Lies Told in English

 

I should preface this post by noting I’m an (now domestic) engineer — hard “g.” English is not my proficiency, unlike my Hillsdale English major daughter, the Elder. You want help with your Math homework or figuring out how to fix the ice maker? I’m your gal.

Elder recently signed up for a 300-level 17th and 18th Century British Literature class at the local branch of CU in preparation to return to Hillsdale this fall, after identifying and dealing with some health challenges. She dropped the course after attending the first session, saying, “Mom, it’s not Hillsdale.” To which I responded, “Now you know why we insisted, if you’re going to be an English major, Hillsdale should be your top choice out of a scant handful of options.”

The first sign of trouble was the class introductions. Students were asked to give their name, year in school, and preferred pronoun. (You saw that coming, didn’t you?) Let’s keep in mind that “preferred pronoun” is an insistence that you talk about zir in the third person to someone else when xe’s not even in the room! If you were talking to they, you’d use “you, you, your” like any decent person. It’s coercive, totalitarian rubbish. I say we call the narcissistic little prigs “bastards.” Fixes everything.

Then Elder got a look at the syllabus. Nearly a third of the authors selected for study were women and none of them were named Austen. Too bourgeois, it would seem, except one of the women wrote about Islam after her experiences in Turkey where her husband was stationed as a diplomat. Oof — insert feminist scowl. And, yes, Islam was another major theme of the class about 17th and 18th Century British Literature! You can’t make this stuff up.

Finally, the class discussed an excerpt from Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum, a philosophical work first published in 1620. The professor focused on Bacon’s use of the phrase “empire over creation” (translated from the original Latin), suggesting the negative leftese connotation of “empire” (rather than the more likely Biblical allusion Bacon was making to dominion over creation). Oddly, he also asked the class the significance of the era in which Bacon was writing (early 1600s was the Age of Discovery), misleading the students to believe that Bacon could have been criticizing “empire” before the British Empire had even been established (Britain’s Imperial Century was from 1815 to 1914 according to historians), let alone before lefties had decided empire was a bad thing. Pull chute!

This incident started a family conversation about why university English departments are so corrupted and readily corruptible. Mr. C. (also an engineer — hard “g”) argued that the interpretation of literature is a subjective exercise. There aren’t hard truths built in like in Math and Science. I dissented.

Great literature reveals (absolute, universal) truths about the human condition. It isn’t subjective — it’s susceptible to misinterpretation by lefties with an agenda. Literature has staying-power when it is recognized for its truths by individuals over generations. As C.S. Lewis intimates in The Abolition of Man, it is against our human nature to continue to believe that which isn’t objectively true.

And speaking of the annihilation of our humanity, Drew Klavan makes the point that majorities don’t win — culture wins. If we don’t start fighting for the true meaning of words, I don’t see how the West survives. When the Elder was making her case for dropping the class, she said, “it lacks integrity.”

in·teg·ri·ty
/inˈteɡrədē/
noun

  1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
  2. “he is known to be a man of integrity”
  3. the state of being whole and undivided.

Just so.

Published in Literature
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  1. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Western Chauvinist: one of the women wrote about Islam after her experiences in Turkey where her husband was stationed as a diplomat.

    If I remember correctly from The Story of Civilization, her writings were well thought of. I can’t remember her name.  The passages that the Durants mentioned were about the harems and the baths.

    I looked it up.  Was the author Lady Mary Wortley Montagu?

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Western Chauvinist: and none of them were named Austen.

    She didn’t write much during the period. Her best-known works were Nineteenth Century.

    • #2
  3. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Turkish Embassy Letters

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Western Chauvinist: Great literature reveals (absolute, universal) truths about the human condition. It isn’t subjective — it’s susceptible to misinterpretation by lefties with an agenda.

    Correct.

    • #4
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist: and none of them were named Austen.

    She didn’t write much during the period. Her best-known works were Nineteenth Century.

    Nit-pickery. She made it under the wire, and even had somewhat (first-wave) feminist themes. Marry for love and all that.

    • #5
  6. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    Nit-pickery. She made it under the wire, and even had somewhat (first-wave) feminist themes. Marry for love and all that.

    She did a pretty good job on the subject for a (dare I use the word?) spinster.

    • #6
  7. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Is there a better example of the world in which we live than the rapidity with which this preferred pronoun stuff has spread from fringe to (I’m assuming) the norm?  

    • #7
  8. Nanda "Chaps" Panjandrum Member
    Nanda "Chaps" Panjandrum
    @

    EEEKKK…and Rah! to Daughter Chauvie the Elder… 

    • #8
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Western Chauvinist: I say we call the narcissistic little prigs “bastards.” Fixes everything.

    • #9
  10. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Percival (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist: I say we call the narcissistic little prigs “bastards.” Fixes everything.

    I do remember reading a few years ago that when asked to put down his preferred pronoun, one student wrote “his royal highness”.  It gave me hope.  

    • #10
  11. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Western Chauvinist: you’d use “you, you, your” like any decent person

    I’m thinking that the guy Gossamer Cat is talking about would prefer “Your Highness,” or maybe “Your Majesty.”

    • #11
  12. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Let’s pull out all the stops, “Your Royal and Imperial Majesty.”

    • #12
  13. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I prefer Eminence or Excellency. Also a kiss on the ring.

    • #13
  14. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    You could take lessons from the titles Andrew Klavan’s mailbag correspondents use for him.

    • #14
  15. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I prefer Eminence or Excellency. Also a kiss on the ring.

    If we can add a kiss, I have another location in mind.

    • #15
  16. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I prefer Eminence or Excellency. Also a kiss on the ring.

    If we can add a kiss, I have another location in mind.

    Cheeky. 

    • #16
  17. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I prefer Eminence or Excellency. Also a kiss on the ring.

    If we can add a kiss, I have another location in mind.

    Cheeky.

    Well played.

    • #17
  18. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist: I say we call the narcissistic little prigs “bastards.” Fixes everything.

    I do remember reading a few years ago that when asked to put down his preferred pronoun, one student wrote “his royal highness”. It gave me hope.

    “M’lord” will be sufficient.

    • #18
  19. :thinking: no superfluity of n… Member
    :thinking: no superfluity of n…
    @TheRoyalFamily

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    Nit-pickery. She made it under the wire, and even had somewhat (first-wave) feminist themes. Marry for love and all that.

    She did a pretty good job on the subject for a (dare I use the word?) spinster.

    If action and adventure books are male fantasies, then romance novels are female fantasies. In that day, already loving the one you marry, and having them love you back, both in the romantical way, was pretty much a fantasy (yes, that did happen, so it wasn’t wholly utopian, just as adventures really did happen to some men). And who would be fantasizing about that most, but someone who had never even come close to it? 

    • #19
  20. Susan in Seattle Member
    Susan in Seattle
    @SusaninSeattle

    Elder is not only smart but discerning. Not surprising considering who her parents are!

    • #20
  21. She Member
    She
    @She

    Western Chauvinist:

    Great literature reveals (absolute, universal) truths about the human condition.

    Absolutely agree.

    Western Chauvinist: This incident started a family conversation about why university English departments are so corrupted and readily corruptible.

    1.  Because the stakes are so small and the politics so petty (and still are for all the Liberal Arts, and English in particular).
    2. Because of the exploitative nature of the field, the obscene exploitation of large numbers of graduate students and teaching assistants at no, or low pay, to not only go through the motions of teaching freshman composition, but to function as gophers and researchers without pay for the loftiest academicians, many of whom wouldn’t teach at all if they didn’t have to (and some of whom don’t teach at all) and who work their graduate students to the bone and then somehow manage to take the lion’s share of the credit for their work and discoveries.
    3. Because of the overwhelming competition for any sort of employment at all, due to the exponentially greater number of PhDs awarded than jobs available, (due to #2, above)).  This leads to job insecurity, hiring of part-time, non career-track, “adjunct” professors who are brought in and let go on a whim, and an underclass of instructors who are, again, doing a lion’s share of the work at low pay, with no benefits, no sense of loyalty to or from them, and with little job security (so their loyalty is always only to themselves).
    4. Because the overwhelming pressure to “publish or perish” and to get your credentials buffed before you can get even the most lowly tenure-track position has led to a deprecation of teaching skills, to contempt for the teaching process, contempt for the students, and to the pursuit of more and more bizarre subject matter in order to discover and write things that no-one else has ever thought about or even imagined possible.  The weirder the better.  And,
    5. Because, tenure.

    For a start.

    • #21
  22. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    I can commiserate with her. I once took an advanced english class with 3 professors and a gaggle of girls on Medea. It was disconcerting that myself and the two male professors were the only two who saw something wrong with what Medea did.

    • #22
  23. Trink Coolidge
    Trink
    @Trink

    Maddeningly brilliant analysis, Sis.  Read it to your bro-in-law.  He agrees.

    • #23
  24. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    She (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist:

    Great literature reveals (absolute, universal) truths about the human condition.

    Absolutely agree.

    Western Chauvinist: This incident started a family conversation about why university English departments are so corrupted and readily corruptible.

    1. Because the stakes are so small and the politics so petty (and still are for all the Liberal Arts, and English in particular).
    2. Because of the exploitative nature of the field, the obscene exploitation of large numbers of graduate students and teaching assistants at no, or low pay, to not only go through the motions of teaching freshman composition, but to function as gophers and researchers without pay for the loftiest academicians, many of whom wouldn’t teach at all if they didn’t have to (and some of whom don’t teach at all) and who work their graduate students to the bone and then somehow manage to take the lion’s share of the credit for their work and discoveries.
    3. Because of the overwhelming competition for any sort of employment at all, due to the exponentially greater number of PhDs awarded than jobs available, (due to #2, above)). This leads to job insecurity, hiring of part-time, non career-track, “adjunct” professors who are brought in and let go on a whim, and an underclass of instructors who are, again, doing a lion’s share of the work at low pay, with no benefits, no sense of loyalty to or from them, and with little job security (so their loyalty is always only to themselves).
    4. Because the overwhelming pressure to “publish or perish” and to get your credentials buffed before you can get even the most lowly tenure-track position has led to a deprecation of teaching skills, to contempt for the teaching process, contempt for the students, and to the pursuit of more and more bizarre subject matter in order to discover and write things that no-one else has ever thought about or even imagined possible. The weirder the better. And,
    5. Because, tenure.

    For a start.

    The same thing in history departments. You don’t get published (see #4, which is a requirement for #5) unless you have something “novel” (see #4 above) to say. Repeating the truths that have been revealed doesn’t get you publication nor tenure.

    A former co-worker’s son and daughter-in-law were trying to work their way up in academic history departments. Being the lefty that he was, my former co-worker thought the ever more bizarre theories his son and daughter-in-law were peddling was a great feature of the system. 

    • #24
  25. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    This happened at Hillsdale?  The Hillsdale college I think highly of?  I’m surprised this wasn’t brought up to the Dean’s attention, as I thought lefty nonsense had no home at Hillsdale . . .

    • #25
  26. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Stad (View Comment):
    This happened at Hillsdale? The Hillsdale college I think highly of? I’m surprised this wasn’t brought up to the Dean’s attention, as I thought lefty nonsense had no home at Hillsdale . . .

    No – At Colorado University. Taking a 300 course to get back into the work before returning to Hillsdale.

    • #26
  27. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    This happened at Hillsdale? The Hillsdale college I think highly of? I’m surprised this wasn’t brought up to the Dean’s attention, as I thought lefty nonsense had no home at Hillsdale . . .

    No – At Colorado University. Taking a 300 course to get back into the work before returning to Hillsdale.

    Correct. Elder attended a charter high school which taught Hillsdale’s curriculum. She then had a semester plus at Hillsdale and still was more competent in a 300-level English class taught at the local state university branch than the other students (and maybe even the professor). She identified the early 1600’s as the Age of Exploration after waiting to see if anyone else would answer the question (her typical MO). 

    She is well educated (thank you Hillsdale!). They are well indoctrinated. 

    • #27
  28. ST Inactive
    ST
    @SimonTemplar

    Percival (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist: I say we call the narcissistic little prigs “bastards.” Fixes everything.

    well played my friend

    • #28
  29. ST Inactive
    ST
    @SimonTemplar

    fyi:  one may call me ‘His Royalness’

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • #29
  30. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    How is this preferred pronoun stuff doing in other languages, say French, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese?

    • #30
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