Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lobster Bucket

In a brief aside on his prime-time Fox program this week, Sean Hannity jabbed Barack Obama for recently having pronounced the word “Orion” at a public event with a flat “i” instead of a long one. Hannity then added with a smirk: “Apparently they skipped [basic English] at Harvard Law School. The Obama staffers better start putting phonetic pronunciations in that teleprompter of his.”

Although he was semi-kidding, Hannity’s remark (in addition to being lame payback for the many times Bush was needled for mangling the spoken word) is indicative of a common righty tantrum: a steady beat of anti-intellectualism, often against colleges and universities seen by the right as factories for liberalism. Why this is so, I can only assume is due to resentment by conservatives once demeaned in college bars by cerebral snobs quoting Gordon Wood, or perhaps made to feel dumb for not attending college at all.

In all candor, this complaint against lefty campus politics is understandable. In my own collegiate career, campus politics were pretty liberal – which is unsurprising, as by their nature universities are bubbles of ideal thinking.

Yet none of these views were ever forced on me. I could take them or leave them, and for the record, I usually left them. And as for aficionados of Mr. Wood, try putting that on a resume and see how far it gets you – especially in this economy.

Nevertheless, this grumbling from arch-conservatives often extends to an attack on education itself, particularly against the Ivy League which is ironic as many of the right’s loudest critics of education are alumni: Laura Ingraham (Dartmouth), L’il Benny Shapiro (Harvard), Ann Coulter (Cornell). Further, these same ingrates stomping about others (typically, in government) having earned their own degrees from similar institutions is in full contrast to the classic righty mantra of excellence through hard work, as no sheepskin worth its salt is given for nothing.

But no matter….’cause if that pointy-head Obama had the arrogance to earn (there’s that word again) a spot at Harvard Law (never mind that the Bush’s are Yale men), he and his commie Princeton wife deserve all the derision at Human Events they get.

Right, Benny?

Truly, I don’t care whether people go to college or not. That’s their call.

But for anyone to drag down those who devote themselves to learning and self-enrichment through hard work—be it at Harvard or UC-Santa Cruz—is beyond ignorant. Thus, to these judges of other people’s goals and accomplishments, I am at last compelled to retort with a quote from Jeannie Bueller (or was it Sir Francis Bacon) who profoundly said “Blow yourself.”

There is no finer invitation to soul-searching I know of.

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