In my first post on this blog, I offered to
thrash kindly critique the blog of anyone who wanted to be victimized (wait a minute… maybe “victimized” was right) by my humor. I just got my volunteer and it is the last thing I expected…
Idiot Photographer volunteered and s/he does a photography blog that has recently been featuring men in drag. Having spent so many years in a university setting, I constantly heard feminists and gay advocates harp on how everyone who isn’t their brand of liberal is obviously anti-gay, anti-woman, and anti-anything-but-medieval-traditional. These professors write theories about it, author books about it, tattoo slogans about it on their butts, etc. And so I must say that it is refreshing to have I.P. making an invitation to me, a blogger who sometimes likes to make acidic commentary in the direction of academic liberal activists.
Unfortunately, Idiot Photographer is not someone I can victimize and it has nothing to do with political correctness. I.P. would seem to have an uncorrupted brain. I don’t know whether s/he is gay or not, but s/he obviously has an interest in gay-related themes. It is most unusual for me to find someone from that arena who seems to just be going along and living his or her life, not referring to people as bigots solely on the basis of their non-leftist views. (Well, either that or s/he missed the posts where I talked politics…)
And so my first victim in this blog is not a victim. A little less mutual distrust goes a long way and it would be nice if professors could realize that. On the other hand, professors can’t let themselves realize that little detail because they would be undermining their life’s work. Conservatives, centrists, and anyone else not on the left (with the possible exception of Libertarians) have to be the professors’ enemy just so they can keep the boat afloat. You can sell “Victim Studies” to students and fill classrooms because these topics make the students feel good. (That’s right: students feel good because they believe they are being good people by learning the stuff.) You can’t sell “Minority Photography that Doesn’t Discuss Victimhood” because students are no longer given the illusion of helping people. Remember: university life is about people believing that they’re improving the world by reading and writing things that no one else looks at; real improvements aren’t usually part of the equation.
The Part Where I Burn Idiot Photographer at the Stake:
Okay, I lied earlier. Idiot Photographer will be my first victim. Even though I.P. hasn’t been corrupted, s/he surely has lots of friends who have been. (Demographically, gays tend to be pretty liberal… probably because of the BS from the academic Left and bigotry from certain people on the Right.) Some of these friends may consider interactions with a non-lefty to be a capital offense. And so my message to Idiot Photographer is this: I apologize if you get beat up by your friends. If you are gay, I hope they understand that you should be able to interact with whomever you please as long as you do not infringe upon anyone else. Lefties can be extraordinarily intolerant that way. And since you wanted a review of your site, I’ll say this: the drag photos aren’t my thing even though the quality of the photography is pretty good. And I’m rather fond of the stairwells, bridges, and cathedrals. But: keep doing what you’re doing.
We, the administration at the University of Tuition Collection, have been troubled to learn that our professors have been trying to brainwash you into support for their leftist political ideas. While some of you have formed organizations in an attempt to combat anti-intellectualism on campus, many of you accept everything your professors tell you without questioning it, even when there is no logic or evidence (except for “it’s politically desirable”) behind anything they say. You may be wondering why these anti-authoritarian types are being permitted to parade their authority around campus with an iron fist. Therefore, we would like to take a moment to explain a few reasons why we have allowed things to progress this far:
1: Many of your professors are paid less than cashiers at Wal-Mart, and they receive worse benefits. You may wonder why such highly educated people allow themselves to be taken advantage of like that. The reason’s very simple: we pump them up with Marxism and anti-Americanism and, voila, they can no longer stomach the idea of working in business or government. And we keep them here by fostering the belief that their research on Poststructuralist Literary Marxism is helping save the world. That’s how we get these people to stand in line for such pitiful wages and we pass the savings on to you, our dear students. (Legal disclaimer: we pass on the parts that don’t fund our salaries or the research on subjects like Poststructuralist Literary Marxism.)
2: We love receiving funds from the government and we know who our friends are: the Democrats. The Republicans, especially the Tea Partiers, wouldn’t send money our way even if we banished all the liberals from campus. How do you think we could afford to build this fabulous new student center? (Legal disclaimer: this is not bribery. We adhere to the highest standards of academic integrity. All we do is prevent any conservative troublemakers from working for us.)
3: Contrary to what you may currently believe, your interactions with university personnel will not always demand that you voice support for a leftist political agenda and social ideals. Once you graduate, we will be contacting you incessantly for financial contributions. Although lefties usually disdain large, wealthy organizations, we hope you will overlook that part of their message and give generously. (Legal disclaimer: if you donate money and require that we use the funds to support non-leftist activities, our lawyers will find a way around it.)
4: Lefties are much more likely to streak on campus than righties and we need a way to keep ourselves entertained in this small town. (Legal disclaimer: the students are all 18 or older. This is not illegal.)
So as you can see, we are doing everything in our power to ensure that you receive the best possible education at UTC. Even if your brain rots a little while you’re here, it’s a small price to pay for helping to build our great institution.
In my last post, I inferred that college students are sometimes not open to the professors’ ideas they pay big bucks to listen to. We sometimes see an attitude of “I already know better and I don’t have to read or listen to any of this garbage. The professor should be agreeing with my ideas!” If an education were nothing more than a diploma at the end, I might be able to let this attitude pass. But it’s not, so I can’t. If you’re a student, grow up and get over it.
The conservative movement (in particular) likes to make a lot of noise about how universities have been infiltrated by liberals who are subverting the pursuit of knowledge. All too often, they hold up research that does not agree with their political views and declare academe to be more in touch with Marxism than reality. They often do this without reading much of the research they target and sometimes the attacks reveal an incomprehension of what research is. Sorry, it is not the job of biologists to find evidence for your Creationist religious beliefs. However, if you ask really nicely, the professor will find other ways to stroke your self-esteem. If not, maybe you can get yourself a cookie. I recommend chocolate chip.
If conservative critics were to spend the time to move past the outlandish book titles and read the less provocative-sounding research, they would realize just how right they are. There’s some pretty explicit politics buried underneath the arcane language of a lot of humanities and social science research. The most popular philosophies and theories explicitly tell scholars to guide their research towards conclusions that support liberal views; you never get sound bites from this because the writing contains more contorted language than anything in the legal profession. The only difference between a lot of professors and the anti-evolution Creationists is that the professors demand support for their pre-existing liberal beliefs instead of religious ones. (I suppose the professors are also distinguished by their nifty clothing, but that’s a topic for another day.) Neither group is particularly fond of engaging with an opposing viewpoint. To see the consequences of this, check out FIRE’s blog; it is included on my blog roll.
It is arrogant to believe that you have all the answers without first gaining a substantial knowledge base and exposing yourself to conflicting opinions. You are thinking independently when you gain knowledge, examine ideas you might initially find incorrect, and come to your own conclusion. Don’t be like an arrogant professor. Do you really want to spend decades of your life in pursuit of things you “already know?” It’s kind of like an old movie called The Neverending Story, except no horses are killed. If you check out FIRE’s website, you will find that some activist college administrators bear a striking resemblance to the statues that shoot lasers at anything that comes between them. Drugs aren’t the only way people get fried in college, and there’s a great big Nothing coming after everyone.
It is also independent thinking to recognize that your professor has not gone through the necessary steps for independent thinking. Just remember that the professor has no professional obligation to teach views that cannot be supported intellectually. Sometimes, the opinion you enter class with does not merit the attention. Also remember that many professors have read numerous books that promote liberal politics without offering much unbiased evidence, and therefore professors are qualified to promote liberal politics without offering much unbiased evidence. Students need to learn their place.
And sometimes, the professor’s definition of what “can be supported intellectually” is “conforms to liberal politics.” I’ll have to write about that another day.