David Thompson


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December 11, 2007






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There are other factors here. Academics have a high tolerance for nuttiness -- indeed, one must, considering how many wackjobs there are on campus. Academics also tend to be rather insulated, or take an insulated attitude. "As long as they leave me alone to do my research and teach my classes." Neither is an excuse, of course, but both have a great deal to do with campus culture.



Well, I suppose among some an unworldly disposition is a factor – a certain academic dreaminess; the kind that, for instance, makes Marxism and its derivatives seem charming or whatever. But it seems to me that the narrowing of permissible views has escalated somewhat, and rather dramatically, as in the instances linked above.

I should point out that it strikes me as unlikely that any amount of evidence and rational argument would alter the worldview of, say, Dr Shakti Butler, who seems to be indulging in some kind of unhinged personal drama. However, a more politically diverse environment at Delaware would, I think, have made it much more likely that Dr Butler would have been shown the nearest door before she could do much damage.

Horace Dunn

Academe and nuttiness have gone together for many years, of course. But in my day the nuttiness of academic teaching staff manifested itself in different ways. There was one fellow who used to pee in his sink during tutorials, another who would scoff a dozen mars bars and speak with his mouth full; all rather disagreeable of course, but not damaging.

The problem here, I would say, is not with the "ivory tower" mentality of the modern academics, but with their keenness to be "relavant". That is, to show how "worldly" they are by adopting current modish attititudes. They apply a veneer of academic respectability to them - or so they assume - and wait for the Chomsky-heads to fawn.



There are now entire subjects that seem, in effect, premised on some degree of leftist orientation. I doubt literary “theory”, critical “theory”, “post-colonial studies” or similar guff is congenial for those who don’t have leftist inclinations and, most likely, a capacity for self-deception. In recent weeks I’ve tried to imagine how I might feel if I were a student in an environment of that kind. Oddly, I kept envisioning cowering lecturers, classroom unrest and, possibly, the use of explosives.


As every farmer knows, a monoculture is more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Perhaps our friends in academia are applying this knowledge when they work so hard to exclude, demonize, and occasionally assault, those with whom they disagree.

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