Mike Adams

Good morning (name deleted):

I want to take a few minutes to discuss a problem that I think will impair your ability to pass my class this semester. I also think it will impair your ability to be taken seriously as an adult in whatever profession you may choose. I am talking, of course, about your persistent inability to refrain from blurting out your thoughts while other people are trying to speak - your fellow students and, especially, your professors.

Let me try to persuade you first by giving some examples of past students who got in trouble by immediately vocalizing their thoughts without taking a few seconds to run them past their internal content editor – a practice requiring some degree of self-control:

*One afternoon, while we were having class outside a female student apparently jogged by - behind where I was standing but in full view of the class – wearing very little clothing. An approving male student thought “What a nice (backside).” Simultaneously he shouted “What a nice (backside).” The feminist sitting to his right (literally, not metaphorically) proceeded to whack him upside the head with her notebook. I asked them both to stay after class.

Naturally, the feminist did not want to charge him with sexual harassment because she would be charged with assault and battery. And he did not want to charge her with assault and battery because he would be charged with sexual harassment.

It would have been better if the young man just learned to control his blurting.

*Once, I did an interesting exercise on self-report studies of criminality. I was teaching students about the evolution (but certainly not the creation) of self-report studies, some of which were not-so-intelligently designed. The students were all required to write a brief anonymous account of their most serious criminal act. I then read some of the highlights in class accompanied by my usual sarcastic commentary.

I read one account of a female student chasing a woman down a residential street with a machete after she caught her in bed with her boyfriend. I then joked “They’re doing great things with anti-depressants these days.” I even offered directions to the office of the university psychiatrist.

But the girl didn’t think it was so funny. She thought “But that bitch was sleeping with my boyfriend.” And, simultaneously, she stood up and shouted “But that bitch was sleeping with my boyfriend.” She blew her anonymity and thereafter had a difficult time finding a good study group.

It would have been better if the young woman just learned to control her blurting.


Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.