When I entered the master’s program in English at Georgia State University in the early 1990s I had not read Tenured Radicals by Roger Kimball and so was taken aback by the snarling, vituperation, and the seething contempt most professors felt for the authors I eagerly looked forward to studying. Indeed, in a T.S. Eliot seminar, one professor literally foamed at the mouth as he launched into the litany of charges of misogyny, classicism, elitism, and Christianity against poor Tom. This professor saw criminality in writing that is Eurocentric, i.e., linear, logical, and truth-seeking. He, therefore, now specializes in animal communication, a new “cutting edge” field of research for English professors. Indeed, most English professors, like the debating devils in Paradise Lost snap as they attempt to outdo each other in tearing apart the “texts” of the few remaining dead white males and conversely go into apoplectic orgies of praise whenever discussing the self-pitying ramblings of some Chicano, lesbian, or differently-abled author.
But I soon caught on as I listened to the condemnations led by the professor and followed en suite by graduate students caught up with their own sophistication. Already in my thirties, I had an advantage over many of the students: I had a more fully developed b.s. detector.
Professors unwilling to see greatness outside of their own over-inflated egos seek to convert not only graduate students but also undergraduates and condemn them to their little hellish classroom kingdoms, where they rule. Some expose even freshmen to “deconstruction,” a theory which says that the author did not know what he really wanted to say and that the sophisticated reader must read between the lines (like a sadistic Freudian psychotherapist), uncover his neuroses, and tell the world what he really meant. Of course, the Frenchman who thought up this lunacy, Jacques Derrida, did not want us to apply this theory to his writing.
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