March 18, 2009

Whiny parasitic little bitches

Covering the court case bought by the repulsive and unrepentant Ward Churchill against Columbia University, Mr Paine, blogger of the Pirate Ballerina blog pirouetted to a sassy and savvy piece by blogger David Thompson, who writes about kulcha and comics and stuff.

(All of which comes via, in the first instance, honorary Aussie John.G.M of Drunkablog, who is providing colorful first hand reporting of the Churchill trial hot off his keyboard in Denver.)

In
Defined by whining Thompson concludes with all the eloquence that the rest of us wish we could summon and with the moral force that only a gay man can execute (so, you know, that leaves most of us out of the competition, quite frankly).

"Obviously, as a gay man, I too feel aggrieved and entitled. Entitled, that is, to say, “Get the hell over yourselves, you whiny, parasitic little bitches.”

While that's a high point, it's not even the best of it. Thompson has a way of grabbing academia by the balls, as it were, to capture the insincere fabric that passes for radicalism, not to mention righteous indignation. Quoting himself from an earlier post he writes:

"The problem is that adversarial role-play has little to do with reason, refutation or how the world actually is. It does, however, have a great deal to do with how those concerned wish to seem. In order to maintain a self-image of heroic radicalism - and in order to justify funding, influence and status - great leaps of imagination, or paranoia, may be required. Hence the goal posts of persecution tend to move and new and rarer forms of exploitation and injustice have to be discovered, many of which are curiously invisible to the untutored eye. Thus, the rebel academic tends towards extremism, intolerance and absurdity, not because the mainstream of society is becoming more racist, prejudiced, patriarchal or oppressive – but precisely because it isn’t."

For those of you mildly delighted, yet confused, let's quickly follow the bread crumb trail to Heather MacDonald's piece, with the envy inducing title of "Victimology 101 at Yale":

"In December 2008, Yale University president Richard Levin announced a series of budget cuts to compensate for a 25 percent drop in the value of Yale’s endowment. This February, the university launched the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Resources to provide support for Yale’s homosexual community. According to its director, the new office is intended to make the “University feel like a friendly place as opposed to an alien, hostile place” to gays. The recession, it appears, is going to have little impact on the academic culture of victimology and the ever-growing bureaucracy that supports it. The idea that Yale is an “alien, hostile place” to gays is one of those absurd conceits that could only be maintained in the alternative universe of academia. Yale students and faculty are undoubtedly the most tolerant, least homophobic people on Earth; Yale helped launch the field of gay studies three decades ago and has only increased its involvement since."

Which is where the previous quotes from Thompson step in as he sighs:

"Ah, but the drama must go on indefinitely. That's the whole point."

And yet, you wonder, stroking your chin, how does any of this tie in with Chutch's trial?


More from MacDonald:


"Unsurprisingly, this appetite for grievance and indulgence has been exploited and internalised by many students, especially those entranced by tribal identities and the leverage they make possible. (Not least among those who believe we live in the 1950s.) MacDonald goes on to list Yale’s pandering to this particular tribe, including lectures, conferences, professorships, elaborate nondiscrimination policies, the establishment of a Lesbian and Gay Studies Centre, the hiring of “special assistants for LGBTQ issues,” oral history projects, “critical analysis of queer and normative sexualities,” the provision and subsidy of “safe spaces” for LGBTQ students, and courses in “music and queer identities” and “gender transgression.”


Students in today’s university regularly act out little psychodramas of oppression before an appreciative audience of deans and provosts. The essence of those psychodramas is to force the university to recognize a student’s narrowly defined “identity” through ever more elaborate bureaucratic mechanisms. Rather than laugh the student players off the stage, the deans, provosts, and sundry other administrators willingly participate in their drama, intently negotiating with them and conferring additional benefits wherever possible."


And so it goes with any tribal or minority identification, of which Chutch and the identity-challenged students who respond to his tune, are, for our purpose "Exhibit A".


A grab of some well coined comments:


"What I find eerie is the use of organised suppression and intimidation by those who proclaim their “tolerance” and “progressive” attitudes. There’s an obliviousness to contradiction that’s more than a little odd.


In-group belonging is often the priority - purity, as you put it - hence the tendency towards extremism. As the mainstream assimilates (or tolerates) whatever was radical ten years ago, the goal posts have to move and new struggles have to be found. For some people - quite a few, I think - the contrarianism and drama is hard to do without. It would make them feel less special. Whether the drama is justified, or sane, doesn’t seem to matter very much.


You were once a practicing socialist? I hope you weren’t too scarred by the experience.


Regarding the clips linked above, it’s the ludicrous irony of leftwing students claiming that “campuses are places for open-mindedness,” while proving the opposite by drowning out an opinion they happen to disagree with (for reasons that still aren’t clear). They claim to oppose “hate” while acting in ways designed to intimidate not only the speaker but anyone who wants to hear what that speaker has to say.


They want a monopoly and they want it now. Another student sneeringly mentions the “marketplace of ideas,” while making sure no-one else gets a chance to hear views *he* doesn’t like. Evidently, his worldview is the one everyone should have and competition won’t be tolerated.


What’s extraordinary is just how widespread this inversion of reality is, and the obliviousness to contradiction is actually quite sinister."


MacDonald can finish things off with a flourish or two:


"Can a student who is furiously itemizing the many ways she has been dissed as a female of color or a lesbian, say, lose herself in the opalescent language of A Midsummer Night's Dream or hear the aching melancholy in Wordsworth's "Intimations" ode? She will have been taught to scour books for slights to, or affirmations of, her own self, but neither the play nor the poem is directly about her carefully cultivated identity.


In his December 2008 letter on Yale's budget problems, President Richard Levin affirmed the university's mission of "educating the most talented and promising students for leadership and service." Teaching students to identify phantom insults to their egos doesn't train them for leadership and service but merely for future whining."


Maybe Gen-Y and Gen-Z aren't entirely the fault of the baby boomers or Oprah after all.


Victimology 101 at Yale



2 comments:

  1. No wonder people misunderstand the life-affirming virtues of Recruit School.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm sure you'd have some good lines for knocking whiners into line Capt'n. :-)

    Just on the news that another of our soldiers has lost his life in Afghanistan.

    Kinda puts ego driven whiny students and academics and their carefully crafted identities into perspective.

    ReplyDelete