Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Grist for the Diploma Mill

For those of you who enjoy seeing academe slagged.

What the university offered, then, became no different from the fare of a television station, a local movie theater, rap concert, or a government bureaucracy: the more the campus devolved into popular life, the less it had to offer anything of rarity or singular beauty—confirming Plato’s pessimism that the radical egalitarian appeal to mass appetites must lead to arts of a lesser and more accessible quality. If half-educated strippers and sex entertainers are deemed street artists or populist philosophers, then they can now be welcomed to campus, exempt from both the charge of sexual exploitation and pornography by reciting anti-American poetry and offering anti-Western quips as they unclothe and fondle themselves before cheering college audiences. A Ward Churchill is the emblem of today’s university provocateur and entertainer, posing as the everyman professor with beads, buckskin, and an automatic rifle, enhanced and protected by bogus credentials and a faked identity.

I recuse myself from all comment in such cases. I am far out of the shadow of the ivory tower and have a great antipathy for it, based on prejudice and experience. The schadenfreude I feel in reading passages where it is roundly dissed tells me I am a poor judge of the quality of the criticism.