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Heather Mac Donald
Nothing More Timeless Than Ignorance « Back to Story

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Robert J Courtney March 23, 2015 at 3:47 PM
Bulls eye to you! Schumann so full of 'void'.
I am a retired MD surgeon ; always felt shorted in "classics studies'-- heavy on science , of course - and so -- fortunately, 2 years ago I stumbled on Lapham/s Quarterly mag. An absolute " gem ".
Schumann should have such luck.
Thank you for your fine Primus article.

As a public school graduate, chose work over collage and have no clue about literature... my opinions are very narrow and most certainly should not be taken seriously - BUT - I have to say that Ms. Schulman looks and writes like she could be Sandra Fluke.

Why are liberals so angry but at the same time so obsess with sex? It's quite the contradiction, right?
Heather Mac Donald is a remarkable thinker and writer. I commend her for her refined academic articulation on the value of the humanities in the times of twitter! Her articles on the topic have helped me develop my own discourse on the defense of the humanities in the Higher Education institution where I teach Spanish Literature.
Heather Mac Donald is a remarkable thinker and writer. I commend her for her profound articulation of knowledge on the value of the humanities in the times of twitter! Her articles have helped me to illustrate my own discourse on the defense of the humanities in the Higher Education institution where I teach.r
God bless you Heather. As a retired high school mathematics teacher from Brooklyn and a conservative, I can well relate to your premise.
Obviously, MacDonald seems uninterested in facts or reality. Fair enough. Concerning UCLA, for example, one would actually have to note that courses on Milton, Chaucer, and Shakespeare are all still taught (and multiple courses). Rather than making sweeping claims about what UCLA teaches, one would--if one were interested in actual facts--need to do the work of doing more than scanning the course-listings and cherry-picking titles of various courses that one dislikes (MacDonald simply doesn't know how the classes are taught, so she makes an argument from ignorance here). As for the MLA, one might want to look at the program for the 2014 MLA program (available on-line). One would see any number of paper titles that one could cherry-pick from for a variety of reasons. But one would see a great variety of papers that defy the simplistic claims made by MacDonald. MacDonald isn't interested in facts or reality, but rather in making outlandish and stupid claims. At that, I guess, she has succeeded.

And, finally, about that young lady from Columbia, anecdotal evidence really isn't a very strong argument. Indeed, it's a rather weak piece of evidence (and yet MacDonald keeps going to the well with it--which, again, suggests she seems disinterested in serious scholarship). If that's all you've got to hang your hat on, keep wearing your hat.

When I was a boy, we had a word for this type of argument: garbage. It still fits.
Since arts and sciences faculties generally do have a sociology department, an English or Comparative literature department trafficking in cut-rate sociology is clearly redundant. Time for the trustees to start over-ruling the provots and deans and start shutting these departments down. Responding to UCLAs English department with pink slips for everyone would set a nice example.
A correction. Ms Mac Donald's article appears not in the NYT (as I said it did), but in the Wall Street Journal.

I apologize.
I think she suckered you in, Ms Mac Donald.

Your NYT article will stand or fall according to its merits. So, too, will City Journal, as a result of the use to which you've put it.

The question isn't how best to acquit oneself (you could've accomplished at Slate), but whether one makes a better victim when she's being paid for it. Perhaps it's a mystery, and timeless.
Scholars would work to include great works/authors into the canon of Western Literature (Toni Morrison and August Wilson come to mind), or do the research into great historical works/authors to be included/studied. Yet, as always, that requires a level of scholarship, argument, and persistence folks like the MLA either don't possess or don't exert, thus the push for 'studies' they think they know or feel good about.
Any student idiotic enough to devote any time at all to these academic charlatans needs to get to a jargon detox center as soon as possible - hopefully before loading up on student debt it will be all but impossible to pay back. If you are one of such lost sould, demand a refund on tuition paid now. These exploiters of the impressionable young are stealing from you blind. And when the bills come due, you will have no collateral at all. "A rising tide of the literate poor," indeed. Poor it is almost certain you will be, "literate" is another matter entirely.
Unfortunately syntax, grammar and the quality of the content don't rise to the level of "serving the cause". Anyone remember Ebonics?
That is why I avoided humanities to the maximum extent possible in college. I have, however, spent a great deal of my free time as an adult persuing good literature.

My biggest problem with the Lit professionals is their extraordinary lack of historical understanding. Since history and literature are so very intertwined, the very idea of attacking the West and its ideals are preposterous. Preposterous if they have any understanding of how much opportunity and freedom we have relative to ther times and other cultures. I can only ascertain they are either stupid or illogical bordering on insane.

As much as I agree with Heather MacDonald points, I cannot escape the feeling that she is using a sledgehammer to crush an ant. Is there not reason for hope to find that Rebecca Schuman is a adjunct instructor at a satellite campus of a third tier state university? As far as being Slate's "education" columnist, that is merely another sign of that publication's decline into irrelevance. Heather should engage someone more worthy of her steel.
Schuman and the MLA -- and their ilk -- are invested in the proposition that there are no ultimate truths in the sense of ontological certainty. For them, "feelings" -- of perceived victimhood, of perceived gender inequality, of perceived racial discrimination -- are their cynosures, their pole stars, and pass for what someone trying valiantly to understand what they are babbling about might think of as "truth."

These obsessive-compulsive monomaniacs spend endless hours spewing out words, words, words that make no sense to anybody but themselves. Even their high priest, Jacques Derrida, the father of deconstructionism, admits that he cannot define "deconstruction."
I mean, how crazy is that?

These insane people have burrowed into the flesh of the academy like a cancer and have completely corrupted the ideal of intellectual inquiry. They have captured the citadel and now dictate terms to anyone who seeks an education. In order to be certified as an educated person today, one must accede to this dictatorial madness and parrot what they are selling.

Only a few colleges -- Hillsdale, among others -- still teach the Great Books and plumb the wisdom of the ancients. As to the rest, they have turned their backs on the accumulated knowledge of man and have substituted some incomprehensible psychobabble as the touchstone of "education." This rank insanity has seized the faculties by the throat with a mortal ferocity -- and will not let go.

I believe that, as a nation, we have committed intellectual suicide and are now lost.

Heather MacDonald makes more sense in a minute than these weird zombies make in a lifetime.
Game, set and match, Heather MacDonald (unsurprisingly).
MacDonald's retort demonstrated that non-academics can write and reason with so much more acuity and lucidity than cloistered academics like Schuman and Hirsh.

I must have missed all the hosannas and praising genuflections at the recent passing of Amiri Baraka (nee, Leroy Jones).

Jones was a rabid race-baiter and Jew-hater, a mediocre poet who enjoyed an icon status among many literature academics. He was a fine exemplar of the debauchery, degradation and emptiness that have enveloped many humanities departments.

Perhaps Hirsch or Schuman can be persuaded to offer words on his behalf?
Patrick MacKinnon January 14, 2014 at 3:25 PM
I'm geting the impression that Heather is driving a tack with a sledgehammer.
When I tell people I majored in a STEM field, they often are impressed Sometimes they even say the exact words, "you must be smart!"

They never seem to say that to people who major in English. Why? I don't think it's just the glamor of technology. I actually think that faculty members like the ones described in this article have made themselves laughingstocks to the point that they've reduced the value of their students' degrees.

I wonder if 50 years ago, people actually might have associated degrees in English with intelligence and reasoning skills. Not any more!

Both the general public AND the science/engineering faculties tend to make fun of the humanities departments. They are a definite also-ran in most universities.

A big reason for this is that STEM departments teach their actual subjects, rather than yapping about harnessing the power of mumbo-jumbo to theoretically break down barriers blah blah blah.

One interesting thing is that if you tell people you read or are reading classic literature, they also are impressed. An English degree is unimpressive to most people, but actually reading great works of literature still seems to have value.

I think that most people (who are not humanities academics) intuitively know the difference between something that is intellectually challenging and something that is just self-indulgent, empty grandstanding.
How very true. Have we reached the tipping point in the politically correct dumb down of English Literature ?
One can imagine Ms. MacDonald waking in the night, screaming, "Why aren't they reading Petrach! Why? Why?"
Why indeed. Well, first, an english literature program would be a curious "interdisciplinary" adventure with a 14th century Italian humanist on the syllabus (generally, this is left to the Classics Dept - if you can find one that hasn't been cut to make room for STEM - particularly in public institutions under republican control.) And it might be a good time to point out that Petrarch gave the name to the "Dark Ages." Why again? Because he considered the 900 year period preceding the one he lived in to be a time of ignorance and stagnation. If he had fixed his gaze on Parzival instead of the dim light emanating from classical antiquity, who knows where we would be today - probably wallowing in unrequited love or some such!
The Dark Ages did not speak to him. The classics do not speak to undergraduate students of english. They seek a narrative that speaks to them, yes, validates them. If Petrach speaks to Ms. MacDonald, more power to her. Some of us hear the voice of Homer in Joyce and Ellison, Cicero in not only Lincoln but Wallace Stegner, and Shakespeare in Faulkner. I could go on...
I love this. A FB friend posted it on my wall, but a New Yorker I know in real life mentioned this to me as well. As a PhD candidate (ABD forever) at UCSB, which was always less traditional than UCLA (a fine department with a tradition extending at least as far back as WWII). I am horrified , as a Yale english major who took 125, the course of two semesters which all Yale English majors have taken for decades (Chaucer, Spenser, Donne, Pope, Milton, Wordsworth and a modern--my professor did Yeats but some do Eliot or Bishop), you can get a B.A. in ENGLISH without having taken those figures outside a survey course with 50 others.

This is a very sad state of affairs. A friend of mine from Yale (whom I only met last year ) considered graduate school at the age of 40 in philosophy. He is a well-known conservative journalist and the son of n emeritus professor of philosophy at SUNY Buffalo. He said, "I would not work in the humanities today" and I am a DEMOCRAT and I feel the same way. IF you are anointed--by which I mean so elite that you get a job at an Ivy or small liberal arts college like Swarthmore which while liberal is still so rigorous--then maybe you have the freedom to choose more traditional topics and write about them from a philosophical or linguistic/rhetorical standpoint.

But God forbid you end up like DG Myers at Ohio State. The poor man married to a doctor and med professor he valiantly supported in her career move to Ohio from Texas has been let go and at 61, as a traditional, not trendy critic also cut loose by Commentary (John Podhoretz strikes again in all his punitive, grudge-holding glory), is through. His students wrote in on his blog and he made a difference in the lives of so many students, English majors and non-majors alike.

I hated UCSB English for many reasons. Not least was the perception that I was some kind of fascist (a lifelong Democrat from WLA with a Carter US Attorney mother on the short list for AG for Clinton hahaha).
Oh, and Mom is part-Mexican and Dad is Jewish. Both are children of immigrants (3 out of 4 of my grandparents were not born in America but I never claimed "Latina identity" on applications though I certainly would have been well within my rights doing so.)

A side note: there is a lot of class warfare in the academy as well. I went to the top girls' prep school in LA (the Brearley of LA). I didn't work. I wasn't on aid. This made me some kind of trust funder qua the grad students at UCSB (beyond hilarious in my 1986 hand-me-down Nissan Maxima 10 years old).

If you do not want to discuss the Holy Trinity of race, class and gender and God forbid, like the rhetorical work of Derrida or de Man, you're what this woman accused MacDonald of being: an evil , heartless person who doesn't care about the struggles of the oppressed. When did it become imperative not just to donate money to the oppressed in society but also to make their plight the topic of one's research/study?

I wrote a piece for The Weekly Standard about Edith Wharton and cultural studies (2/2012). It's not nearly as wonderful as this piece but covers some of the same ground.

Love this piece! And I LOVE SEEING annoying feminists/liberal women eviscerated by a woman like this.

Heather MacDonald is not one to be attacked for her writing by someone obviously under qualified to undertake the attack. Her first paragraph is an absolute gem, and I predict it will be paraphrased by many writers (this one included) in coming days and weeks. Bravo Heather! You're terrific!
Were Schuman literate, she would be embarrassed by how Lilliputian she is. Ignorance is bliss, however, so our intrepid MacGulliver will be convicted of treason for trying to quench with her liquid gold the conflagration in the royal palace. She is condemned to be shot in both eyes and starved to death. Schuman is comforted by finding obtuse metaphor, simile, analogy and parable.
This was a valuable and interesting response. I liked it. Thank you.

One of the problems of today's "critics" is that they are so chronocentric. As Heather MacDonald writes above, far better readers instead try to understand the context of the time in which a book or poem was written, rather than merely try to coopt the message of another time for use in our own.

MacDonald's idea of literary study does require a lot more work, and possible even awareness of another language, something very difficult for today's monoglot multiculturals.

Thank you again.
UC Berkeley is about to hire a "social psychologist" as its provost.

As provost, he will be the "leading senior executive responsible for managing its [UC Berkeley's] academic programs, budget and daily operations." He is known for research into "stereotype threat."

I don't want to judge someone without knowing them or having read anything they've written, but this man looks like another ideologue in academe. Plato, Thucydides, or Tacitus are probably far from his mind.

In a future article, I hope that Ms. MacDonald will investigate what has happened to the "campus climate survey" that the UC system spent $600,000 to carry out. There has been no report to the University, the Regents, or the public about this one. The money appears to have been paid to Rankin & Associates Consulting, a firm led by Susan Rankin, "a faculty member in education policy studies and college student affairs at Pennsylvania State University and a senior research associate at the Center for the Study of Higher Education. She has extensive experience in institutional climate assessment and institutional climate transformation based on data-driven action and strategic planning. Rankin has conducted multi-location institutional climate studies at other university systems across the country."

I wonder if the survey data failed to show what the bureaucrats wanted it to show.
Nerd fight, nerd fight!!
Read both articles. Ms. MacDonald's was well written and coherent and entertaining as well. I then tried to read Shuman's attack. It was a garbled, ironic mess bordering on hysteria - I could almost feel the spittle foaming off the page. A hoge-poge of pandering to the ill informed whom could probably not slog through it as well. I doubt she has read Shakesphere or she would have a bit more depth and understand her position is more reaction than a thinking, rational point of view.
Mike W: The Classics are the ones already on the shelves that are getting kicked off. They are called classic for reason.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
What a fine and well honed piece of writing. I know of no greater compliment than to say I would love to study English under you.

Benjamin Hartley: I think it is enough that Faulkner could identify the quote, which is testimony enough to the power of english literature through the ages. Ms. MacDonald cites Plutarch's (the Renaissance Scholar before their was such a category - time is a stubborn thing)love of the classical literature of Rome. How is this different from our love of say, Hawthorne (they still read Hawthorne you know?) And Hawthorne read Plutarch, Milton, Shakespeare and the rest.

But a lot has happened since Plutarch, wouldn't you agree? And should we kick every author since Pope off the shelves to make room for the "classics" in all their mustiness?
The new president of my alma mater -- New College of Florida -- timidly proposed in the midst of the non-optional loud clapping for diversity that the school might consider contemplating the existence of politics other than those vigilantly enforced by the anti-intellectual gatekeepers of each other's minds the faculty have become.

He quickly abandoned the notion. Too controversial, indeed, to allow a deviant thought to creep in on tiny feet. And so the place where I studied Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Faulkner, and Dickinson is now awash with contemplation of one's own sexualit(ies) under the firm fist of the (Judy) Butlerites.

I imagine the new president has by now realized the error of his ways. What the lucky tenured people of his generation generally learn, if they wish to stay afloat and employed, is that you cannot apologize quietly enough for failing to applaud the intellectual status quo loudly enough.

The liberal arts are an insane asylum where adolescent sexual one-upmanship and crude Maoist score-settling are the sole currencies of value. Activism is the only thing they recognize as scholarship -- and so in a few more retirements, the entire gig will be up.
The English language is devolving into a shorthand of tweets and texts with abbreviation and truncation as the rule. The necessity of grammar, vocabulary, dare I say spelling in the absence of spell check, is waning. As in mathematics with the acceptance of the calculator during examination, there is no interest in the fundamental. The trend permeates all areas of study.
As literature majors we are all entitled or better yet obligated to express our thoughts as a restatement of the lock step liberal philosophy. There is no discourse, there is no discussion, there is merely the billboard posting of a point of view that has no view point but merely serves as the reflexive critique of the oppressor. Good luck with that. If that is the goal the classics provide a much more elegant model of expression.
Seeking favor with the new generation of senior faculty is a fool's errand. Attempting to major in literature without studying literature, priceless.
Oh my. Methinks Ms. Schumann brought a knife to a gun fight. Well done Heather. And it is more likely that the MLA and its many minions have to find a rationale for its position on not teaching classic literature because their classes are filled with students whose first acquaintance with Shakespeare or Chaucer would be in the lecture halls, hallowed or not, of the UCLA's. The threat to easy "A"'s wouldn't allow it.
There is one thing we ALL can do: protest, and vigorously, to our respective alma maters; send them letters telling them exactly why we are not giving them donations or leaving them bequests; and alert our fellow alumni to this terrible holocaust of the treasures of Western civilization and the human mind, inflicted by the very institutions that were charged with its preservation.

Damn them.

Communists, as Eric Blair/Orwell knew too well, make the degradation of language their first mission -- they want to make certain kinds of thoughts impossible. That, friends, is how serious this is: if you can't wield the language properly, you can't think properly; if you can't think properly, you can't spot the lies, and you can't defend yourself or the truth. Yes, they really do want to get us to the point where we are crawling on all fours, like beasts.
Ah, Miss Mac Donald, you are casting your pearls before swine.

Remember, as the Divine William said, "Filths savour but themselves."

This creature's clotted, tortuous (and torturous) "style" is so hideous I couldn't even bring myself to read the agglutinated excerpts, but I recognize the ghastly lingo. Thank God I went to college in the 1970s in an old-fashioned private university in the South that still revered the greatest writers in our language, and taught them with verve, skill, and passion. Dr. Hunter's Shakespeare course was legendary, and worth the full tuition for his brilliant and loving introduction to the Bard.

How can anyone with an ear for language, a love for the mother tongue, even consider taking such courses as this Schuman and her ilk are championing? I'd rather eat a bug. Like, seriously, you know?
to Heather MacDonald. I published a letter about her piece as follows:
Letters to the Editor
New York City
Dear Letters Editor:
re Heather MacDonald’s “The Humanities Have Forgotten Their Humanity” [4 January], I was surprised to learn that in 2011 my UCLA department had trashed the core curriculum by removing from study the three greatest poets in our language. She is justly dismayed by English majors reading nonsense in pseudo-anthro-social science. However, the cause may lie much earlier in the past. It was over 40 years ago that my colleagues heard (and took seriously) complaints by graduate students over having to be responsible for the line extending “From Beowulf to Virginia Woolf” because too many flunked “the writtens” before being allowed candidacy to write their Ph.D. dissertation. In their wisdom they allowed future aspirants to teaching in higher education to major in either of two periods: Old English to 1800, and either English or American from 1800 to the present. That of course disposed of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, MacDonald’s examples of our foundational poets.
Yet is it any surprise? When I took my 2 weeks’ “writtens” at the University of Michigan in 1953—where everyone had slogged through the literature from Beowulf to Virginia Woolf—it was astonishing to me that of the 21 candidates only two of us passed. So, MacDonald’s vanished Humanists are, in this age of mass college enrollment, even harder to find than water on Mars.
Jascha Kessler
Professor Emeritus of Modern English & American Literature, UCLA
Santa Monica, CA
"The literature crowd today is killing their own market but are too ignorant to understand that." QUITE TRUE. I wonder how many of their books will be in print 25 or 50 years from now (like so many of Gilbert Highet's books). Many have been never been out of print since the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's and are available in half a dozen languages.
write, obviously, not right, a spell-check typo. I apologize for the hasty post
How education has changed! Once a literature or history major might be expected to read source material and original authors if not in Latin, French, Greek, Spanish or German at least in translation. When I studied Spanish literature in Spain and at New York University (minoring in English literature) we read Gilbert Highet's CLASSICAL TRADITION plus many of the authors quoted by Highet. When I did graduate studies at UVA earlier this century my professors had NEVER HEARD of Gilbert Highet and in fact Highet's books were in IVY STACKS (storage). But the one book that the fellows had to read in full was Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. You can't know how bad this book and how evil it is until you read it. It quotes (approvingly) Lenin, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara). Imagine reading an education book that quoted Himmler or Hitler or Rossenberg but I suppose Marxist-Leninists get a pass for torture and murder.Pedagogy of the Oppressed has achieved near-iconic status in (many) of America’s teacher-training programs. What is a parent to do? What is a prospective teacher to do? Number one, one must, sadly, avoid graduate studies in many major universities. There are many fine programs in small Catholic , Christian and private colleges. When a former student of mine, a Marine veteran, asked me what literature courses he should take at UCLA (because he felt he SHOULD take some literature classes) I dissuaded him from taking any courses outside of his major. In stead I gave him a reading list of books about books. I know too many horror stories of young male students being trashed by tenured professors on comprehensive final exams. Everyone has an opinion and not all student essays are equally good. But it is incredible to me that a young man can get 92% on the multiple choice portion of a test and then right a series of finely composed essays IN A FOREIGN language and receive ZERO POINTS. The reason? The student was naive enough to claim the love poems in question may have been heterosexual love. The student in question, at a major university, the only male in the class, was given a D, which did not of course count for graduation. There was no redress. The professor refused to meet with the student. The only thing the student could do was make an official complaint and repeat the class with another professor (in which he got an A). I routinely tell my students to love literature but to stay out of modern literature classes. It is a sad state of affairs but professors like that only make the youth hate college and hate universities. The only thing the public can do is boycott these classes and boycott ideological professors. The only thing they can do is study on line classes at more traditional universities. The only think they can do is study literature as a hobby alone. They certainly shouldn't borrow money to study what is mostly ideological rubbish.
For over 20 years the MLA and its followers have attempted to speak with knowledge, clarity, and thought. Their project is a failure. Unfortunately, their literary circle is inbred and simply boring.
When the lot of the fashion a sentence, good luck on understanding exactly what the intend or even mean.
One might charitably say this is gibbrish or the sounds of tiny babies, making their first attempts at sounds. Perhaps words may follow. Or perhaps not.
The literature crowd today is killing their own market but are too ignorant to understand that.
No respectable business or CEO wants to employ
trained idiots who speak in foreign tongues [not known languages].
If their intention is to liberate the poor, my guess is the poor will never understand their intent.
What a waste of dollars in the university and to pay for a degree in this stuff is unthinkable.
You are sooo right Heather Mac Donald! "There is no darkness but ignorance." Ignorance is the curse of God; Knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven." Wm. Shakespeare
Gilbert W. Chapman January 13, 2014 at 3:18 PM
For many years I have had one rule when it comes to choosing which books of fiction I will read ~

"The title must have been continuously in print for at least 25 years."

But . . . I wrong on two counts ~

(1) It should have been 50 years, rather than 25 years; and

(2) I'm not certain I would have missed much if I had applied the same rule to nonfiction. (Just take a look at what's on the nonfiction 'best sellers list' these days.

Thank you, Ms. McDonald.

Now that I'm retired, and will have the time, I've little doubt I'll enjoy reading Jane Austin, Mark Twain, Jack London, et al . . . with Mozart for background music.

I just hope I'm alive in 25 years to see whether anyone even remembers who Ms. Shuman was.
Please consider plagiarizing one of PG Wodehouse's rejoinders to a critic, "“I sent
Nancy Spain of the Daily Express a beauty,” he
wrote, referring to one of his reciprocations.
“No answer, so suppose it killed her.” He had
told Spain: “I’ll give you a tip which will be
useful to you. Always read at least some of
a book before you review it. It makes a tremendous
difference, and you can always find
someone to help you with the difficult words.”
Article should have been titled: Nothing More Profitable Than Ignorance.

The real money makers in the edu business are the ones who enforce the party line. They get noticed, promoted, tenured, and given final authority.

We should learn to act like them the same way the Jews took Christians baptisms and Anglicanized names, all while crossing their fingers behind their backs.
What a silly Q. Of course Shuman can identify the quote; everyone knows it is from Frantz Fanon
Ms. MacDonald, you are most certainly correct when, in the title to your piece, you write, "Nothing More Timeless Than Ignorance". I read Ms. Schuman's piece in Slate, and I must concur: she is ignorant. Having said this, however, makes me wonder whether you haven't wasted your time. Nothing you have said in your response to Ms. Schuman (regardless of the merits of what you have said) will ever cause her to re-think her position. This much is obvious from the overall tenor (arrogant) of Ms. Schuman's article. So why bother? As the saying goes, there's no arguing with stupid. Nowadays, moreover, there's no hope for reasonable discussion with stupid either.
"Yet Schuman can imagine no motive other than allegedly beleaguered class privilege for lamenting the loss of the scholarly, loving study of great art..."

Heather, you should have agreed with her, and then offered the kind of apology that would get you invited to speak at next year's MLA: "How I Overcame Privilege with My New Understanding of Outdated Texts."

"Say not the struggle not availeth...". Your fierce intelligence, Ms MacDonald, is much appreciated. My experience of 32 years in the classroom matches your understanding of our plight.
Benjamin W Hartley January 13, 2014 at 2:34 PM
Oh, my goodness! More psychobabble from the poor benighted faculty! Ms Mac Donald's statement in the very last sentence gives one hope that the MLA, UCLA, and all the rest of the alphabet soup do-gooders are, indeed, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

(Hmmm... I wonder if Ms Schuman can identufy the source of that quote.)