Elsewhere (146)
Friday Ephemera

Chewing the Scenery for Social Justice

Speaking, as we were, of academia’s efforts to eradicate stoicism, self-possession and any residual sense of proportion, here’s Noah Rothman marvelling at the pretension and self-flattery of a third year student at Harvard Law School. A student whose acute political consciousness has driven him to the brink of nervous exhaustion:

“Our request for exam extensions is not being made from a position of weakness, but rather from one of strength and critical awareness,” wrote William Desmond in the National Law Journal… “The hesitancy to recognise the validity of these psychic effects demonstrates that, in addition to conversations on race, gender and class, our nation is starving for a genuine discussion about mental health,” he continued. “But to reduce our calls for exam extensions to mere cries for help exhibits a failure to understand the powerful images of die-ins and the booming chants of protestors disrupting the continuation of business as usual in cities across the country.” 

You see, you simply fail to comprehend the impact of chants and reclining as expressions of civil disobedience. Their moral gravity eludes you.

If the quotes above lead you to believe that Peak Hyperbole™ must surely have been reached, and camped upon in triumph, I should point out that Mr Desmond, our tearful hero, is barely getting started

Tissues and fainting couches are available at the back. 


And on the subject of student fortitude, another attempt to escape exams on similar grounds proves equally revealing. Della Kurzer-Zlotnick, a freshman activist at Oberlin College, invoked the “significant trauma” of unspecified “students of colour,” on whose behalf she presumed to speak, as grounds for delaying scheduled exams. Apparently, these traumatised students are “tired” and “hurting beyond belief,” and focussed not on their studies but “on their survival” in a racially oppressive environment. Ms Kurzer-Zlotnick’s own “privilege” as “a white, middle-class person” was dutifully confessed.

When her demand was refused, Ms Kurzer-Zlotnick rushed to Facebook to share her deep, deep feelings:

TRIGGER WARNING: Violent language regarding an extremely dismissive response from a professor. This is an email exchange I had with my professor this evening… We are obviously not preaching to the choir. Professors and administration at Oberlin need to be held accountable for their words and actions and have a responsibility to their students.

The violent and triggering language used by her professor, for which he and the entire college must be held accountable? One word: