Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Meeting Marc Shell at Harvard

As you can see Marc Shell has changed a bit over the years. I guess this is what happens when you become a professor of comparative literature at Harvard University. Marc even has his own wikipedia entry, and of course he stutters. He recently wrote a book on stuttering, literature and his own experience called Stutter.
I met up with him on my East Coast stop-over from my California trip back to Europe. Boston was my first stop. The day started badly. I had arranged two meetings with two professors and they both canceled at the last minute, but then agreed to meet up upon my insistence. In the morning, I had a meeting with a professor at Harvard Business School who also wrote a book on venture capital, like myself. Mine is called Exposed to the J-curve. In the afternoon, I was supposed to meet up with Marc at 4:30. In the mean-time, I was sitting in a coffee shop at Harvard Square soaking in the atmosphere with free WiFi. And I played chess against the scrubby "chess master" outside in order to uncover him, but much to my surprise he was a true chess master with international rating and I lost all my games and money! I also have international rating and played in the World Junior Championship for Luxembourg but I am not at master level. Then I went to the English department, but Marc Shell didn't show up. I was just about to leave when the secretary run after me and called me back.

We had a good discussion on stuttering and on stuttering research. We especially talked about how more money could be channeled for stuttering research. Though I have to admit that at first it was a bit surreal to watch Marc Shell in action when the discussion turned from daily talk to intellectual. His words were chosen in such a way that my mind went blank. I mean I heard his words but didn't understand what he was saying. When science meets the arts... I noticed that his words are more loaded with specific meaning. So when I say functional I mean something that has a function, but he probably gives it a more specific meaning in the context of a given theory. He also comes up with many interesting subtle connections and ideas which make logical sense but are often not necessarily of relevance to explain the basic aspects of a phenomena.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Hey Tom--did he make things sound more dramatic and complicated than they really are?