April 19, 2019
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
The INSANITY of Our Educational System and the Abolition of Our Culture
Not mentioned in the Mainstream Media—and hardly noted on Fox (I only heard it spoken of once)—was a recent episode, a message by a major writer for The New York Times which symbolizes not just the sorry state of our communications and journalistic media, but, ultimately, the abject failure of our higher educational system: indeed, the two go hand-in-hand. And that failure, let me suggest, has redounded to the extreme advantage of the progressivist far Left politically and culturally, and, in large part, has been produced by it.
Here is the episode: on Thursday (April 18) the news surfaced that the White House had played the famous song, “Edelweiss,” at some function. Learning this, top tier White House New York Times reporter, Maggie Haberman furiously tweeted: "Does...anyone at that White House understand the significance of that song?” [ ]
As PJ Media pointed out, Haberman’s tweet suggested that Trump was outing himself as pro-Nazi by playing the song at the White House. Yet, as anyone—anyone—with a minimal knowledge of famous and classic Hollywood films will recall, the song “Edelweiss” comes from the superb musical, The Sound of Music (1965), about the attack of the Nazis against Austria, and was sung precisely to symbolize opposition to them and as a clarion call to liberty. No matter, when called out on her historical ignorance, Haberman doubled down (she may have been thinking about a more recent film where the song shows up, but even then a Nazi connection is not really present.)
Should we be surprised?
Not at all. Consider who Haberman is: Educated at the elite Sarah Lawrence College, she is the recipient of all sorts of prestigious awards from an incestuous journalistic establishment (e.g., she received a Pulitzer Prize for her “reporting” on the Trump White House!). In October 2016, one month before defeated in the U.S. presidential election, a document was released by which showed that the Clinton campaign used Haberman to place sympathetic stories in Politico. "[The Clinton campaign] has a very good relationship with Maggie Haberman of Politico over the last year. We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed. While we should have a larger conversation in the near future about a broader strategy for reengaging the beat press that covers HRC, for this we think we can achieve our objective and do the most shaping by going to Maggie."[Greenwald, Glenn;. (October 9, 2016). ]
Haberman is a prime example of what emerges from our elite institutions of higher learning these days. She is emblematic of those who, after an exclusive Ivy League education, then proceed as if by Divine right to exercise authority over the rest of us and what we think.
Her example can be multiplied in the many thousands. Those graduates and newly-minted professionals are those who assume positions of leadership in the American nation, new enlistments in the Deep State managerial class. A major characteristic that unites them all is their condescension towards the rest of us, the “deplorables,” those of us who live in “fly-over” country and who were so ill-informed and uppity that we actually voted for Donald Trump in 2016. That characteristic, and the belief in their own infallibility.
But what is so glaringly evident and symbolic in Haberman’s tweet is her real ignorance, that all the very “best” of Sarah Lawrence and Ivy League education, all the veneer of elitist puffery, in the end only reveal that “the king has no clothes” and that, at base, our academic system with its multiple titles and awards is largely fraudulent.
I recently came across another example to illustrate this, a humorous and satirical case which demonstrates not just the vacuity much of our higher educational system but the impoverishment of much of what passes for intellectual (and Leftist) thinking in our colleges. And the nearly complete, one-dimensional humorlessness and lack of introspection on the part of today’s “social justice warriors” who take themselves oh-so-seriously.
A professor of philosophy at Portland State University, Peter Boghossian, recently attempted to expose how ludicrous political correctness has become. Unfortunately for him, his attempt succeeded all too well—and now he may be out of a job.
I quote at length what the good professor attempted to show:
Over the course of a few years, Boghossian and two academics produced 20 hoax essays, collectively called “the Grievance Studies” experiment, that were written to be as ridiculous as possible and designed to appeal to small special interest groups made up of mostly far-left scholars.
Seven of Boghossian’s bogus studies were accepted for publication by social science journals, including a feminist rewrite of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The journal Gender, Place, and Culture bit on a piece claiming to study “canine rape culture.”
In that study, Boghossian and his colleagues charged that, “dog parks are rape-condoning spaces and a place of rampant canine rape culture and systemic oppression against ‘the oppressed dog’ through which human attitudes to both problems can be measured.” Boghossian’s team even claimed to have “tactfully inspected the genitals of slightly fewer than 10,000 dogs whilst interrogating owners as to their sexuality.”
In another eagerly accepted article, the hoaxers demanded that the world of bodybuilding recognize “fat bodybuilding, as a fat-inclusive politicized performance.”
For his efforts, which once brought to light should have caused academia to engage in some self-analysis, Portland State University moved to fire Boghossian.
“I truly hope the administration puts its institutional weight behind the pursuit of truth, but I’ve been given no indication that’s what they intend to do,” Boghossian said.
All of the journals involved are part of the dubious field of “grievance studies.” Some in the mainstream media attempted to rationalize and defend academia’s attachment to the most extreme, and in these cases totally fabricated, areas of identity politics that focus on gender and race.
A group of 11 Portland State professors and one graduate student published an anonymous letter in the student newspaper Vanguard, which featured a menacing image of Boghossian equipped with a Pinocchio nose. They charged Boghossian’s team with repeated “fraudulent behavior violating acceptable norms of research in any discipline” and castigated the beleaguered professor for inviting James Damore, who was fired by Google for exercising his right to free speech, to an event at the university.
“Boghossian has not only indicated his less-than-collegial attitude through his hoaxes,” they charged, “but has actively targeted faculty at other institutions. None of us wish to contend with threats of death and assault from online trolls.”
Some in the academic world displayed a degree of rationality. Yascha Mounk, a Harvard lecturer in government, condemned what he viewed as unfair attempts to undermine the hoaxers.
“Even if all of the charges laid at the feet of Boghossian [and the two other authors] were true, they would have demonstrated a very worrying fact,” Mounk wrote. “Some of the leading journals in areas like gender studies have failed to distinguish between real scholarship and intellectually vacuous as well as morally troubling [expletive deleted].”
In a recent YouTube video, Boghossian read out an email from Portland State, which threatened an investigation and sanctions against him.
“I think that they will do everything and anything in their power to get me out,” he stated. “And I think this is the first shot in that.” [ ]
Boghossian merely demonstrated what is obvious: In today’s America, satire is impossible while a frighteningly authoritarian political correctness rules the day.
His case—continuing this commentary—is merely the latest example of political correctness run amok on college campuses across the country. Recently, it was widely reported that Washington, D.C.’s American University would be hosting a multisession seminar aimed at getting faculty to combat “white language supremacy.” The seminar will also propose “alternative” methods of assessing writing other than quality, such as “labor-based grading contracts.”
While even the most unthreatening and lukewarm “conservative” voices have been denied the opportunity to speak at various universities, some astonishingly anti-white figures have been welcomed.
Christian evangelical Wheaton College, not a typical leftist institution, permitted Emory University philosophy professor George Yancy to speak there in 2017, in the esteemed Billy Graham Center on campus. His speech was filled with expletives and hateful declarations like, “To be white is to be racist.” Stephens College, a women’s college in Columbia, Mo., recently announced that it will “admit and enroll students who were not born female, but who identify and live as women.” All-women Mount Holyoke College canceled plans to change its logo due to protests that it could be perceived as not being inclusive to transgender students. [cf.