Monday, September 17, 2007

Another Victory for Relativism

M. Simon over at Classical Values has an amusing post about how the relativists won the culture wars in the humanities--but there's a price they paid for it:

Here comes the punch line. And on the first page too!
All this reflects what the philosopher Martha Nussbaum today describes as a "loss of respect for the humanities as essential ingredients of democracy." Nussbaum, who panned Bloom's book in The New York Review in 1987, teaches at the University of Chicago, which like Columbia has retained a Western-based core curriculum requirement for undergraduates. But on some campuses, "the main area of conflict is trying to make sure that the humanities get adequate funding from the central administration," Nussbaum wrote in an e-mail message, adding, "Our nation, like most nations of the world, is devaluing the humanities vis-Ã -vis science and technology, so constant vigilance is required lest these disciplines be cut." Louis Menand, a Harvard English professor and New Yorker staff writer who serves on Harvard's curriculum reform committee, concurs: "The big question for humanists is, How do we explain why what we do is important for people who aren't humanists? That's been tough, really tough."
The Professor is complaining that the people think the Humanities have no relevance. If she is a liberal she should be cheering that moral relativism has won. If no judgments can be made no need to teach judgment, eh? I guess the downside of that bothers the Professor. Isn't it ironic, just a bit, don't ya think?
It rather reminds me of the deconstructionist literature professor who spends all day telling his students that the race, class, sex, and orientation of a writer and of the reader make it impossible to determine any absolute meaning in a text. The real meaning is impossible to separate from all those distractions. After class ends, he leaves a message on the home answering machine for his wife to order a pizza for dinner.

The professor's wife to herself: "What do you mean by 'pizza'? Is giving me orders about food simply part of the phallocentric patriarchal system of oppression? Maybe you are really telling me that I should be 'available' when you return home? Or is this just another reminder of who is in charge here?"

When the professor gets home: "No, I just wanted you to order a pizza, so we wouldn't have to cook dinner."

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