Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What in hell is wrong with you?!

Folks who know me are aware that I occasionally peruse Conservapedia and other repositories of insanity. Initially I embarked upon this effort because I wanted to better understand those with whom I disagree. As time has gone by, however, I have really come to realize that there may well be no understanding people who are so overwhelmed by hate that the logical portions of their brains are almost completely atrophied. At this point even I don't really know why I continue to indulge in such madness but, for better or worse, I do.

I bring this up because despite my long experience with teh crazy I am still, every now and then, utterly flabbergasted. This is actually one of those times. First, some background. Many of you know that Andrew Schlafly is the lord and high mugwug of Conservapedia. This is, of course, a bit like being the top loon in the asylum, but I digress. Andrew is the son of Phyllis Schlafly, whom some of you may remember for her spirited opposition to the ERA. Next, many of you will probably recall the horrible events of the Virginia Tech Massacre in which Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 innocent people before committing suicide. It was one of the worst school attacks in U.S. history. Cho was nominally majoring in English and creative writing though, by all accounts, showed relatively little promise.

So what do all these things have to do with each other? Folks, you'd better sit down for what I'm about to tell you.

According to Phyllis Schlafly, it would seem that Cho embarked upon a horrific shooting spree because of the instruction he received in his English major. Seriously:

What was the motive behind 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui's killing of 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech in April 2007? Why was he consumed with hate, resentment and bitterness?

Cho was an English Department major and senior. A look at the websites of Virginia Tech's English Department and of its professors reveals their mindset. We don't know which courses Cho took, but it could have been any of these.

Did he take Professor Bernice L. Hausman's English 5454 called "Studies in Theory: Representing Female Bodies"? The titles of the assigned readings include "Black Bodies, White Bodies: Toward an Iconography of Female Sexuality in Late Nineteenth-Century Art, Medicine, and Literature," "The Comparative Anatomy of Hottentot Women in Europe, 1815-1817," "Selling Hot Pussy: Representations of Black Female Sexuality in the Cultural Marketplace," "The Anthropometry of Barbie: Unsettling Ideals of the Feminine Body in Popular Culture," and "Foucault, Femininity, and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power."

One of the assignments in this course (worth 10% of the total grade) is to "choose one day in which they dress and comport themselves in a manner either more masculine or more feminine than they would normally."


Did Cho get evil egotistical notions from Professor Shoshana Milgram Knapp's senior seminar called "The Self-Justifying Criminal in Literature"?

Did Cho take Professor J.D. Stahl's senior seminar, English 4784, on "The City in Literature"? The assigned reading starts with a book about an urban prostitute who finally kills herself and a book about a violent man who kills his girlfriend.

Virginia Tech's Distinguished Professor of English, Nikki Giovanni, has built a reputation as a "renowned poet," even though many of her so-called poems feature violent themes and contain words that are not acceptable in civil discourse. She specializes in diversity, post-modernism, feminism, and multiculturalism. Giovanni appeared at a public celebration in 2006 to open Cincinnati's new Fountain Square. She used the occasion to call Ken Blackwell, then the Republican candidate for Ohio Governor, an "S.O.B.", and when challenged, simply repeated the slur. Did Cho take a course from Professor Paul Heilker, author of another peculiar piece called "Textual Androgyny, the Rhetoric of the Essay, and the Politics of Identity in Composition (or The Struggle to Be a Girly-Man in a World of Gladiator Pumpitude)"?


At the campus-wide convocation to honor the victims, Professor Nikki Giovanni read what purported to be a poem. On behalf of the English Department, she declaimed: "We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it."

Maybe others will render a different verdict and ask why taxpayers, parents and students are paying professors at Virginia Tech to teach worthless and psychologically destructive courses.

Yes, folks, that's right: reading books about gender and that included violent characters drove Cho over the edge into violence! It's the fault of Virginia Tech's English department that he killed 32 people. Of course! That makes perfect sense! I mean, obviously legal adults who can be drafted for military service, drink, and enter into legal contracts are incapable of dealing with harsh language or unpleasant characters. Quickly! We must ban all books dealing with such themes including that horrid little book called the bible that has all those descriptions of genocide, incest, rape and pointless butchery.

No, I'm not serious. The bible is no more likely to make someone violent than is the average Stephen King novel, but I'm so glad that Phyllis Schlafly is self-righteous enough to waste our time with such stupidity and victim-blaming. God forbid she exhibit even a shred of basic human decency.

Just utterly revolting.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said:
"According to Phyllis Schlafly, it would seem that Cho embarked upon a horrific shooting spree because of the instruction he received in his English major."

I answer:
Schlafly was mocking as worthless the very courses you mentioned.

She was not seriously advancing the idea that they were in any way the cause of Cho's actions.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008 12:05:00 AM  
Blogger Drek said...

Hey Stevo,

I wondered if someone would try to make that argument. While I suppose we could debate the matter, I really don't think your interpretation is supportable from what she wrote. If nothing else, consider her closing:

Maybe others will render a different verdict and ask why taxpayers, parents and students are paying professors at Virginia Tech to teach worthless and psychologically destructive courses. [emphasis added]

She was indeed seriously advancing the idea that his English courses led to his actions.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008 8:54:00 AM  

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