David Thompson
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September 02, 2013

Comments

rjmadden

My degrees mean NOTHING.

The 'angry studies' crowd feed on idiots like this.

peter horne

And the funny thing is it will all be the fault of, like, capitalism, man and other "patriarchal crap" Heh!

Craig Mc

Any tips on how to fit "I spent $50,000 on a Social Justice & Peace Studies degree, and all I got was this lousy hotel front desk clerk job." on a t-shirt?

David

The ‘angry studies’ crowd feed on idiots like this.

Yes, absolutely. And setting aside the comedic obliviousness, it’s actually rather sad. This credulous young woman is hardly alone in her self-inflicted predicament. Thousands of young people sign up for similar tat and spend years learning to beg questions and regurgitate boilerplate, while inflating their egos and racking up huge debts. You’d think that by now these Incredibly Clever People, the ones who feel they’re destined to correct the rest of us, might have cottoned on to the hustle.

And the funny thing is it will all be the fault of, like, capitalism, man…

When reality finally bites, some will direct their resentment at the obligatory targets – free markets, bourgeois values, etc – rather than reflecting on their own choices and the role of the snake oil merchants who share their leftwing views and wish to propagate them. At someone else’s expense. In fairness, there is in this case a hint of belated realisation and Andria does admit that, maybe, perhaps, she “made all the wrong decisions.” Though it seems she can’t quite understand why her “education” is “apparently worthless in the current job market.” Presumably, she imagined a world in which degrees in “social justice” and doctrinaire bloviating would be irresistible bait for employers and the obvious path to a lucrative and glamorous career.

David

For some reason this quote sprang to mind. John Ellis on the Angry Studies racket:

Just as Pinocchio went off to school with high hopes, only to be waylaid by J. Worthington Foulfellow, minority students are met on the way to campus by hard-left radicals who claim to have the interests of the newcomers at heart but in reality prey on them to advance their own selfish interests. Of course, what black students need is the same solid traditional education that had raised Irish, Italians, and Jews to full equality. But that would not serve the campus radicals’ purpose. Disaffected radicals wanted to swell the ranks of the disaffected, not the ranks of the cheerfully upward mobile. Genuine progress for minority students would mean their joining and thus strengthening the mainstream of American society - the mainstream that campus radicals loathe.

Ellis is talking about the manipulation and exploitation of minority students, but the same principle applies to any number of leftwing degree courses. The victims imagine themselves as radical titans, speaking truth to power. They are in fact foodstuff.

jones

When I commenced what was 8 years of unpaid study at tertiary college then university acquiring approximately 100 thousand dollars of debt I cried at the iniquity of it all.............

Then I started conspiring against the laity and all was well again....

S'funny ol world.

Joan

I've no sympathy for idiots like this. She chose to spend someone else's money on two joke degrees and now she's amazed it was a waste of time. I wonder if the taxpayers will ever get their money back?

Steve 2

Poor daft woman. She seems to be in her 30's though, so should know better.

Did she think patriarchal conservative oppressors would be falling over themselves to throw money at her, or something?

David

I’ve no sympathy for idiots like this.

I don’t think anyone is obliged to be sympathetic. I’m just noting the tragicomic aspect and the other players in the drama. In my experience, the people who most readily take the bait tend to be afflicted with a mix of narcissism, unrealism and an urge to berate others on one pretext or another. And the ideal end product of this dogmatic processing – sorry, education - is someone like this obnoxious chap who seems to relish the role. So again, sympathy is entirely optional.

But young people are, well, young and often foolish. I was. The problem is that these are some of the bigger mistakes a person can make. I suppose sympathy may depend on whether our disgruntled warrior for “social justice” learns from the mistake, rather than casting herself as Another Noble Victim Oppressed By The Hegemon. Will she see her predicament as a result of buying into self-flattering bullshit peddled by hustlers, or will she prefer to see the experience as reinforcing the same self-flattering worldview that got her into this mess and which may spare her those awful feelings of being played as a sucker?

Steve 2

David - if you've ever had the pleasure of conversing with a militantly leftwing undergrad doing one of these disreputable joke degrees - and I would include politics and sociology in that category - you'll also know there's nothing you can do to warn them.

The sort of kids who unironically don a Che Guevara T-shirt and matching off-the-peg radical leftwing views - as if 'Citizen Smith' and Rick from 'The Young Ones' never happened - are inevitably so much cleverer than you are.

David

…you’ll also know there's nothing you can do to warn them.

Well, the fact that she’s been denouncing links to her own words as “intimidation and harassment” suggests my previous comment may be a little optimistic.

WTP

Sympathy for her? How about sympathy for us, the taxpayers, who likely funded all this crap either via these loans people like her will neve pay back in full, or by direct financial support to the public institutions that turn out this sort of BS. Even in the unlikely event this sort of person gets a job which enables her to pay it back, barring divine afflatus it will be in some capacity of beating the patriarchical hegemony (us again) about the head and shoulders via manditory corporate diversity, "ethics", or sexual harassment training classes.

Jonathan

"But young people are, well, young and often foolish."
Isn't that why we have adults? It makes one wonder what kind of advice her Parents and Teachers gave her before she decided to enroll in a worthless subject like WGS.
Oh, and have a drink on me David. ( Tosses coin towards outstretched hand of disreputable looking street urchin.)

David

Isn’t that why we have adults?

The thing is, I suppose, that outside of the sciences and engineering, etc., many students will be entering what is, in some respects, a fantasy world. A world where adults can behave like Duke’s Wahneema Lubiano, an Associate Professor of African and American Studies and a self-described “post-structuralist teacher-critic leftist,” who rails against the “hegemony” of “Western rationality,” and who tells us that she’s “physically traumatised and psychologically assaulted” by global capitalism. This, remember, is a woman tenured at an elite university. And many students will be entering a world in which this kind of narcissistic posturing isn’t laughed out of the room.

Oh, and have a drink on me David.

And thankee kindly, sir. The lions cost a fortune in feed alone.

Jacob

rails against the “hegemony” of “Western rationality,” and who tells us that she’s “physically traumatised and psychologically assaulted” by global capitalism. This, remember, is a woman tenured at an elite university.

Holy crap. She's a basket case. Where do you find these people?

David

She’s a basket case.

Oh, she’s a character, as they say, and inadvertently hilarious, though she’s not especially unusual among her peers. And that’s the bit that matters. If you follow the links back to KC Johnson’s blog, you’ll see just how grandiose and unhinged she is, and how accommodating of such behaviour her employers are.

For her, the classroom is chiefly a venue for her own political “activism,” i.e., the propagation of obnoxious racial theory, in which guilt depends on pigment, class and gender, and students learn that “experiential knowledge” is preferable to actual facts. Like who did what to whom, for instance. The professor’s courses in “critical studies” are construed in such a way that students can be told, flatly and as fact, that, “once white working class people learn that corporate capitalism is using racism to manipulate them, they will want to join with racially oppressed people against capitalism.” Lubiano tells us that her job is “to reconstitute not simply particular curricula, but the academy itself.” Universities, we learn, are “engines of dominance” that should be “sabotaged” by people suitably radical and enlightened. People like her, in fact.

A transformation, incidentally, that one might think had already taken place and hence Lubiano’s license to take such liberties with students and the people paying her salary.

Jake Haye

Presumably Andria XX had assumed that her choice of education would naturally lead to an overpaid sinecure in the public sector, and as such was the surest way to at least partially satisfy her self-interested desire for wealth and status, unhindered by any bourgeois notions of honesty and personal integrity. It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.

David

Robert Stacy McCain wonders if the mockery will inspire further study.

He also notes this: “Outside of academia, non-profit activism or certain government jobs, no employer in his right mind would hire someone whose educational credentials identify them as an adherent of radical ideology. Better to major in Esperanto literature, really, than to advertise yourself as one of the Permanently Aggrieved.”

dicentra

, or will she prefer to see the experience as reinforcing the same self-flattering worldview that got her into this mess and which may spare her those awful feelings of being played as a sucker?

I believe Mark Twain said that it's easier to fool people than to persuade them that they've been fooled, so, no, odds are against her waking up to the scam. She's got way too much emotionally invested in her current worldview, one that all her friends and role-models hold, so Coming Around is far too costly for most people to endure.

On the other hand, I was not impressed by "you need to make yourself marketable" arguments when I was in school, because I was very much into learning for the sake of learning. I was also training to be a college professor, so I wasn't actually headed in the wrong direction, and I wasn't amassing tons of debt (fellowships and teaching classes paid all but four figures of my costs).

I just managed to realize that I hated teaching before becoming a teacher, which saved me an awful lot of grief. I also know what it's like to look at the want ads and realize that I didn't have much in the way of a marketable skill set.

So I started at the bottom, in secretarial-type positions, until I found a job that tested my writing skills (which I had) and was willing to teach me computer networking on the job. Voila! Great pay and an interesting work environment.

Wherein a misplaced semicolon can result in total systems failure. Reality asserts itself nowhere as severely as computer code.

dicentra

And bridge-building.

sk60

"Outside of academia, non-profit activism or certain government jobs, no employer in his right mind would hire someone whose educational credentials identify them as an adherent of radical ideology...one of the Permanently Aggrieved."

I wonder if she's ever considered her joke degrees could actually put off employers more than no degree would.

And have a drink on me, Mr T. Got to have blogging fuel. ;D

David

dicentra,

I believe Mark Twain said that it’s easier to fool people than to persuade them that they’ve been fooled.

Heh. I like that.


sk60,

I wonder if she’s ever considered her joke degrees could actually put off employers more than no degree would.

I’d guess Andria XX is only just realising, albeit dimly, what her comedy qualifications say to the world. The world outside her bubble, that is. That her ideological badges might signal something unflattering and have negative value is probably a troublesome, perhaps indigestible, idea.

Got to have blogging fuel.

Ahem. Unlikely as it may seem, I do write these things sober, you know. Though once in a while, late in the evening, I may stroke a glass of something while reading the comments.

rabbit

Unemployment is the final and most important lesson of Andria's eduction. And the lesson is that the main purpose of a social justice program is to provide teachers for more social justice programs. And like all machines without an outside energy source, the process must soon grind to a halt.

rabbit

You would think companies would be lining up to hire someone with a degree in hatred of all things capitalist.

Henry

My long-suffering much better half looked over when I was reading the comments on the original "Other McCain" page. Several readers had remarked that to hire this gender-studies student would be tantamount to 'hiring a lawsuit' - and Better Half understandably thought such sentiments were pretty mean.

But how well I remember standing in a queue right next to a woman in Costa (holding a film-studies book in her hand, incidentally) who was angrily berating a male barista for addressing her as "Madam". She went on for a while, finishing with "I know the law, so watch it"

Suddenly those lawsuits don't seem so far-fetched, do they?

David

angrily berating a male barista for addressing her as “Madam”

It’s the kind of obnoxious and dogmatic showboating that every employer wants to risk on a regular basis. No?

Andrew Zalotocky

Henry is right. A degree in grievance studies is an important signal. It is a warning that the person in question will have no useful skills, a bottomless well of narcissism and self-pity, and a total antipathy to doing anything that resembles actual work. It's a big neon sign saying "DO NOT HIRE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES".

Andrea, meet your careers guidance counsellor Mr Rotten.

rabbit

I feel sorry for Andria. Yes, going %50,000 in debt for a degree she'll have to omit from future resumes was monumentally stupid. But she's young, she's expected to make mistakes.

The real guilt is with the fat and privileged adults who set up these young people to fail for the sake of advancing their warped political causes. Andria was sacrificed like an old-testament goat on the alter of their egos.

dicentra

That her ideological badges might signal something unflattering and have negative value…

…TO THE UNWORTHY.

I'm not convinced she'll negotiate the paradigm shift. How many do?

Andrew Zalotocky

I also have to agree with rabbit. Andria deserves some sympathy because she has been conned, and perhaps she will eventually come to realise that. The first step in getting out of a hole is to stop digging. But we're talking about institutions that indoctrinate young people, teach them to see everyone who isn't part of the in-group as an enemy, and take all their money before dumping them as soon as they cease to be useful. Isn't that basically a cult?

simplius

But she's young, she's expected to make mistakes.
There's a mention in some of the comments that she is 50.

rabbit

simplius:

There's a mention in some of the comments that she is 50.

Andria in one of her postings says...

My student debt is $50000 and I have no idea how I will have a house or kids.

That doesn't sound like a 50-year-old woman.

David Gillies

The bursting of the higher education bubble cannot come a moment too soon. Remember Herb Stein's dictum: "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." We simply cannot continue funding the modern equivalent of trying to extract sunbeams from cucumbers indefinitely. There are two ways in which this is likely to happen: either the ability to create surplus value that is the hallmark of capitalist economies is destroyed from within by cretins like Andria, or the people who bankroll her start asking for their money's worth.

As I said in another comment, it takes quite some doing to obtain two degrees and be less employable than when you started. Even if she's not a walking lawsuit, she's likely to be the sort of chippy, self-entitled pain in the neck who perpetually grouses that the job that keeps her from starving is beneath her. To be unable to get a job that uses one's skills is frustrating, but when one is filled with the sort of anti-knowledge that is Andria's stock-in-trade it must be doubly galling. I'm not suggesting that everyone should know how to solve differential equations, but at least they're generally useful in modelling some portion of physical reality. Andria's studies have been a self-conscious and aggressive rejection of reality. Now the chickens are coming home to roost.

David

it takes quite some doing to obtain two degrees and be less employable than when you started.

It does rather define the mismatch between reality and the Clown Quarter of academia, which is pretty much the left’s proving ground. For many students we’re talking about an environment in which this kind of behaviour is regarded as self-evidently virtuous. And note the penalty for dissent. It’s no wonder this delightful character is as charming as he is after seven years of study.

It’s perhaps worth bearing in mind that many of the Occupiers were keen to let us know they had degrees and were therefore intellectuals, and therefore entitled, especially to default on their student debts. But they weren’t quite so keen to say what those degrees were. Judging by the calibre of the people and the quality of their arguments, I think we can hazard a guess.

JuliaM

"It’s perhaps worth bearing in mind that many of the Occupiers were keen to let us know they had degrees and were therefore intellectuals, and therefore entitled, especially to default on their student debts."

I suspect the Balcombe anti-fracking protests are similarly stuffed full of these types...

a quiet regular

Stroke a glass of something on me, David. Thanks for hours of quality reading.

*hits tip jar*

rxc

Maybe she can get a job as a senior advisor in the white house with this woman (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2381478/Federal-nudge-squad-led-20-wunderkind-gears-change-Americans-behaviors--good.html).

Perhaps they could share the job?

Torquil Macneil

"I suspect the Balcombe anti-fracking protests are similarly stuffed full of these types"

Yes, people for whom poverty is only notional, something they have read about in magazines but never actually experienced, so they are unconcerned about wishing it on others. People who find the idea of a job working on reception as a horrifying insult, rather than a precious, rare opportunity.

David

*hits tip jar*

Thanks very much.

Incidentally, if anyone’s unsure of just how worthless “peace studies” is, it was essentially founded by a Norwegian Marxist, conspiracy theorist and anti-Semite named Johan Galtung, of whom more here. Professor Galtung’s more noteworthy teachings include a belief that “our time’s grotesque reality” – its biggest sin - is the “structural fascism” of the West, along with its capitalism and “imperialism,” and that the annihilation of Washington DC would be a suitable punishment. Our Prophet of Peace has been much more forgiving of other political systems, however, including Castro’s Cuba and Stalin’s Soviet Union. Though the professor’s favourite utopian model is Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Which is nice. And this mendacious fantasy worldview is still typical of “peace studies” teaching.

Dr Cromarty

Poor Andria. Her stock response is "I'm Canadian!" as if that somehow excuses her idiocy and sense of entitlement, which must be a source of annoyance tony Canadian friends. Oh, and all her critics are "Neo-Cons". Obviously.

David

Oh, and all her critics are “Neo-Cons”. Obviously.

Because only bad people would laugh at her, presumably. After tweeting several times a day, every day, our bacon-eating vegan has now gone awfully quiet. But as dicentra said, there’s a huge emotional investment to resolve; there’s ego at stake and probably a sizeable chunk of Andria XX’s self-image. Coping with mockery, even factual correction, may be tougher than expected, and rethinking the assumptions in which she’s been so invested will be tricky, even perilous, perhaps impossible. It’s not like a biology or engineering student learning that some basic principle they’ve studied is outdated and needs rethinking, or that some computer model isn’t accurate in light of new facts. Choosing degrees in “social justice” and similar hokum is about self-flattery and telling other people, quite loudly, I AM MORE ENLIGHTENED AND VIRTUOUS THAN YOU. For that to be called into question is a bit more troublesome. Which may explain the current lack of tweets.

Dr Cromarty

Which may explain the current lack of tweets.

Oh no, David. She's been silenced by haters. You see pointing out how she's been duped by an academic Ponzi scheme can only ever be motivated by hate, see?

Tim Newman

My student debt is $50000 and I have no idea how I will have ... kids

Nor do I if she keeps banging on about the patriarchy. It's hardly what men go for now, is it?

David

It’s hardly what men go for now, is it?

Oh, don’t forget this chap. Admittedly, he’s not exactly the rugged, reliable frontier type. He’s more the fretting-about-whether-his-straightness-is-oppressing-people-on-Twitter type.

Apparently he’s bringing down the Patriarchy from within.

Rob

She hasn't been conned. She must have known how useless a degree in Anger Studies would be. It isn't possible to be so ignorant. The reality is that she looked ahead for only three years and liked what she saw.

At the end of those three years she simply doubled up with even more Anger Studies.

At the end of that its all "woe is me". She is like those people who stuff themselves for years and then 'suddenly' realise they are immensely fat. Blinkers followed by excuses and scapegoats.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

To make matters worse, the government is trying to make it easier to pay back those loans if you choose to work in the government sector. People who do the right thing and work in the productive sector get the shaft.

Dry end of the Titanic

As RSmC is quoted above "Outside of academia, non-profit activism or certain government jobs, no employer in his right mind would hire someone whose educational credentials identify them as an adherent of radical ideology".

All three legs of the grievance industry stool are coming under pressure simultaneously in the west as government and thus quango budgets are squeezed and as students stay away in droves from these types of courses.

The evolving collapse of academia continues to be well documented by Instapundit and it is this end of the academic spectrum that will be squeezed earliest and hardest leaving behind a rump of far fewer and far smaller institutions focusing on STEM education and a greatly enhanced online MOOC education sector. This is the first autumn snowdrop of what will be a very long and very harsh winter.

And thanks to twitter and the blogosphere, we shall have a front row seat to the collapse. Can anyone imagine what it would have been like if this had happened ten years ago when the MSM still had a lock on the narrative?

David

*** The TypePad spam filter is once again getting all high-and-mighty. If anyone has trouble posting comments, email me and I’ll free them by randomly tugging at wires. ***

sackcloth and ashes

'I believe Mark Twain said that it's easier to fool people than to persuade them that they've been fooled, so, no, odds are against her waking up to the scam'.

There is a saying also attributed to scam-artists which is that 'You cannot con an honest person'. This is perhaps a debatable proposition when it comes to some of the scum that prey on the elderly, but there are con-tricks which play on the mark's greed to make a quick buck with no effort, and which leave them fleeced in the process.

In this case, I think that with the majority of students there is an instinctive judgement that kicks in which distinguishes between education and indoctrination. Of the students that go through British unis, for example, only a minority of a minority will end up joining (and staying with) groups like the SWP. Likewise, courses from BA-level upwards in established disciplines require hard study, the refinement of analytical skills and (in the case of the humanities) an ability to argue a case based on the evidence at hand.

But Andria and others like her - who have signed on to 'gender studies'/'post-colonial studies'/'black studies'/'queer theory' etc - have gravitated to courses which cater to ideological dogma rather than intellectual enquiry, and in which 'success' depends on the rote-learning and repetition of established tropes about 'patriarchy', 'imperialism', 'Orientalism', not to mention the regurgitation of po-mo claptrap deliberately intended to obscure the fatuity (or often the obnoxiousness) of the practitioner's thoughts.

I can only presume that she stuck with her non-degrees because she harboured hopes that she too could be one of the academic elect, and could join Butler, Gopal et al as a professional bullshitter on the basis of no real scholarly effort whatsoever. The problem is that academia as a whole is going to go through a cash famine, and the 'Post/Studies/Theory' departments cannot hire the numbers of 'graduates' that they are churning out. So Andria has to take her 'degrees' onto the jobs market and - surprise, surprise - she's just discovered that she's had the academic equivalent of the 419 scam. So yes she (and many more like her) is the victim of a con-trick, but she has also allowed herself to be conned.

Jonathan

" Apparently he’s bringing down the Patriarchy from within. "
I've just been on to the Chief Patriarch: we're going to have a meeting about him.

Dr Cromarty

Oh dear. @Andria_xx, Fearless Speaker Of Truth To Power™ has changed her privacy settings to limit her tweets to followers only. #Preachingtothechoir

T.K. Tortch

This, remember, is a woman tenured at an elite university. And many students will be entering a world in which this kind of narcissistic posturing isn’t laughed out of the room.

Choosing degrees in “social justice” and similar hokum is about self-flattery and telling other people, quite loudly, I AM MORE ENLIGHTENED AND VIRTUOUS THAN YOU.

But, isn't it marvelous that, after civilization's millennia of fruitless striving, today any young person can simply enroll in college and be taught where there is rot, woe and wrong in the world, and simultaneously be taught how to rectify this rot, woe and wrong? And how to be virtuous in one's one self, and even wise so that others may be taught the same? Even with something as slight as a mere Tweet?

And this can be had for free, if you fill out the proper forms!!

I tell you we are lucky to live in such times, with institutions such as we have today, waving the stark truth under our noses so we can't ignore it.

I just wonder what people thought they were up to back in the day; why despite all their concern and effort they couldn't arrive where we have. Maybe because they couldn't Tweet.

David

So yes she (and many more like her) is the victim of a con-trick, but she has also allowed herself to be conned.

It’s hard to see anyone in the arrangement as entirely innocent. It’s almost a kind of co-dependent relationship, with parasitic narcissists feeding on the pretensions of other parasitic narcissists.

A while ago, I wondered how anyone could look at some of these course descriptions and then imagine their signing up would be a sound investment and/or intellectually rewarding. It’s difficult to get a handle on that level of naïveté, or self-deception. And there’s no shortage of such material. Until very recently it was a growth industry.

But spending years of one’s life and lots of taxpayers’ money being immersed in such guff is, by some, still considered sophisticated and virtuous. Much more so than studying something that might actually lead to employment, preferably in the private sector. And that’s odd when you think about it. The idea that it’s virtuous to piss away thousands of pounds of someone else’s money – money someone else had to earn - with no credible expectation of ever repaying the debt.

Small wonder that the self-styled “theorists” of the Occupy movement, many of whom are students and former students armed with joke degrees, tell us that “paying debts” and “having jobs” are ideas that must be “defeated.” But if the debt is never repaid, how long do these people imagine the system that flatters them can be sustained? Isn’t their conception of “social justice” just selfish and parasitic? And doomed by its own ‘logic’?

Thon Brocket

PayPal beg noted; but I don't use them.
Bitcoin?

David

Sadly, no Bitcoin account.

Stuck-Record

"The idea that it’s virtuous to piss away thousands of pounds of someone else’s money – money someone else had to earn "

I tried explaining this a short while ago to someone who was railing against the fact that their daughter would not be able to pursue one of these pointless degrees because of the ‘evil Tories’.

I simply offered the suggestion that she think of the number of minimum wage people who would have to get up at four o'clock every morning, and ride the night bus to a cleaning job, come home, look after their children, go out again to work as a cleaner for a comfortable middle-class family, come on, look after children some more, and go out and work in a pub or takeaway, to pay the tax that would allow their daughter to go and study fashion or gender studies.

It didn't go down well. I don't think we are speaking.

David

This seems somewhat related.

simplius

Norwegian Marxist Johan Galtung

The recurring saying, 'Who is Johan Galtung'. ;-)

Paul

What a marvellous and amusing article. I've only just discovered your blog/site. I shall be returning. The comments are as good as the story. Very good, yes.

PS. I've 'met' a few of these type of academics, virtually - online, as no doubt you have. I might actually know one or two in 'real-life' (gulp). Well, I am in England after all.

Paul.

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