Phi Beta Cons

Tales From the Front Lines

I just left my discussion section here at the University of Michigan for Screen Arts and Culture 355 “History of Television.” (Hey, I’ve gotta get my one remaining humanities credit somehow.)
Discussion of the “Super Negro” (i.e., characters like Bill Cosby’s in I Spy who are, apparently, too perfect minority characters) dominated the class. This is on top of weeks of class obsessed with representations of race and gender in classic television. Oh, and let’s not forget to trivialize the exceedingly “us versus them” mindset during the Cold War. Those fuzzy red Commies weren’t really that bad, right?
It’s a symptom of a disease prevalent at many modern “elite” universities, especially my own. The disease debilitates modern higher education, putting its focus on the patently political, instead of the academic.

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