January 29, 2007

Some Un-careful Ruminations on Academia

Here’s a shocker for you: American academia tilts very heavily to the Left. Yeah, you heard it here first: A large number of college professors in the USA are big time radicals. In fact, they greatly outnumber their conservative colleagues.

We know what you’re thinking, dear reader: Thanks for that illustrious “Profile in the Obvious.” What are you going to tell us next—that a circle is round?

Well, in fact a circle is round. But that’s not what we’re getting at. (And, to be honest, we thought you would have known that. Go figure.) Rather, we mention the political climate of academe for another reason: The obvious partisan tilt covers up a more important matter. Simply put, it is this: Many American academics are lousy.

By this, we don’t necessarily mean lousy people, although we’re sure that universities have their fair share of odious folks. Instead, we’re referring to the fact that lots of American academics are simply bad at their jobs. They don’t teach well, they don’t connect with students, and they write moronic, obtuse scholarship.

Frankly, dear reader, we think this is a far more pressing matter than David Horowitz’s crusade to thrust himself in the media limelight. As noble is the goal of making American colleges intellectually diverse, it is more important for universities to stop hiring dolts.

We mean, come on: Sure, a professor’s attempt to force your kids to embrace Maoism is insulting. But 99 times out of 100 it isn’t going to work: Your son or daughter is spending too much time imbibing Jell-O shots and engaging in acquaintance rape to care about Mao Zedong. If anything, your little kiddie will leave Professor Mao’s class thinking its instructor is at least mildly pathetic.

But think about this: Lots of professors are horribly bad teachers, shirk students like the plague, and force underpaid adjuncts to take over their classes for them. It’s sad, but it’s true: Bias will hamper your kid’s education a lot less than sheer incompetence.

But what to do? We’re not sure either. For starters, though, perhaps we should shut down Duke University Press: We think the world has read enough “explorations of hermaphroditic Othering in 16th century Florence.” Such fluff only increases the stupidity of American intellectual life.

Posted at January 29, 2007 12:01 AM | TrackBack