Some Pathological Liars Are More Equal Than Others

Famous not-actual-Native American Elizabeth Warren, who was not fired from a job for being pregnant, didn’t actually send her kid to public school.

But it took other people, in every case, to make that info public.

The school thing? Oh, yeah:

Sarah Carpenter, a pro-school choice activist who organized a protest of Warren’s Thursday speech in Atlanta, told Warren that she had read news reports indicating the candidate had sent her kids to private school. Though Warren once favored school choice and was an advocate for charter schools, she changed her views while seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
“We are going to have the same choice that you had for your kids because I read that your children went to private schools,” Carpenter told Warren when the two met, according to video posted to social media, which was first identified by Corey DeAngelis, director of school choice at Reason Foundation.
Warren denied the claim, telling Carpenter, “My children went to public schools.”
A school yearbook obtained by the Washington Free Beacon indicates, however, that Warren’s son, Alex Warren, attended the Kirby Hall School for at least the 1986-1987 school year, Warren’s final year as a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. The college preparatory school is known for its “academically advanced curriculum” and offers small class sizes for students in grades K-12. The yearbook indicates that Alex Warren attended as a fifth grader.

Running as she is for the nomination by party for which an outsized share of delegates work for the Teachers Unions, it makes good sense to throw black families under the bus (and promising “historic investments” is exactly that).

Except within the Democrat party.

Why Blue America Is Doomed

Math is racist. Achievement is supremacy.

Winston.

Seattle Public Schools adopt program that turns math into yet another grievance studies program:

In October, Seattle public schools unveiled a “framework” to inject “math ethnic studies” into all K-12 math classes, teaching “how math has been and continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color.”
Students will be asked to “identify the inherent inequities of the standardized testing system used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color” and “explain how math dictates economic oppression.”
“Why/how does data-driven processes prevent liberation?” it asks. “How important is it to be Right? What is Right? Says Who?”

It almost reads like the Babylon Bee – which is something I realize I’m saying a lot about the modern American left:

The curriculum was pushed by the school district’s ethnic studies program manager, Tracy Castro-Gill, who on Oct. 19 tweeted a picture with her “Marxist ringleader” and said the “next step is matching “INDOCTRINATED” t-shirts!”
“I am an educator of color in Seattle whose job is anti-racist work within the school district. Seattle is very white — nearly 70%. It’s also one of the most liberal cities in the US, and these liberal, white Seattleites hate being called racist, but the thing is – a lot of them are,” she wrote.
Though she was hired by the superintendent and the school board, Castro-Gill said criticisms of the math proposal from one board member’s Asian wife were racist. She also asked people to “help me push” the board and superintendent to oppose “rewhiting.”

I used to joke that pretty much every “radical atheist” was a Catholic or Evangelical with Daddy issues.

And yet again, the joke is reality:

Castro-Gill wrote on her blog that her mother is white and her father is Hispanic, but that she has a strained relationship.
“I’m fairly radical atheist and consider myself a far left anarchist who fights for racial justice,” she wrote. “My parents are both Trump supporting Republicans.”
She is also at odds with her child’s father after their child declared herself “nonbinary” after reading literature about transgenderism.

Fearless prediction – which I started writing as a joke, but as with all such things, Berg’s 21st Law is in effect here – Ms. Castro-Gill will be hired as a consultant by the Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Edina or Bloomington Public Schools in the near future.

I Sometimes Wonder…

…if “educators” – secondary and university-level – in the “humanities” know anything about the history of the “humanities”.

Teachers are worried about teaching the otherwise (ostensibly) brilliant work of artists whose personal lives are, well, problematic, in the #MeToo era:

For Martina Myers, a high school English teacher on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, Sherman Alexie’s novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” seemed too good to be true: funny, well-crafted and focused on Native American youth.
Her students at Piñon High School, many of whom struggled with substance abuse and mental illness, took to it immediately. They wrote poems in response, on native pride, addiction, self-acceptance and suicide attempts.
So when Ms. Myers learned last year of the allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Alexie, who issued a statement admitting he had “harmed other people,” she felt two waves of betrayal — first for her students and then for herself, a survivor of abuse.
“When the #MeToo movement happened I told my story,” Ms. Myers said. She knew some of her students, too, had experienced sexual assault.

Where do these hamsters come from?

The history of arts and humanities is clogged with deeply dysfunctional people. The drive to be an artist seems, in fact, to be closely linked with personal and emotional instability.

And the “artists” that fit neatly into the bounds of what’s considered socially acceptable today largely aren’t that interesting.

Why, it’s almost as if someone is trying to dumb society down, or something…

Transfer Of Wealth

Chicago teachers are on strike.

Again.

But it’s not just for them, this time. Nosirreebob.

In the last two contract fights, the union brought up these issues, but they also had to concentrate on protecting their members whose jobs were being threatened by school closings and the opening of charter schools. The school district also had a budget deficit that made it difficult to argue for more resources.
This year, they saw an opening to try to win big on these social justice issues. The school district has more money after a change in the state’s funding formula and Lightfoot has said she believes schools need additional resources. The union also feels compelled to push these demands after years of budget cuts that led to staff losses in schools .
Many teachers say conditions in schools are unacceptable.
Lightfoot and her team have maintained they are committed to adding 250 more nurses, 200 social workers and more special education case managers to schools. But they say putting these promises in the contract would limit their flexibility.

Between the lines: it’s a weath transfer, from Illinois taxpayers to Chicago public employees.

Special “Elite” Media Messaging Bonus: Listening to MPR discussing the story this morning, “Morning Edition” host Bill Inskeep, talking with a Chicago NPR reporter, emphasized (and I’m very closely paraphrasing here): “Just to make sure we’re clear on this – the union is doing this for the kids’ well-being…”

Beware Leftists Talking “Conversations”

In 2010, Governor Dayton pledged to make education his top priority.

In 2018, Walz did the same

And after the spending of billions of dollars – much of it extracted with the same exploitive gaslighting and logrolling that were the calling cards of both Dayton and Walz’s gubernatorial races – the results are…

…well, predictable:

Math scores on the biggest statewide exam have plummeted for six straight years, troubling some education officials and teachers — and prompting deep discussions about how to teach math in a more holistic way.
Last year, just 55% of students met state standards on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, or MCAs, a slide of six percentage points in just over a decade. The decline spans all racial groups, and has diverged from the trend in reading scores, which have largely remained flat.

A smart government and bureaucracy would think in terms of, perhaps, inviting different people to the “conversation”.

A Thousand Times “Yep”

While driving about yesterday during the mid-day, I caught a piece on MPR – basically a recycled “Documentary” podcast on “Education” looking at the tension between free speech and “inclusion” at the U of M, viewed in the context of a squabble over a panel on the Washington Avenue bridge in 2016, where Campus Republicans wrote “build the wall”, spawning the usual suspects’ usual performances about the need to make free speech not nearly so free.

I sat, mostly dumbfounded, as a series of academics, consultants and activists responded to the notion of the importance (to say nothing of sanctity ,and vitality to a democracy) of free speech with an ever-increasing series of “Yabbuts”.

There were too many chilling moments to pick just one pullquote; I’d read or listen to the whole thing, if you’re in the mood to feel immense forboding.

But this part here caught my attention; I’ve added some emphasis:

Over the course of [Rebecca Ropers, a vice provost for faculty and academic affairs at the University of Minnesota]’s career, she has witnessed an increasing ability for people that are marginalized on campus to articulate what is going on in their lives, but she doesn’t see administrators and other students showing a commensurate ability to hear and acknowledge those experiences. She said that the university now knows more about managing diversity and free speech, but school officials don’t always implement what they know.
“If administrators and faculty could have students’ backs and continue to articulate the importance of free speech, while also saying, ‘Yeah, and I really find that reprehensible,” I think maybe that’s a good strategy for academic leaders to take at this point,” Ropers said.

“Acknowledgment”. It’s the “bring me a rock” of modern sociology; the “acknowledgment” sought is never, ever the kind offered; there’s always a bigger, better, different form that’s really demanded, although it’s up to the acknowledgor to figure that out.

If the modern academy – at least, outside most engineering and hard science departments – expends energy in anything other than endless self-flagellation over the current view of identity politics, what is it?

Although I’ll clarify – it’s not so much self-flagellation; call it flagellation of some “other” on the part of the upper-middle-class academics and activists doing the flagellation, who are never called upon for any meaningful sacrifices as a result.

Surprising Precisely Nobody

College Republican display at the U of M’s annual “Paint the Bridge” party vandalized.

For the fourth year in a row:

The group said their panel, which included text reading, “Donald Trump The Wall,” “Draining the Swamp,” and “America FIRST mentality,” was covered up within a day.

I wonder, sometimes, if the Democrats wonder what they’re messing with, here?

Conservatives on American campuses, after swimming upstream for four years and enduring the kind of abuse they endure, are going to be tougher than mule jerky.

In adult life, when those “kids” go up against the left’s generation of children of feckless entitled privlege, they’re going to slash through them like a lawn mower through a cabbage patch.

Campus Republican at Yale terms campus lefties’ eternal rage “Protester Derangement Syndrome”:

Sit-ins, hunger strikes and angry mobs: These are all things I became accustomed to in my late teens and early 20s. No, I haven’t been living in a country experiencing severe political unrest. I am living in New Haven, Conn., and attending Yale University as an undergrad.
While this may sound bizarre to you, behavior typical of a severely oppressed society has taken hold among students who are part of the Ivory Tower. I call it Protester Derangement Syndrome, or PDS for short.
Yale students enjoy luxuries akin to European aristocracy. Students live in resort-style housing that includes lavish feasts, massage parlors and recreational spaces that boast everything from a printing press to a pottery studio. However, Yale students afflicted with PDS display derangement symptoms similar to an oppressed religious cult. They refuse to interact with the world around them. They have demanded the buildings be renamed. They support the desecration of art. They sanitize history by demanding professors exclude certain authors from syllabi.
The Yale administration believes they can treat PDS through concessions and pacification. Unfortunately, their prescription has been ineffective.

I’m gonna so enjoy being “the real world” for these little twerps. Or at least the few of them that actually make it into the productive parts of the private sector, anyway.

The Future Is Orwellian

I went to a pretty unheralded little college in the middle of nowhere.

And it was one of the great experiences of my life.

It wasn’t that I learned things that directly helped me in the job market; my BA in English with minors in History and German didn’t kick open the doors of corporate America. Or non-profit America. Or anything.

But it taught me to think. Think hard. Sometimes to think hard about things I didn’t already know, or actively doubted. I had to study things – Freud, Nietsche, Marx – that I found disagreeable, and learn to understand them. I hard to confront ideas that didn’t comport with what the 18 year old me know about the universe. Sometime in my junior year, that cognitive dissonance led me, who’d grown up in a Democrat family, and who had written a Federalist party platform at 1980 Boys State that would have made Alexandria “Tide Pod Evita” Ocasio Cortez’ leg tingle – to vote for Ronald Reagan.

I was uncomfottable.

College kids today, increasingly, are deprived of this experience:

Post-secondary eduation in the US has gone through three borad eras;

  1. Christian education
  2. Gentlemens’ (and womens) education
  3. Consumer education (in the post GI-Bill era, where the student was looking for a good value for their money and time)

…and, well, something new.

What is that something new?

Elite private education in America is on the cusp of this new era. The controversies over free speech, safe spaces, trigger warnings, microaggressions and the like are symptoms of this shift. They are currently considered controversies because the colleges are in transition, and many do not realize that the old standards no longer hold. Once the transition is complete, the “correct” side of the controversies will become central to a school’s identity — just as faith was to the Christian college, self-confidence was to the gentlemen’s college, and alumni devotion and achievement were to the consumer’s college.
Some have suggested naming this new college “the therapeutic university” or “the woke college.” I prefer “the comfort college,” because it combines the emotional component of the first with the political elements of the second. Our students are comfortable in their opinions but uncomfortable with their lives, finding their world and the Williams campus a threatening place. Once Williams’ transition to comfort college is complete, the students will expect to find their college truly comfortable in all respects.

And key to intellectual comfort is the suppression of all cognitive dissonance:

The slogan of the comfort college is “diversity and inclusion.” And just to be clear: The presence of previously underrepresented groups is vital, necessary and welcome. What’s more, insensitivity toward people’s identities should be self-censored, and social pressure to do so is a helpful tool.
But another agenda, an agenda that runs counter to true diversity and inclusion, has (often silently) accompanied these positive changes. At some point along the way, this laudable attention to the language of inclusion turned from a psychologically realistic sensitivity into a harsh and confrontational tribal marker. Much of comfort-college language — “neurodiverse” versus “mentally ill,” “minoritized” versus “minority” — simply identifies one as a member of the woke tribe, and using the wrong term will bring about social death.
The lack of cognitive significance in tribal language is a symptom of the deeper disease: the devaluing of the pursuit of knowledge. Students are now absolutists. Students, administrators and some faculty know what is right (and who is wrong). Any challenge to their views cannot be in pursuit of knowledge or even clarification. It can only come from the desire to crush and oppress.

I started this piece thinking that the future is going to be run by “elites” whose beliefs haven’t been forced to change since high school.

Given the totalitarian aspects to this change, maybe junior high is a better analogy.

Remember my definition of “Urban Progressive Privilege“; it’s a characteristic of people who can count on their worldviews remaining unchallenged throughout life.

That Moment When…

…you see a headline on social media that you just swear has to be from Babylon Bee, but it’s not:

St. Paul school board members aren’t paid enough, St. Paul school board members say

But sure enough, it’s a real story. Or as real as the mainstream media gets, anyway.

Of course, they preside over a crumbling district with one of the worst achievement gaps in the country, on a board that serves mostly as a DFL farm team.

But it’s all about keeping up with the Joneses:

Board members get $10,800 per year, which is less than what comparably sized metro districts pay. However, members are eligible for district health insurance; those who sign up get a premium subsidy that’s worth $9,643 this year.
Jon Schumacher and Mary Vanderwert, who are leaving the board next year after serving one four-year term, gave the strongest endorsements for a raise at a meeting Wednesday evening.
“I feel very strongly that there really does need to be an increase so we can make sure that we have people who have passion, who have expertise and who aren’t going to feel that serving on this board is going to make it impossible for them to meet their financial needs,” Schumacher said.
Vanderwert suggested a salary increase of $5,000 or more.
“I definitely think it’s time for us to do this,” she said. “It’s the most important work a community does, and the board positions need to be attractive to high-quality people.”

Full (but unneeded) disclosure – I worked with Mary Vanderwert a loooong time ago. Perfectly fine human being, although there’s that whole “SPPS School Board member” thing.

Did I mention the Joneses?

…Anoka-Hennepin, pays between $14,400 and $15,600, depending on the board member’s role, human resources director Laurin Cathey said.
Minneapolis, the third-largest district, pays $22,000.
Most board members make $9,000 in Osseo, $7,236 in St. Cloud, $7,200 in Bloomington and $5,000 in Brooklyn Center, Cathey said.
Cathey also looked at St. Paul’s national peers and found school board members receive no pay in either Des Moines, Iowa, or Portland, Ore.

I wondered if they bothered comparing school board pay to graduation rates, minority achievement or percent of students who need remedial classes in college?

And maybe correlate that with ideological distribution of the school board’s members?

Hmmmmm.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

The Problem…

…with trying to run a society with the entitled cranks that make up so much of the modern left is that if you’re a consevative, they really, really hate you and the idea of sharing a society with you.

University of Texas “Anarchist” (really Maxarchist) group promises to “dox” students who joint the campus’s conservative organization:

“Hey #UT23! Do you wanna be famous? If you join YCT or Turning Point USA, you just might be. Your name and more could end up on an article like one of these,” the tweet said, linking to previous doxxing posts of conservative students at the school. “So be sure to make smart choices at #UTOrientation

There are times I wish I was still in school.

Affirmative Consent

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Minnesota’s New Puritans trying to make college sex “safe” might destroy it, instead.  

The proposed legislation says consent to a sexual act must be given by words or actions that create mutually understandable, unambiguous permission regarding willingness to engage in, and the conditions of, sexual activity.   It goes on to say that consent may be withdrawn at any time.  

Does “at any time” mean “after the fact?”  Can a person regret having agreed to have sex and retroactively withdraw consent?  Do second-thoughts convert consensual activity into sexual assault? 

If a person is accused of engaging in sexual activity without obtaining express consent, at trial, how does the accused prove s/he did obtain explicit consent?  He-said-she-said testimony?  A witness who watched the sex act?  Sex video?  Who curates the library of sex videos? 

It would be much easier to enforce if they’d cut to the chase and say: “Students shall not engage in sexual activity while enrolled in college.”
Joe Doakes

My alma mater – at least while I was in school (I have no idea today) went through at least the formality of saying “nobody of the opposite sex in your room after 11PM – 1AM on weekends”. Everyone knew the rules were getting flouted – but the institution had the wisdom to imply “look, all you late-adolescents – we know you’re going to do it, because for all the academic jabbering you are all still governed by hormones. But we know you’re neither thinking clearly, nor ready for the consequences, and we’re at least going to nag you about it long enough that the consequences don’t happen on our watch”.

I’m pretty sure it was a better idea.

“Unexpected”

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The Democrats will be holding their convention next year in Milwaukee.  

Kevin Williamson thinks that’s pretty appropriate, all in all.  

In response to a particularly stupid column by Paul Krugman a few years back, our friend Iowahawk shared an interesting discovery: Schools in progressive Wisconsin on average outperform the schools in low-spending, Republican Texas — but the schools in Texas outperform the schools in Wisconsin when it comes to outcomes for white students, black students, and Latino students, each of which group produced higher test scores in Texas than in Wisconsin. Wisconsin came out ahead not because it does a better job with any particular group of students but because it is overwhelmingly white. In other states black and Hispanic students trail their white peers, too, but seldom as much as they do in Wisconsin’s graduation rates.

The Democrats own Milwaukee, which hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1908. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez et al. will be cheered to know that Milwaukee has had three times as many socialist mayors as Republicans since the beginning of the 20th century.

I’m exceptionally confident we’ll find Minnesota compares identically.

The World Academic / Intellectual War

The barring and harassment of conservative speakers on campus – even campuses like Grand Canyon and Northwestern in Saint Paul, which recently got heartburn over Star Parker – isn’t just a series of random snowflakes yelling themselves hoarse:

Lefties call this kind of challenge a structure test. It’s an evaluation of capacity. Organizations (or people) can either pass a structure test, or they can fail. In the case of the [Grand Canyon University] challenge, [Young America Foundation] passed. So, the next question is whether YAF has the capacity and willingness to pass that structure test somewhere else for the sake of Parker, who is a less prominent name than Shapiro.
After that, the question will be whether YAF can pass that test again, and again, and again. It’s an unending series of questions: Are you willing to fight? How much? For how long? How many fights can you sustain? How many fights can you keep track of? How many lawsuits can you afford to file?

Even I lose track.

The answer?

Organize – finally, once and for all. Of course, it’s easier said than done:

First off, let me stress that this kind of organization isn’t something just anybody can do. Some people are better placed to do it than others. The ideal person to be involved in this work is somebody who’s active in her alumni network, was active in campus life as a student, and has a good number of healthy contacts, preferably among people who are active donors.
If that’s you: sit down and make a list of people you know personally, who donate time and money to the university, who are unhappy with the way things are. Call them up on the phone—don’t text, don’t email, don’t Facebook. You’re using a personal connection here, and the human voice is important.
Sound them out, make sure they’re on your side, then make it clear you’re putting together a group of donors who want to pressure the university to make it a better place for conservatives. They should ideally be of a variety of ages — that way their networks will consist of different graduating cohorts. Discuss what you’re doing, what your demands will be, and get people to sign on.
This is your organizing committee

Read the whole thing. It’s worth it.

Disclosure: the pieces from the , which may as well be a click bait site these days.

On the other hand, there is nothing about what we know about political correctness, especially in the modern school and academic systems, that smells wrong in any way.

The principal at a New York performing arts high school ordered all Nazi symbol is removed from the stage

… of the play The Sound of Music. Which – if you’ve never seen it – was set in Nazi occupied Austria:

The principal at the elite “Fame” school, Lisa Mars, ordered Nazi flags and symbols removed from the stage set of the beloved tale of the Von Trapp family, who fled the Nazis from their native Austria as Adolf Hitler took power, students told the Daily News.

Now, there’s an old saying; “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is”. So this ext graf – In which a 15-year-old high school kid would seem to have gotten it right…:

“This is a very liberal school, we’re all against Nazis,” one sophomore performer told The News about the fuhrer furor. “But to take out the symbol is to try to erase history.

is perfectly likely to turn out to be false. But I do hope kids are smarter about history than the adults who run most of the educational/industrial complex today.

I hope Dash indeed, I pray – that it’s true.

Unexpected

Anti-bullying programs seem to result in…more bullying?  

Seokjin Jeong and Byung Hyn Lee set out to discover how bullying prevention programs could be effectively transferred from individual schools to schools on a national level. To their surprise, they discovered that bullying prevention programs don’t always produced the expected results:

“Surprisingly, bullying prevention had a negative effect on peer victimization. Contrary to our hypothesis, students attending schools with bullying prevention programs were more likely to have experienced peer victimization, compared to those attending schools without bullying prevention programs. It is possible that bullies have learned a variety of antibullying techniques but chose not to practice what they have learned from the program.”

Such findings bring up an important point. We spend a lot of time promoting awareness of different issues today. But while awareness of a problem should be raised, is it possible to fixate on that problem so much that we actually increase it?

The fact is, high attention on any one issue can work both ways. On the one hand, it raises focus on the victim. Being able to come out and say, “Yes, I’ve suffered, too,” even for the smallest thing, can be oddly gratifying and status boosting. On the flip side, perpetrators also stand to receive a certain level of prestige and attention for their actions, however wrong they may be.

In much the same way as saturation coverage of mass shootings creates more mass shootings I suspect.

Root Hog Go Hungary

Hungary bans Gender Studies courses at state universities:

A Hungarian government spokesman told Breitbart the country’s employers have “no demand for gender studies graduates.”

The new rule won’t affect many; only eleven students were admitted to the gender studies program at ELTE, and only two more at George Soros’s CEU according to the Breitbart report.

Wonder if we can get Viktor Orban to run for governor of Minnesota?

The Real Resistance

“Resistance” implies one is fighting an all-powerful status quo.

LIberals in liberal cities are not the “resistance”; they are “the power”.

And teachers?  People in the public education system?  Going against the herd in the world of public education is truly resistance.

And teachers who have decided that their and their charges’ lives are worth more than the vague blandishments of security theater may be the bravest resistance of all:

On a recent morning in Newcomerstown, Ohio, a row of teachers stood in a line with guns drawn and moved slowly toward a row of steel plate targets.

As the teachers advanced, bullets pinged off the metal with each round they fired.

The teachers had come to take part in Faster Saves Lives, a voluntary training program run by an Ohio-based nonprofit that has taught more than 1,300 school staff members to carry and use firearms since 2013. (Faster stands for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training & Emergency Response.)

“My students are my kids, basically, and I want to be able to protect them just like I would protect my own son,” said a 34-year-old Ohio teacher of students with special needs who participated in the program and spoke on the condition of anonymity out of concern that by going public, she or her school could be targeted by a shooter.

I suspect – and all the evidence that actually exists supports me on this – that the opposite is the case.

Anyway – more, faster, please.

The High Cost Of “Woke”

Evergreen State College – the ultra-“progressive” school in Washington State that’s spent the past couple years in an orgy of virtue-signaling and PC-witchhunting – has seen its enrollment projections drop by 20% this year – and its budget is accordingly in freefall:’

Both announcements come nearly a year after the college endured persistent riots following former professor Bret Weinstein’s decision to question the “day of absence,” an initiative that asked white students to leave campus for a day of off-campus diversity workshops, while people of color participated in on-campus workshops.

After besieging Weinstein in his classroom, student protesters proceeded to hold school President George Bridges and several other administrators hostage in the president’s office, temporarily refusing even to let Bridges use the bathroom unless he agreed to adopt their demands for additional diversity-related initiatives.

Carmichael warned employees that “it is impossible” to make a budget cut of such magnitude without “affecting some programs and services,” noting that the college “can’t afford” things like “theatrical productions in the Experimental Theater.”

Evergreen has been “experimental theater” for some time now.

But back on point – it almost seems like people looking for an education these days would prefer less pompous, often threatening and sometimes violent virtue-signaling and more…

…education?

It hardly seems possible, does it?

Tolerance

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The schools used to celebrate Christian holidays – Valentine, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas – but had to quit because of our culture of tolerance and respect.

But the schools do celebrate Hmong New Year and have pow-wows so it’s not a ban on all holidays, only Christian holidays.  Because, you know, tolerance and respect.

The school board, under fire from parents, agreed to take another look at the policy to see if it supports the diversity in our community.  My guess: every religion is allotted one holiday and the board will decide which one you get.  Looking forward to the Catholic holiday: Shrove Tuesday.

Joe Doakes

I’m just surprised they haven’t adopted (and I say this knowing that today’s sarcastic jape is tomorrow’s Saint Paul School Board policy) Festivus.

Opportunity Knocks

To: Hollywood, the major media, the opinion-making classes, the educational/industrial complex
From:  Mitch Berg, obstreporous peasant.
Re:   Want to do some good?

Millennials know nothing about the Holocaust:

Twenty-two percent of millennials in the poll said they haven’t heard of the Holocaust or are not sure whether they’ve heard of it — twice the percentage of U.S. adults as a whole who said the same.

The study, conducted by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, interviewed 1,350 American adults in February and recruited by telephone and an online non-probability sample.

Asked to identify what Auschwitz is, 41 percent of respondents and 66 percent of millennials could not come up with a correct response identifying it as a concentration camp or extermination camp. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum says that at least 1.3 million people were deported to the camp, run by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland, from 1940 to 1945, and 1.1 million of them were killed. It was the largest concentration camp among many built by the Nazis during their campaign to wipe out the Jews and other groups.

But lest you think its just malfeasance and sloth:

Respondents indicated much more awareness of modern-day bias against Jews, with 68 percent saying anti-Semitism is present in America today, and 51 percent saying there are “many” or “a great deal of” neo-Nazis in the United States today.

So a majority “know” a non-existent factoid that is entirely a figment of propaganda intended to gull the hysterical, but a tiny fraction know why those people might conceivably matter.

So, media and entertainment industries – perhaps we could make with a  little of the “never again” in between comic book remakes and endless FBI “investigations”?

Just a suggestion.

That is all.

Watching The Bubble Pop

There are no worthless degrees [1] – only dumb, entitled or inflexible people.

My BA in English set me up pretty good for a life where I changed careers 2-3 times before I turned 40, and taught myself to work in a STEM-related field (and doing very well, thankewverymuch).

But my major advisor, the late Dr. James Blake, was a pretty no-nonsense guy. For starters, it was he the finally convinced me I was really a conservative (he characterized himself as a “Monarchist”); I doubt you could find anyone like him in an English program today. He was also pretty diligent about reminding us that unless we wanted to a) spend years chasing a PhD and then academic appointments, or b) teach high school, or c) work for near-slave wages in the literary world, the odds of “working in our field” after college were miniscule. We were going to have to adapt, be mentally nimble, and *think* to make a living.

So the chuckleheads who are cheering the demise of liberal arts and humanities programs have it half wrong. They COULD fill a very useful niche.

But today, unfortunately, outside of places like Hillsdale College, they do not. They are sinecures for intellectually sloppy but boundlessly entitled academics who “teach” soggy, rootless, post-structural, personal-feelings-based ideology rather than the arts and humanities that *civilization is built around*. And we’re all poorer for it, even if you didn’t go to college, or major in humanities if you did.

And for that, a reckoning is due.

[1] that don’t have the word “…Studies” in them, anyway. Those are all pretty worthless.