Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
SPOTLIGHT: When they foot the bill for a college education, what do parents and taxpayers receive in exchange?
BIG PICTURE: Free speech attorney Greg Lukianoff’s upcoming book, The Coddling of the American Mind, will be published in July. The description on Amazon begins this way: “The generation now coming of age has been taught three Great Untruths: their feelings are always right; they should avoid pain and discomfort; and they should look for faults in others and not themselves.”
That last idea brings to mind an experience David Mamet relates in The Secret Knowledge. Mamet is a monster talent – a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright with decades of experience in professional theatre. His impact on film has also been considerable. An online database lists 45 credits for screenwriting, 20 for directing, and seven more for producing.
Any young person interested in drama or film who gets an opportunity to spend time with Mamet has surely won the jackpot. But while teaching a university seminar, he suggested that the fictional story the class was developing include the heroine being kidnapped by Arab terrorists. IQs apparently dropped sharply from that point onward.
In his words, “Everything, it seemed, was political, and their job was to inform the ignorant of it. The Ignorant,” in that case, was Mamet himself. Collectively, the students chided this living legend for his lack of political correctness.
Higher education, he says, is no longer even trying to instill scholarly attributes such as “thoughtfulness, courtesy, respect, circumspection, and patience.” Instead, it’s producing intolerant, arrogant graduates who have primarily “learned to be shrill.”
TOP TAKEAWAY: Lukianoff is a veteran of campus free speech battles. Mamet is a dramatist. Firsthand experience has prompted both these men to sound alarm bells about higher education.
|The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture
Greg Lukianoff’s upcoming book, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting up a Generation for Failure
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