Saturday, May 03, 2008


The politicized obsession with race, gender and sexuality; the denigration of canonical works by "dead white males"; the callow mocking of convention; the notion that truth itself is merely a construct of power and self-interest -- all characterize the study of art and literature in America's colleges and universities.

This is true. The situation may not be as bad everywhere as this person says it is at Yale. Berkeley wasn't too bad. People studied serious stuff. However, judging from what I can see, the obsession continues.


blixthree said...

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity," wrote Yeats in another era when ominous changes were underway in the world. The deterioration of colleges and universities, in which great works of literature, art, and philosophy are desecrated and trivial works are praised, is but one aspect of the general decline of western civilization. The few of us writing essays and posting to blogs about what's happening are not going to change anything.

"Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold," not in schools, congress, the courts, the press, the arts, corporations, healthcare, financial institutions or any other institutions. So grab yourself a few good books, some food and drink, watch out for flying debris, and head for a refuge to ride out the storm.

For who knows "what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

chris farrell said...

The centre has been holding for quite a while since Yeats wrote that.

In perspective, the problems with what people write about in the English departments are the least of our problems.

I can see from your many quotes that you may be a Yeats fan, but I am just guessing.