Friday, March 20, 2009

Remembering William Mitchell

The Mayor sends an email, from an old student of William Mitchell.

He didn't like dumb questions in class. He expected you to know the basics and more of economic theory and such.

For the PS457 mentioned above, the grade that arrived on the report card just had to be wrong, so I wrote a letter to Prof. Mitchell and asked him to review it. Very shortly after I received the reply which I saved and include with the following email (scanned). It was high praise to get a B+ in his class!

I received an A- in "Interest Groups" (PS476) but a C+ in "Inequality and Public Policy" (PS472).

Many years later I worked in Hollywood at Imaginary Forces. IF did the titles for the "Band of Brothers" HBO series. I was part of that design team and wrote Prof. Mitchell and asked him for some creative consulting. He was very pleased to chime in with information on WWII troops, uniforms, gear, etc, and he sent some very cool historical items for us to work with. He said he was very sorry to say that he couldn't send his original WWII uniform to us, it was just too precious to him! It blew us all away when we realized he'd kept it all those years.

Lastly, I recall a local newspaper ad that featured Dr. Mitchell in a Mercedes-Benz ad (for a local MB dealer). It quoted him as saying he loved the best things in life, like a Mercedes--and also how women liked HIM in his Benz! The ad literally quoted him on that and it was sheer brilliance! There he was, standing tall and proud like the paratrooper he was, next to a silver Benz, saying how he loved his fast German cars and lady admirers. He may have fought the Germans, but he had no problem with their cars after the war!

What a guy--there weren't many like him and damned if students who avoided his classes didn't miss out on a helluva unique brand of political science education at U of Oregon.

Yes, that's right. If you are interested in the problem of training elite troops, take a look at a book that Bill Mitchell edited: The Making of A Paratrooper