9/24/2004 09:41:00 AM|W|P|SDG|W|P|Would that I could write as he does in this wide-ranging, but ever accurate, take on modern times:
But the regime is crumbling on campuses as well. Too many university professors in the humanities dropped long ago their allegiance to the disinterested search for truth, or to teaching students facts and methods. How could one be so constrained and parochial when a war was raging on, and millions of youth needed to be prepared as ideological warriors in the struggle to remake our culture? Meanwhile, teaching loads decreased, annual tuition soared higher than the rate of inflation, and the baccalaureate no longer reflected much erudition. Surely, progressive academics, of all people, would not stand by while their curriculum was politicized, free speech suppressed, their part-time lecturers systematically exploited, their working-class students priced out of the market, and their research tainted with bias?
|W|P|109603343470258492|W|P|VDH = Victor Davis Hanson = The Man! [Again]|W|P|9/16/2004 10:06:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|When John M. McCardell Jr. was the president of Middlebury College in Vermont, he led a crackdown on student freedom of association and free speech. Stripping students of their liberties must keep some people awake at night because the good professor seems to be mellowing in his current incarnation as an ordinary professor. Writing in the 13 September New York Times Op-ed section, McCardell puts forth a cogent essay on 'What Your College President Didn't Tell You.' As McCardell tells it, many of his erstwhile colleagues feel the same way, but dare not speak of it. And while he doesn't exactly say why
[there has been] unwillingness among college and university presidents to venture above the parapet and challenge some of the shibboleths of higher education
he does confess that
during my 13-year tenure I was as guilty as any of my colleagues of failing to take bold positions on public matters that merit serious debate. Now, a less vulnerable member of the faculty once more, I dare to unburden myself of a few observations.
He then goes on to propose replacing most tenure with contracts, magazine rankings, and the 21-year old drinking age, on which he makes his best observations:
It is astonishing that college students have thus far acquiesced in so egregious an abridgment of the age of majority. Unfortunately, this acquiescence has taken the form of binge drinking. Campuses have become, depending on the enthusiasm of local law enforcement, either arms of the law or havens from the law. Neither state is desirable. State legislators, many of whom will admit the law is bad, are held hostage by the denial of federal highway funds if they reduce the drinking age. Our latter-day prohibitionists have driven drinking behind closed doors and underground. This is the hard lesson of prohibition that each generation must relearn. No college president will say that drinking has become less of a problem in the years since the age was raised. Would we expect a student who has been denied access to oil paint to graduate with an ability to paint a portrait in oil? Colleges should be given the chance to educate students, who in all other respects are adults, in the appropriate use of alcohol, within campus boundaries and out in the open.
This is, of course, a most welcome call. Walk onto any college campus, and it won't take you long to realize that neo-prohibition is an utter disaster. Alcohol is the lingua franca of undergraduate (and faculty) social life. In fact, the word social, which once had some relevance to interaction with society is now synonymous with 'party' and a party without alcohol - lots of alcohol - is as inconceivable as a library without books. Beer posters, beer signs, empty bottle trophies can decorate any spare wall or ledge space. My own pet theory on the matter goes something like this. The 21-year-old drinking age has been successful in drying out high schools (of course, any high school student will tell you that it is far easier to find drugs than booze, but that's a different topic for a different day). The result is that, drugs aside, high school student take the camel's approach to alcohol: when they reach an oasis, they drink ever drop they can get their hands on. When generations in the past had somewhat predictable access to alcohol, they didn't feel compelled to binge. In other words, they had a few drinks and approximated what most of us would call "ordinary social drinking." Instead, today's high schoolers are socialized to binge. Drinking to excess is the only way they've ever known to drink. Not surprisingly, when they hit the college campus and alcohol flows like a mountain stream, they drink dangerously. Each crackdown has let to the predictable unintended consequences. The war on kegs, led to mass cans and bottles (and their use in fights). The war on mass quantities of beer led to the resurgence of hard alcohol. Each prohibition begets another. In the end, as McCardell notes, campuses either attempt to be police states or anarchic islands. McCardell's shock at their acceptance shouldn't be anything of the sort. On the whole, this law has no meaning to the students. It is only on the rare instance where someone is seriously hurt from falling or some such thing that any disciplinary action is taken. Students don't need to protest at the statehouse because they can break the law with relative impugnity. It's the same reason no one protests laws against jaywalking (which is probably the only law in this land which is broken more and enforced less). Of course, if McCardell now has newfound courage in his convictions, perhaps he'll help Middlebury students regain their freedom of speech and association - as well as their right to party - by overturning the college's prohibition of non-coed fraternities and sororities and repealing the campus speech code. After all, aren't these things better addressed "out in the open" than by prohibition?|W|P|109538691790904912|W|P|It Begins to Dawn|W|P|9/13/2004 07:59:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|By now, everyone other than Dan Rather has faced up to the fact that the blogosphere has shattered CBS News' bogus story about President Bush's TANG records. So, in what is either an extremely oddly timed article - or one one written entirely out of petty malice - CBS News drops a story subtly making bloggers appear amateurish because so few blogs are, in and of themselves, self supporting operations. Some even - oh lord! - ask for contributions. It's certainly an odd angle for an organization that - oh lord! - asks for paying advertisers to make its own ends meet. As an aside, I'm sure you'll get a good chuckle reading where CBS spotlights a blog that found an error in rival MSNBC's reporting. |W|P|109512089396313025|W|P|CBS: The Last Two Letters Are True|W|P|9/11/2004 10:24:00 AM|W|P|SDG|W|P|NEVER FORGET!
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana, Life of Reason
The American victims of 9-11 were mostly adults. The Russian victims of Beslan were predominantly children. These IslamoFacist terrorists have created a strange family indeed. They've struck almost everywhere now: Israeli athletes, Mid-East diplomats, those who walk the streets of African cities and those who live in the sub-Sahara, those who stay at Asian hotels, Kurds, Russian children - and Arab women who are anything less than slavish. But three years ago, they struck us. Teary vigils are emotionally cathartic, but they're not enough. Only two questions remain: Will we remember who our enemy is? Are we willing to destroy that enemy as we have our enemies before? Today is a day to renew our memory, to recall that our enemy, not our president, established the rule that "you're with us or against us." Today is a day to renew our memory, to recall that our enemy, not our country, established that this was a war between "paradise" and "infidels." Today is a day to renew our memory, to recall that our enemy, not our country, chose this war. But today is a day to understand that we can bring about peace. Just as we fought Nazism the only way it could be fought, to its complete destruction and just as we fought Japanese racial imperialism the only way it could be fought, to its destruction - so too must we fight IslamoFacisism and its terrorist vanguard. It is cruelly ironic - we wage war to gain peace. It is sad. Terrible. Horrid. Tragic. Disappointing. None of which vitiates its necessity. Today is a day to renew our memory: Let's roll. (From Cox and Forkum Editorial Cartoons) |W|P|109491284145209523|W|P|Keep Our Eyes on the Ball|W|P|9/10/2004 05:29:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|Disgusting. What are being referred to as "vandals," but who are really just left-wing idiots, have taken 3,000 American flags planted on the Knoxville campus as a memorial to the victims of the 9-11 terror attacks and replanted them to spell, "The World Suffers." Anti-American and anti-war pablum were chalked around the campus as well. Rest assured that after the public condemnations are issued by the UTK public affairs office, the incident will be over and many faculty members and their mindless leftist drones in the "progressive" clubs will privately gloat at their little coup. Welcome to the Crumbling Ivory Tower. |W|P|109485226661797458|W|P|Rocky Top Horror|W|P|9/09/2004 10:44:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|I see by the Big Board that we've got delicious new fare on the Crumbling Ivory menu: AcademicBIAS.com. Evan Coyne Maloney (one of the three behind the effort) from BrainTerminal.com has been a favorite of mine for a while. He's done several fine independently made short documentaries exposing the absurdity of the moonbat left (mainly at anti-war rallies) - and doing it by letting them hang themselves with their own words. And unlike Maureen Dowd, he doesn't need electronic elipses to make things turn out how he wants. Now Maloney and his partners Stuart E. Browning and Blaine Greenberg, are producing a full-length documentary about the college campus and political correctness. The initial feature looks good and focuses on three campuses - Bucknell University (Maloney's alma mater), Cal Poly San Luis Obisbo and the University of Tennessee. The site also documents a good number of the abuses on campus. Sadly, few of these cases break the public consciousness and even fewer have the legs. The short attention span and hidden nature of the effort are the best tools the sixties hippie leftovers who run our campuses have to help them advance their efforts. It will be worth watching this effort develop over the next year. |W|P|109478493021727231|W|P|AcademicBIAS.com|W|P|9/07/2004 08:19:00 PM|W|P|SDG|W|P|The indispensable Charles Johnson at LittleGreenFootballs.com started a great thread today highlighting the obscene unwillingness of the mainstream media to call terrorism terrorism and instead to engage in unceasing euphemisms. The Daniel Pipes article cited there is priceless:
Take the assault that led to the deaths of some 400 people, many of them children, in Beslan, Russia, on September 3. Journalists have delved deep into their thesauruses, finding at least twenty euphemisms for terrorists: Assailants - National Public Radio. Attackers - the Economist. Bombers - the Guardian. Captors - the Associated Press. Commandos - Agence France-Presse refers to the terrorists both as "membres du commando" and "commando." Criminals - the Times (London). Extremists - United Press International. Fighters - the Washington Post. Group - the Australian. Guerrillas - in a New York Post editorial. Gunmen - Reuters. Hostage-takers - the Los Angeles Times. Insurgents - in a New York Times headline. Kidnappers - the Observer (London). Militants - the Chicago Tribune. Perpetrators - the New York Times. Radicals - the BBC. Rebels - in a Sydney Morning Herald headline. separates - the Christian Science Monitor. And my favorite: Activists - the Pakistan Times.
As usual, Charles has been highlighting - literally - this absurdity by putting each euphemism in boldfaced type. But, I'd like to offer an alternate suggestion - and one that, in future posts, I'll use here. I'm going to begin using my own euphemism. At any time that I either quote the mainstream media or comment on terrorism, it will be the editorial policy of Crumbling Ivory to use the noun "[Pasteurized Process Cheese Food Product]" (in brackets to acknowledge the editing on my part). So, for example, were I to quote this Washington Post article about the massacre, it would read:
(Subheadline)Hundreds Die As Troops Battle [Pasteurized Process Cheese Food Product]).
(Story)Hundreds of children, their parents and teachers died in the bloody culmination of a 52-hour siege that began when heavily armed Muslim [pasteurized processed cheese food product] stormed their school Wednesday and ended in an hours-long battle with Russian troops Friday.
I hope that reads as ridiculously as it writes. Which is just the point. It is no less absurd to replace "Terrorists" with "Hostage Takers" and "guerrillas" (as I did above) than it is to replace it with "pasteurized process cheese food product." So, al-Reuters can have its idiotic editorial policy where "One man's terrorist is another man's [pasteurized processed cheese food product]. And I'll have mine. |W|P|109465982798989290|W|P|Pasteurized Processed Cheese Food Product|W|P|