Bright College Days

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 31, 1997 | Go to article overview

Bright College Days


Some years ago, the Rev. Jesse Jackson led a notorious march on the Stanford University campus, leading his followers in the moronic chant, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Culture's got to go." The issue that encouraged Rev. Jackson to adopt such idiotic antics was his support of Stanford's replacement of a required freshman survey course, "Western Culture," with a multicultural hodgepodge, "Culture, Ideas, and Values" (CIV), which emphasized many non-Western (actually, anti-Western) themes. Mr. Jackson's unique - and profoundly anti-intellectual - lobbying efforts on behalf of CIV succeeded, dispatching the requirement of taking "Western Culture" to the dustbin of history and overwhelming a last-ditch effort to retain a reasonably intellectual atmosphere on most American campuses. Nearly a decade later, the results of the intellectual barbarians' revolution are in, and they are dreadful.

With first daughter Chelsea Clinton beginning her college education at Stanford this year, what sort of courses will be available to her and other students of the first graduating class of the 21st century? What does Stanford offer its 6,500 undergraduate students, who this year paid an average of $28,857 for room, board and tuition?

In its welcome contribution to the debate about the increasingly horrific aspects of higher education in America, the Young America's Foundation in Herndon, Va., released its third annual report cataloguing "the trendy, bizarre and politically biased courses that dominate the curricula of our nation's top schools." A cursory review of the organization's publication, "Comedy and Tragedy: College Course Descriptions and What They Tell Us About Higher Education Today," confirms the utter accuracy of its description.

Perhaps Chelsea will pursue the pseudo-intellectualism of feminism that so captured her mother at Wellesley College during the 1960s, when the seeds of women's studies were first planted at most schools. In the the 1980s, Stanford relegated many of the crank theories of feminism to the feminist studies department. For example, a late-1980s reading list from the feminist studies curriculum, under the headline "Feminist Classics," offered books that contained the typical statement, "Women must forsake heterosexuality, which divides women from each other and ties them to their oppressors." In the 1990s, Stanford sprinkles the garbage throughout its curriculum, infesting the history and Spanish and Portuguese departments, among others. Stanford now offers a multi-disciplinary assault that will make Hillary Clinton gush with enthusiasm and pride. Her side won the battle.

In its feminist studies department, Stanford offers "Lesbian Communities and Identities." Here's the course catalogue's description: "Scholarship and research on lesbian experience. Issues of homophobia, lesbian intimacy and sexuality. Femme and butch roles, lesbian separatism and diversity of lesbian communities and identities." The history department offers "Homosexuals, Heretics, Witches and Werewolves: Deviants in Medieval Society," which asks the profound questions, "Why were medieval heretics accused of deviant sexual practices? Who were the internal enemies of Christendom, real and imagined?" Maximizing the number of axes to be ground, both "real and imagined," the sociology department offers "Women of Color: The Intersection of Race, Ethnicity, Class and Gender." The course "focuses on the changing status and consciousness of women of color in the U.S.," examining "the experiences of Latins, Asian-Americans and Afro-Americans" and introducing "international developments of Third World women . . . in discussions of emerging transnational patterns." By guaranteeing such a cornucopia of gripes, the course offers an implicit invitation to the Rev. Jackson as guest lecturer. "Hey, hey, ho, ho, . . ." In the Spanish and Portuguese department, one enterprising professor offers "Queer Raza," which will provide "analysis of representations by Latinas and Latinos of race, ethnicity, sexuality and identity in a variety of media: writing, visual art, performance, film/ video and music.

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