In Brief: On the Continuing Need to Shove a Can of PBR Up the Elitist Ass of David Brooks:
Every once in a while, New York Times columnist David Brooks strays into the Rude Pundit's 'hood and writes about the world of the university. The Rude Pundit, see, is a real and actual perfesser, not someone who playacts as one, as Brooks did in his recent stint teaching a course in "Humility" at Yale. (Here's a hint: if you own a $4 million dollar house because your $1.6 million house wasn't cutting it, you don't have the right to teach a brain-damaged dalmatian about humility.)
Today, in his column (if by "column," you mean, "the smug pronouncements of a dilettante intellectual fraud"), Brooks mourns the decline of "the humanities" at colleges. And who does he blame for the fall-off in humanities majors? Fuckin' professors, man, and their fuckin' politics. See, "the humanities are not only being bulldozed by an unforgiving job market. They are committing suicide because many humanists have lost faith in their own enterprise." Is that what we've done? That wasn't just existential nausea at reading Brooks?
Please, person who doesn't teach in the humanities, do go on and tell those of us who do what we're doing wrong: "The job of the humanities was to cultivate the human core, the part of a person we might call the spirit, the soul, or, in D.H. Lawrence’s phrase, 'the dark vast forest.'" Yes, indeed, it was always about idyllic afternoons, laid out on the manicured grasses of the quad, quoting Eliot and Schopenhauer just enough to soak the panties of sighing coeds. "The humanist’s job was to cultivate this ground — imposing intellectual order upon it, educating the emotions with art in order to refine it, offering inspiring exemplars to get it properly oriented." Until those pesky sexual harassment lawsuits put an end to all that cultivating by professors.
But we haven't gotten to the meat of the matter: "Somewhere along the way, many people in the humanities lost faith in this uplifting mission. The humanities turned from an inward to an outward focus. They were less about the old notions of truth, beauty and goodness and more about political and social categories like race, class and gender." That's right. Oh, for the days when white male professors could teach the white male canon and the universality of their whiteness.
Fuck, David Brooks is the Paula Deen of the Times op-ed page.
Here, Davy Boy, let this professor, one who doesn't teach privileged little shits how noble other privileged little shits are, give you a lesson:
The "decline" of the humanities, from 14% of majors in the 1960s to 7% now, has happened not because the big, bad, evil cultural anarchists came in and demanded their pound of canonical flesh. No, see, what has happened to the humanities happened on multiple levels. Conservative fucks like you attacked them as invalid because we decided that things like race, gender, and class mattered because the university opened up to more people of different races, genders, and classes (and, you dunce, class was a huge category of study in the 1930s until red-hunting administrators got a few Marxist scalps and that approach to the humanities was squashed until the 1970s). Add to that the corporatization of the university: schools seek big-ass grants and donations, and those generally come from big-ass companies who want to fund things like business, science, and technology, not the history department. Add to that the destruction of secondary education by "reform" minded people, generally conservative fucks like you, which makes the humanities into another bubble to be filled on a yearly standardized test. Add to that the establishment of Education as a major area of college study, one that has exploded in the last couple of decades and has taken many humanities majors with it.
But, no, really, go ahead and blame those vile feminists and Marxists and multiculturalists and others. It's so much easier than actually solving the fucking problem.