Childishness and condescension on campus

Guess what this lecture is about. I’ll give you a buck if you can do it just by reading this description:

“This lecture theorizes oscillating relations between disciplinary, pre-emptive, and increasingly prehensive forms of power that shape human and non-human materialities in Palestine. Calculation, computing, informational technologies, surveillance, and militarization are all facets of prehensive control. Further, the saturation of spatial and temporal stratum in Palestine demonstrates the use of technologies of measure to manufacture a “remote control” occupation, one that produces a different version of Israeli “home invasions” through the maiming and stunting of population”.

Give up? It’s about how Jews suck. And they’re harvesting organs of Palestinians. And stunting their growth by poisoning them. And lots of other bad shit, too. The lecture was given at Vassar College. The Daily News (OK, I get it – consider the source) calls it Hatred on the Hudson.

Vassar is one of the most expensive colleges in the country. A lot of kids are going into debt to get a degree at a time when the value of that degree in the job market is more in question. At the same time, kids are learning less and less.

A recent ACTA-commissioned survey found that more than one-third of college graduates could not place the Civil War in a correct 20-year span or identify Franklin Roosevelt as the architect of the New Deal; that 58 percent did not know that the Battle of the Bulge occurred in World War II; and that nearly half did not know the lengths of the terms of U.S. senators and representatives.

Yet this nutty woman is given a platform to mold young minds. I guess as long as the message is smothered in that dense linguistic porridge of fuss and feathers that “academics” prefer, well, it must be something worth learning.

But the real story here is how colleges and universities have abandoned academic standards as a necessary part of remaining financially viable. Their mission used to be to educate, but now it is to retain valued customers by giving them what they want.

And what they want is to complain. But they want a safe place to do it, free from the “triggers” of contrary points of view (or facts, for that matter). George Will (yes, again, I know), wrote a piece in the Washington Post recently that began,

Many undergraduates, their fawn-like eyes wide with astonishment, are wondering: Why didn’t the dean of students prevent the election from disrupting the serenity to which my school has taught me that I am entitled? Campuses create “safe spaces” where students can shelter from discombobulating thoughts and receive spiritual balm for the trauma of microaggressions. Yet the presidential election came without trigger warnings?

The morning after the election, normal people rose — some elated, some despondent — and went off to actual work. But at Yale University, that incubator of late-adolescent infants, a professor responded to “heartfelt notes” from students “in shock” by making that day’s exam optional.

And went on to note:

Bowdoin College provided counseling to students traumatized by the cultural appropriation committed by a sombrero-and-tequila party. Oberlin College students said they were suffering breakdowns because schoolwork was interfering with their political activism. California State University at Los Angeles established “healing” spaces for students to cope with the pain caused by a political speech delivered three months earlier . Indiana University experienced social-media panic (“Please PLEASE PLEASE be careful out there tonight”) because a Catholic priest in a white robe, with a rope-like belt and rosary beads, was identified as someone “in a KKK outfit holding a whip.”

A doctoral dissertation at the University of California at Santa Barbara uses “feminist methodologies” to understand how Girl Scout cookie sales “reproduce hegemonic gender roles.” The journal GeoHumanities explores how pumpkins reveal “racial and class coding of rural versus urban places.” Another journal’s article analyzes “the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers.”

He connected it all back up to the election by saying:

Academia should consider how it contributed to, and reflects Americans’ judgments pertinent to, Donald Trump’s election. The compound of childishness and condescension radiating from campuses is a reminder to normal Americans of the decay of protected classes — in this case, tenured faculty and cosseted students.

In short, we’re getting the government we deserve.


3 thoughts on “Childishness and condescension on campus”

  1. Steve Pinker has been on the case of safe spaces and other university nonsense. Seems like humanities departments are in crisis these days.


  2. From urban dictionary: snowflake:
    An overly sensitive person, incapable of dealing with any opinions that differ from their own. These people can often be seen congregating in “safe zones” on college campuses.


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