June 6, 2014

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The trigger warning we need: “College is a scam meant to perpetuate the 1 percent”

salon.com | Article Link | by Thomas Frank

Is there a greater gift to the hack editorialist than the American university and its taste for sensitivity and euphemism? I doubt it. What wonderful opportunities it presents to wax indignant: Shrinking-violet rich kids in a lather about patriarchy; tenured professors scheming to drain the English language of its animal spirits. It’s a never-ending saga of privilege run amok, which of course allows our op-ed moralists to completely overlook the real scandal on campus—the corporatization of the university, a development that has plunged an entire generation into inescapable debt but that is somehow less visible to the columnist than the latest political-correctness fantasia.

But then comes a campus outrage so gloriously stupid, so fantastically self-negating, that the prof-bashers miss its true significance. Last week, The New York Times described a push at a handful of fancy colleges to require “trigger warnings” on class syllabi, which would alert sensitive students to reading materials that might cause them psychic distress. Note that “trigger warnings” have been actually applied at no college campus to any literary classic. The mere suggestion here and there is all that was needed to make this 100-proof pundit bait. One after another,the columnists piled on, mocking the hypersensitive and moaning about what kids these days have come to. Read more...

Image courtesy of the US Department of Education

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