Taking Back Our Universities

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Adam's Apple, May 15, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple

    Adam's Apple Senior Member

    Apr 25, 2004
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    If we just could! Thoughtful 8-page article.

    Retaking the Universities: A Battle Plan
    BY Roger Kimball for Opinion Journal
    Wednesday, May 11, 2005

    Some excerpts:

    "After the Vietnam War, a lot of us didn't just crawl back into our literary cubicles; we stepped into academic positions. With the war over, our visibility was lost, and it seemed for a while--to the unobservant--that we had disappeared. Now we have tenure, and the work of reshaping the universities has begun in earnest." --Jay Parini, Chronicle of Higher Education

    ...as one looks around at academic life these days, it is easy to conclude that corruption yields not only decay but also opportunities. Think of the public convulsion that surrounded the episode of Ward Churchill's invitation to speak at Hamilton College earlier this year. The spectacle of a highly paid academic with a fabricated background comparing the victims of 9/11 to a Nazi bureaucrat was too much. Mr. Churchill's fellow academics endeavored--they are still endeavoring--to rally round. But the public wasn't buying it. Such episodes, as Victor Davis Hanson noted in National Review recently, were like "a torn scab revealing a festering sore beneath":

    "The Age of Aquarius did not end when the last electric guitar was unplugged at Woodstock. It lives on in our values and habits, in our tastes, pleasures, and aspirations. It lives on especially in our educational and cultural institutions, and in the degraded pop culture that permeates our lives like a corrosive fog."

    Whether American culture has begun to recover from that assault has become a matter of debate. That the situation has become debatable may be an encouraging sign. Even five years ago, few serious observers were registering signs of cultural health in American society. The terrorist attacks of September 11 changed that. The fires at the World Trade Center were not yet extinguished when some commentators proclaimed that the cultural revolution of the 1960s was, at long last, finally over.

    In his new book, "South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias," Brian C. Anderson of City Journal reinforces the optimism, citing the rise of conservative talk radio, the popularity of Fox News, the new visibility of conservative publishers, and the spread of interest in the Internet with its many right-of-center populist Web logs. Taken together, these and kindred phenomena have helped to inspire the thought that, at last, there is beginning to be a widespread counter to the counterculture.

    These are heartening signs. Nevertheless, as it was with Mark Twain's announced demise, I suspect that reports of the death of the counterculture have been greatly exaggerated. Something changed on 9/11--of that I have no doubt--but it seems to me to have affected the assumptions of elite culture sporadically at best. Moreover, the institution that has proved the most resistant to change was the one most publicly committed to "innovation": the university.


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