The Long Stomp Through The Institutions

Why is it that those who pride themselves on slaughtering sacred cows always seem to have a herd of them in their own barnyard?

As a politically unaffiliated agnostic iconoclastic skeptic asocial lone wolf with perhaps a spicy dash of intermittently explosive personality disorder, I can’t think of anything I hold sacred besides the truth. Well, there’s also my own life and the lives of those close to me.

So when I write about human social groups and their quirks, peccadilloes, and seemingly congenital incapability to refrain from engaging in large-scale guilt-projection, scapegoating, and hypocrisy, I approach these subjects as an outsider and a critic rather than a participant and an advocate.

Sorry that all needed explaining, but apparently it can’t be explained enough. Such is the eternal curse of Wandering Jims such as myself who care far more about facts than I do about social approval. It’s an often lonely and thankless existence, but I prefer it to being a lemming. I don’t mean to offend any (or all) of you lemmings out there, but lemmings seem hardwired to believe that anyone who isn’t with them is somehow against them.

It is this sort of binary ingroup/outgroup herd mentality that breeds and encourages the exasperating persistence of the whole “left/right” delusion rather than the real struggle, which should be between true and false. If those were the teams, I’d join Team True and fight on the frontlines until death. This is why I lament the seeming nonexistence of real journalism these days, because it seems as if almost all modern writers approach facts from ideological bias rather than anything resembling an interest in, well, facts. They tend to put the cart before the horse. In many cases there’s no horse at all—only a prefabricated cart that’s perpetually stuck in the mud.

As Jack Webb said, “All we want are the facts, ma’am.” When did that become blasphemous? I suspect it was right around the time that Dragnet got canceled—namely, 1970 or thereabouts.

These unforgivably long introductory statements were pried out of me by the recent “Stomp on Jesus” contretemps at Florida Atlantic University.

The facts of the case are still frustratingly blurry, rife as they are with denials, disputations, disciplinary actions, gag orders, and paid administrative leave.

Roughly, it seems to have proceeded something like this: About a month ago, a certain Dr. Deandre Poole (“Deandre,” in case you didn’t know, is a French term meaning “of Andre”) was teaching a class in “Intercultural Communications” as if it was something that students needed to learn more than logic and math. Poole is a graduate of the “historically black” Howard University and a member of the “predominantly African-American” Church of God in Christ, but don’t you for a minute dare to think that this might color his views, because that would be a slight upon the inviolable sanctity of black American cultural traditions. Hardly an objective type, Poole focuses on “issues of justice and inequality” and peddles some sanctimonious doggerel about how “influential authorities dominate and oppress marginalized groups of people.”

Never mind that a natural-born oppressor such as myself would kill for the sort of perks he enjoys as a Professor of Nonsense and the pension he’s promised by whining ad nauseam about how oppressed he is. In fact, I’m deeply remorseful for even bringing it up. One must never question modern notions of what’s sacred lest one be deemed a witch.

The teacher’s manual for Poole’s “Intercultural Communications” class encourages students to engage in the following activity:

Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper. Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence, instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.

Sure, cultures and the sheep they breed are generally organized around collective notions of what’s sacred and taboo, but isn’t asking students to step on the name JESUS a mite douchey?

Well, not unless the students in question are Christians.

Ryan Rotela, a Mormon student in Poole’s class, says he objected to the exercise, at which point he says he was “punished,” although the school denies anyone was “disciplined,” although there was an alleged “Notice of Charges” lobbed at Rotela by a school administrator with the highly colorful name of Rozalia Williams. The school later apologized after Florida Governor Rick Scott got involved. They placed Professor Poole, who remains shtum about the whole event, on paid leave.

The school also released a statement containing the following passage:

As an institution of higher learning, we embrace open discourse in our classrooms, but with that comes a level of responsibility.

Right. I’ll believe they “embrace open discourse” when they sprout sufficient cojones to teach classes on human biodiversityHolocaust revisionism, and democide. I’ll believe it when their social-sciences instructors are made to stomp on images of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Karl Marx, Franz Boas, and Muhammad.

Until then, this tiresome flatu-fest seems like only another battle in the ongoing culture war rather than any honest quest for truth, which is what I, amid my endless daydreaming, thought higher education was supposed to be all about.

Despite the whole stomping-on-Jesus thing, modern education and its relentless assault on Western Civ is biblical in its own way. It reminds me specifically of this passage in Exodus:

But you shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves.

As far as I can tell, they’re stepping on Christ’s toes not to question the very notion of sanctity, but to smash ancient traditions and immediately replace them with shiny new taxpayer-funded altars to enshrine such illusory, unquantifiable myths as “justice” and “equality.”

I’m probably in the minority here—which, if I was the litigious type, would probably mean I’d be able to sue for discrimination—but I say we smash all the altars in modern education. Raze them all to the ground until all that’s left are facts. And while we’re at it, knock it the hell off with the creepy sort of cultural-guilt brainwashing that has students reenacting the Holocaust and American slavery. We should discourage students and teachers from getting offended every five minutes rather than helping them change their diapers every five minutes. Don’t teach them how to feel, teach them how to think. Then maybe this country won’t seem nearly so stupid. TC mark

Jim Goad

Stop worrying about good and bad...and start thinking about true and false.

More From Thought Catalog

blog comments powered by Disqus