David Thompson
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September 02, 2018

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Burnsie

There's hope. A Harvard business professor has a prediction about many of these indoctrination camps:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/30/hbs-prof-says-half-of-us-colleges-will-be-bankrupt-in-10-to-15-years.html

You'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

(via Instapundit)

Clam

Has anyone told these people they're working in a madhouse?

David

Has anyone told these people they’re working in a madhouse?

It does have an air of bedlam. Needless to say, the woke-lings’ claims of a pale-and-omnipresent fascism have not been inhibited by any flickering of self-awareness.

And again, 1,300 of them.

Jonathan

A helpful quote from Mr Blair (not that one, the good one):

The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable"

It won't be too long before all white people, except those who loudly and repeatedly condemn their fellow whites, are called fascists or worse.

What may follow from such mass demonisation and dehumanisation, I'll leave to your imagination.

Sleep well.....

David

Has anyone told these people they’re working in a madhouse?

According to Dr Kim and her associates, if you aren’t willing, indeed eager, to denounce this supposedly crushing and all-pervasive “white supremacy,” in which even jovial disagreement constitutes harrowing “violence,” and if you aren’t willing to jump through whatever bizarre mental hoops Dr Kim and her fellow woke-lings care to devise, now and in the future, then you must also be a racist, a fascist and a white supremacist. You see, if you don’t defer to the fever-dreams of ideologues and bedlamites, then, obviously, you’re trying to “harm people of colour.”

This is academia in the twenty-first century.

R. Sherman

Of course, Brown's opponents are rather coy about their proposed cure for this "problem" in studying medieval European history, other than to stop studying medieval European history and purge it completely from memory.

Pogonip

I’m impressed by Professor Kim’s achievement. It takes a lot of work for an Asian to get that fat.

WTP

It takes a lot of work for an Asian to get that fat.

Not on the White Man’s diet it’s not. Because #Hegemony. Or is it #CultualAppropriation on her part? Wait, no it’s #Hegemony. Because reasons.

dw

and if you aren’t willing to jump through whatever bizarre mental hoops Dr Kim and her fellow woke-lings care to devise, now and in the future, then you must also be a racist, a fascist and a white supremacist.

That.

David

That.

As we’ve seen repeatedly, that does seem to be the most likely motive, the most obvious continuity in all of the similar examples we’ve seen here over the years. In short, to browbeat and coerce, to spitefully jeopardise someone’s prospects or their employment, to lie, and lie again, and to do harm because it pleases you. And there’s a word for people like that.

WTP

In short, to browbeat and coerce, to spitefully jeopardise someone’s prospects or their employment, to lie, and lie again, and to do harm because it pleases you. And there’s a word for people like that.

I was gonna say college professors, but that’s wrong on a couple of points, a bit whiny, recursive in regards to the OP, and an over generalization that really isn’t completely fair. So I’ll go with journalists. It’s journalists, right?

David

As Jim Goad said a few years ago,

So many of these multitudinous oppressed “identities” seem like nothing more than cheap cloaks to mask nakedly annoying personalities. People with bad personalities seem to have a built-in defence mechanism that makes them believe you actually hate them for any other possible reason besides their bad personalities.

And I think this gets near the nub of it. By and large, these are people who’ve found an inexhaustible pretext to indulge their innate obnoxiousness, and to act out with impunity every nasty little urge that’s ever crossed their nasty little minds. And which in turn would explain why “social justice” posturing is often difficult to distinguish from spite, petty malice, and even outright sociopathy.

PiperPaul


Is it sadist?

David

Is it sadist?

Let’s just say it would be unwise to assume that these are people who mean well.

WTP

OK, not necessarily journalists. My next guess would be corporate human resources personnel. No? I sense I’m getting warmer.

Sam Duncan

“People with bad personalities seem to have a built-in defence mechanism that makes them believe you actually hate them for any other possible reason besides their bad personalities.”

Recent case in point.

Adam

From the Sunday Bulletin:

PETA wants Aretha Franklin's family to give her furs to animal shelters for bedding.

Jesse Jackson wants lobsters to vote in the midterms as reparations for the slaughter of thousands of lobsters in a recent trucking accident. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes has the voter registration forms on her website.

Al Sharpton wants animal shelters to re-gift any furs that might be donated to them to his charity, the Clothe the Naked Al Sharpton Fund for Impoverished Quasi-Preachers. Any available lobsters can also find temporary shelter in Al Sharpton's Soup Kitchen and Seafood Buffet.

Daniel Ream

Oh my God, is this stupid academic bun fight still going on? I remember this from years ago.

IMHO it's not something to be terribly concerned about. Yes, lots of academics are losing their sh*t on Twitter, but they do that all the time anyway. Notably absent from the list of signatories are significant academics in Brown's actual field (what English professors and divinity school seminarians think isn't influential), UChicago is doing its best to ignore the whole thing, and Brown is still teaching and writing unimpeded.

Michael McCallion Sr

Y'all must first understand I am a Canadian and after serving Five Years (5) in the Royal Canadian Navy returned to my Roots in the Niagara Peninsula (now also identified as Regional Niagara).
The reason for this bumf is to show I have been well travelled and entitled to express an Opinion even through a White-Married-Male with Children in a Monogamous pairing with a Female for over Fifty (50) years.
High school drop-out__ see RCN__ Self Post Secondary Educated University level; founder of three (3) small business; Municipal Politician; Appointed Board member at several Municipal & Provincial Boards of Inquiry and Decisions.
Sooo? What am I?-- Not American--Bearded pre-Baby-boomer; who prefers the Community of small-business owners; primary & secondary school educators; continues to travel and will for as long as the ability to pedal a Bicycle continues.
Soo? What am I in today's continuum of the once-preferred existence of the Baby-Boomer Generation(s)? Oh well really do not Give a Damn-Scarlet.

David

IMHO it’s not something to be terribly concerned about.

I’d imagine that for most of us, having over 1,300 people heatedly complain about us, to our employer, wouldn’t be a trivial thing. In this case, however, it’s not so much a matter of effectiveness or ineffectiveness, but that the recreationally outraged are so eager to try, shamelessly, and are evidently quite organised.

David

Y’all must first understand...

I was hoping you were building up to some kind of point.

WTP

IMHO it's not something to be terribly concerned about. Yes, lots of academics are losing their sh*t on Twitter, but they do that all the time anyway.

Yeah...disagree. IMNSHO If we were talking about 1300 preachers or 1300 union activists or 1300 fubar manufacturers, I would agree. But these academics work outside of the free market, sucking up our tax dollars (i.e. we’re paying for this sh*t) with zero pushback from our political class. Which in itself is bad enough but they are also “educating” future generations on whom the future depends.

Hopp Singg

Recent case in point.

Shorter Wil Wheaton: "I don't deserve to be treated this badly; I deserve to treat others this badly."

Pogonip

I saw that, somewhere. Will Wheaton! Wasn’t he in “Stand By Me” and “Star Trek”? So what’s he up to now—

Oh, for heaven’s sake, I said halfway through, and went off to do clean the toilet, which proved more interesting.

Pogonip

Er, to go clean the toilet, sorry.

Hopp Singg

I wonder if, having peaked long ago as an actor ... and having pocketed good coin in the process, so he doesn't have to get out and wait tables or anything ... Wheaton isn't just desperate for attention, as in his salad days, but isn't smart enough or talented enough to come up with anything better than snotty insults at this point.

Not an excuse for his behaviour, of course, just a thought.

R. Sherman

Which in itself is bad enough but they are also “educating” future generations on whom the future depends.

Seconded.

As I alluded to above, the goal is not to educate but to eliminate entire swaths of knowledge from memory. I'm certainly not a Medievalist by any stretch, but a mere three decades ago, I was required to learn Middle High German in order to actually read medieval German poetry and history. Now, not so much for people whose degrees will say the same thing mine do.

This pisses me off, if for no other reason than 1300 English profs get to determine what is appropriate for study in a different discipline. It's absurd, and the fact that people are buying it or even giving it legitimacy instead of telling these idiots of "'F' off and die" is beyond my comprehension.

To calm down, I'm going to retire and listen to this.

Spiny Norman

if for no other reason than 1300 English profs get to determine what is appropriate for study in a different discipline.

That's the part that I couldn't wrap my head around. Who, where, what the hell?

Darleen Click

I can't help but giggle that the Maolings are condemning Brown for not knowing all aspects of "race theory"...

It's like condemning an chemical engineer for not knowing all aspects of alchemy.

David

It’s like condemning a chemical engineer for not knowing all aspects of alchemy.

Even the word theory is misused. So-called “critical race theory” is just a series of assertions, excuses, double standards and begged questions – a pernicious anti-rational contrivance, in which all roads invariably, by design, lead to white guilt. Under what circumstances can you imagine the peddlers of such hokum admitting they were wrong?

Pogonip

I forgot to mention, I envy skinny Asians. Both my aunts can pack away huge plates of food and I bet the two of them together don’t weigh as much as my white son; he and I just have to LOOK at a bowl of rice and we gain weight. Likewise my skinny Filipino
doctor and his skinny Filipina wife. Grumble. When Kipling talked about the white man’s burden I think he was really talking about the extra 30 pounds...

Monty James

Speaking of medieval history and Kipling, Professor Brown might have usefully quoted a bit of this:

Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.

R. Sherman

I can't help but giggle that the Maolings are condemning Brown for not knowing all aspects of "race theory"...

Which assumes without proving that contemporary "critical race theory" has some pertinence to life in the court of Charles the Fat. (Assuming critical race theory is not "a series of assertions, excuses, double standards and begged questions" to begin with.) Ever her antagonist Dr. Kim fails to specifically explain its relevance to the subject. Her only real criticism which I can discern is the fear that someone might "misuse" the knowledge of medieval Europe in some fashion, a concern which would warrant--to steal Darleen's analogy--refusing to teach chemistry for someone will make something dangerous.

In truth, for the likes of Dr. Kim, her fear is that the study of medieval Europe made lead students to realize that Dr. Kim and her ilk are full of shit.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

It takes a lot of work for an Asian to get that fat.

Not on the White Man’s diet it’s not.

Alas, WTP, you are behind the times, wypipo food is healthy food.

Unless, that is, unless you have hypertension, then it is the fault of all the sodium in unhealthy wypipo fast food which is the only food in the hood.

Darleen Click

wypipo food is healthy food.

I stared at the HuffPo graphic and am still wondering what nimrod they have in their graphics department who put fried chicken and french fries at the BASE of a Food Pyramid.

BTW, "Juice & avocado"????

Farnsworth M Muldoon

BTW, "Juice & avocado"????

Well, it is HuffingPaint Post, so expecting something logical is a bit much to hope for, but I think what is being implied is that juice and avocado are the epitome of healthy wypipo food, and that the black grasping arms can't reach it because all they have is fried chicken, french fries, and elbow macaroni, which, come to think of it, is a pretty racist streotype not that their staff has any real idea about PoCs or what they eat for real.

JuliaM

Farnsworth: "Alas, WTP, you are behind the times, wypipo food is healthy food."

It is? Then you're doin' it wrong! *pours more double cream into the cheese sauce*

Daniel Ream

it is HuffingPaint Post

I think this is the best retort to that photo.

1300 English profs get to determine what is appropriate for study in a different discipline

Except they don't, though. Brown is still teaching and blogging unimpeded, and UChicago is doing sweet f-all in response to the outrage mob (aside from some anodyne boilerplate). As I've mentioned before, nothing that happens on Twitter actually matters in the real world. The real problem, as Fiamengo so aptly put it, is "timorous academics" who acquiesce to the mob and un-career someone in their department out of sheer cowardice, despite the fact that none of the shrieking twits actually have any power to affect their target. As Hobby Lobby, Chick-Fil-A, Whataburger and In-N-Out have handily demonstrated, if you just ignore these idiots they can't do anything to you.

I wonder if, having peaked long ago as an actor [...] Wheaton isn't just desperate for attention

He's always been a bit of an emo prick. After TNG and before he jumped on the gamer geek bandwagon with his YouTube show, he used to blog and a constant refrain was how he couldn't get any work, how all his scenes from Generations ended up on the cutting room floor, etc., etc. This despite the fact that by his own admission he was independently wealthy, happily married with a kid and never needed to work again. He got to write a book for O'Reilly (the computer book publisher) about learning how to build web sites from zero knowledge because that was hot in the 90's and lots of people with no prior technical skill wanted to get into it.

Other than that he's had a handful of stunt casting bit parts in various c-list syndicated cable shows, which have mostly served to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a terribly wooden and unsympathetic actor. Unlike, say, Frankie Muniz, all his side projects seem to involve trying to get front of a camera again; his YouTube show is cringe-inducing to watch. So yes, I think there's no small amount of desperate attention-seeking going on here, but then again it's hard to go wrong if you assume any actor is in the business because they're pathologically insecure and need constant validation from an appreciative audience.

Patrick Brown

One thing always struck me about that HuffPo photo: never mind race or sex, how many of them are even thirty? I think the biggest reason for the shitshow we're living through is that the media, and especially the internet, is largely the work of twenty three year olds whose only life experience is negotiating the popularity games of high school and college.

Anyway, interesting Twitter thread about why lefties think everyone else is Nazis and white supremacists. Briefly, the left is intersectional - if you believe in one leftist cause, you have to believe in all of them, or you'll be shunned as a deplorable - and they think the right is too - just as, if you believe in gender equality to any degree you must also support Antifa and abortion on demand, they think if you believe in balanced budgets, you must also believe in white nationalism.

David

HuffingPaint Post

Still funny.

David

The real problem, as Fiamengo so aptly put it, is “timorous academics” who acquiesce to the mob and un-career someone in their department out of sheer cowardice,

I wonder how many of the 1,300-plus academics who chose to denounce Dr Brown - as doing “grievous damage” to her employer’s reputation and putting “scholars of colour” and minorities generally “in harm’s way” - know anything at all about what she actually wrote, and therefore know how absurd, and immoral, their accusations are. How many of them, I wonder, signed the letter in ignorance, or despite knowing better, simply because they sensed that not to do so would, by the logic of the same letter, mark them as next in line to be denounced?

Black Ball

I think you know the answer to the question you pose Mr Thompson. It's all about the feelz. Or tenure.

Charlie Suet

I think the biggest reason for the shitshow we're living through is that the media, and especially the internet, is largely the work of twenty three year olds whose only life experience is negotiating the popularity games of high school and college.

Yep. Newspapers have obviously always employed younger people, but when they were more financially secure they also used to employ older adults in what flourishing industries call middle management. These days you seem to get twenty somethings who've never had proper jobs and who have graduated straight to writing content without proper supervision. They get too much, too soon. It's easy to overpraise the past, but in this country some of these kids go straight from the Oxford Student to the Times.

If you haven't moved on to being an opinion columnist or being on the editorial board by a certain age, you'll probably be doing occasional freelance work or writing a book. Specialist journalism is, I suppose, an exception to this rule.

In June this year the Independent published an article about the "forgotten comedian" Tony Hancock. Obviously the Indignant is a pale shadow of what it was in the 90s, but you do slightly wonder where the adults were to correct them.

WTP

I attribute much of this problem to the over emphasis of literature in our education system. Of course even suggesting such a thing is grounds to be dismissed as a ignoramous or philistine. There’s been a real problem in our education system, at least how I see it in the US, where novellists and even historians were viewed as intellectuals but only recently have scientists and engineers gotten near as much attention. What is put in front of our students as a path to fame and fortune is either through sports or The Arts. Granted, scientists and engineers are themselves somewhat to “blame” for this as most, even the Hawkings and Feymans, are introverts to some greater degree. Our education system would do us and its students much justice if just one semester of English literature would be devote to biographies of people who build things. Medical researchers as well could stand some more attention, not that they don’t get much but relative to the value that they add, they are IMNSHO underserved in this regard. Ehll, even business leaders, as much of literature is dedicated to unfairly demonizing them for the sins of the few.

Lancastrian Oik

I forgot to mention, I envy skinny Asians.

It's OK, you're among friends here.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

I attribute much of this problem to the over emphasis of literature in our education system.

I think it not so much literature as abandonment of dead white male literature that was a basis of eduction for years, for the dreck trend du jour.

Our education system would do us and its students much justice if just one semester of English literature would be devote to biographies of people who build things.

Indeed. It seems that among the likes of the pasty white 23 year olds that make up the staff above, SJWs, and leftists in general, that the much derided western civilization (and from which they enjoy their cushy lives) either sprang full grown as if from the forehead of Zeus and has been here forever, or was only build by slaves and/or stolen from PoCs, while wypipo sat on the veranda sipping mint juleps. There appears to be zero conception of how it actually was built, nor of that which preceded it.

R. Sherman

I attribute much of this problem to the over emphasis of literature in our education system.

It's not "literature" which is necessarily the problem, but rather the pernicious idea that literature can only be relevant if it conforms to the tenets of modern, intersectional identity politics. Call it the "dead white male" problem and it exists in all the arts. (On these pages, we've seen 20 year olds dismissing Mozart, for example, for the same reason.) There is no longer a belief that literature can point us toward universal insights about the Human Condition. Rather, people act as if the world sprung fully formed from the head of Judith Butler or Jacques Derrida last month.

R. Sherman

Crap, Farnsworth. We were typing at the same time.

R. Sherman

I mean, the similarity of those comments is frightening.

David

I mean, the similarity of those comments is frightening.

At least now we know that one of you is, as long suspected, an evil twin. But... which?

Farnsworth M Muldoon

I mean, the similarity of those comments is frightening.

Booche's beer brainwashing ?

But... which?

He is a lawyer.

David

Heh.

WTP

I agree a good bit of it is deemphasis or even outright rejection of the “dead white males”, and especially Teh Narrative, but even DWM are a bit of a problem. As much as I admire, let’s say Twain’s writing and philosophy, he spent much of his time observing and writing things down. It is the nature of most writers to do significantly more writing than doing. This, I believe, warps their perceptions and thus their ability to communicate reality. And the Yank in me can’t help saying that goes double for Dickens. Understandably so yet these were two of the best. Or take a Hemingway for example. Much of his writing and much of his influence on later writers was based on seeking out adventures mostly for the purpose of writing about them. And the honest Yank in me would call him a poor man’s Kipling, at best. I’m not a student of RK per se but I did get the impression his adventures came first and writing was a leisurely afterthought. But I digress... The writer cannot honestly abstract himself from his writing. But a biographer OTOH, I’m tempted to say even a dishonest one, will not have himself as wrapped up in the story as a novelist or such.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

I think perhaps the argument hinges on the definition of "literature". As it was presented in my school days, I am including such things that might straddle the line of literature and history/philosophy/whatever like Cicero's Orations, Caesar's Commentaries, all the various Greek, Roman, and Norse mythologies, Pypes' Diaries, and moving on, even the muckrakers, along with the traditional basic load of English, French, Russian, 'Murkan, and so on, writers.

R. Sherman

It is the nature of most writers to do significantly more writing than doing. This, I believe, warps their perceptions and thus their ability to communicate reality.

I suppose, the act of observation/existence of an observer changes in some respect the phenomenon being observed. But long term observation yields data from which conclusions about the nature of reality, or, in the case of literature, insights about the Human condition may be inferred. Those conclusions or insights may not be one hundred percent accurate in all cases, but they may be sufficient to be of general applicability.

I think perhaps the argument hinges on the definition of "literature".

Ultimately, it is always about the story. Can you tell a good yarn? The deeper "meaning" comes later when the rest of us schmohs start poking around between the lines. That is, I'm not sure Shakespeare was interested in turning out classic drama as much as he was in filling the seats at the Globe. What makes Shakespeare enduring is the story and the characters. They are things most of us can relate to and that's what makes them "classic."

Duke Magoo

Rember Frank warned us in the mid 60s.

Lancastrian Oik

Put Muldoon’s, Sherman’s and WTP’s on my card please. And I’ll have a double of whatever it is they are quaffing.

David

And I’ll have a double of whatever it is they are quaffing.

Crushed ice and Night Nurse coming up.

Daniel Ream

It's not "literature" which is necessarily the problem, but rather the pernicious idea that literature can only be relevant if it conforms to the tenets of modern, intersectional identity politics.

Forget the Hungarians, the Japanese Model is the way to go. No public funding for the humanities or social sciences, period. Private colleges that want to teach those subjects for cash, fine. No publicly-secured loans for that tuition.

WTP

Farnsworth, you went to better schools than I did. Aside from Shakespeare and possibly Nathaniel Hawthorne, my literature exposer as far as reading assignments went was as if literature started after the Civil War and didn’t really get going until the Lost Generation post WWI. Any exposure to the true classics I got on my own after graduating college and having much free time after (and even at) work. Also to be clear, I do find Kipling to be the kind of legit writer to which you and Sherman refer.

I have a theory (yes, another one) that this writer-first, doer-second stuff mostly ended with the rapid increase in literacy along with communication and trade starting in the early 19th century or so. Western adventurers like Buffalo Bill Cody/John Burke, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, etc. were doers who wrote later in life (or in Burkes case, contemporaneously about the doer) about their adventures thus creating the market that later such writers-first writers went on to exploit. That’s an American focused/biased theory, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it applies more braodly to British and Spanish writers, I just lack the background on many of those (outside of Kipling, of course) to really say.

And for the record, I prefer Night Train over Night Nurse, but we were out of NT AND the MD 20/20 ...*casts evil eye toward hench lesbians slacking off at the end of the bar*...and Davis assured me t h aaa t Niiight Nuuuurrrsssssszzzzz...

Spiny Norman

Daniel Ream,

I think this is the best retort to that photo.

Umm...

🇺🇸Patriotic 🐯Tiger @PatrioticTiger
21 May 2016

It's ok, though. As you can see in the background they have a couple of "Safety Asians".

("Safety Asians" are the default minority choice of San Franciscans to avoid claims of bigotry)

I've learned a new and useful phrase today.

[+]

Safety Asians

Band name.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Farnsworth, you went to better schools than I did.

In retrospect it was pretty good, but at the time it seemed cruel and unusual punishment for my not taken public schools seriously. Alas, I fear it has gone downhill since it went co-ed and the classical model curriculum watered down. O tempora, o mores.

Pogonip

I think a lot of today’s problems would go away if the SJWs and anti-SJWs would just mind their own business.

I began thinking along these lines while reading Will Wheaton’s blog. The guy is very, very girly. I bet there are geisha who aren’t as feminine as Will Wheaton is. However—if he’s happy, his wife’s happy, the dog’s happy, who cares? Guys who are offended by girly men can just ignore him. Likewise, he could just ignore those tedious types who try to out-macho each other and insult each other by hirling Greek letters. (“You’re a beta!” “Yeah? Well, YOU are so, so gamma!”)

Archdruid Report-er John M. Greer has suggested the U.S. change its national anthem to Hank Williams’s “Mind Your Own Business.” I’m with him.

Daniel Ream

I think a lot of today’s problems would go away if the SJWs and anti-SJWs would just mind their own business.

They aren't going to do that, so that's a non-starter. What will work, and what is doable, is if people just stop paying any attention to them. Hobby Lobby. Chick-Fil-A. Whataburger. In-n-Out. UChicago. If you just ignore the online outrage fetishists, nothing bad happens. They have no power other than shrieking.

R. Sherman

They aren't going to do that, so that's a non-starter. What will work, and what is doable, is if people just stop paying any attention to them.

Unfortunately, your first sentence--with which I agree completely--prevents the course of action advised in the second.

Imagine being an assistant professor in a tenure track position in say the Classics Department. You want to immerse yourself in your work, but your colleagues decide to demand that everyone sign a stupid letter denouncing Rachel Fulton Brown. Now what?

Or, you're a semi-conservative engineer at Google, Inc. and your boss is shilling for the latest progressive California Proposition?

Or, you're a pizza restaurant which has never catered nor will ever cater any weddings under any set of facts, but you get call from a local news reporter about whether you'd bake pie for a gay wedding reception.

It's becoming ever more difficult, if not impossible, to ignore because outrage is now a competitive spectator sport. As they say, "You will be made to care."

Farnsworth M Muldoon

It's becoming ever more difficult, if not impossible, to ignore because outrage is now a competitive spectator sport. As they say, "You will be made to care."

Yep, even down to overpriced sneakers.

Nike revealed, through ESPN’s Darren Rovell, that it is making Colin Kaepernick the face of its “Just Do It” 30th anniversary ad campaign.
Darleen Click

Our education system would do us and its students much justice if just one semester of English literature would be devote to biographies of people who build things.

This is because school admins & boards homogenize k-12 via textbooks. It is the rare history social studies teacher who assigns readings from anything BUT the textbook. Primary sources? Biographies? Heavens to Betsy, we can't have some fool kid go off and find out for himself now! That might mean thinking and coming to a conclusion that differs from the approved textbook!

WTP

That might mean thinking and coming to a conclusion that differs from the approved textbook!

It’s likely a sign of some sort of malfunction on my part, but whenever this sort of subject comes up I think back on those days in high school AP history where they insisted that we must not attribute the cause of the US Civil War to slavery. It was all about states’ rights. You must respond with that answer on the big test or your two years of study on this subject will be for naught.

Daniel Ream

Imagine being an assistant professor in a tenure track position in say the Classics Department. You want to immerse yourself in your work, but your colleagues decide to demand that everyone sign a stupid letter denouncing Rachel Fulton Brown. Now what?

Or, you're a semi-conservative engineer at Google, Inc. and your boss is shilling for the latest progressive California Proposition?

Or, you're a pizza restaurant which has never catered nor will ever cater any weddings under any set of facts, but you get call from a local news reporter about whether you'd bake pie for a gay wedding reception.

I don't mean to split hairs, but those are different cases from "online Twitter mob targets random person/business".

In the first and second case, that's inside baseball. That's not a bunch of Internet randos with no power shrieking at your boss, that's your actual boss. That's an awkward situation, but it's not any different from the usual run-of-the-mill toxic academic/office politics that's always gone on. I don't have all that much sympathy for Lindsey Shepherd and James Damore; they knew they were walking into a vipers' nest the day they signed their employment contracts. I've worked at companies where my own boss was actively trying to trump up reasons to fire me for no better reason than I wouldn't give him free wifi. Stupid and malicious supervisors is an evergreen problem.

The third case is a non-issue; Memories Pizzeria got $846,000 from a fundraiser[1] and received record lineups after their story went viral. The threats and direct harassment are a problem, but those are also criminal matters that were addressed at the time.

I can't find the list of 1300 professors (all the fellow travelers who archived the letter won't include the signatures "for their safety", which seems to me to defeat the purpose), but none of the news reports indicate any of the signatories were from the UChicago Classics Department or even UChicago generally. If UChicago just continues to ignore the whole thing, nothing will or can happen.

[1] I could only dream of owning a business that grosses $84,600 a day.

R. Sherman

@Daniel Ream

I see the distinction. Still, I think those examples evince a larger trend of which the Twitter mobs are just one. It is a multi-front battle in my view. The progressive Left desires to silence and/or destroy dissenters by any means necessary, and one can insulate oneself from their attacks for only so long.

As for UChicago, kudos to it, of course, for its restraint, but it's not gone on the offensive against the mob in defense of its professor. It's not provided an example for other institutions to follow. Reading its statement in reaction to the controversy, I'm struck by its (the statement's) wish-washy-ness. To me, it smacks more of fear than courage.

YMMV

Darleen Click

I don't have all that much sympathy for Lindsey Shepherd and James Damore; they knew they were walking into a vipers' nest the day they signed their employment contracts.

Did they? Or were they young enough when they were hired they actually believed their employers' PR & recruitment schtick about looking for the best and brightest to feel free to run with their ambitions and expression?

I bet neither the university or Google had anywhere in their HR packet something along the lines of "Non-liberals should shut the fuck up and be invisible or you WILL be fired".

Daniel Ream

Did they? Or were they young enough when they were hired

Adults in their twenties. Grad students, both. No sympathy, these were not 17 year old freshman.

Also, I'm intimately familiar with the region containing WLU and the super-secret Google office in Waterloo. Both institutions have well-known reputations. Arguing that they didn't know what they were getting into is disingenuous at best.

From Wikipedia: "Shepherd completed her undergraduate degree in communication at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, before joining the MA program in Cultural Analysis & Social Theory at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU)"

Cultural Analysis and Social Theory. Go on, tell me she was a wide-eyed naif.

Tom

As for Sheperd, I'm sure she thought she could slip that clip in and get away with it, maybe a little push back but nothing too serious. She was on the 'right' side after all, wasn't she? I'm sure (checks over both shoulders) she was completely surprised by the resulting Spanish Inquisition.

Damore seems like just enough of a high functioning tech geek, I work with and around them, to honestly believe the truth would set them free, or something.

Daniel Ream

Damore seems like just enough of a high functioning tech geek, I work with and around them, to honestly believe the truth would set them free, or something.

I'd be more inclined to believe that like a lot of senior engineers in tech companies, he saw the non-tech employees as both politically and intellectually inferior within the organization. Given he's described himself as a high-functioning autistic, I'm guessing he simply didn't grasp that they actually held the balance of power.

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