So I guess there’s an imbroglio at Duke over some assigned freshman reading book. (HT to Hogewash for this craziness.)
Per the account at WaPo at least one student objects to reading the graphic novel because it depicts…shall we say “scandalous images” and leave it at that. This is a fucking family blog after all.
For my part as far as that controversy goes: meh, I had to read the uncensored version of Ghost in the Shell for one of my elective classes, but to each his own.
What’s most interesting to me is how brazen the academic establishment has gotten with it’s full on indoctrination methods. Sure Duke will fight back and say “we must expose ourselves to other ideas!” “college is about having your preconceptions challenged” or “this tells the story of someone who is marginalized!”
But, as anyone reading this blog knows, that’s all a bunch of bullshit they trot out when they’re on the defensive about something. The rest of the time it’s “trigger warnings on syllabi” for Hamlet and “alternate assignments.” Heck, I don’t even have to write this post, we all know what the game is in higher ed. But, I might as well rant a bit, that’s what blogs are for.
Frankly I fail to see the point in mass assignments to an entire freshman class (like this one). Why should the engineering students get the same assignment as the Medieval English Lit students? Do the group discussions amount to anything deeper than “killer party last night?”
But even setting that aside. Imagine if the book had not been about LBGT issues, but Clarence Thomas’s memoir My Grandfather’s Son. The story of a young black man growing up in poverty in Savannah during the Civil Rights movement who went on to be a Supreme Court justice seems like it would be timely reading given events happening not to far from me in Ferguson, MO or Baltimore, or NY. But if the book were assigned, there would be wailing and gnashing of teeth and people holding “I am Anita Hill” signs.
And Duke would back down, the assignment would go away, and it’s in place they’d put something less “provocative” like The Communist Manifesto. The students would see it as a warm up for the inevitable protest of whatever commencement speaker has been chosen for engaging in wrongthink. But when your book is about the approved cause, it gets mass assigned without even a second though.