Diversions of Yore
Friday Ephemera


Via TDK, more attitude management for unsuspecting students:

Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, has hired six students whose jobs as “dialogue facilitators” will involve intervening in conversations among students in dining halls and common rooms to encourage discussion of such social justice issues as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability and social class.

Apparently it’s inconceivable that any right-thinking young person could tire of discussing “social justice” – a term that, as so often, remains oddly undefined yet drips with tendentious implications.

“If there's a teachable moment, we’ll take it,” said assistant dean of student affairs Arig Girgrah, who runs the program. “A lot of community building happens around food and dining.” She gave the example of a conversation about a gay character on television as a good example of such a moment. “It is all about creating opportunities to dialogue and reflect on issues of social identity,” Ms. Girgrah said. “This is not about preaching. It’s not about advice giving. It’s about hearing where students are at.”

Oh sweet lord. Hand me the explosives.

Like dons, who serve as student authorities in residence, the six facilitators will receive full room and board and a stipend for the full-year commitment, and will receive regular training.

But of course. Correcting political waywardness is the work of heroes, after all.

“We are trained to interrupt behaviour in a non-blameful and non-judgmental manner, so it’s not like we’re pulling someone aside and reprimanding them about their behaviour. It is honestly trying to get to the root of what they're trying to say - seeing if that can be said in a different manner.”

On what basis do these “dialogue facilitators” presume they have any business policing the private discussions of others, even during lunch breaks, and steering students towards politically modish terminology and opinions? And however coy the language, that is what’s being attempted. Just pause to consider the monumental arrogance and vanity at work. Bask in its glow. Will it, I wonder, occur to such people that their own behaviour and assumptions are intrusive and condescending? Will they dare to be surprised if their presumption meets with emphatic resistance and, one hopes, an occasional fit of violence?

Update: Temerity Revisited.