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Wednesday, May 9. 2012
The Naomi Riley affair is just one more example of enforced groupthink in academia.
After all, everybody knows that any academic department called "Studies" is non-serious, and exists solely as a sop to some interest group.
As Kimball says in Craven and Pusillanimous at the Chronicle:
All those "distressed" academics know that what Riley wrote is accurate. They protest too much. However, academia has rules about what you may and may not say in public.
Interestingly, the now-racist-branded Riley is married to a black guy.
More at Carpe Diem.
Also, KC Johnson's Writer Purged for Causing Distress
(Etymology of "sop": O.E. sopp- "bread soaked in some liquid," (in soppcuppe "cup into which sops are put"), from P.Gmc. *suppo, related to O.E. verb suppan (see sup (2)), probably reinforced by O.Fr. soupe (see soup (n.)). Meaning "something given to appease" is from 1660s, an allusion to the sop given by the Sibyl to Cerberus in the "Aeneid.")
Tracked: May 10, 06:00
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What an interesting story! Here's a woman trying like the dickens to raise the level of academic scholarship (setting aside any snarkiness about the field itself, which is really beside the point after all) and she gets fired for that effort! And branded with an ugly name to boot!
What is the purpose of scholarship if not to advance knowledge? This is, I suppose, a question to which academic climate scientists with a keen interest in advancing knowledge of their field would also like an answer.
Freedom of speech and freedom of thought are catchpenny phrases. There is much of the former, but very little of the latter. Speech is generally the result of automatic thought rather than of ratiocination. Independent thought is of all mental processes the most difficult and the most rare; habit, tradition, and reverence for antiquity unite to forbid it, and these combined influences are strengthened by the law of heredity. The tendency to automatic action of the mind is still further promoted by the environment of modern life. The crowding of populations into cities, and the division and subdivision of labor in the factory and the shop, and even in the so-called learned professions, have a tendency to increase the dependence of the individual upon the mass of society. And this interdependence of the units of society renders them more and more imitative, and hence more and more automatic both mentally and physically.
Isn't it interesting the Left is mad for crowding everyone in cities and nice union labor silos. The same factors that inhibit freedom of thought lest someone be banished from the hive.
This was the theory. Gotta get people out of the multi-generational poverty culture, get them into the middle class. If you're starting with nothing, it's a big step up to the professional classes: doctors, engineers, scientists, business. There will be a lotta failures. So we created an intermediate step: accreditations and titles, of little real worth: middle class trappings, without the underlying values of hard work, moral living, and a burning desire to make something of yourself by doing something of value.
It was the expectation that while the first generation would only have the trappings, the second generation, by growing up middle class, would pursue real achievements and break free from dependency.
Instead, we have created just another expanding multi-generational dependency program, funded still on the public dime. Why work, when you can live off The Man?
And remember all that nonsense from the mid 60's Berzerkely FSM, about how they demanded, demanded!, classes with "relevance"? Oh you Boomers, In your foolish juvenile vanities all you did was substitute one poverty for another. I swear, when the last of the Boomers passes beyond this Earthly pale, there's gonna be a heck of a cleanup job left behind for their kids.
The sad thing is that students get cheated. Maybe they are the first in their family to attend school. And then, instead of solid training in a scholarly field the get shunted into a department dedicated to producing foot soldiers for a revolution led by privileged white folks. What happens when the money goes away or scholarship comes back into vogue? It is all wasted opportunity and a disservice to youthful aspiration.
I have long wondered why cases like this would not be grounds for a wrongful termination suit?
Are there rules in her employee handbook that specifically prohibit such writings?
And where was the editor? Why didn't the editor tell her the story was unacceptable and spike it?
It has been 20 years since I was in corporate America. Back then you couldn't just arbitrarily fire someone. You had to go through process.
I don't see any process being used to decide this case.
It has been 20 years since I was in corporate America. Back then you couldn't just arbitrarily fire someone. You had to go through process.I don't see any process being used to decide this case.
The politically correct lynch mob expressed its opinion.That was the process. :)
I thought it was sort of low-class the way she lit into some of the students' programs, not really on any overarching message about the vapidity of the genre, but rather because she thought there was no merit to the positions the students chose to defend.
So, she's trashing the student who argues that some successful black conservatives work against AA. She makes fun of the woman studying the traditions of black midwifery. She dismisses as simple the student who believes blacks were unfairly taken advantage of in the urban housing market "crisis" of the early 1990's.
I suspect that her opinion about the merits of these positions is correct, but that's not the point. If she wants to pull down a salary writing regularly for that magazine, she probably ought not be engaging in what I thought to be poorly written opinionated diatribes denigrating the magazine's audience.
The initial focus of her piece was "these four people are Sofa King Stoopid!" She then went on, on the strength of those four examples, to completely trash Black Studies. That's just poor advocacy. Her main thesis is one I can agree with, but she failed to support it, and writing was supposed to be her area of expertise.
She was limited to 500 (+ a few) words. She stated the titles so they could be found and read in full.
And it appears that those who disagreed with her were in the "Shut Up!, they explained" category of argument. Not counter arguments, just mostly "Ban The Heretic" statements.
I judge that her article on “studies” is simply another point in her thesis that academia is no longer relevant, for most students, that desire training that will translate to better citizenship and an improved standard of living. The gold platted facilities are something few students will have after graduation. A number of years ago, I remember an article in the Seattle newspaper about a woman that graduated with a “women studies” degree and over $40,000 debt. Every year 3 students graduate for every available job with that degree. The marketplace determines what is worthwhile, and other fields of study are relegated to hobby passions. For example, I have both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, and I really like my profession. However, I really have a passion for world civilizations and art, but I would not go into heavy debt to feed those passions. The advent of available student loans in the 1960s allowed a tyrannical rise in the cost of college that was well beyond inflation and reason. I think Ms. Riley is simply saying that the “Emperor (academia) has no clothes.”