Wednesday, March 24, 2004
However, today, for some reason, I was recalling one of the most annoying features of the many undergraduate English classes I took.
This happened in at least a dozen classes, most of them key major requirements - not electives, but classes I had to take to get my BA.
Anyway - some feminist issue would come up, and the teacher would say something like "That's interesting. Well, for the next half-hour men are not allowed to make any comments at all."
What followed was never a discussion of the issue at hand, but something more resembling primal scream therapy mixed with group therapy. For a half-hour the more strident and radical feminists in the class would insult, berate and attack men. It was all very fungible - there was no idea or acknowledgement that men might be okay. Nope, men were evil and by their very existence oppressed women.
After a half hour of that, most guys didn't want to say anything at all. It was like those movies where the cops tie a guy to a chair and yell at him for hours on end. How do you respond to that? I never did, but only because I figured nothing I could say would add to the non-existent conversation.
Luckily, as I said, this has never happened (to me) on the graduate level. Still, I'm sure this practice of shutting down of diverse alternative voices is fairly common, if undocumented.
Monday, March 22, 2004
Anyway - a job opening was offered to the Graduate students here: a small administrative job that doesn't pay well but looks great on a resume. So I went to the secretary to get the application and was told "well, this isn't official, but they won't hire any White Males. I heard the committee talking, and they effectively said they have banned all white males from this position."
Anyone know of the Irish-American folk tune "No Irish Need Apply"? At one time in the USA that was a truism. Stores would have signs that said "No Irish Need Apply."
Instead of correcting that problem, it seems the USA is now becoming more inclusive. Now its "No Irish/Germans/British/French/Anyone White Need Apply."
What is weird (well, not really) is I am literally the only one in the department who sees something wrong with this.
Friday, March 12, 2004
See - on the subject of gay marriage:
1 - one professor thinks that gays should be allowed to be married, but
2 - another professor thinks marriage itself is an inherently unequal institution, and
3 - 3 agrees with 2, but thinks marriages can be equal only if it is a gay marriage and
4 - thinks marriage needs to be abolished all together.
See? I was told. Just between those four professors, there's lots of diversity!
I argued that, unfortunately, all those arguments are generally left-wing arguments. The problem comes from a lack of professors with right-wing opinions.
Not only that, I said that basically 100% of the faculty in our program: 1 - hate Bush, 2 - think socialism is a great idea, 3 - think religion is for unthinking dupes and 4 - want more affirmative action, not less.
I was informed those last four positions were NOT opinions, but facts (or truisms) about the world.
My problem is that I am not very quick on my mental feet when engaging in impromptu verbal debate. Not that it would change anyone's mind if I were. English faculty and their obedient followers (i.e. - grad students) seem to lack the ability to actually engage in real, honest, sustained debate with conservatives. The labels "racist, sexist, classist, homophobic" are all they need. Why debate when one can just throw around labels?
Friday, March 05, 2004
Okay - one of my professors, apparently unaware that any of her students might be a Bush supporting conservative, called Bush a "son of a bitch" and a "bastard" (I guess only his mother knows for sure) and ranted briefly about the "non-election" of 2000.
I considered responding, but I though better of it, since the texts we were "discussing" that day were all about how awful/evil mainstream society is and that our job as teachers is to liberate our students from the racist/sexist/classist views society has given them.
From what I am learning this semester (especially see my February 27. 2004 posting below) - there isn't even lip service to the idea of intellectual inquiry and allowing students to make their own informed decisions. According to these theorists (Victor Vitanza, Diane Davis, Susan Crowley, Susan Miller and several others who fit in the same very general but left-wing camp) the last thing we want is students thinking for themselves, since society has already given them these awful racist/etc. views. A professors job is to forcibly mold them into something else - a left-wing rebel.
Ivory Tower is the wrong metaphor. College Professors live in another reality entirely.