American academia markets itself as progressive if not downright radical. For example, here’s a self-description by an assistant professor of Critical Identity Studies at Beloit College:
She intervenes in popular visual media like reality television to interrogate how time moves and for whom to catalog desire and identification as taxonomy and type. Her preferred gender pronouns are she/her.
Since the downfall of the Gestapo, nobody has treasured the verb “interrogate” as much as postmodern academics.
The Hitlerian vocabulary of Studies professors suggests that although we hear so much about the dangers of the “alt-right,” we ought to learn more about the “ctrl-left.”
The counterpart to all this policing of others’ expressions for the crime of offending one’s amour propre is self-obsession. The deadpan Twitter account New Real Peer Review passes on screenshots of actual published academic articles. A particularly comic genre is “autoethnography,” in which “researchers” tell their readers (if any) how they feel about things, such as:
This is an autoethnography about the role of nail salons in relation to my own evolving feminist and femme consciousness. Through a story of desire, grief, isolation, and recuperation, I explore the ways that the development of my sexual and gender identities relies on women’s intimacy within and across lines of commodification, race, class, and sexuality. In so doing, I attempt to reconcile my desire for high femme signifiers with working-class, anti-racist, and anti-colonialist solidarity, to articulate what I term a FemmeNist consciousness.
I think this means she’s a lesbian but she likes getting her nails done at salons staffed by poor Vietnamese ladies.
And yet, aren’t colleges just about the most antiquarian institutions in our culture? Perhaps their strenuous leftism is actually a facade to mask the desire of faculty, administrators, and students to extend their time-honored privileges?