Friday, October 12, 2007

Politically Correct Academic Idiots: Numbers 87,094 and 87,095

Our first loyalty in Milwaukee talk radio is to Charlie Sykes. But we have to admit that when he wanders onto a topic we aren’t especially keen on we turn over to WISN to see what Jay Weber or Vicki McKenna are talking about.

Both are good, in fact good enough to dominate the market, were it not for the formidable competition from Sykes.

Yesterday, McKenna recounted a couple of experiences she had as an undergradute at Beloit College in the 1980s. She was, at the time, a self-styled Marxist, but apparently not a rigid enough Marxist for some of the administrators and professors.
  • At one point, cards were distributed among students asking them to suggest a speaker to bring to campus. McKenna thought that it would be interesting to hear G. Gordon Liddy, former Watergate burgler and right-wing talk show host at the time. She put that on her card, and was then called in by a dean who cross-examined her on why she would suggest inviting such an evil person to campus.
  • In a speech course, the assignment was to examine the rhetoric used by some public figure in a speech. Choosing a speech by Jesse Jackson, she applied the standard tools of rhetorical analysis to the text, and turned in the paper. Her professor called her aside and expressed concern that she “might have a problem with the Reverend Jackson.” Apparently, only the rhetoric of conservative figures was to be critically analyzed in that class.
Multiply this a few million times (since there are at least a few million students who aren’t politically correct) and then by an additional three or four more times (political correctness has gotten worse in the last 20 years) and you have the reality of higher education in America today.

While the egregious violations of student rights get a lot of attention, more common is the experience of students who, while not formally punished, have it made clear to them that certain kinds of thoughts are frowned upon.

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