Friday, August 26, 2016

PC Doublethink, Chicago, and the Ugly Death of The New Republic

   Sad and stupid all the way around.
   RIP TNR...we miss ya. Doubly sad that this lefty braindead zombie simulacrum of you is shuffling around with your name on it fighting for the Dark Side.
   Ok, calming down a bit. As I've argued, I think "trigger warnings"--preferably stripped of the PC terminology--aren't necessarily bad if used and thought of correctly. As with some other PC stuff, the core idea wouldn't be so bad if it were represented as a permission or suggestion rather than an obligation. It's largely a matter of degree--or so I currently think. The more upsetting and outlandish the material is, the more reasonable it is to give people a heads-up that they're going to be exposed to it. The problem with the PC / SJ nonsense is that, as is so often the case, they take that basically sane idea and say a bunch of crazy things about it.
   If Smith is in my class, and I know that Smith's whole family was horrifically eaten by bears right in front of him at the age of five...then it's a good idea to tell Smith that we'll be watching The Edge in class.  (I really like that movie, incidentally, despite it's mamettishness. Also, I kind of don't approve of showing movies in class. That's butt-ass lazy right there. Anyway.) But the PCs demand "trigger warnings" about any topic about which they can make up a story about how someone somewhere might be in some way upset That sentence is not even close to being grammatical.  Is there any quality control around this shithole blog at all? Jesus.
   Similarly with "safe spaces." The terminology is tainted irrevocably by PC nuttiness--e.g. their insistence that universities must have rooms showing puppy videos if someone, anyone, on campus is saying something, anything that might upset PC-approved sensibilities... But there are distant cousins of the idea that aren't insane. They're too distant to constitute defenses of the idea itself...but critics of "safe spaces" shouldn't make the mistake of trying to reject all versions of the idea in toto. That's a tactical error.
   Anyway, what about what's-his-name's claim that Chicago's anti-"trigger-warning" stance is an attack on academic freedom? I call bullshit. It's not a ban--it's not a decree about what professors can or can't or must do. It's a statement of principle, in effect saying that the institution will not mandate such things. Things might become complicated when it comes to "safe spaces" if some professors want to ban certain types of discussion in their classes...but I suppose we'll have to see how that plays out. Anyway, I'm not currently feeling very charitable, so I'm going to say that what's-his-name is basically arguing that it's a violation of academic freedom for a university to stand up for the idea of the university. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, what's-yer-name. To paraphrase the immortal Mark Twain: what's-his-name has some responses he could make here, but never mind what he might say--I'm not arguing his case.


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