The horrors of a Leftist English teacher

The other day, Zombie put up a post that resonated with me on more levels than you can imagine.  It turns out that Zombie deciding to drop in on a lecture at UC Berkeley (my alma mater) to hear a lecture by an English as a Second Language, or ESL, professor (my father’s job), which was given in execrable English (my complaint about my children’s English teachers), and had as its point the moral necessity of using education to advance Leftist causes (my bête noire as a parent, a Berkeley grad, and a conservative in America).

You have to read Zombie’s post to believe it and, even after reading it, you might find it hard to believe. I’ll just say that my father, who worshiped the beauty of the English language and who believed that his job was to have his students speaking English, is probably rolling in his grave right about now.

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  • Charles Martel

    I think the saying “the inmates are running the asylum” should be changed to “the stupid people have risen to the top.”
     
    Has there ever been a movement more devoted to the extinction of intelligence than the left? One of the dirty little secrets behind the collapse of the Soviet Union was that it had spent three generations methodically murdering, exiling, or jailing its brightest people. What was left was a system based on wolfish cunning, but with utterly no coherent intellectual underpinnings. When a power like the United States, which had always cultivated the intelligence of its people, pushed back against the USSR, it could not compete.
     
    You see the same thing happening today with the U.S. left. Slavering dimwits like Biden, Reich, Krugman and Elizabeth Warren are elevated to the status of great thinkers even though none of them would last more than 2 minutes in a debate with a Krauthammer or a Victor Davis Hanson. 
     
    Or this risible retired English teacher at UC Berkeley. This man, the privileged product of a capitalist society, wants teachers to subvert that society in order to bring on. . . what? If this deluded soul wants a vision of his heart’s desire fulfilled, he can stroll through an OWS encampment with its state-of-the-art hygienic practices, it’s white-dominated management, its total lack on intellectual seriousness, and its look-the-other-way assaults on women. If that’s too icky, there’s always looking at a photograph of uniformed automatons marching in lockstep under their masters standing atop Lenin’s tomb to show him the brave new world he wants to usher in.
     

  • JKB

    Check out the comments on that post, this guy isn’t unique, he’s the norm

    Plus to see the cutting edge of education research

    Education Research as Clown College – Frederick M. Hess & Francesca Pickett – National Review Online 

  • lee

    electrical skilelectrical’skillsI got an undergraduate degree in theater from Major State University back in the mid-eighties. One major advantage of studying theater back then was I got an extremely good background in world literature and world history. (Plus, I gained great sewing, carpentry, and electrical skills.) The intro to theater course was a basic survey of the dramatic literature along with a healthy dose of theater. Off the top of my head, I recall that we read Le Cid, Tartuffe, Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, Lysistrata…. et al. Now,it seems like classes are developed by people far too in love with their doctoral dissertations. Let’s see what awaits the eager freshperson at Cal’s Department of Theater: http://tdps.berkeley.edu/programs-courses/courses/fall-courses/

    Nowadays, a theater degree is pretty useless.* One can get a degree in theater from Bookworm’s alma mater without taking a single course in which Shakespeare is read. (That one intro course, “Gender and Disability in Shakespeare” is just ONE of the intro courses offered. No one HAS to take that particular section.) Sad, isn’t it? I am not sure that my alma mater is any better after all these years. 

    The problem with Neil Postman and friend’s approach, and the subject of the Zombie post, as well as the whole liberal/leftwing methodology of college education is that students do learn to “think” better if they are provided with the basic tools and information needed. In science, math, engineering, they still start with the building blocks–you gotta understand basic algebra to move on to trig to move on to calculus to move on to the calculations an engineer needs to perform. For a theater major the basic building blocks to move on to more involved study means learning an KNOWING dates, names, places and reading a hell of a lot of plays.  Why the heck is a freshperson starting theater studies with “Postcolnial and the Global: Power, Politics and Performance”? Ridiculous! (Aside from the fact that the whole course is undoubtedly a load of tripe.)    

    I dropped out of a PhD prgogram in 1998 because the pomo b√££$$#*+ got to deep. I knew i hated studying it, and I certainly didn’t want to teach it, and knew I was gonna have a hard time finding a job with that attitude. Too bad–undergraduates would’ve been better off with more professors like me. But I like my new career–the b√££$#*+ factor is minimal.

    * Okay, I admit that a theater degree has never really been one of the most use full things, but I do have to say that my knowledge of world history has been very helpful. Not to mention how often the sewing, carpentry, and electrical skills come in handy!

  • Michael Adams

    I knew M. Martel would have an eloquent rant on this. I was not disappointed.
     
    Remember the story *Marching Morons*? It was published about 1955, and made such an impression on people, now in their eighties, that they recall it instantly, as soon as I mention it. Look it up.  It’s still good, and salubrious, too. Every time I think it is just a satirical look at our sad state of affairs, I hear another Certified Smart Guy say something so bizarre, and, instantly,  a Gadarene herd runs madly after.
     
    Wonder whether we could interest #Occupy Resolute Desk in a vacation on Mars.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Charles Martel:  That is an excellent point.  The Cambodians were grotesquely obvious about their extermination of anyone who appeared capable of independent thought (including those unfortunate enough to wear glasses), but the Soviets did the same thing, only with a bit more subtlety.  

    JKB:  That’s just depressing.

    lee:  You must be really, really, really old if you still managed to get an actual education at college.  ;)  I take it that when you say the mid-80s, you mean the 1880s.  I think America’s public schools pretty much stopped educating back in about 1966.

    Michael Adams: I do not remember the story Marching Morons.  What is it?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Book, you’ve never seen how technical and electrical type engineering degree schools are run? They are still pretty reality, and not politically, based. Even Leftist aristocrats weren’t going to trust engineers produced by their fellow ideologies. They “do want to” survive that elevator ride, you know. 

  • Charles Martel

    lee: Great post! Comparing what you recount learning back in the day with what kids today “learn” just makes me shake my head.

  • Jose

    What I remember most about Marching Morons is that every car has a loud revving engine and a optimistic speedometer so that everyone thinks they are high speed drivers.  In reality the top speed is about 35mph.  The entire society caters to the lowest common denominator. There is a synopsis on Wikipedia.

  • Texan99

    “The Marching Morons,” by C.K. Kornbluth, was a sequel to a short story I vividly remember reading as a child, called “The Little Black Bag.”  In the future, most of the population are morons, while a very few people with high intelligence try to engineer the world to be fairly fool-proof.  A pseudo-doctor has a “little black bag” that allows any idiot to practice effective medicine.  It accidentally gets sent back into time, where a rummy old failed doctor picks it up and uses it to perform medical miracles, before things go awry.  A fine old story.

  • Owen Glendower

    “The Little Black Bag” was also quite well-done as a Twilight Zone episode starring Burgess Meredith and Chill Wills, IIRC.