The Bookworm Beat 3-27-15 — “The World Turned Upside Down” edition and open thread

Woman writingWord must have gotten out that I have a temporary hiatus in the endless mountain of legal work that’s overwhelmed me, because the phone hasn’t stopped ringing all morning. Every time my fingers get anywhere near my keyboard, the phone rings, I glance at the caller ID and, yes, it’s a call I need to take.

The most interesting call I received came in a short while ago from a delightful, interesting man who will be speaking to a local conservative group with which I’m involved. His topic: Israel. In past weeks, some in the group have been a little worried that this man, a Democrat and Obama supporter, might inadvertently antagonize our group. Speaking to him today, though, I think he and our group will be singing the same song.  He seems to feel, as I do, that  — Obama is doing something unconscionably dangerous in allying us with Iran while giving Iran the nuclear go ahead, and something profoundly evil by sacrificing Israel to achieve this unconscionable goal.

I am deeply, deeply disturbed when I think what Obama is doing in the Middle East. By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes. This is not ineptitude or misguided faith. Obama, dragging the United States along behind him, is deliberately embracing evil.

All I can think of lately, and you’ll see why as you read further, is the British military band in 1781, at the Surrender at Yorktown, playing “The World Turned Upside Down.”

Don’t just blame Lena Dunham; The New Yorker published her

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When it comes to campus fascism, revolutions always eat their own

Charlton Heston on political correctnessOne of the truisms I grew up hearing is that “revolutions always eat their own.” I have understood this to mean that, in any revolutionary movement, the second generation, having been marinated longer in the revolutionary brine, is more extreme than the first generation and invariably purges that first generation. Both the French and the Russian revolutions prove this point.

We in America have had a revolution too. It’s been a very slow-moving revolution of the kind that the British used to call a Fabian Revolution. It involves advancing revolutionary goals, not through violence, but through slow, reformist means.  As Ferguson shows, the violence then comes after the revolution. Indeed, Ferguson is one of the best manifestations of that revolution.

The other obvious manifestation is the American college campus. On campuses throughout America, a Nanny state fascism is the norm. That didn’t happen overnight. It happened through Fabian gradualism, with hard-Left revolutionary principles being slowly introduced in the classrooms (increasingly open, aggressive Marxist teaching), in the administrative buildings (read Heather MacDonald’s Multiculti U for the best discussion about the hard Left Fabianism in college administration), and in the dorms (which had a slow Progression away from same-sex dorms, same-sex floors, same-sex bathrooms, and same-sex rooms, which a completely unsurprisingly commensurate uptick in rape claims).

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The Bookworm Beat 2-26-15 — the evening edition and open thread

Woman writing

Alan Dershowitz challenges the talk about boycotting Netanyahu’s speech

Read and enjoy Alan Dershowitz’s fiery denunciation of the Obama administration’s efforts to get Democrats — especially black ones — to boycott Netanyahu’s speech about the existential threat Obama’s policies pose to Israel.

I won’t comment on the article — it speaks for itself — but I will comment on a couple of peripheral things. Dershowitz is a Democrat, but he’s also an ardent Israel supporter. I therefore can’t help but think that, as Obama prepares to break with Israel and ally America with Iran, it’s not a coincidence that Dershowitz suddenly found himself swept up in the pedophile sex scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein.

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The Bookworm Beat 2-23-15 — Post-Vegas edition and Open Thread

Woman writingI do like Vegas. I love its manic energy, crazed corporate imagination, over-the-top shows, brilliant colors, and flashing lights. And then, after three days, I’m desperate to get away from the noise and smoke and, often, the desperation floating above the casino floors. In other words, I had a great trip there and then was glad to come home again. This time, coming home also meant going through about 800 backed-up emails (a lot of people got heartfelt apologies from me for delaying so long before responding to them), and finding some awesome things to share with you.

A glowing French eye-view of American troops

When we think of the French, we tend to think of hyper-critical people who look down upon Americans. That stereotype might be true on the Île-de-France, but it turns out to be untrue in the theater of war, at least as to one French soldier who served with American troops (Echo Company) in Afghanistan. If this doesn’t make you want to stand up and salute, I truly don’t know what will:

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The schizophrenia of American colleges

College GradsOn the one, you have this kind of crap coming out of American colleges:

Another day in academia, another twist in the bizarre world of identity studies. The Center for the Study of Sexual Culture at the University of California, Berkeley, is presenting a talk next week on “Queering Agriculture,” dedicated to the proposition that “it is absolutely crucial queer and transgender studies begin to deal more seriously with the subject of agriculture.”

And on the other hand, you have College Humor:

Mt. Holyoke, The Vagina Monologues, and why “The Coming College Decline” is a good thing *UPDATED WITH PERFECT POSTER*

The Vagina MonologuesRonald Brownstein, in a National Journal article entitled “The Coming College Decline,” has noticed that the college bubble is getting near bursting.  He thinks that’s a bad thing for racial reasons. According to him, the ones dropping out of college are minorities, who will be the youthful majority in a couple of decades. When that time comes, we’ll be back to a pre-baby boom society, one in which the largest share of working adults have not gone to college. To Brownstein, this demographic change is a reason to take Obama up on his offer to give people “free” community college. We know, of course, that only the moon and stars are free; for everything else, someone’s got to pay.

I have to part ways with Brownstein. I think that it would be a wonderful thing if the bubble collapsed and fewer Americans went to college. Why? Because colleges don’t teach anymore, they corrupt.

Today’s example is Mt. Holyoke, an iconic 19th century women’s college. Mt. Holyoke, like most American colleges, has made a sacrament out of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. If you’re feeling left out that you haven’t seen the play, don’t be; be grateful instead.

The show, which consists of several women sitting on stage telling stories about their and other people’s vaginas is quite awful. It’s also incredibly creepy because it’s got a whole section devoted to lesbian pedophilia. As originally written, the gal who had her vagina thoroughly appreciated by a lesbian was 13 when it happened. When I had the misfortune to see the show, the gal had been aged to 15, but was still having lesbian sex with an adult. Even as amended, therefore, it was still selling statutory rape and pedophilia. Let’s just say that the whole show is pretty much consistent with this kind of ick factor.

Because feminists have so embraced The Vagina Monologues, it’s become a staple across America. Young women at college are so into celebrating their vaginas that, at many campuses, Valentine’s Day, once about hearts, flowers, and romance, has been turned into V Day, to celebrate . . . yes, the vagina, complete with endless re-stagings of The Vagina Monologues. Funnily enough, none of the colleges have followed this to the logical conclusion, in line with Title IX, by having a celebratory P Day so that all can ruminate about the glories of the penis.

Or even better . . . stay with me, because this is good, the colleges should have their own D-Day. Just think about the D-Day that we older folk commemorate on June 6.  It’s so chauvinistic and brutal, with its celebration of men and war.  It’s time to revitalize that sexist, violent day, by bringing it in line with Title IX’s mandate for full sexual equality on college campuses.  Henceforth, it should be a true D-Day — one on which we celebrate the male dick.

I can just see it now.  Every June 6, men could parade around campuses singing hymns to the glories of their own personal biological wonder. I mean, think about it. Not only can it enable its owners to pee standing up (something women really do envy), it has a cool switching device, like a fancy train junction, that allows it to deliver different fluids without cross-contamination. It also lets its user show his true emotions, putting the lie to all those women who say men don’t communicate their emotions well.  In the same way we admire dogs and cats because their tails, ears, and whiskers talk to us, shouldn’t we have an annual day to celebrate the amazing communication abilities of the male dick? This new D-Day even harmonizes with the original D-Day, because all those men storming the beach, seasick, frightened, often drowning because of heavy equipment, and running straight into bullets and cannons, had . . . yes, dicks!

D-Day, friends. It’s time has truly come. Or maybe not. You see, Mt. Holyoke is doing away with the play that started it all. You heard me right. They’re canceling The Vagina Monologues.

This ought to be good news, but it really isn’t. Instead, it just furthers my strong belief that America’s higher education institutions have become hopelessly corrupt swamps of radical Leftism, abandoning logic, common sense, history, and the intellectual apex of human development and, instead, rolling around in the brainless, hysterical, paranoid mud of victimization, biology denial, suicidal multiculturalism, and extreme misanthropy.

On the surface, the decision to jettison The Vagina Monologues looks good.  It turns out, however, that someone realized that the play is unfair. Hearing this, some of you might be thinking “Hey, that’s okay. It’s high time that the feminists and Leftists on American campuses realize that it is unfair to men to go around rubbing their noses in vaginas.” (Well, that came out sounding wrong, but you know what I mean.)

Vaginas and men

Except that this kind of equitable, non-sexist thinking is not what drove the Mt. Holyoke decision.  Instead, the great minds at Mt. Holyoke decided that sanctifying the play is unfair because it sidelines men who want to be women, i.e., transsexuals.  To the extent these transsexuals lack biological vaginas, The Vagina Monologues, say the powers that be at Mt. Holyoke, is a discriminatory form of microagression (or something like that):

Since the 1990s, students from Mount Holyoke College, an all-women’s school in Massachusetts, have staged an annual production of The Vagina Monologues. Not this year. The college is retiring the ritual over concerns that the play—penned by Eve Ensler in 1996 as a way to “celebrate the vagina” and women’s sexuality—is not inclusive enough.

In a school-wide email from Mount Holyoke’s student-theater board, relayed by Campus Reform, student Erin Murphy explained that “at its core, the show offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman … Gender is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions, and many of us who have participated in the show have grown increasingly uncomfortable presenting material that is inherently reductionist and exclusive.”

Students haven’t grown uncomfortable with The Vagina Monologues because it’s a creepy, masturbatory, misanthropic celebration of a body part, complete with lesbian statutory rape and pedophilia. Instead, at one of America’s most expensive and (peculiarly) prestigious education institutions, the play is out because “the show offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman” — not because it focuses solely on women’s vaginas, but because it doesn’t focus on men who wish they had women’s vaginas.

(Yikes!  That last clause didn’t come out right.  I don’t mean heterosexual men who like their vaginas on women (?), but transsexual men who would like women’s vaginas on them (?). Oy! it seems that my grammar, logic, and writing skills are not up to the task of dealing with fluid gender identity and self-selection.  I seem to be hopelessly heteronomative.  My humblest apologies.)

I don’t think we can wipe out the stain of America’s higher education culture fast enough. Looking at the degradation of education at these institutions, which have turned against the classic principles and knowledge of a free people, I keep being reminded of the Children of Israel trekking for 40 years through the Sinai with Moses. It wasn’t that Moses, an experienced desert-dweller, couldn’t find the Holy Land. It was that the generation that had once been slaves had to die out so that a new generation, one that had always been free, could create a new generation. Our own nation won’t be free until we see the final end of America’s toxic university culture. An economic meltdown would be a good place to start.

The Bookworm Beat 1/12/15: Two completely random thoughts about narcissists and college

Woman writingI know a narcissist.  One of the interesting things about talking with her is that she takes very personally things that are, to non-narcissists, manifestly impersonal.

For example, while talking about clothes, I might say to my narcissistic friend something along the lines of “I’m not a big fan of these new infinity scarves.”  Unbeknownst to me, she likes infinity scarves.  At this point, a normal person would say, “I actually like infinity scarves.  I think they look pretty, they’re easy to use, and they go with pretty much everything.”  But she’s a narcissist, so what she says is, “What do you know about fashion?  Your dress is disgusting.  I can’t believe you left the house that way.”  When I protest about the vicious, personal nature of her attack, her response is “You did it first.”

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The pathetic case of the poor Princeton freshman with the problematic regional accent

Princeton UniversityLet me begin by saying that, whatever Princeton once was, it isn’t any longer. Any university that has both the execrable Paul Krugman and and the even more execrable Peter Singer on its roster has long ago parted ways with decency, intelligence, and data. Should we be surprised, then, when its admissions process, aided by its  — ahem — “education” process, results in people like Newby Parton, a Princeton freshman who shot to unexpected fame by complaining that he’s the victim of microagression because he pronounces “wh” as “hw”?

Parton’s article, which appears in the Daily Princetonian, is either a pitch-perfect satire of every Leftist attempt to claim victimhood, or it is an honest piece that represents the nadir of higher education in America. Either way, this is what you need to know about: Parton introduces himself as a young man who comes from a small region in America that still pronounces “wh” the old-fashioned way, as “hw.”

I actually found Parton’s discussion about this regionalism an interesting bit of linguistic history, one that could, in a sane world, have led to a light-hearted an educational look at lingering speech differences across America despite television’s homogenizing influence. Parton, though, had bigger things on his mind.

You see, poor Parton is picked on:

There is a town in that band that I call home, so I say my “wh”-words in the traditional way. I never thought twice about it before coming to New Jersey. Here, my peers make a spectacle of it. “Say Cool Whip,” they’ll tell me, in reference to the Family Guy gag in which one character pokes fun at another for his /hw/ pronunciations. I’ll say “Cool Whip.” They’ll repeat it back to me with exaggerated emphasis on the /h/. I’ve been pulled into this conversation several times now, and each time I grow a bit more self-conscious. Very few people like to have their speech mocked.

Poor Parton knew what was happening to him.  He had become a victim of microaggression.  

Micro aggression, you ask? Here’s the story: Having successfully used political correctness to stifle all overt speech that disagrees with Leftist precepts, Lefties have had to go to the next level, which is to argue that unstated anti-Leftist premises still linger in American speech and these too must be stifled.   (Daniel Hannan provides a helpful updated dictionary for those struggling to avoid microaggression in their own speech.)

Growing up, I was constantly picked on about my speech patterns, which were (and still are) a confusing amalgam of American, San Francisco, Jewish, and vaguely European.  I countered by teasing my own friends, all of whom brought an Asian touch to their English.  We all thought it was funny.  Parton, as I said, gets what was (and is) really going on when people get teased about regionalisms or other speech variations.  It’s hate.  Hate pure and simple:

A friend of mine whom I quite like had put me through the “Cool Whip” routine, so I waited awhile and texted her this: “Making fun of regional speech is a microaggression.”

But don’t cry for Parton, please. His indocrination, er education has taught him that, although he’s clearly a victim of hatred, he’s so privileged he has no right to complain.  Apparently the 21st century white man’s burden is that you’re not allowed to whine when your friends tease you:

[T]is is not very important to me. I am a male and I am white, so I get less than my fair share of discrimination. I am ashamed to say that I have complained when I have had such fortune, but I must confess that I did.

Moreover, Parton celebrates the fact that his intense emotional anguish nevertheless serves as a teaching opportunity (or do I mean a learning opportunity?) for young Parton and one, moreover, that allows him to abase himself completely before those Lefties whose cool victimhood he wishes he could emulate:

She [the friend to whom he complained] really did not understand that she had caused any offense, even after I had plainly told her so. That is fine with me, and I don’t blame her one bit. If I were her, I am afraid I would not have understood either.

I mean it when I say I am afraid. I am afraid that I have spent eighteen years not understanding when I have said something offensive. I am afraid that I have unwittingly hurt the feelings of people so accustomed to microaggression that they did not bother to speak up. I am afraid that I would not have taken those people seriously if they had made a stand. And I am afraid I will do it all again. I am afraid because microaggressions aren’t harmless — there’s research to show that they cause anxiety and binge drinking among the minority students who are targeted.

I’m sure you know that expression, “Pardon me, but I just spit up a little in my mouth.”  I find that weak.  For things such as Parton’s pathos, I really feel like going the full vomit.

Keep in mind that Parton is one of the few and the proud who makes it into America’s Ivy Leagues. After all, these universities, deservedly or not, get to troll amongst the top, top graduates of American high schools — and Parton is what they picked. Not only did the admissions office see promise in the boy, the student newspaper quite obviously felt that Parton had something worthwhile to say.  (Or alternatively, the editors hate him and saw this as the perfect opportunity to hold him up to nationwide opprobrium.)

A friend of mine, who was trained in a harsher school of life than the emotionally fragile Parton, summed up nicely what I would have said in a dozen bloviating paragraphs:

Especially like the fact he is a freshman. Self-flagellating, mewling worms with zero life experience need to stop their micro-aggressive assault on my senses. Only sissies deal in so called micro aggression. When I do it, it’s on purpose and there’s nothing micro about it. As I went to bed last night it dawned on me that our popular culture has so glamorized victimization that this poor sap had to dig deep to manufacture a way for him to be in the club with the cool kids. He has to blame someone. That would be as opposed to seeking responsibility

Yeah! What my friend said.

(Oh, and while I’m on the subject of personal responsibility, here’s a different take, and one with which I wholeheartedly agree.)

A “Letter of Solidarity” from Cal. State University, Northridge reads like a parody of Leftist anti-Americanism

Cal_State_University_NorthridgeI received in my email a copy of a “letter of solidarity” circulating amongst employees in the Masters of Social Work Department at California State University, Northridge (“CSUN”), a California taxpayer-funded institution that also receives federal tax dollars. In this solidarity letter, department members indict the entire American system for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, as well as for the death and suffering of all other victim classes in America.

This apocalyptic, anti-American mindset begins with the cover letter accompanying the email:

From: Chavez, Naomi [XXXX@XXXX]
Sent: Friday, December 19, 2014 11:29 AM
To: Chavez, Naomi
Subject: IPT and Letter of Solidarity

Please reply directly to Jose Paez [XXXX@XXXX]

Attached please find the CSUN MSW Department Letter of Solidarity. Our attempt was to adequately capture the feelings of outrage, frustration, humiliation, shame and pain experienced by so many communities for so many generations without access to true justice or healing. Our letter builds from the work of Portland State University, Simmons College, and Smith College; joins the growing number of schools/departments that have made a public statement; and upholds our obligation as social workers to speak out against social injustices.

Our letter uses settler colonialism as a main lens and framework of analysis to interpret the current state of affairs within a historical context. We have addressed the historical traumas and provided evidence/examples of the intersecting oppressive forces which create the space for the persistent forms of state sanctioned violence we see today. We have created a brief yet thorough list of action items to hold us accountable.

If you have a chance, please take a moment to read this letter. We would like to gather and add as many signatures to this letter as possible. We are posting the letter to our Dept. website today–Friday (12/19). We also plan to email this document to President Harrison, as well as to our students. If you’d like your name to be added to this letter, please email José Paez (XXXX@XXXX) directly today (12/19) and he’ll add your name. If you miss the deadline, but would still like to be added, please email José and he’ll make sure you get added to the letter. Please let us know if you have any questions.

José Miguel Paez, LCSW
CSUN MSW Department
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, Ca. 91330-8226
818 [XXX-XXXX]
XXXX@XXXX

That cant-filled email is just a mild prelude.  To fully appreciate how an American university can write in language that, barring 21st century updates for gays and transgenders, almost perfectly replicates anti-American tirades emanating from Moscow during the height of the Cold War, you have to read the actual “Letter of Solidarity” (click on images to enlarge):

CSUN MSW Dept Letter of Solidarity_Page_1

CSUN MSW Dept Letter of Solidarity_Page_2

Not only does the letter consist entirely of turgid, Marxist academic writing (which sees the authors expressing solidarity with “Victims of interlocking forms of oppression including racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and classism”), it refers to a factual universe unrelated to any reality outside of the fevered halls of academia.  For example, I strongly suspect that both Garner and Brown would have been surprised to find themselves lumped in with gays, women, transsexuals, and Hispanic immigrants responsible for taking jobs blacks once held. To their minds — and, no doubt, to the minds of the black communities running riot all over America — there is no comparison between black oppression and any oppression visited on all the other people on that list.  That’s especially true for those victims of sex and gender-related “isms.” American blacks are, after all, profoundly homophobic.

After this preliminary throat-clearing about all the victims of this cruel, cruel American world, the letter gets to its main point:  It is a sweeping indictment of an irreparably tainted political, social, and legal system that has its origins in white patriarchal colonialism:

We acknowledge that the above-­‐mentioned cases illustrate the evolution of our legal institutions to uphold racial, gender, class, and sexual orientation hierarchies. We recognize that our legal system was designed within the context of settler colonialism; that it continues to disempower, segregate, and eradicate specific communities and people, while retaining privilege for white, middle class, heteronormative, Christian families.

To support this scathing ideological charge against America, the letter proceeds to specifics.  These specifics sound like facts, but are in fact so twisted and perverted that they have all the reality of a fun-house mirror.  I’ve set forth each “fact,” followed by a note about inaccuracies or irrational lines of thinking:

[1] This is evidenced by the epidemics of mass incarceration and deportation [Note: It’s unclear what “epidemics of mass incarcertation” exercise the letter’s signatories. What’s certain is that Obama’s administration has tried to halt deportations despite the fact that it is obligated by law to remove people who are in the country illegally, and that deportation numbers have dropped dramatically.];

[2] the overrepresentation of youth of color and LGBTQ youth within child welfare and juvenile justice systems [Note: This is tragic and true — and no doubt arises from the fact that children of color come disproportionately from single mother homes, with the absence of a father a clear indicator of both child poverty and criminality.  LGBTQ youth belong to a demographic that consistently rates higher in drug use and alcoholism (despite record acceptance of homosexuality amongst the peers of gay youth), two activities that often result in imprisoned young people. In other words, the high incarceration rates arise not because the criminal system is cruel but because the social systems in which these young people live are cruel.];

[3] disparate health outcomes and accessibility to healthcare [Note: As just one article from the thousands available on the internet indicates, while it’s tempting to blame a discriminatory system for different health outcomes, the problems of disparate outcomes run deeper, touching upon lifestyle choices (e.g., unprotected sex, cigarette smoking, unhealthy diets due to cultural mores); employment options (e.g., more dangerous construction jobs for young Hispanic men); cultural dependence on non-effective faux-medical options; language barriers; etc.];

[4] Stop and Frisk and other policing tactics used to intimidate and harass [Note: Stop and Frisk, by stopping petty crime before it becomes major crime, has probably saved more minority lives than just about any other program in America. It is a sad truth that those getting stopped and frisked are themselves minorities, but at least they’re not preying on their own community.];

[5] racial and religious profiling at borders and within communities of color [Note: Without digging up citations for this, I can state with some certainty that, at our Southern border, we’re not getting a lot of blonde, blue-eyed Swedish youth trying to cross into this country illegally. Instead, those sneaking across our borders are darker-skinned Hispanics and the occasional fanatical Muslim. In the real world, as opposed to the magical Marxist world, profiling for fair-skinned Christians or Jews would be delusional, not practical.];

[6] murder of transgender people, especially those of color [Note: It appears that transgender people have a horrifically high murder rate, and this is a tragedy. People with insufficiently controlled lizard brains (you know, the primitive part of the brain that behaves atavistically) react very badly to transgender people. I’m not sure how this works as an indictment of the police or even of our government and social systems, given that our government, our social systems, and our police all work to prevent these murders, not encourage them.];

[7] heightened rates of sexual assault and racialized forms of sexual harassment perpetrated against women of color [Note: Contrary to what’s implied in this clause, which lacks a subject noun, black women are not raped by those “white, middle class, heteronormative, Christian” men that the Letter’s signatories hate so much. They are overwhelmingly raped by black men.];

[8] normalization of militarized police forces specifically in the lowest income neighborhoods [Note: I’m not happy with our increasingly militarized police either, since it has the tendency to create in police the mindset that, rather than being the public’s servants, they are its masters. On the other hand, of late police have had good reason to go into some neighborhoods armed for battle]; and

[9] failure to indict police officers who are captured on video killing unarmed persons [Note: This is probably a reference to Garner, a morbidly obese man who was videotaped in a non-fatal headlock, as opposed to a “chokehold,” and who died later because of a heart attack.  In other words, facts and hysteria do not match.].

The people who view American through this grim, factually twisted prism are utterly blind to the fact that, in principle since its founding and in practice for much of the 20th century, America has been a country predicated on individual freedom. When those freedoms have been denied, that denial has come about because of too much government control — as in the antebellum and Jim Crow south, for example, both of which represented the foul apex of American state control over individual liberties — not because of too little government control. Individuals can behave stupidly and meanly, but the real problems begin when government takes sides — and government always takes sides because, no matter the action it takes, some will benefit and some will not.

Worse than sad, though, is the fact that this unwholesome, perverse world view is internalized by and emanates from people who have significant control over young minds. After all, the signatories to this document are teachers in CSUN’s Department of Social Work. Whether they teach students who take a casual class to fulfill some sort of requirement or students who are majoring in social work, the department has at some time access to a large percentage of a student body numbering about 38,000 students annually.

Of those 38,000 students, each one who comes through the doors of the Department of Social Work is exposed to this unfiltered anti-American, anti-white, anti-male, anti-Christian doctrine. Each student’s grades is dependent upon his or her ability to remember and regurgitate this toxic Leftist ideology.  Once credentialed, these students then spread throughout America’s schools and social institutions, carrying this dark, hate-filled, self-victimized vision with them wherever they go. They are carriers of a deadly social worldview, just as surely as Typhoid Mary was a carrier of a deadly disease.

Has American higher education reached a tipping point?

College GradsFor those of us paying attention, it has been clear for some time that America’s colleges and universities have abandoned their original missions of educating young people and teaching them critical thinking skills. Instead, they have become propaganda mills that indoctrinate America’s youngsters in Marxism and victimotology. It was the false Duke lacrosse rape allegations, though, that brought to most parents some awareness about what was taking place at their children’s very expensive Leftist incubators. The problem with the Duke case, however, was that, while it briefly riveted the nation, it vanished from view as soon as the mainstream media figured out that the usual suspects were, in fact, victims, and that the “victim” was, in fact, a racist liar. It was a fascinating story countering the “higher education” narrative, but it was not a tipping point.

There’ve been other fascinating stories over the years but, before the past few weeks, they have never made the news or come close enough to each other in time to have critical mass. A short list of these stories would include the sex weeks popping up all over American campuses, a development that might shock middle class Democrat parents if it could break out of Fox News and onto the pages of the New York Times; the routine harassment of conservative speakers on American campuses; professors who regularly bad-mouth conservatives and conservativism, with one professor going so far as to assault a pro-Life teenager; Brandeis’s decision to rescind Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s campus appearance and honorary degree; and the uproar at UC Berkeley about having Leftist darling Bill Maher speak because, while he may be a Leftist, he’s remarkably clear-eyed about Islam. As I said, though, these stories haven’t broken out of the conservative news “ghetto.”  Because many of America’s college and university students come from Progressive homes and communities that wouldn’t dream of reading and watching conservative media, parents just don’t know what’s been happening.

In the last couple of weeks, however, several stories about American college life have thrust themselves on the national consciousness and it is these stories that, if not already tipping over the point themselves, might be balanced so delicately on the razor’s edge that, if just one more story comes along, they will force a national dialogue about what’s become of America’s academic institutions. The stories I’m thinking of are:

1. The Rolling Stone story about a fraternity rape at the University of Virginia. The UVA rape story caught the mainstream media’s attention because it so perfectly matched the Progressive narrative: America’s college co-eds are being violently, brutally gang raped at rates equal to those in Berlin at the end of WWII when the Russians came through. These rapes, moreover, are being committed by entitled, misogynistic, wealthy, white young men.

Every mainstream media outlet gobbled this story up and then regurgitated it for popular consumption — which made the story’s ultimate denouement so wonderful. First, the fraternity proved that there was no party that night, and there could not have been a party that night. Then the alleged rape victim’s friends said “nobody talked to us,” at which point the Rolling Stone’s reporter had to admit that, well, no, she never actually talked to anybody. All this was followed by the discovery that the alleged rape victim was a very troubled young woman who made up a boyfriend/assaulter out of whole cloth, including writing this imaginary figure mash notes that plagiarized from teen romance TV shows.

All of the above is awful, but crazy people are out there.  Three other salient points should impress themselves on American parents: (1) A magazine many parents still consider important committed gross journalistic malfeasance. (2) Without any independent investigation, the UVA president suspended not just the fraternity alleged to have hosted the brutal sexual assault, but all fraternities. Worse, when the hoax was exposed, the UVA president refused to rescind her order, basically saying that fraternities are collectively guilty for all rapes, real or imaginary. (3) An editor for the UVA student newspaper refused to accept “hoax” for an answer. Instead, a college-educated young, saturated in “fake but accurate” and “truthiness” as legitimate intellectual concepts, said that the entire rape story, although proven false, should nevertheless be treated as true because rape epidemic . . . with the fake rape being accepted as partial proof of the epidemic.

2. The Lena Dunham rape lie. There’s nothing like a little corroboration after a big story to drive the point home. Right around the time the UVA rape story was collapsing, a little digging established that Lena Dunham had lied when she wrote in her autobiography that she had been raped by Oberlin’s lone, and well-known, Republican named Barry. Normally, when a 28-year-old who’s not named Obama writes an autobiography, no one pays attention. Dunham, however, comes from New York’s artsy intelligentsia class and has made a name for herself writing and acting in a nihilistic show about the sex and emotional lives of a cohort of young, college-educated women. For that reason, when she alleged rape — rape by a Republican, yet! — people paid attention.

When John Nolte proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dunham was lying, forcing Random House to amend the book and kind of apologize, check-writing parents who, though Progressive, nevertheless think that their kids ought to learn basic logic and critical thinking at university, should have absorbed the fact is that the same outlets that touted Dunham’s rape story (NPR, Huffington Post, etc.), once again fell back on the whole “truthiness” and “fake but accurate” trope. Some Progressives went so far as to accuse Nolte of being “creepy” for having dared to investigate and expose Dunham’s lies — lies that were rapidly destroying the life of an innocent man.

3. The collective Ivy League backbone collapse. Parents all over America probably nodded understandingly when their coddled children took to the streets to protest the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson following Michael Brown’s death (never mind that the physical evidence and much of the testimony corroborated Wilson’s story that Brown was trying to grab his gun, which usually ends with a dead police officer) and the decision not to criminalize the death of Eric Garner following a vigorous arrest (never mind that he was resisting arrest, was still manifestly alive after the infamous choke hold, and had a host of physical ailments that inevitably put him at risk when resisting arrest). After all, since the 1960s, college students are expected to protest. It’s a rite of passage.

What seemed to shock a lot of parents, though, if my Facebook is anything to go by, is the fact that, beginning with Ivy League law students, and then filtering down to other renowned schools, these busy little bee protesters contended that the emotional trauma they experienced just thinking about Garner and Brown was so terrible that they couldn’t be expected to take final exams. This was an especially intriguing excuse coming from Ivy League law students whom the public believes are tough and scrappy. It turns out that, rather than being tough and scrappy, these top 2% special snowflakes are utterly gelatinous, especially in the spinal region. More people than usual are now thinking, “By the time these kids get the law degrees that will have cost their parents, or the public, or the banks some $400,000 dollars, all we’ll have to show for the money are kids so emotionally weak and high strung that they can’t sit finals because of headlines? Oy!”

4. Jonathan Gruber. The mainstream media has worked hard to hide Jonathan Gruber from the public, but he’s starting to leak out here and there. And what’s leaking is really ugly. This is an MIT economics professor who freely admits to lying to the American people on behalf of the federal government, adding that it’s easy to do thanks to the Peoples’ collective “stupidity.” Worse, for his work finagling the stupid American people, Gruber hauled in millions of dollars from both federal and state governments. When forced to appear before Congress, since he was unwilling to admit to collaborating in a vast fraud against the American people, all the Professor Gruber had to say for himself was that, despite his academic stature, he was (and is) an arrogant little man desperate to elevate himself by denigrating others. Hey, Mr. and Mrs. Parent, and all you taxpayers: Your money is being used to pay Gruber’s salary — and he’s probably not the only awful Ivy League professor.

5. Ben Edelman. And right on time, speaking of awful Ivy League professors, there comes Harvard Business School Professor (and Harvard Law Grad and Harvard undergrad) Ben Edelman. When this Ivy League darling discovered a $4.00 discrepancy between the online price at a Chinese restaurant and what he ended up paying, he was mad. Really mad. First he wrote the restaurant, which offered a refund. Not good enough. Then he wrote the restaurant again, and the restaurant promised to update its website. Then he wrote the restaurant again, demanding $12, explaining that the multiplier was to punish the restaurant and to compensate him for his consumer angst.

Edelman quickly became a laughing stock across America’s social media. He tried to sell himself as a consumer crusader, but Americans know an a-hole when they see one. And for Americans, his a-holeness was exacerbated by his overwhelming Ivy League credentials. This is a guy born with a silver spoon in his mouth, who somehow managed the amazing feat of having that same spoon migrate up his derriere.

6. BDS hits the Ivies. Harvard Law School’s food service division allowed itself to reveal its antisemitism and, in the spirit of “BDS” (the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction aimed at bankrupting Israel), banned all Soda Stream products from the hallowed dining halls. Soda Stream, as you know, is an Israeli company which — horrors! — employs Palestinians, who work alongside Israelis, with all of them receiving a living wage. Can’t have that in academe. Across the social networks, middle class Jewish parents, most of whom believe Harvard can do no wrong, were up in arms. Harvard’s president, recognizing bad press when he sees it, quickly reversed the Soda Stream ban. One hopes, though, that Jewish parents, who have been assiduous in rejecting any claims that America’s elite colleges are probably more antisemitic than they were 100 years ago, might realize that there’s a cancer in the Ivy League.

For those of us paying attention to sites such as Campus Watch, Campus Reform, and FIRE, stories about feminist misanthropy, about the banishment of truth and free speech, about “microaggressions,” about the anti-white narrative, about hardcore Leftism, and about antisemitism are same old, same old. However, with these six stories hitting the news virtually simultaneously, perhaps a new cohort will figure out that there’s something very rotten in the state of America’s over-priced institutions of higher education.

The Bookworm Beat 12/8/14 — Monday evening wrap-up and open thread

Woman writingNo time for an intro. I’ll just head straight for snark and links:
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