Happy Birthday, Howard ZinnHappy Birthday, Howard ZinnBy Mary Grabar, posted August 24, 2012 Today is the birthday of Howard Zinn who would have been 90, Bill Bigelow at the Huffington Post, reminds us.  And so does Anthony Arnove at AlterNet.  (Amazing, says Arnove, that Zinn would have been picked to introduce Henry Wallace at a presidential campaign event at the tender age of 26.  Of course, if you might think that this is because Zinn was a Communist you are just a paranoid McCarthyite.)

The commie's spirit still lives, though, in books assigned to innocent students and in the anarchists and occupiers intent on destroying the legitimate political process in Tampa next week.  Here's another tribute to him in The Boston Occupier.


Howard Zinn, his spirit lives onHoward Zinn, his spirit lives onZinn made it cool for professors to be activists.  Today, professors join the hyenas in the press pool to latch on to the slightest missteps of defenders of life in order to advance their own political agendas.  In the case of Juan Cole, who describes himself as a "public intellectual, prominent blogger and essayist," and Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan, it means that he can pontificate in his own blog on how the latest foot-in-the-mouth statement by Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin regarding pregnancy and "legitimate rape" demonstrates the superiority of Shariah.  Yes, according to this modest Public Intellectual, Shariah is much more humane when it comes to abortion than our legal system, based as it is on "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  (He says nothing about banning of cruel and unusual punishments, like whippings, stonings, beheadings, or burials alive, though.)  Of course, Professor/Public Intellectual Cole is exploiting the misstatement, like other political operatives, to imply that both Romney and Ryan, and all Republicans, hold the views expressed by Akin. 

Actually, as Tina Trent points out, victims of rape and other crimes can count on Republicans to prosecute and punish the criminal.  They can count on Democrats to defend the criminal.  Will someone please get Tina on Fox News to point this out?  Will someone tell Mitt Romney and the GOP?  Let's get the facts out.

The English Department, Kennesaw StateThe English Department, Kennesaw StateProfessors--public intellectuals and not--will be giving much more money to Democratic candidates than Republicans.  Guess how conversations in college classrooms are going to be going? At Kennesaw State one English professor declares his or her ongoing support for Obama with a campaign sign in the window. 

Obama is losing some of the "youth vote," but is still ahead of Republican Mitt Romney.  But then again Romney doesn't have the support of non-profit, officially bipartisan "Rock the Vote," which waggles its way onto college campuses, and which has the Foo Fighters doing a benefit concert at the Democratic National Convention

Foo Fighters fundraising for "Rock the Vote," DNCFoo Fighters fundraising for "Rock the Vote," DNCObama has the advantage of tailoring education policies for the "youth vote," and doling out millions to colleges for "academic, financial, and motivational support" for students.  We dissident profs know what that means: money for students to enroll in remedial programs (the "academic support") for which they are not motivated.  In other words, more of your tax money for students who are neither prepared nor motivated to be in college. Dissident Prof has yet to see one of these programs do so much as ensure that students show up in class on time, books in hand, and pants pulled up.

Obama is also emphasizing "college affordability" on the campaign trail.  Not much said though about the no-jobs that await college graduates.

But never mind: the Education Department has been emphasizing "public service" through civic engagement. Dissident Prof contributes her own essay to the latest issue of Academic Questions, the journal of the National Association of Scholars.  It comes free with a membership that is well worth the money.

For hard-working teachers and studentsFor hard-working teachers and studentsThe courting goes on apace for K-12 teachers too, with doles of money, awards, and fellowships coming from the White House.  "Hope and Change" has been modified this campaign season to "Change Is Hard" to quote the title of a talk Arne Duncan gave Baltimore teachers, while his president was on the campaign trail selling Common Core (the "change" from Bush's No Child Left Behind), which in Dissident Prof's opinion is a curriculum of experiential, "deep" learning that Distinguished Professor of Education/former domestic terrorist Bill Ayers has been promoting through his illustrious career at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Next week Dissident Prof will be in the classroom trying to do her part to resist the re-education of America as she faces 18-year-olds, who present themselves as much more sophisticated than she when it comes to technology and popular culture.  Alas, she has to be reminded of the cultural references that mean nothing to people born around 1994, as this annual list reminds professors.  But she does not need this.  Last semester a student pointed to an IBM Selectric typewriter in her office and asked, "What's that?" 

Ah, Dissident Prof remembers when she typed on one as a young account executive, thinking what an advanced piece of machinery she was using, what with self-correcting tape, light touch keys, automatic return. . . .

"What IS that?" as asked of Dissident Prof, Spring 2012"What IS that?" as asked of Dissident Prof, Spring 2012It also reminds her of how attempts by textbook editors to be culturally relevant can make the profesors using them look ancient.  The editors who include such "public intellectuals" as 60-year-old Anna Quindlen or deceased Susan Sontag may think of themselves as being on the cutting edge and relevant to 18-year-olds.  But to them, Susan Sontag is just an old hippie.  Anna Quindlen is at least a decade older than their mommies and daddies. 

So Dissident Prof felt a bit better when she came across a "rant" by a 32-year-old Generation X-er about her lazy, self-infatuated Millennial employees.  Dissident Prof wrote about how our education policies are helping to produce such narcissists for Clarion Call at the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.  Read it here.

The new Common Core standards promise to make the situation even worse.  Be sure to check out Dissident Prof's newest ally, Stop Common Core, www.stopcommoncore.com

Be sure to buy the first Dissident Prof Press book.  It's about Obama's Cairo Speech, now being inflicted on college students across the land.  Co-written with history professor Brian Birdnow, the book is intended to offer objective guidance to the hapless student and to be a primer on President Obama's Mideast policy as expressed in this pivotal speech.  Order at the Bookstore link on the web page www.dissidentprof.com, or send a check for $12.00 (includes shipping) to Dissident Prof Education Project, Inc., PO Box 156, Scottdale, GA 30079.  Discounts available for group orders. 

"Public Intellectual, Prominent Blogger, Essayist," and adjunct, temporary, part-time prof and founder of Dissident Prof, Mary Grabar, would love to speak to your group about how radical, commie educators are re-educating America!

 

 


 

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