was where you were positioned in a lineup of performances. That’s all I remember. Would I be the first one on or the last?

I only give as much information as you can handle.

In the publishing industry, I learned that the difference between reading market and reading levels. Writing could be designed for a level of literacy, but it could also be tested for tolerance by caregivers. For instance, would they tolerate the word bitch in a sixth grade reading level? And what is an adult fiction anyway, because I would’ve understood The Corrections in the 8th grade but why would I care?

How much information can you handle? What do you want to read? What is your tolerance for juvenile expressions of emotion and how abstract can a metaphor be, before it is concrete poetry? Why doesn’t contemporary art make sense to my mother? Do I want someone to tell me how to eat this food? 

I only give as much information as you can handle but god I am going to try my hardest to push you to the limit of tolerance, and if I have found your limit, I just hope I know enough to read that too.