June 18, 2015
Eugene Volokh on the now-official “microaggression” of criticising leftist assumptions:
I’m happy to say that I’m just going to keep on microaggressing. I like to think that I’m generally polite, so I won’t express these views rudely. And I try not to inject my own irrelevant opinions into classes I teach, so there are many situations in which I won’t bring up these views simply because it’s not my job to express my views in those contexts. But the document that I quote isn’t about keeping classes on-topic or preventing personal insults — it’s about suppressing particular viewpoints. And what’s tenure for, if not to resist these attempts to stop the expression of unpopular views?
If, for example, you don’t regard a person’s melanin level as both a fascinating detail of their being and an inexhaustible license to invoke victimhood and deference, then you’re probably committing a microaggression. And the publicly-funded University of California thinks you may be “sending denigrating messages” and “creating a hostile learning environment” because you aren’t awed and enthralled by how brown a person is.
Charles C W Cooke finds a modern echo of an old George Orwell quote:
“We don’t want to hear about these bourgeois writers like Shakespeare,” says [Californian school teacher, Dana] Disbiber. “Worry not, teaching him helps the progressive cause,” replies [New Republic columnist, Elizabeth Stoker] Bruenig… When politics is everything and everything is politics, nothing escapes the commissar’s judgment. It is one thing to analyse art for its political content — critically necessary even – but it is quite another to subjugate one’s view of that art to one’s politics.
Of course Orwell, like Shakespeare, is - to use Disbiber’s parlance - a dead white male, and worse, a critic of piously narrow attitudes like those of Dana Disbiber. We must therefore regard both authors as insufficiently progressive and entirely devoid of relevance.
And in other thrilling academic news:
Utah Valley University, with an enrolment of about 34,000 students, is trying out a staircase with lanes. Lane one is for walkers, two for runners and three for texters.
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