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November 25, 2008

Comments

Anna

"the social re-constructionist approach"?

newbie

I still can't figure out if this is sinister or just stupid, pointless and incompetent. Maybe it's sinister AND stupid, pointless and incompetent...

clazy

"Tolerance isn’t respect and the two shouldn’t be confused." That's why I like your place, David, clear thinking like clean air -- really: I feel as if I'm suffocating when I encounter "striking a balance between emphasizing positive intergroup relations and critical understanding of social inequalities." It's, uh, breathtaking in the worst sense. These people seem to think critical necessarily implies disapproval. They've forgotten more than superficial analysis, but "the questions keep coming," as you point out.

In academia there are clever people who develop language like this in a sort of word game where the winner, who uses the most words to say the least, wins tenure; there are many more academics who are not so clever, but who maintain their position by learning how to parrot the nonsense and stay in the game; and then there are the many, many mindless students who are exposed to the nonsense, absorb it, graduate, and take it out into the world, assuming it has some practical value, whereas its essential emptiness means its best use is for disguising one's own biases.

David

Newbie,

“Maybe it’s sinister AND stupid, pointless and incompetent.”

Well, they aren’t mutually exclusive qualities. It seems to me it’s a fairly common combination.

But yes, it still isn’t clear what exactly the programme is intended to achieve or how exactly it will work, which itself is cause for suspicion. The mannered and sanitised language is hardly reassuring and the messages from those involved are contradictory and thus dubious, especially the redefinition of what constitutes a private conversation. Maybe it’s much more benign and innocuous than it sounds, but given the questions raised above and in my earlier post there’s no obvious reason to *assume* that must be the case. Maybe it’s just another stupid and ham-fisted make-work project, one that will appeal to unattractive personalities; but again the lack of clarity is suspicious, particularly when framed in such heavily politicised and tendentious terms. Do you feel inclined to trust the motives and judgment of people preoccupied by “social justice theory”?

I’ve yet to see any account of what would actually happen if something deemed “biased” or “disrespectful” is overheard – say, “Muhammadan terrorism” or “Smallville’s a bit gay” – and a “spontaneous teaching moment” is then seized upon. Will those being approached be free to say “fuck off” or not? Will the rebuffed “facilitator” do as instructed immediately and with no further consequences? Or will this rejection be reported in some way, or taken as indicating a need for further intrusive condescension?

David

Clazy,

If you plough through the university’s IGD pages, you’ll see it’s often wilfully opaque and creaking with political assumptions, most of which are implicit and poorly defined. It’s like the worst managerial jargon but with a heavy socialist twist. The programme ventures into territory that’s enormously politicised and subjective, not to mention at least potentially intrusive and offensive. It seems to me the best possible interpretation of what’s on offer is a mixture of presumption and incompetence, bolted together in haste by people with little regard for notions of autonomy and personal space.

clazy

Yes, that would be the *best possible* interpretation...

By the way, and totally off-topic, but downloading at Veoh seems to be impossible. Bums me out. I want to take The Martians and Us on a flight tomorrow.

David

Clazy,

“I want to take The Martians and Us on a flight tomorrow.”

It seems to be working fine for me. Maybe you need to download the free Veoh player mentioned on the site. It’s an interesting documentary. This, on John Wyndham, is very good too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfVJOTErHho

jeepers

David said -

"I've yet to see any account of what would actually happen if something deemed "biased" or "disrespectful" is overheard – say, "Muhammadan terrorism" or "Smallville’s a bit gay" – and a "spontaneous teaching moment" is then seized upon. Will those being approached be free to say "fuck off" or not? Will the rebuffed "facilitator" do as instructed immediately and with no further consequences? Or will this rejection be reported in some way, or taken as indicating a need for further intrusive condescension?"

That's the key thing. If they do fuck off then it's maybe just another bit of patronizing leftwing crap that students have to put up with. If they don't fuck off or start making reports, etc then it IS sinister.

pst314

"Freedom of speech and thought is impossible without respect, consideration and a commitment to mutual understanding."

This "respect" will only be demanded on behalf of those groups that leftists approve of. Intolerance and contempt for conservatives will continue to be recommended (when not required.)

pst314

"IGD theory...social re-constructionist approach...critical understanding...critical social pedagogies and social justice education theory..."

These are radical leftists (probably Maoists or heavily influenced by Maoism) intent on suppressing free speech. That is beyond all reasonable doubt.

pst314

"If I were the man I was five years ago, I'd take a FLAMETHROWER to this place!"
--Lt. Col. Frank Slade in "Scent of a Woman"

N. O'Brain

It's not original, but could you report a “facilitator” to the CHRC?

David

Here’s a possible scenario.

Student A believes that Muhammad was an exemplary figure and living proof of Allah’s most merciful intentions. He hears a stranger, Student B, sitting at a nearby table talking to a friend and explaining why Muhammad is a reprehensible figure, citing his behaviour as related in various Islamic texts. The language is fairly blunt but each claim is supported with evidence. Among the words used are “pirate,” “murderer,” narcissist” and “paedophile”. Student A takes exception to this and complains to a “facilitator” with mutterings of “Islamophobia” and “hate speech”.

Now whose argument is more likely to be subject to scrutiny? Which perspective is most likely to be deemed “biased” or “disrespectful” - the blunt but logical critique or the pretentious fantasy? Does the person complaining of injured feelings have an advantage here? Will both perspectives be flattened into one egalitarian plane of “fairness,” in which both are somehow correct and deserving of respect? Or will Student A’s injured feelings be granted inordinate weight and then be used as a pretext to dismiss as “hate speech” any reminder of his philosophical inadequacy?

Wonder Woman

N. O'Brain...

These "facilitators" will end up being the talent pool for CHRC jackboots-in-training.

Imagine reporting a stoning to the Ayatollah and expecting justice. It would be like that.

The Thin Man

WTF?

University Student Council to Cystic Fibrosis sufferers: You have a disease that ONLY affects WHITE MEN so you can all fuck off and die!

http://www.damianpenny.com/archived/012253.html

tanstaafl

All of this "social justice" stuff going on in colleges everywhere (the University of Maryland had a similar program of residence hall intimidators)...serves as a substitute or replacement for intellectual rigoUr.

The absolute emphasis on phony obeisance to someone's version of "tolerence" is tedious to a fault.

I guess the IGD crowd, from administrators to students "trained" (sure) for their tasks will make perfect material for future arbitrators in Canada's Human Rights Commissions.

The denizens of the planet do, indeed, grow dumber and dumber every day.

YFS

Butt out, asshole.

OldBob

http://www.queensu.ca/studentaffairs/facultystaff.html

the picture is titled 'teaching'
rather apt

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