January 05, 2014
Via Herb Deutsch, Heather Mac Donald on the self-destruction of the humanities:
Until 2011, students majoring in English at UCLA had to take one course in Chaucer, two in Shakespeare, and one in Milton — the cornerstones of English literature. Following a revolt of the junior faculty, however, during which it was announced that Shakespeare was part of the “Empire,” UCLA junked these individual author requirements. It replaced them with a mandate that all English majors take a total of three courses in the following four areas: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; genre studies, interdisciplinary studies, and critical theory; or creative writing. In other words, the UCLA faculty was now officially indifferent to whether an English major had ever read a word of Chaucer, Milton or Shakespeare, but the department was determined to expose students, according to the course catalogue, to “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class.”
The UCLA coup represents the characteristic academic traits of our time: narcissism, an obsession with victimhood, and a relentless determination to reduce the stunning complexity of the past to the shallow categories of identity and class politics. Sitting atop an entire civilisation of aesthetic wonders, the contemporary academic wants only to study oppression, preferably his or her own, defined reductively according to gonads and melanin.[…] [Consider] the resentment of a Columbia University undergraduate, who had been required by the school’s core curriculum to study Mozart. She happens to be black, but her views are widely shared, to borrow a phrase, “across gender, sexuality, race and class.” “Why did I have to listen in music humanities to this Mozart?” she groused… “My problem with the core is that it upholds the premises of white supremacy and racism. It’s a racist core. Who is this Mozart, this Haydn, these superior white men? There are no women, no people of colour.” These are not the idiosyncratic thoughts of one disgruntled student; they represent the dominant ideology in the humanities today.
Yes, what could the music of Mozart possibly have to offer a black woman, any black woman? After all, he was a composer of pallor, and male, and therefore, apparently, in the service of evil. Mozart ain’t for dark folk. Nothing to learn or enjoy there.*
Robert Stacy McCain on the Friedrichshof “free love” commune and other utopian dishonesties:
Here’s a clue for you kids who have never studied history: Whenever someone uses “bourgeois” and “traditional” as epithets, you need to stay the hell away from whatever utopian scam that person is trying to put over on you. Hostility to private property and contempt for sexual morality are anti-social attitudes betokening the kind of dangerous radicalism that has only ever led to anarchy and totalitarianism (first one, then the other).[…] This “descent into madness” was the logical destination of the Friedrichshof for pretty much the same reason that sexual assault plagued the encampments of Occupy Wall Street. The alleged high-minded idealism of radical leaders is always exposed as a hypocritical mask for selfishness, and the idiots who are attracted to radical movements never have the kind of common-sense scepticism that would cause them to examine the leader’s altruistic pose and ask, “What’s in it for him? What’s his cut of the action?”
From September, Mark Littlewood on our political class and its urge to tax and meddle:
A number of my IEA colleagues and I have recently returned from the Liberal Democrats’ annual gathering in Glasgow. What a depressing experience. Faced with a still enormous budget deficit of £120bn, a very fragile economic recovery and an ongoing squeeze on the cost of living, what were the LibDems’ major policy announcements of the week? A 5p tax on plastic bags and a £600m splurge on ensuring that the young children of rich parents can enjoy a free school dinner. These are the great affairs of state that the Liberal Democrats are grappling with.
And Gavin McInnes on the sins that made 2013 The Most Racist Year Ever™:
I don’t care if Obama himself calls it Obamacare. It’s a word used by white men when they’re criticising a black president; ergo, it’s racist. “Ergo” is also racist because it sort of sounds like “Negro.” […] Basically, any laws that don’t restrict guns are racist. The Trayvon verdict taught us that Stand Your Ground laws are really just a license to randomly shoot black kids. The fact that 93% of black murder victims were killed by other blacks (often with an illegal gun) is a hatefact, and hate is not to be tolerated in any form.
As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. [*Expanded via the comments.]