Wednesday, February 13, 2008

When Academics Go Bad

There is a group of academics who can't let the so-called Culture Wars go. They are angry, unsuccessful wannabes and they have their own little mouthpiece in a group called the National Association of Scholars. Usually they are harmless enough, bitching about some NEA grant or a Christmas creche, but this pushed my buttons:

(I'm embarrassed enough that I read the Daily News, but they have better funnies than the other NYC newspapers. I read the NYTimes online, if you must know.)

It truly was the most appalling thing I've read in a long time, and for it to have the patina of academic respectability made it that much worse.

But you know, sometimes I feel optimistic. I read all that spite and pettiness while eating in a Chinese restaurant where I was the only person who spoke English decently. The day before I'd eaten next door at a Kosher Glatt restaurant with some more people who don't think assimilating to white-bread American culture is the be all of their existence, and good for them. And I think, in those rare optimistic moments, that even the whitest and blandest of Americans appreciate, respect, and support their neighbors in all their rich, fascinating difference. Well, let's hope. And let's rein those academics in. Bunch of malcontents.


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