Anthropology 101
Not Entirely Inspiring

It Was Monday And So There Was Psychodrama

“My oppression is not a delusion.”

So chanted students at the College of the Holy Cross, a private, and rather handsome, liberal arts college in Worcester, Massachusetts, and for which parents fork out $54,000 a year in order to have their children brutally oppressed. In this case, by a talk by Heather Mac Donald.

Being righteously engorged, the protestors disrupted Ms Mac Donald’s lecture, refused repeated offers to engage in debate, and prevented would-be attendees from entering the venue, telling those outside that the guest had left the building, when in fact she hadn’t. This being what righteous people do, you see.

The demonstrators… left, yelling: “Your sexism is not welcome!” “Your racism is not welcome!” “Your homophobia is not welcome!” “YOU are not welcome!”

Evidence of said vices was not, it seems, forthcoming.

Needless to say, the protestors denounced Ms Mac Donald’s alleged “privilege,” while somehow not noticing their own air of entitlement and obvious leverage, deployed with recreational glee, and their own, seemingly routine expectations of impunity. And again, as so often, it’s worth noting the protestors’ mix of vanity and casual spite – choosing lies and mob coercion in order to cheat other students of their chance to hear Ms Mac Donald and ask her questions. An overt display of disdain for those who might dare to demur. And who, by extension, are presumably unwelcome too.

Update, via the comments:

The behaviour on display, the arrogance and selfishness, does rather suggest that the participants are accustomed to indulgence and cossetting - which jars somewhat with their pretensions of victimhood and unendurable oppression. Seemingly exempt from normal proprieties, and from even empty threats of reprimand, the protestors were of course emboldened. As one of their number boasted,

The fact that we pulled this off is actually amazing. I feel so empowered now, and this is just the beginning. This is the start of something more.

Thwarting would-be attendees by gratuitously wasting a venue’s seating capacity seems to be the fashionable thing, among both students and university employees. “Take a seat away from a student that would be interested in going,” as Ms Chrissy Nelson put it, here. Again, the psychology in play - and being crowed about - isn’t exactly edifying.

In the comments, Captain Nemo adds,

There are plenty of places in the world - perhaps even in America - where there are people who have the misfortune to suffer genuine oppression. I am unable to believe that the campus of a New England university is one of them.

Indeed. And I suspect that beneath the delinquent, self-dramatising role-play, the truth of the matter may be something closer to this:

‘I am ill-equipped to cope with the demands of academic work, even with lowered standards, even in a joke subject, and have therefore retreated into a political fantasy world, in which I am always the star, and in which my shortcomings and failures are always someone else’s fault.’

I paraphrase, of course.

Update 2:

Ms Mac Donald shares some thoughts.