Tuesday, February 08, 2005

More on Churchill

One of the assignments for English 101 is to analyze a faulty argument. Most students are finding wackos on the Internet but at least one picked Churchill (I was going to include a link but I can't imagine anyone not already knowing about it).

I've known professors to take moronic positions all over the political spectrum and beyond. At NKU I shared an office with a part-time English instructor who used P.J.O'Rourke as a text book without realizing that O'Rourke was intentionally trying to be funny (this same guy sent a resume to the legal publishing company where I worked, bragging about how he headed various Star Trek and Quantum Leap fan clubs).

At UC, the former head of Freshman English taught that Catholics were racist because there are no black saints. (If your theology extends only to Madonna videos, you know that's not true).

But mainly the nutjobs weren't even remotely political. One of my English professors marked down my grade because I wrote a paper about Elizabethan belief in witchcraft. He was convinced that all Englishmen of the 16th century dismissed witches as superstition.

I doubt if professors have crazier ideas than the population at large or even talk about their beliefs at work more than other professions but nobody cares if a librarian or a truck driver spouts off about politics during the work day (at least Pete Bronson doesn't). On the one hand I can see the need to allow academic freedom but I'm still stinging about "even lower-class Englishmen would have chuckled at the idea of a witch."

Now I tell all my students that not only are witches real but unless you wrap your head in tin foil, they can read your thoughts.

I've shown him.

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