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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fun with fallacies: PCU

Jerry Seinfeld isn't the only comedian complaining about college students and their insistence on what they call "political correctness." Chris Rock and Larry the Cable Guy don't play colleges anymore either, although they seem to think it's a much more recent phenomenon than it is:  

And yeah, sure. College kids are way too easily offended. Which I think may be a sign that colleges are doing their jobs. 
So, there's this NOFX song, Franco Un-American that contains these lyrics:
I never looked around, never second-guessedThen I read some Howard Zinn now I'm always depressedAnd now I can't sleep from years of apathyAll because I read a little Noam Chomsky

NOFX is making fun, obviously, but I think we've all kind of been there. After I read A People's History of the United States I was livid and horrified and a better person for it.
Thing is, college campuses are full of people who just read Howard Zinn. And Betty Friedan and bell hooks. They're coming out into the light and their eyes are burning. That little rape joke might sneak past feminists in the real world, but you're gonna have a hard time if even a handful of your audience members just looked at some crime scene photos in their sex crimes class. And maybe the dig about homosexuality isn't actually that bad, but it's going to seem that way to anyone who just read a detailed description of the consequences for being gay in Uganda. College students are hyper-sensitive because everything's fresh and raw and kind of terrifying. If the college is doing its job anyway.
Jerry Seinfeld said that young people today are oversensitive because they don't know what real racism is (tell that to the kids in Texas, Jerry). He says they don't know what sexism is. I disagree. I think they're oversensitive because they just found out exactly what real sexism is.
So maybe gazillionare Seinfeld is right to be upset that he's not relevant to college kids. But I like what John Hodgman has to say about political correctness: “I will say that the ‘PC’ critiques, even at their most infuriating to me, almost always make me think and yes check my privilege…I am glad to give these issues thought. It enlarges me.”

Britta - or as she's known in our house
"College Brigid"

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