Yesterday I happened to run across this cartoon, [Link]
and as such things tend to do, after the first crunch of humor reaction, I went on to consider the matter. The other, more common reaction, especially if the humor is lacking in intensity, is to continue with whatever I was doing before I was distracted.
I do not, as a rule, visit college web sites very much, but when I do the things I am interested in are indeed primarily in the right hand circle of the Venn diagram above. I may on occasion be interested in what the organizational prevarication is in terms of some recent news impacting the shul, such as the recent biologist pogrom on the campus of the Tennessee. That’s the individual pogrom that was short lived and treated as criminality rather than the long duration staff pogrom being practiced by the current administration and hence immoral and unethical but not, courtesy of owning the attorneys, necessarily illegal. The value of consulting such is to sample the unique organizational variance on blame passing and butter unmelting (as in orally) that one gets from academia. Otherwise it is in little wise different from the derrière concealing propaganda emitted by any organization. And equally inaccurate.
But what struck from this cartoon was how little things have changed since I was a college student, which indicates the general level of apathy, distaste likely, that college administration has for its customers. Recently while FD SCP and I were on holiday wandering through pre-Yankee-occupation houses and Amerind mound sites, both artifacts of societies gone but not without continuing influence, we had occasion in our continual search for information to visit a ‘used book’ emporium in lower Mississippi where I procured a copy of Simon Bronner’s Piled Higher and Deeper, which is a folklorist ‘history’ of college folkways.
One of the things that struck me about Bronner’s book was how little he described of the college campuses of the ’60′s and ’70′s had I experienced or observed in my twelve years of attending three different campuses. I could only ascribe this to the differences between bog students and nerd students and the individual campus differences between the shuls of the old Confederacy and the rest of the Yankee republic. I was however impressed by his epitaph of the demise of college administrative paternalism in the early ’60′s, casting the students adrift from the fascist care that had gone before. Surely the administration, deeply offended at this disruption of its fundamental responsibility, had little reaction to entertain other than righteous apathy of the resulting depravity rampant on campuses. Clearly, if the students could not be regimented and mind controlled, they had to be ignored.
Thus, I was prepared upon viewing the cartoon above to understand why this dichotomy exists although not why the right hand side is even present. After all, if, as we well know by intellectual, academic exercise as well as common sense interpretation of patent observation, the administration of any and all colleges are apathetic to their customers, why is any useful information available at all? The answer requires but a few moments of consideration and may quickly be attributed to pain avoidance. Because of the apathy, and in the interest of maintaining this long standing whited sepulcher of righteous indignation, the administration earnestly desires, and makes minimal effort, to have minimal contact with its customers beyond the transfer of currency. So, in the interest of having as little actual contact with students, and their parents, as possible, the college administration is moved to actually make available the information necessary for them to avoid said customers. Happily for the latter, that information, by accident more than intent, is what they need to achieve their goal, which is a diploma.
Neither group, apparently, has very much interest in education any more. Not that we can be assured that requiring all students to wear uniforms and take identical classes, nor permit parents access to campus only on sanctioned occasions, usually for the purpose of transferring funds was conducive to education either. It sometimes appears that education in America, these days as much as in the past, is more a matter of individual student striving and determination than any active effort by academia or organization.