Monday, January 13, 2014

SHAKESPEARE NOT REQUIRED, CHOMSKY AND MORE

SHAKESPEARE

Having been force fed Modern Math in my elementary school years, I have long had an interest in the trend of modern educators eschewing the academic philosophies of the past. I long ago suspected that academic trend setters in this country were idiots. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal only served to confirm that suspicion. (Disclaimer: I subscribe to the WSJ because it's the only national newspaper that I can have delivered to my door before my morning coffee without having to take out a home equity loan to pay for it.)

Author Heather Mac Donald tells a relatively straightforward story. If Ms. Mac Donald is to be believed, and if you will permit me to summarize, junior faculty at UCLA successfully lobbied for replacing the required study of Milton, Chaucer, and Shakespeare with courses studying gender, sexuality, and colonialism. That's a bit simplistic but you get the picture. Today at UCLA, an English major can earn his/her degree having avoided studying the men generally considered to be the inventors of modern language and story telling.

The problem is obvious if you follow the thinking. Shakespeare was an English man. Two strikes. England was a male dominated, colonial society. Anything that Shakespeare had to say was doubly tainted. Music departments take heed, Ms. Mac Donald says. Beethoven and Mozart may be the next to be consigned to the ash heap of academic rejection.

Phooey!

I am no great Shakespeare aficionado. I approach his plays as I do opera. I endure long periods of boredom in order to enjoy occasional bursts of pure fireworks. The man practically invented the modern English language. And if you can't learn about race, class, gender and such from his plays, you aren't being taught properly. It's all there. So I have no hesitation in saying that an English major who has not studied Shakespeare ain't much of an English major.

CHOMSKY

I  watched - on my computer - an interview with Noam Chomsky, with Salon I believe, concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade pact with a bunch of Pacific Rim nations from North and South America to Australia and Japan. In the clip that I watched, Chomsky excoriated the TPP, primarily focused on the great benefit of patent protection - intellectual property rights - to the pharmaceutical industry.

So I went to Amazon.com, found a book written by Chomsky and looked to see if Chomsky had copyrighted the book. He had.

Not much of a socialist...

MORE

I hope that my readers - all three of you - don't mind these short diversions. There are times that the weight of Silly just gets too heavy to bear.

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