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Paglia rips the Academy a new one

Hawkeye10

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Most established professors in the 1970s probably believed that the new theory trend was a fad that would blow away like autumn leaves. The greatness of the complex and continuous Western tradition seemed self-evident: the canon would surely stand, even if supplemented by new names. Well, guess what? Helped along by a swelling horde of officious, overpaid administrators, North American universities became, decade by decade, political correctness camps. Out went half the classics, as well as pedagogically useful survey courses demonstrating sequential patterns in history (now dismissed as a “false narrative” by callow theorists). Bookish, introverted old-school professors were not prepared for guerrilla warfare to defend basic scholarly principles or to withstand waves of defamation and harassment.

However, it is indeed difficult to understand why major professors already in safe, powerful positions avoided direct combat. For example, although he had made passing dismissive remarks about post-structuralism (“Foucault and soda water”), Harold Bloom never systematically engaged or critiqued the subject or used his access to the general media to endorse debate, which was left instead to self-identified conservatives. The latter situation was clearly counterproductive, insofar as it enabled the bourgeois faux leftists of academe to define themselves and their reflex gobbledygook as boldly progressive.
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Nevertheless, the poisons of post-structuralism have now spread throughout academe and have done enormous damage to basic scholarly standards and disastrously undermined belief even in the possibility of knowledge. I suspect history will not be kind to the leading professors who appear to have put loyalty to friends and colleagues above defending scholarly values during a chaotic era of overt vandalism that has deprived several generations of students of a profound education in the humanities. The steady decline in humanities majors is an unmistakable signal that this once noble field has become a wasteland.
https://quillette.com/2018/11/10/camille-paglia-its-time-for-a-new-map-of-the-gender-world/



Very Well Said
 

Hawkeye10

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Anyone who had it figured that The Rebellions attack on the failed University is rapped up in anti-intellectualism had the situation ass backwards.

WAKE UP!
 

Bassman

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I'm getting ready to post a thread on this very subject, but because of the "college, college, college above all else" mentality being pushed on our students, Vocational, transportation, and building trades training has been suffering.
 

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Thanks for giving the link to this interview. I'm glad Paglia is still in there punching on recent themes like #MeToo:

I found the blanket credulity given to women accusers during the recent U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh positively unnerving: it was the first time since college that I truly understood the sexist design of Aeschylus’s Oresteia, whose mob of vengeful Furies is superseded by formal courts of law, where evidence is weighed.
 

ashurbanipal

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Hmmmm...so, I'm curious whether you're aware that post-structuralism is a pretty small segment of the academy. Everyone should be at least acquainted with the works of people like Derrida, Lacan, and others in similar vein. But it's false to say that such thinking enjoys any kind of consensus in the humanities. Even people who think that deconstructionism is utter nonsense do not thereby attack all of the academy.
 

Hawkeye10

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Hmmmm...so, I'm curious whether you're aware that post-structuralism is a pretty small segment of the academy. Everyone should be at least acquainted with the works of people like Derrida, Lacan, and others in similar vein. But it's false to say that such thinking enjoys any kind of consensus in the humanities. Even people who think that deconstructionism is utter nonsense do not thereby attack all of the academy.

We can see what goes on at Universities and we can see the direction the products of the University are driving this society and we can also see their general lack of education and general lack of morality.....that is good enough for me to get on with condemning the University for failure of mission at least......and probably dishonesty as well with the way they have ballooned the bureaucracy and inflated costs as the customers do such things as climb rock walls and rarely go to class and some paces now get a three day week-end for all. Like so many other places in America now they suck up vast sums of money and deliver little in return.

I am inclined to believe Paglia, because it fits with what I know to be true of the nature of the Failed University.
 
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RetiredUSN

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I'm getting ready to post a thread on this very subject, but because of the "college, college, college above all else" mentality being pushed on our students, Vocational, transportation, and building trades training has been suffering.

Especially given the fact that many of them end up financially strapped and selling cell phones at Verizon.
 

Hawkeye10

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For the Thread:Jordan Peterson and Camille Paglia discuss postmodernism, university bureaucracy and education

I should point out that even though I was born 1962 I ended up becoming a child of the 60's when I picked up on Vonnegut in High School and then at Michigan State with Alan Watts and Ram Dass and Jung which ended up taking me to Zen and the Tao and being an Eastern Mystic. Obviously I look at the Universities and wonder WTF, how could we do this to ourselves, how could we let this happen.
 
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Hawkeye10

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The entire conversation is long but well worth it:

 

calamity

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Pags and Peterson equals pseudo-intellectualism at its finest.
 

marke

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Especially given the fact that many of them end up financially strapped and selling cell phones at Verizon.

Success in life depends on a lot of things but college degrees are not one of the most necessary. The secret of fiscal success in life generally includes college but graduation from college is rather less important than high IQs and responsible lifestyles.
 

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Thanks for the link, Hawkeye. I'm about to e-mail the link to friends who were coming up through the ranks when she was and who will appreciate Paglia's comments on New Criticism and etc.
 

calamity

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Success in life depends on a lot of things but college degrees are not one of the most necessary. The secret of fiscal success in life generally includes college but graduation from college is rather less important than high IQs and responsible lifestyles.

Every once in a while you get one right. Credit where credit is due.
 

ashurbanipal

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We can see what goes on at Universities and we can see the direction the products of the University are driving this society and we can also see their general lack of education and general lack of morality

The reason few students major in the humanities, or take any more than the required courses, or learn much from those courses, is because of massive cultural signaling that the humanities are worthless. You won't use anything you pick up in a Western Civ class the way you will your hydraulic engineering class, or your differential equations class, or your accounting 101 class, so don't bother expending much effort on the humanities. At the same time, administrators put pressure on a lot of humanities departments to pass a high proportion of students, regardless of their performance.

In fact, the humanities are crucial to what we typically think of as an education. But if you're looking for the cause of why so few students come out of university with only a trifling and shallow notion of the humanities, look to basically everyone except humanities professors who are, I can assure you, promoting their subjects as vigorously as possible--but look especially at the elite, who are responsible for this messaging. The thing the humanities did for Western culture is they produced, for a time, relative equality between the different classes. The elite have never liked that arrangement, and would love to go back to the kind of social arrangement that prevailed in the 13th century (with updated technology, of course)--with them as the aristocracy, and everyone else at their service. The humanities teach reasoning in natural language, and provide data enough to allow human beings to imagine other possible arrangements, and to recall that, as you so often say, we used to be better. The powers that be don't want people recalling that we used to be better, and they certainly don't want us recalling why we used to be better.

With respect to the lack of morality...I'm not sure what you mean. It was never uniformly the case that it was the business of the university to teach morality or moral behavior, and it's certainly not now.

.....that is good enough for me to get on with condemning the University for failure of mission at least

Sorta. You might be amazed how much government and big business interferes--lately in a very direct, and in my view, deleterious manner. They are largely responsible for the explosion in administration and administrative costs. It goes back to the Nixon administration demanding new metrics for schools accepting federal funds, and has snowballed from there.

and probably dishonesty as well with the way they have ballooned the bureaucracy and inflated costs as the customers do such things as climb rock walls and rarely go to class and some paces now get a three day week-end for all.

I'm not sure what you mean here. In practically every class there's at least one goof-off who doesn't come to class. Most humanities/history/philosophy departments with which I am familiar have uniform absence policies that are generally fairly strict. For example, in my once-a-week class this semester, I give a student an automatic F for missing a single class. As for three day weekends...I work 7 days a week. So do all the other professors I know.

And as for value for the money, last I heard (which was about a year ago) most people who go to University and graduate end up making considerably more than those who never go, or who only take a few classes.

I am inclined to believe Paglia, because it fits with what I know to be true of the nature of the Failed University.

My point was that Paglia (whom I have never met) is criticizing a certain segment of the Academy. I partly agree with her, though I think the intellectual landscape is a bit more complicated than she suggests. Not everyone--indeed, not even 1 out of 10--professors in the humanities or in philosophy in the Anglophone world is a deconstructionist or a post-structuralist or etc. I occasionally whip out some Derrida on my students, because I think it's important that they be familiar with his thought. But I also teach Frege, Wittgenstein, Quine, and other such "hard-nosed" thinkers.
 

Hawkeye10

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The reason few students major in the humanities, or take any more than the required courses, or learn much from those courses, is because of massive cultural signaling that the humanities are worthless. You won't use anything you pick up in a Western Civ class the way you will your hydraulic engineering class, or your differential equations class, or your accounting 101 class, so don't bother expending much effort on the humanities. At the same time, administrators put pressure on a lot of humanities departments to pass a high proportion of students, regardless of their performance.

In fact, the humanities are crucial to what we typically think of as an education. But if you're looking for the cause of why so few students come out of university with only a trifling and shallow notion of the humanities, look to basically everyone except humanities professors who are, I can assure you, promoting their subjects as vigorously as possible--but look especially at the elite, who are responsible for this messaging. The thing the humanities did for Western culture is they produced, for a time, relative equality between the different classes. The elite have never liked that arrangement, and would love to go back to the kind of social arrangement that prevailed in the 13th century (with updated technology, of course)--with them as the aristocracy, and everyone else at their service. The humanities teach reasoning in natural language, and provide data enough to allow human beings to imagine other possible arrangements, and to recall that, as you so often say, we used to be better. The powers that be don't want people recalling that we used to be better, and they certainly don't want us recalling why we used to be better.

With respect to the lack of morality...I'm not sure what you mean. It was never uniformly the case that it was the business of the university to teach morality or moral behavior, and it's certainly not now.



Sorta. You might be amazed how much government and big business interferes--lately in a very direct, and in my view, deleterious manner. They are largely responsible for the explosion in administration and administrative costs. It goes back to the Nixon administration demanding new metrics for schools accepting federal funds, and has snowballed from there.



I'm not sure what you mean here. In practically every class there's at least one goof-off who doesn't come to class. Most humanities/history/philosophy departments with which I am familiar have uniform absence policies that are generally fairly strict. For example, in my once-a-week class this semester, I give a student an automatic F for missing a single class. As for three day weekends...I work 7 days a week. So do all the other professors I know.

And as for value for the money, last I heard (which was about a year ago) most people who go to University and graduate end up making considerably more than those who never go, or who only take a few classes.



My point was that Paglia (whom I have never met) is criticizing a certain segment of the Academy. I partly agree with her, though I think the intellectual landscape is a bit more complicated than she suggests. Not everyone--indeed, not even 1 out of 10--professors in the humanities or in philosophy in the Anglophone world is a deconstructionist or a post-structuralist or etc. I occasionally whip out some Derrida on my students, because I think it's important that they be familiar with his thought. But I also teach Frege, Wittgenstein, Quine, and other such "hard-nosed" thinkers.

I am not going to get into this right now but

With respect to the lack of morality...I'm not sure what you mean. It was never uniformly the case that it was the business of the university to teach morality or moral behavior, and it's certainly not now.

That I rename the students customers was your clue....and that I call it the Failed University that has inflicted so much trauma on the nation and when you put that with me constantly spouting that the West is dying because we became unwilling to face the truth generally which includes being honest with ourselves to include being honest about who we are....well, I think the road map of my mind on this is rather clear.

The University failed because those running them barely tried, just as Harold Bloom claimed in "The Closing of the American Mind" what we watched was capitulation of the mission of the University by those who had been entrusted to maintain it....Which is a morality failure.
 
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ashurbanipal

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That I rename the students customers was your clue....and that I call it the Failed University that has inflicted so much trauma on the nation and when you put that with me constantly spouting that the West is dying because we became unwilling to face the truth generally which includes being honest with ourselves to include being honest about who we are....well, I think the road map of my mind on this is rather clear.

Not remotely.

The University failed because those running them barely tried, just as Harold Bloom claimed in "The Closing of the American Mind" what we watched was capitulation of the mission of the University by those who had been entrusted to maintain it....Which is a morality failure.

As far as I can tell, Universities haven't failed.
 

Hawkeye10

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Not remotely.



As far as I can tell, Universities haven't failed.

And yet you can say something like this:

The powers that be don't want people recalling that we used to be better, and they certainly don't want us recalling why we used to be better.

The University is arguably the #1 most important center of power in a democracy, of any people who wish to be a democracy, which is why for instance the Feminists set up their HQ at the now Failed University.
 

ashurbanipal

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And yet you can say something like this

Sure. There's no inconsistency there. We, as in, our society. There's only so much that a university, or universities in general, can do. I saw an interesting article the other day to the effect that there's a growing trend of people intentionally rejecting what they learn in their humanities classes when they get out into the world--that is, they play the part while in class, but secretly think that what they're learning is simply false, and act in a manner contrary to what they have learned. What, exactly, should a university, or universities in general, do about something like that? I can deliver correct information to my students, and I can test whether they have retained, understood, and synthesized that information. What I cannot do is peer into their souls and figure out their orientation toward that information. If they've got a boss, parents, coworkers, or other peers telling them to forget what they've learned and act like selfish asses, and they choose that path, there's little I can do about that.

The University is arguably the #1 most important center of power in a democracy, of any people who wish to be a democracy, which is why for instance the Feminists set up their HQ at the now Failed University.

You've yet to demonstrate that universities have failed. I would agree that some manifestations of feminism have gone too far (in a small number of instances, way too far). But the general idea of feminism is simply that men and women ought to be equals in all matters of moral weight. That doesn't seem objectionable to me. Nor does it descend into some kind of moral relativism, contra Bloom. Indeed, I have no idea why Bloom thinks we teach moral relativism. I don't teach ethics classes usually, but when I do, I generally point out the obvious and (to my mind) fatal objections to moral relativism. Moral relativism is not a very popular position among philosophers or humanists. I don't know, or know of, any professors who are moral relativists.
 

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Okay, OP-er....Camille concludes her essay with the clarion call, "It’s time for a new map of the gender world." What, then, would you have the new map, and the cultural landscape it describes, look like?

What I'm requesting is that you pick-up where she left off....because, frankly, that we know you find Camille's exposition "well said" is about as useful and thought provoking as tits on bulls. You concur with the cultural paradigm and practices she'd declared have been for the past half-century extant.
-- What would you change? How?
-- What is the "go forward" case, not the retroactive one (Paglia already presented that and you concur with it), for the changes you would see effected?
 

Hawkeye10

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Sure. There's no inconsistency there. We, as in, our society. There's only so much that a university, or universities in general, can do. I saw an interesting article the other day to the effect that there's a growing trend of people intentionally rejecting what they learn in their humanities classes when they get out into the world--that is, they play the part while in class, but secretly think that what they're learning is simply false, and act in a manner contrary to what they have learned. What, exactly, should a university, or universities in general, do about something like that? I can deliver correct information to my students, and I can test whether they have retained, understood, and synthesized that information. What I cannot do is peer into their souls and figure out their orientation toward that information. If they've got a boss, parents, coworkers, or other peers telling them to forget what they've learned and act like selfish asses, and they choose that path, there's little I can do about that.



You've yet to demonstrate that universities have failed. I would agree that some manifestations of feminism have gone too far (in a small number of instances, way too far). But the general idea of feminism is simply that men and women ought to be equals in all matters of moral weight. That doesn't seem objectionable to me. Nor does it descend into some kind of moral relativism, contra Bloom. Indeed, I have no idea why Bloom thinks we teach moral relativism. I don't teach ethics classes usually, but when I do, I generally point out the obvious and (to my mind) fatal objections to moral relativism. Moral relativism is not a very popular position among philosophers or humanists. I don't know, or know of, any professors who are moral relativists.

You've yet to demonstrate that universities have failed.
Nor do I intend to....launch an investigation and make up your own mind but dont forget to look at where America is because if it is not healthy as I say we are not you need to figure out who to blame, and I say that the University and Journalism are our two most catastrophic failures if we are not counting parenting which has indeed failed as evidenced by helicopter parenting which is the dumbest thing and with the low quality of the recently formed young people .....which is also the fault of the University. If you want to know where I stand then watch the whole conversation between Paglia and Peterson, they said very little that I dont agree with, and as Paglia points out those two agreed on everything.
 

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Okay, OP-er....Camille concludes her essay with the clarion call, "It’s time for a new map of the gender world." What, then, would you have the new map, and the cultural landscape it describes, look like?

What I'm requesting is that you pick-up where she left off....because, frankly, that we know you find Camille's exposition "well said" is about as useful and thought provoking as tits on bulls. You concur with the cultural paradigm and practices she'd declared have been for the past half-century extant.
-- What would you change? How?
-- What is the "go forward" case, not the retroactive one (Paglia already presented that and you concur with it), for the changes you would see effected?

I'll take a shot at answering the question you put to the OP.

While I don't think her "map metaphor" works very well, one of her later paragraphs in the interview states:


I am an equity feminist: that is, I demand equal opportunity for women through the removal of all barriers to their advance in the professional and political realms. However, I oppose special protections for women as inherently paternalistic and regressive. Women have rarely worked side by side with men in the way they now do in the modern workplace, whose competitive operational systems were devised by men for maximum productivity. Despite their general affluence, professional women of the Western world have been chronically unhappy for decades, and I conjecture that it is partly because they have been led to expect happiness from a mechanical work environment that doesn’t make men happy either.


Now what that says to me is that she wants people to embrace her paradigm in which it's commonly believed that men and women are fundamentally different and that they aren't necessarily made happy by the same things, especially by things like the workplace, whose satisfactions are not even that great for many men.

This is completely at odds with the reigning Marxist "sex differences are created by social forces only," and I'm not sure what if any politicians would go against this falsehood. I can't see any prominent Leftists breaking ranks to champion Paglia's views, and prominent Rightists would hesitate to endorse anything that would give the Left something new to attack.

Basically, she wants to redraw the conceptual "map" by which current society renders the genders of male and female. I don't know her position on transgender matters but I surmise from her books that she finds the polarity of "sis-male" and "sis-female" paramount to her critical system.
 
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