Monday, August 07, 2006

Imagine and Understand

Mary Graber, an English teacher at Clayton State University in Georgia, explains that what really upsets conservative activists about higher education is the uncanny ability of conservative activists to imagine upsetting things about higher education:

Imagine these instructions from a college professor and you will understand what we "conservative activists" object to:

"OK, class, let's look at our worldviews. What do you think of Britney Spears kissing Madonna? What does that act say about gender roles? Write a three-page paper and remember: Papers that do not display an open-mindedness will fail."
Two can play at that game. Imagine this speech from President Bush, and you'll understand why so many liberals distrust him:
"I am Jesus come back to earth. I hate fags and coloreds and poor people. That Hitler guy had the right idea, but he was too selectional. I'm gonna blow up the whole world!"
Kidding aside, I'd love to know what the learned Ms. Graber thinks of Agathon kissing Pausanias, or the antics of Proust's Mlle. Vinteuil and her friend the "practicing and professional Sapphist." Or Hart Crane.

A conscientious conservative, I suppose, would condemn them all as unnatural and inaesthetic (if you'll pardon the redundancy). And rightly so. Why squander your God-given open-mindedness on a bunch of filthy perverts, when you can use it to appreciate "alternative" theories of climatology or evolutionary biology?


Phila said...

To understand how cultures function, you have to examine the behaviour of individuals and groups, and study their cultural practices and artifacts

Sure. And if memory serves, it was conservatives who spent a week or two dragging us through a vital national debate over Janet jackson's nipple. If anything, they want to talk about these sorts of issues more than anyone else. It's not the subject matter that bothers them, it's the thought that the pronouncement of any non-conservative could be seen as plausible, let alone authoritative.

Phila said...

What's wrong with believing in conservatism? surely it's better to let man determine his own existence as much as he can through low taxation, small government etc etc than the soppy and arrogant liberals view - that governments can coordinate and run peoples lifes for them better than they can themselves;

Have you noticed, Aloysius, that in comment after comment you ignore my actual argument in favor of an overwrought attack on your favorite strawmen?

Also, what you consider an "attack" on Bush was simply an example of dishonest rhetoric based on Ms. Graber's little "thought experiment"; in other words, it was a joke, and does not represent the substance of my problems with Bush.

As for "small government" and "low taxation," under Bush, government has grown exponentially. Taxation is lower, for some income brackets. But the shortfall in revenues is made up with higher state and local taxes, and other fees (e.g., healthcare and community colleges). It's a shell game, in other words. People like you, who consider themselves a good deal smarter than they actually are, have always been the favorite target of con men; the same dynamic is at play in the USA, where devotion to allegedly conservative ideology trumps the fact that government spending and bureacracy are spiraling out of control.

It's a cliche, God knows, but the truth hurts. People who are cowardly and insecure will go a very long way to avoid it.