Last week, in English 204, “Yes, No, and Why Not?: Questions in Books” Professor Charles (Charlie) Hofstadt, shocked his students when he said “The author wants you to be confused. He wants you to ask ‘What the fuck is going on here?’”
Students reported feeling as if a bolt of electricity had shot through the room, and kids who previously hadn’t been paying attention sat up straight in their seats, captivated. It seemed as if no one could fully process what they had just witnessed.
“At first I was bored,” reported Jessica Thomas ‘23. “But then Professor Ho- sorry, Charlie, said ‘fuck,’ and I realized holy shit, this guy gets me. He said a swear, but he’s also a professor. And I think that rocks.”
Hofstadt, who wears jeans, is known as the fun one in the English department because he puts cartoons on the door to his office and listens to The Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
“Some professors maintain a really rigid class environment,” said Hofstadt, sitting criss-cross applesauce on his desk after taking all the stuff off it. “But that’s not me. I like to keep it real but also fun. That’s why I like to let it slip occasionally that I know my students drink. ”
Hofstadt, who will mark students down a half letter grade on their papers if they don’t call him Charlie, makes sure to tell his students that he has a dog, and that he’ll bring it to class maybe if they ‘actually fucking do the reading, haha.”
His students have described him using words like “electric,” “life-changing” and “the closest this campus has to Mick Jagger.”
“He’s not like any other professor I’ve ever had,” said Adam Vanderheim ‘21. “One time in office hours I asked him if my paper made sense and he said ‘I don’t give a fuck if it makes sense. Faulkner doesn’t make sense and I teach him. We should smoke pot together sometime.’ After that, I knew this man would change my life.”
Hofstadt is back after being on sabbatical, where he worked on a book called Shakespeare’s Sonnets and Microdosing.
“The thing people don’t get about poetry is that it’s like rap,” Hofstadt said to us while sitting backwards on a chair, even after we said we had to go. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day. Fucking incredible. Biggie could never do that.”
His class next semester, entitled “Who’s Gay in The Bible?” is likely to be overenrolled, with 47% of English majors planning on taking it with the hopes of hearing a professor say a bad word.
“Teaching is like skateboarding,” said Hofstadt doing one of those cool pen tricks and then a backflip. “Sometimes you fall, and sometimes you pop a huge fucking ollie and it’s sick. My job is to help all my students become like Tony Hawk.”