Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Mediocrity's Resentment of Genius

In a column about classical music and the cancel culture, David Goldman makes the following unimpeachable assertion:

The grudge that mediocrity bears against genius is the purest form of evil.

Fair enough, I would question whether it is the purest form of evil, but surely our current cancel culture derives from mediocrity’s resentment of genius. It is all the more acute when those doing the resenting have had their self-esteem, but not their learning, inflated by school teachers who have told them that they are great. And let's not forget, these same school teachers are crushingly mediocre but who have very high self-esteem. Recognizing genius would make them feel inferior, and we can't have that.

Now that we are fast dispensing with standardized tests, we are doubling down on diversity, and mediocrity. In truth, this is not news. We have been filling college classes with subpar students for decades now. And we have been doing the same in corporations-- exception made for Silicon Valley, where diversity is for thee but not for them. 

So, we have advanced the mediocre and have told them that they are not mediocre. We have told them that they are just as smart as everyone else. After all, they went to Harvard and Yale. What difference could it make that their college board scores were hundreds of points below those of the Asian students who were rejected. And, what matter could it be that they studied different forms of ethnic studies and got through college because of grade inflation. Dare we mention that one Dr. Jill Biden wrote a doctoral dissertation that is illiterate and innumerate-- and yet she insists on being called doctor. Of education, in case you have forgotten.

For many years now the nation's businesses have been hiring underqualified job candidates in order to meet diversity quotas. The practice supposes that these candidates are not really underqualified, but are just as good as everyone else, if only given the chance. When it turns out that they are not qualified and cannot do the job, the companies have a problem.

Now, when students who have been duly accepted by major colleges find that they cannot do the work, what then? Do they blame the school or do they blame the culture? Do they believe that they are the victims of racism or do they believe that the material has been skewed to privilege white people. And do they harbor a resentment toward the students who can do the work, who can do higher math and who can understand Shakespeare.

Nowadays, we are reliably informed that Shakespeare is being canceled from school curricula. It is tragic to eliminate the greatest poet in the English language because, in this case, mediocre teachers seem incapable of understanding poetry and drama. Like the Red Guards of yore they seem only to understand their ideological narratives and will do everything in their power to indoctrinate their students. 

Now, what do you think will happen when those students go out into the world and discover that being a social justice warrior will only accomplish one thing-- consign you to mediocrity.

One suspects that said teachers are so mediocre themselves that they harbor a resentment toward a writer of surpassing genius. About Shakespeare’s genius, no serious individual has ever disagreed. Some have, of course, but that just signals their own mediocrity. But now, the schoolteacher corps is filled with people of such surpassing ignorance that one suspects that they could not teach Shakespeare if their lives depended on it.

For the record, and for history’s sake, I and my fellow high school classmates were first introduced to Shakespeare in the ninth grade, as freshmen in high school.

Anyway, Lee Brown reports on the cultural deformity and the current mania toward rendering children stupid. I will emphasize, as Nietzsche once opined, that you learn more from the errors of great minds than you do from the truths of small minds. I would add that you learn nothing from the stupidities of the idiot class:

William Shakespeare, thou hast been getting canceled.

An increasing number of woke teachers are refusing to study the Bard — accusing his classic works of promoting “misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, and misogynoir.”

A slew of English literature teachers told the School Library Journal (SLJ) how they were ditching the likes of “Hamlet,” “Macbeth” and “Romeo and Juliet” to instead “make room for modern, diverse, and inclusive voices.”

“Shakespeare was a tool used to ‘civilize’ Black and brown people in England’s empire,” insisted Shakespeare scholar Ayanna Thompson, a professor of English at Arizona State University.

Teachers also need to “challenge the whiteness” of the assumption that Shakespeare’s works are “universal,” insisted Jeffrey Austin, who is head of a Michigan high school’s English literature department.

Former Washington state public school teacher Claire Bruncke told SLJ she banished the Bard from her classroom to “stray from centering the narrative of white, cisgender, heterosexual men.”

In what known universe will this indoctrination produce anything but more resentment, not just against genius, but against minority children. I will not include girls in this class, because, as everyone knows girls tend to do much better at poetry and drama than do boys. Has it ever crossed the minds of these teachers that that dumbing down Shakespeare and poetry is frankly misogynistic, a prejudice against a subject where girls excel.

Surely, it is colossally ironic that these schoolteachers are not just punishing boys for being boys, but they are inhibiting their ability to learn how to use language and how to appreciate the varieties of verbal expression. How else, I would ask, can you teach children how to speak more gracefully and more temperately? 

When you want to know how it happens that these children grow up to become drunken louts whose primary skill lies in burning down what others have built, who lack the verbal skills required to engage in a civilized conversation, you can look back at their idiot school teachers. If it had every crossed your mind that said school teachers care about the young minds that have been entrusted to their care, I would point out that they are currently holding something like a strike, to the detriment of those young minds, in order to extort more funds for their vacations.


jmod46 said...

When David Goldman speaks, one should listen.

Soviet of Washington said...

Mostly, he does have a few blind spots. But this subject isn't one of them.

1at year IS English literature for me as well. 10th grade as I was in a 6-3-3 district. I can still visualize the 2 50+ women instructors performing the Macbeth opening scene 50 years later.

Sam L. said...

My daughter went to a small college in Virginia. She loves Shakespeare, and did a number of the plays there. Next month, she will be getting her Doctorate (I'm presuming it's in literature) so now she could be looking to be a wife of a President (that's a joke, I say, That's a JOKE, son) from the U of Alabam (Tuskaloosa, which is what happens to elephants in their old age). (OK, no more "jokes".)

DocVinny said...

Made me smile.. Thanks Sam.