Friday Ephemera
Terrifying Supervillain Apprehended

Bedlam by Design

Linked in the comments earlier but worth wider attention, here’s Heather Mac Donald’s latest essay on the academic cultivation of pretentious victimhood: 

The pattern would repeat itself twice more at the UCLA that fall: students would allege that they were victimised by racism, and the administration, rather than correcting the students’ misapprehension, penitently acceded to it. Colleges across the country behave no differently. As student claims of racial and gender mistreatment grow ever more unmoored from reality, campus grown-ups have abdicated their responsibility to cultivate an adult sense of perspective and common sense in their students. Instead, they are creating what tort law calls “eggshell plaintiffs” — preternaturally fragile individuals injured by the slightest collisions with life. The consequences will affect us for years to come.

One of the incidents mentioned, in which students claimed to be oppressed by corrected grammar and any public questioning of their far-left politics, will be familiar to regular readers.

Other debates centred on the political implications of punctuation. [Professor] Rust had changed a student’s capitalisation of the word “indigenous” in her dissertation proposal to the lowercase, thus allegedly showing disrespect for the student’s ideological point of view… During one of these heated discussions, Rust reached over and patted the arm of the class’s most vociferous critical race–theory advocate to try to calm him down — a gesture typical of the physically demonstrative Rust, who is prone to hugs. The student, Kenjus Watson, dramatically jerked his arm away, as a burst of nervous energy coursed through the room. [...] The student, a large and robust young man... eventually filed a criminal charge of battery against the 79-year-old professor.

Mr Watson has subsequently been awarded academic credit for instructing other “Students of Colour” – a tribe that excludes students from East Asia – in the subtleties of “constructive intergroup relations” at Penn State, St. Louis University, and the University of Michigan. Mr Watson describes his fellow grievance-seekers – and of course himself - as “courageous.”

Ms Mac Donald discusses the vanities and dysfunction of modern academia in this 90-minute video