One of my neighbors/classmates changed his first and last name to reflect the names of  his two favorite military generals.  I won’t tell you what his name is, but I’ll give you a hint.  His first name is the same as a character from Silence of the Lambs.  His last name is the same as the last name of my least favorite president.  You may think this is a rather weird thing to do.  However, he is in the Philosophy Department.

If I changed my name based on my favorite military generals it would be Patton Patton.

I am a big fan of General George S. Patton.  To be clear, I am actually a fan of George C. Scott’s portrayal of  General George S. Patton in the movie Patton.  Don’t believe me?  This is what’s hanging up next to my diploma in my office:

Why am I a big fan of Patton?

Real Patton

Patton demanded respect and gave it to those who deserved it.  He despised weakness.  He was intelligent, uncompromising, and driven beyond the capacity of most people.  He knew how to lead and get the best and most from people under his command.  He could motivate people to do the impossible.  He could get things done.  He didn’t tolerate failure.

The real Patton did this:

In 1944, Patton assumed command of the U.S. Third Army, which under his leadership advanced farther, captured more enemy prisoners, and liberated more territory in less time than any other army in military history.

(I decided I’m allowed to quote Wikipedia in my blog post and treat it as fact)

Why do I prefer the movie Patton over the actual Patton?

Better Patton

The movie Patton is the mythologized version.  He is legendary.  He exists beyond the flaws of real life.  With the movie Patton I can ignore the real Patton’s racism (he made a few comments about black people and Asians that would make a lot of people uncomfortable today), disregard for psychological disorders on the battlefield (He once famously slapped a soldier because he thought the soldier was a coward.  The soldier had malaria.), and mortality (He died from a spinal injury received in a minor car accident).

Better Patton said this:

I use Patton as a personal pedagogical tool.  He gets me pumped up and ready to get into the classroom.  Before each semester I sit down and watch the movie.  This is all I need to prepare for a semester of teaching.  If you have any self-doubt or uncertainty in your teaching abilities I suggest my patented Patton 101 course.  The entire course consists of watching the movie Patton and to stop whining.  Stop questioning yourself.  Most of your students are unmotivated morons anyway.  Why should you lose any sleep over them?

I am awesome.