Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday FastLinks

Some kind of shitty graphic would go here. Please use your imagination.
OK, so, I thought I'd tell you about my week, but that would mean I'd have to relive it, and it's too soon. Too soon. So instead, to kill some time Thursday afternoon, I did some of teh googlze and found some stuff to read, and it occurred to me that you might find it interesting, too. Please to enjoy.

Title and link: Sensitive Sally Smacks Special Snowflake Student Silly

Flava: That students have devolved from buddy [sic] scholars and statesmen to butthurt babies is, sadly, a trend that’s been happening for quite a while now, as higher ed has facilitated, if not encouraged, them to elevate their feelings above all else. But why is there no grown up in the room? If it’s “fair” that academics retaliate by suit against students for butthurt of their own, then cries of academic freedom will be replaced by screams to “lawyer up.”

Reaction: I was pretty sure I'd read about this case here before, but I couldn't find it. I haven't watched the student's video yet. I am intrigued by the idea that the professor was not modeling grown-up behavior. The comments are interesting (not that I necessarily agree with them); one commenter mentions the Streisand Effect. The article has a link to the IHE piece about the same case.

Title and link: Snowflake Students: “We’re Too Fragile To Be Educated!”

Flava: (Trigger warning: this is about trigger warnings.) Ideas thoughtfully explored? Debate? Critical thinking? That’s all too threatening to worldviews that have become so shrunken, narrow, parochial and self-interested that they could almost be mistaken for…wait for it…reactionary, know-nothing, provincialism.

Reaction: What interested me here is the drawing together of a few sources that compare triggering with PTSD. I don't think I have finalized my opinion about triggering: part of me thinks people need to learn to protect themselves, but another part thinks that is too easy an answer. So I still have several questions about it.

Title and link: No, Snowflake, We’re Not Responsible for Your Student Loan Debt

Flava: Actually, there is another model: don’t go to colleges you can’t afford. Mr. Hopp suffers from an affliction that strikes many middle-class Americans: higher education entitlement. If they want to go to an expensive school but can’t afford to go to an expensive school then someone else is obligated to pay for their education. That’s only fair, right?

Reaction: I am not a fan of the idea that college is specialized vocational training, so I don't like the insinuation that one shouldn't "[major] in a subject that is in low demand on the job market." I also don't think the author quite understands (or willfully misunderstands) the point of the article he is criticising. While I might agree that the education provided by expensive schools isn't necessarily "better" in direct proportion to the increased tuition, neither do I think of expensive schools as "luxury goods" that benefit no-one but their students. Presumably, those who are admitted to academically rigorous schools are done so on the basis that they will likely succeed in the program, and their education then will elevate society as a whole. I don't think that end is served as well if only those who can pay can go.


  1. Greenfield, the author of the first piece has an interesting blog. OPH mentioned vocational training, and here is Greenfield on that theme:

    "Sure, I was aware of the introduction of gender studies in liberal arts education, which struck me as a worthwhile course of study as soon as someone opens up a chain of gender stores."

    He can certainly turn a phrase.

    1. I found the blog post that contains the quote in question. In the context of him talking about being well past his dating years, it seems he's talking about an opinion he held long ago. I was probably in college about the same time and probably said somethink simlar to that quote -- this was well over half my life ago, when I felt safe to snark on things I knew nothing about and looked down my nose from my "practical" major that was ideal because it had always interested me and would qualify me for a job with a decent wage doing things of "practical" value. Then I went to grad school for something quite different, got a job in which I mostly do something quite different from that, and along the way learned some things, like that the worth of things is seldom determined solely by whether you can turn them directly into money.

      But I do appreciate Greenfield's prose and provacativeness, and a guy who quotes The Kinks would seem to have at least something to offer. Here he is in the comments on that post: "And getting an education was ultimately for the purpose of getting a job. . . the important point is that getting an education, even in philosophy, was to teach you to think, to appreciate the world, and to gain the wisdom that our predecessors gained, to be applied to the future."

      Thanks for the tip on reading beyond the single post I linked to in this post.

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  2. OPH, what on earth happened this week? These links are great, but I'm looking forward to a really juicy post on that!

    1. I appreciate your interest in my shitty week, but it was pretty specifically shitty. I think recent events merit a post (or several) but am still conflicted as to how to do that without outing myself like the lead actor in a snuff film.