October 4th, 2018

(no subject)

A brief note on Heather Mac Donald’s "Diversity Delusion".

There were a couple of quotable passages (which I cannot quote, because I don't have the printed copy) that resonated strongly with me — one is that she seems to think of universities as places for study, not exercises in politics; another is that she considers tech companies (like campuses) to be completely on board with the quest for increased diversity (as opposed to Lukianoff and Haidt, who referred to the Valley’s "toxic bro culture"); the third is that she repeated the point I heard before that the diversity movement is focused on certain professions and not at all concerned with others (traditionally dominated by males), like welding and so on.

Then in the end she plunged into defending traditional humanities (why humanities? was she an English major that this topic is so important for her?) from the recent changes in the curriculum, and there she lost me. By praising the virtues of studying the traditional literary canon (not just for intellectual reasons, either), she sounded so banal, so unsophisticated, so schoolmarmish, that it was pathetic. And I couldn’t help asking myself: if I find her presentation on the humanities so weak and unpersuasive, is it my utter parochialism that makes her other arguments so palatable for me?