Phi Beta Cons

Campuses Bereft of Bush to Bash

Mary Grabar has a most clever piece in which she asks what in the world Obama-besotted campus denizens will do with themselves once he is president.

But, first, the “before” — the goings-on of students, for instance, of George Washington University on election night:

a young lady wore one of those t-shirts with a visage of The One … with profile turned increasingly upward towards the heavens … The latest fashion statement was emblazoned “Commander in Chief” in shiny gold … Seldom have we seen such entrepreneurial spirit in the name of the advancement of peace and justice through a new leader …

the young scholars … clanged on the fence of the White House. They carried signs saying, “Evict Bush Now.” Young men bore large “O”s painted on their chests. Obama Girls Gone Wild bared their backs painted also with the “O.”

And, Grabar sardonically asks, whither the post-election campus?

How will [professors] invigorate their class discussions centered on the eternal verities regarding race-class-gender without the jumping-off point about the Bush regime? What about training teachers in social justice? How will education schools train teachers to make their charges aware of the social injustice poisoning this country that emanates straight from the Capitol? Toward what power will students be taught to apply their “critical thinking” skills? Will the hegemony be dissolved, thereby ending 95% of the scholarship now produced?

What about creative writing forums? … Can the resident long-haired creative writing professor introducing the poets at a reading say only good things about the president without getting boring? How will students prop up their self-esteem without asserting their intellectual superiority to the president of the United States? What outrages will students dramatize in plays? What about interpretive dances? How will over-mascara-ed, banjo-playing girl bands gain their creds of bravery without saying from a foreign stage that they are “[3] ashamed” to be from the same state as their president?

The old quad might be dull, dull, dull … for a while. Yet:

human nature being what it is, and with rebellion being the moral guiding force of college freshmen and the raison d’être of old hippies, there may be some criticism of our commander in chief. There have been rumblings already from [7] Daily Kos. As Sarah Palin would say, “They’ll be itchin’ for it. You betcha!”

Candace de Russy is a nationally recognized expert on education and cultural issues.

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