We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Mary Graber at Pajamas notes that pomo English profs are making Solzhenitsyn disappear. Apparently he did not toe some party line or something. It's a sad piece to read. A quote:
...under “classroom strategies” in the Norton instructor’s manual, teachers are told that they are likely to encounter the problem of students accepting the “truth” of what Solzhenitsyn has to say: “Because the story answers to most of the myths and preconceptions Westerners already have about Soviet life, the problem will be to make sure that students read it with the same degree of resistance with which they would normally confront any other piece of fiction.” Here we have the apologists for communism directing teachers: All that you’ve heard about the brutality of communism is merely part of our “myths and preconceptions.” Students must be reeducated to “resist” the testimony of Solzhenitsyn as dramatized in his fictional account.
The fine rant below is from a commenter on the piece:
I know the tone and tenor of that barbaric gibberish–and that is precisely why I am not in graduate school. Pure shit, from theory to practice, from Lacan’s bunghole to their mouths, this highfalutin’ jargon is a daily testament that the university has gone slumming right off solid ground and into a nihilistic miasma. This is the language of decadence and exhaustion, of cowardice and self-loathing; it is the cadence of suicide, the scholarly language of insanity.
I do not feel pity for people who write and talk like that anymore (but imagine how diseased and fallow their souls must be like to have these pale shadows of ideas running around in their minds all day and night); I feel contempt toward their presumption to teach, and anger at their pestilential influence on the world around them. Word by word, phrase by phrase, they are putting young souls to sleep, droning on while the great project of human completion dies on their watch. To Hell with them, dead souls, empty-headed, clarifactors and frauds, apologists for evil, over-ripe fruit, they are the last men, the enemies of Rabelais and Goethe, they should be put in stocks and have rotten tomatoes thrown at them.
Bravo, commenter. Well-said. Solzhenitsyn himself warned about such fashionable nonsense in his famous 1978 Harvard Commencement speech (audio and print). If you haven't read or heard it, I recommend it.
Then there is this nugget from the Pajamas article:
But, as recent studies indicate, “contemporary readers,” especially those who are young, have simply stopped reading and signing up for English electives in college.
I wonder why. And in the long term, things may not be that bad. So long as information can flow through multiple channels, the power of the academic guild should slowly diminish. The traditional university should transform itself over time into something new.
What we have to watch is any tendency to control these alternative channels and so to control freedom of expression. The Chinese, Europeans, and Canadians are trying to do this now. The question is whether our homegrown apparatchiks will soon feel emboldened to do the same - and how we may stop them or circumvent them when they try. Stopping them in an Obama administration may be difficult. Circumventing them may be easier. And here we would have a great advantage, in that there are few things so beguiling as a truth that authorities are attempting to conceal.
On some level doesn't this post address the previous post, Is college is a waste of time and money? These are the same kind of fantasists who declare science a 'narrative', as though by that single, risible assertion all scientific accomplishments are rendered moot. With unbending facts and logic pushed aside, all that remains is "soaring rhetoric" and "hope" as arbiters of truth and functionality in society. What outrageous shit! Fools and liars put words in the place of facts and these new, so-called-academics are both. Listen carefully to the words of men like Solzhenitsyn, or the future will belong to a government that can arbitrarily detain or imprison you; or move you to another city and tell you what work you will have; or whether you should be taked from your family at the age of three to pratice gymnastics for the glory of the state. The fantasists are clamoring for tyranny in the name justice, but what they are trying to revive is an all powerful state that can arbitrarily crush your hopes, family and life. Such dream stifling bureaucracy existed once upon a time in the Soviet Union, and its history is a matter of record not opinion. Just ask Solzhenitsyn.