Quote of the day—Roger Kimball

Now some of this is just adolescent play-acting, even if many of those involved, being professors, are far beyond the chronological limits of adolescence.  Academia has an infantilizing effect. I understand that. Many professors dress and act like adolescents right up to the time they are ready to hand in their tenure and live off their generous pensions. The Peter-Pan aspect of academia is not entirely the professors’ fault.  After all, the points at which the real world intrudes upon academia are so few and so tenuous that academics may be forgiven for some of their hyperbole and inadvertently comic displays of self-importance.  They exist, like kept women of yore, entirely at the pleasure of an affluent society they despise. So in a way it is not surprising that they endeavor to transform their entire campus into a sort of existential boudoir, which is French for “room for pouting in.”

Roger Kimball
January 15, 2017
A Modest Disposal
[Interesting observation.—Joe]


9 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Roger Kimball

  1. That’s a great analysis. It also helps explain the rise of meaningless activities — first a bunch with names containing “science” that aren’t (like “social science” or “political science”). Then more recently another bunch, even more meaningless, with names containing “studies” (like one I saw today “middle eastern studies”). These are all forms of glorified basket weaving, only not so useful. Why productive people allow their hard-earned money to be spent on this stuff is an interesting question.

    • I call them Virus Degrees. The only conceivable use for them is to obtain an academic position teaching them to others, thus reproducing them like viruses.

      • That’s a good term, because it emphasizes their parasitical and disease-causing nature.

      • Look up the degree that “Trigglypuff” was pursuing – I believe it was in “conflict resolution.” Which – if her/its behavior gave any insight into the syllabus – involves waving one’s arms around and shouting a lot. A highly valuable skill to be sure.

        • Yeah because she went to Hampshire College which doesn’t have assigned degrees. It’s basically a four-year independent study evaluated through instructor narratives instead of grades. As a UMass grad I will admit that it’s a tad wonky. But it’s an experimental school, it’s part of the institution’s DNA in a way none of the other schools in that Consortium could replicate (much as they try).

          Hypothetically conflict resolution could be a helpful skill (like in an alternative dispute resolution context). But let me guess, you think that ADR another tentacle of some vast left-wing conspiracy. Or something…

          • No, I think he was making fun of the fact that someone taking a college course in “conflict resolution” (or ADR as you put it) proceeded to throw a giant arm-waving hissy-fit as a way to resolve conflict. If that’s what they’re teaching as a way to resolve conflict, it’s a waste of her money and time. If that’s all she learned in her time there, then she’s wasting her money and time.

            Conflict resolution is an excellent skill, and everyone from managers to police officers to the bag boy at the local grocery store could learn to use it. Assuming that it isn’t taught by imbeciles who think undulating arm flesh and screeching hysterically somehow resolves conflict

          • Shrimp wrote a better reply than I would have. Conflict resolution is indeed a fine skill and very useful. I was indeed mocking the supposed application of Trigglypuffs acquired skills.

            Although a great skill to possess, though, does ADR rise to the level of a degree? I could see a class or two, or perhaps some certification perhaps, but a four year course of study seems excessive. And, of course, you’d have to be careful that the certification wasn’t part of a conspiracy to invade corporate America with left wingers.

          • Defens, I’d say “alt-media”, as in YouTube and other venues, are perfect vehicles for modern corporate HR departments to do their due diligence when the TrigglyPuffs of the world come by and drop off their résumés.
            Any staffer worth their pay would and should simply trash the application as opposed to hiring that walking “xxxx-harassment” lawsuit just waiting to be filed.

  2. C’mon, be reasonable now. You can do a lot more with a political science degree (or a Middle Eastern studies degree) than just teach.

    I don’t think you can just encapsulate all of “academia” into one straw man entity.

    Kimball is just as smug as he accuses “academia” of being.

    And he hasn’t attended an American university since 1978 so I have no idea how he knows what happens in the average contemporary classroom.

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