At Iowa State University, don’t let your brain get you in trouble.
I’ve heard of a time when school was about objective knowledge and — aside from that — teaching kids how to think, not what to think.
In fact, I suspect I even witnessed it.
So far as public education is concerned, I’m not sure anyone ever will again.
Case in point, purportedly: At ISU, an instructor recently issued a syllabus for her class noting that any student who opposes either Black Lives Matter (which, for purposes of discussion, I’ll assume refers to the organization™ promoting Marxism and the dissolution of the nuclear family) or the pro-choice position will have manifested “grounds for dismissal from the classroom.”
Young America’s Foundation reports such, via the outline obtained from an anonymous source.
Here’s the exact wording, courtesy of Professor Chloe Clark:
GIANT WARNING: Any instances of othering that you participate in intentionally (racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, sorophobia, transphobia, classism, mocking of mental health issues, body shaming, etc) in class are grounds for dismissal from the classroom. The same goes for any papers/projects: You cannot choose any topic that takes at its base that one side doesn’t deserve the same basic human rights as you do (ie: no arguments against gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter, etc). I take this seriously.
[sorophobia: an irrational fear of people living with HIV]
NEW: An Iowa State University professor has threatened to kick students out of her class for expressing pro-life or anti-BLM viewpoints.
"No arguments against gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter, etc," her syllabus states.
— Kara Zupkus (@kara_kirsten) August 17, 2020
To be clear, in my opening statement, I’m not suggesting one isn’t thinking if they arrive at some particular class-friendly conclusion; I’m asserting that if you formulate your own opinions — like the staircase in Young Frankenstein — it could be treacherous.
So what is a position exactly, or an argument? According to the syllabus, it’s most anything — including visual cues:
A central concept in this course is that ‘arguments are all around us, in every medium, in every genre, in everything we do …. An argument can be any text —written, spoken, aural, or visual — that expresses a point of view.
And speaking of Frankenstein, the teacher’s interested in monsters:
As this class goes alongside WGS 201, it will view the concepts of rhetoric and arguments through the gaze of “monster theory.” Throughout history, monsters have served as the ultimate depictions of the “other.” Othering has long been one of the most effect to isolate and control groups of people. This class will hopefully give you the tools to understand “othering” in day to day life, as well as combat it in your own communication.
In case you’re wondering what in the world kind of class this is, as per YAF, it’s…English class.
And since they’ll be dealing with ideas (though not necessarily everyone’s), the instructor also informs her crew she’s ready and able to make sure nobody’s debilitated:
As this class is based around “monster theory” we may analyze and discuss, both written and visual, texts that may contain violent or disturbing imagery. If, at any point, you would like a Trigger Warning before viewings/readings that may contain this imagery, please let me know and I’m happy to provide them!
The professor’s also invested in, it appears, tearing down the patriarchy — including within fairy tales.
In a 2020 column for Emerson College titled “Wishes Gone Wrong: A Woman’s ‘Place’ in Fairy Tales,” she explained the following:
These types of tales can be found all around the world; I easily found examples of “man gets wish, woman makes him wish for something foolish, man loses the chance at wishes, no one is happy” tales from a huge variety of cultures. The biggest variations seem to be who the granter of wishes is and what types of wishes are made. The most common connection: the nagging woman who seeks too much … In the end, the moral of these stories doesn’t seem to just be “be careful what you wish for.” Instead, for women, it seems to be “you don’t deserve to wish for anything.”
“How old’s the teacher?” you may be wondering. “Was she a product of the 50’s?”
It turns out that’d be a No.
As relayed by The Daily Wire, the lady molding skulls graduated from ISU in 2016.
It seems to me that “school” is now so steeped in ideology that it’s become something wholly different than the original concept. I may be wrong, but I believe the initial purpose of people sitting in desks and listening to the leader was partly related to intellectual process.
And in my opinion, the revolution began with the Trigger Warning. That pulled the trigger on a flare — a warning of what was to come.
Where will we go from here?
Wherever it is, a cap on using one’s thinking cap — even for conclusions that may be wrong — is scary.
If you ask me, that’s the real Monster.
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