School Follies

June 25, 1999

Political correctness is still in fashion on America's campuses as evidenced by the latest in a long line of "school follies." Unfortunately, it's getting harder to shock the American public, but let me give it a try by listing some of the course titles and content.

The University of Chicago offers "Fat Boys: Introduction to Literature and Medicine." This course, instead of dealing with the meaning of fat in constructing the modern female body, focuses on obesity and masculinity in the Western tradition. Recommended reading includes Shakespeare plays featuring Falstaff as well as the literary work Gargantua. I guess I should be glad that at least Shakespeare made the list, but I can't image why we need to study fat.

The University of Pennsylvania teaches "Vampires: The Undead," which explores the persistence of the image of vampires in literature and film. The course emphasizes "their metaphoric deftness and adaptability as cultural couriers."

Reed College offers "Gender in Music." The course analyzes music as "ethos" which tames the savage beast, as "social discourse" in ladies entertainment, as "Affect" which refers to sexual drives in the "masculinity of strong cadences" and as "neutered" in the cult of the castrato in 17th-century opera.

And let's not forget the bioethicist Peter Singer, who will soon be teaching infanticide at Princeton University. His book, Practical Ethics, which will no doubt become a text for one or more of his classes, argues that "the death of the hemophiliac infant would lead to the creation of another being who would not otherwise have existed." In other words, infanticide of a defective infant can be moral if it leads to the birth of a healthy infant.

So here is just a short list of "school follies." You would think I was making all of this up. Unfortunately, I'm not.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.