Mea Culpa

Re: Coursera Course Fantasy and Science Fiction — New Submission, posted to Coursera Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dear Courteous Reader:

Shortly after the disaster at the Bay Pigs, President Kennedy began his press conference thusly: “Success has many fathers. Failure is an orphan. For all the blunders in Cuba, I take full responsibility.”

Here, now, I take full responsibility for my failure to read thoroughly the boundaries set forth by Dr.Rabkin. My original Essay (posted at does not come within a long country mile of meeting his instructions. Therefore I have withdrawn it and substituted this piece instead. (Do two wrongs make one right?)

But, Dear Reader, here is the main point: I do not want to be orphaned from this class. I promise to carefully review all submissions as outlined by Dr. Rabkin.

In support, I tender this fable:

There once was a diligent farmer who entrusted his son to trek to a far-off market where the boy was firmly instructed to buy a cow. “Here, son is our life’s savings. Get us a fat cow so we know we will always have milk.

Weeks later the boy returned with a few hens, a rooster and an aging but otherwise healthy horse. Enraged, the father threatened to banish his son from the household. “Please Father,” pleaded the son, “do not be so quick. It’s true our soup will be thin all next year. But the chickens will keep us from starving. The rooster will get us up early. And, if we follow what I learned about horses, soon we will have not just one cow, but many.

Forgiveness is easier to grant than permission. Here, I must ask for both. Please don’t orphan a well-meaning student who has a hard time following well-meant instructions. —

P.S. The “Dear Courteous Reader” salutation comes from Ben Franklin’s Way To Wealth. The parables there are, I say, without peer. Found at Enjoy!

About oregonhibbs

I'm passionate about improving access to education, worldwide, sailing, Duck football (I live in the shadow of the University of Oregon in Eugene) and connecting with people with ideas and work that "can change the world". With this in mind, I am the "Skipper" for Global Learn Day, which you can find out more about at OREGONHIBBS.COM ; Write to

Posted on July 29, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. AHHHH, now you’re talking! I’m not sure what Prof. Rabkin will think, but I was very very very tempted to write a little story to use as my contribution also. In the end, I did an essay – but I do think stories are a lot of fun. I hope they will put your essay happily into the big stew pot of all our contributions so that you will get responses from other people in class and will also get a chance to see some other students’ writing also. 🙂

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