But sometimes I wonder if college students, instead of being bathed in the light of wider and deeper understandings, aren't simply being offered a degree in certified stupidity. As more and more colleges scramble to keep the income flow bubbling, the willingness to accede to intellectual mediocrity (bell curves, mix-'n'-match disciplines, social caring smothering pointed examination, etc.) seems to be on the rise.
It strikes me that part of a college's mission is to train students who are just smart enough to be stupid but not yet smart enough to be categorized as smart. If the whims and argumentations of a late teenager are to be taken as a reasonable yardstick for personal and civic accomplishment ... why then, I image, we would have a Congress of precisely the composition we currently have.[BBC] A group of students at Duke University have [sic] refused to read abook assigned to all new students, saying the graphic novel's depictions of sexuality "compromised" their religious beliefs.Fun Home was selected as "shared experience" reading for the Class of 2019 at the North Carolina university.The novel is an autobiography of Alison Bechdel, a lesbian, whose father was a closeted gay man.But some have taken issue with the novel's depiction of sex and nudity."I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it," student Brian Grasso wrote in a post to fellow students on Facebook.Other students called the graphic novel, which inspired a Tony-winning musical, "pornographic".The debate comes as US universities continue to grapple with students who disagree with assignments or lectures because of their religious or political beliefs.
Sorry, but the violins of social kindness or tinkering only reach so far from where I sit. Intellectual mediocrity -- the unwillingness to investigate and perhaps rip to shreds -- an opposing point of view ... well... it's dumb and dumber and is bound to result in some palpable pain.
Up with mediocrity? There may be no escape, but that doesn't mean I can't whine.
PS. An unanswered question that has lurked and whispered for a long time: Is there any institution of higher learning that, in the course of passing out informational brochures, includes the number of students who were flunked out for academic reasons the year before?
Talk about a rock and a hard place....