Politically correct victimology

Heather Mac Donald isn’t the biggest fan of Harvard’s new figurehead:

The feminist takeover of Harvard is imminent. The Harvard Crimson reported yesterday that the university is about to name as its new president Drew Gilpin Faust, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Harvard’s Corporation, which is likely to recommend Faust to the university’s Board of Overseers for confirmation, could not have more clearly repudiated Lawrence Summers’s all-too-brief reign of meritocracy and academic honesty, or more openly signaled that Harvard will now be the leader in politically correct victimology.

Faust runs one of the most powerful incubators of feminist complaint and nonsensical academic theory in the country. You can count on the Radcliffe Institute’s fellows and invited lecturers to proclaim the “constructed” nature of knowledge, gender, and race, and to decry endemic American sexism and racism. Typical guest speakers include left-wing journalists Susan Faludi and Barbara Ehrenreich.

McDonald uses the term “feminism” in its modern sense (a special interest group seeking to marginalize men) rather than its historical sense (something about doormats and equality.) If she’s right, Harvard’s descent into mediocrity will accelerate rapidly. Not that many will notice, of course, because it hasn’t been a serious school for years now, but this sort of thing is vitally important in the Northeast for historical reasons.

My comment on this: the prevailing consensual reality in Cambridge is that Summers said “gurlz r dum”, so the natural reaction is to replace him with a president who says “gurlz rool, boyz drool.”

Linklove John Weidner.

Who is this Drew Gilpin person? A former professor of Women’s Studies and author of such penetrating books as Mothers of Invention on the plight of slave owning women in the Old South. I haven’t read it, so here’s what one Amazon reviewer said about it:

The subject of this book is a single class of women – rich, white, spoiled and utterly despicable. These women complained bitterly of how the war effected their miserable self centered lives with little concern about the effects the war had on those who fought it and what they were experiencing. The war meant little more to them than a threat to their way of life.

Ms. Faust tries to portray her subjects as victims and prisoners of their circumstances but these women were anything but. They embraced the supposed chains that bound them and had little concern for the profound and widespread pain and suffering caused for millions of others as a result of the war they so glamorized and romanticized.

This book is rather tedious if you are not a fan nor speaker of that odd language known as academia (why in the world does she include long diary and letter passages in French?) But it has some very good moments and will give the reader new insight into how truly horrid those magnolia queens really were. Not even a feminist writer sympathetic to anything in petticoats can hide that fact; as much as she tries.

So that’s your culture of victimology for you: Gilpin is wedded to the notion that women are so thoroughly oppressed, she has more sympathy for the slave owners who lost property in the Civil War than for the (human and often male) property itself. Surely Harvard can do better than this. What’s Elizabeth Fox-Genovese (“Sad as it may seem, my experience with radical, upscale feminism only reinforced my growing mistrust of individual pride”) up to these days, anyhow? Retired, probably.

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2 Responses to Politically correct victimology

  1. Mike Nelson says:

    Methinks Gilpin watched “Gone with the Wind” one time too many, and is channeling Scarlett O’Hara.

  2. Richard says:

    You might be onto something. I’ll think about it tomorrow.

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