Sunday, May 23, 2004

Learning your place

"Some students and most of the faculty responded with a standing ovation." ...Some Hofstra professors said Doctorow was on target in discussing the war. "I thought this was a totally appropriate place to talk about politics because that's the world our students are entering," said sociology professor Cythnia Bogard. "I only wish their parents had provided them a better role model." Yes, how dare the majority of the student body loudly complain about a polemicist propagandizing to a captive audience? They need to learn to quietly accept The Objective Truth from their moral betters in the faculty. I attend, this being Ottawa and all, a very much left-leaning institution. For a while, I actually went to the trouble to document what I considered unacceptable bias in lectures - random anti-American comments not pertinent to the topic, intimations of fascism against conservatives of all stripes, overt statements of admiration for Mao and Trotsky, that kind of thing. I gave it up eventually; there was just too much - like when in the first lecture for American History 1776-1865, the instructor (a part-time prof, also some sort of civilian higher-up at National Defense), among other unkind statements, claimed he found the despicable Talking to Americans "a hoot." Would he find it quite as hilarious for an American news crew to trick ignorant Canadians into saying moronic things about American cultural minutiae, I wonder? How hard would it be to find a resident of Nunavut, say, who could be persuaded of some silly notion like the Whiskey Rebellion occurring in 1994? Or that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is an account of Tom Brokaw's vacation lodge? It's an awful premise, in that it relies on the natural goodwill of the public towards being interviewed on TV, only to cruelly trick them into humiliating themselves. (And what's the failure rate of Rick Mercer's little sideshow, I wonder? How many interviewees sense it's a setup, or call his bluff on the joke questions? We never see those takes, of course.) There are speakers and approaches to topics that I dislike, but when they're at least marginally relevant to the class material, I can't get too upset. This man admitted, point blank, in the first class, his contempt for most Americans, as though he was teaching a course on the Third Reich. If there'd been any way I could switch courses without having to seriously rearrange my schedule, I would have. Now I try to tune it out, and just make a short notation, the same every time, in the margin. I'm sure the precise nature of said notes are obvious. (I received an A for that particular class. He may have been a pedantic, overtly biased ass in lectures, but he was at least a fair marker.) (Via Instapundit.)

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