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Postmodernism and Virginia Tech



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Carol’s “question” about the English department offerings and the Virginia Tech shooting seems extremely tendentious to me. Postmodernism seems no more a factor in Cho’s rage than literature would be elsewhere.

Are late 19th and early 20th century anarchist novels to be blamed for, I don’t know – Bolshevism? The Secret Agent and Princess Cassmassina are really at fault?

James Lewis’ “Was Cho Taught to Hate” is also referenced. The short answer to Lewis’  question is “No.” He was clearly deranged to a point that reading Marxist literary criticism, diversity talk, and postmodernist disdain for reason were not going to constitute the tipping point. Especially as there’s been no proof that Cho was exposed to much of this. Take a closer look at the Virginia Tech English department offerings – this is veritably something other than the pit of nihilism that Lewis paints

Consider their basic requirements:

  •  3 hours: Introduction to Critical Reading (2604). This is the gateway course to the major and should be taken immediately after satisfaction of the first-year writing requirement.
  • 6 hours: Survey of British Literature (2515, 2516)
  • 3 hours: Survey of American Literature (2525 or 2526).
  • 3 hours: Shakespeare (4165 or 4166).
The influence of Postmodern studies is often to be rued, but it seems a very intemperate swipe to associate Cho’s actions with academic currents to which there is no real evidence he had any connection. If we’re going to opine from glances at the Virgina Tech catalog we might just as well assert that Titus Andronicus tipped Cho over the edge. Or Verloc, or… the Grand Inquisitor? This could be endless.


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