In what appears to be the relentlessly fraudulent pursuit of relevancy (or whatever), many of our institutions of higher learning have abandoned the curriculum of yore and burdened themselves with the rebellious idea that anything can be turned into a learning experience.
I recall during my first and last year at Wesleyan University, the gates of the inferno manifested in our college curriculum. In that year, a class simply called "Pornography" sought to make some investigative headway into the industry, its literature, and its culture. And surprisingly enough, kids paid $36,000 a year in tuition to do so. I am certain picking up a video rental membership would've spared them a buck or two. The course, which caused a bit of outrage among endowment funding alumni, included elements of video, fiction, and photography. And like all things academic, they even had guest lecturers: porn stars. A Hartford Courant article reported:
"Porn stars now work the college lecture circuit. Performance artist Annie Sprinkle, who packed a Wesleyan auditorium Sunday, extolled the value of prostitution and told students, 'The answer to bad porn is not no porn, but to try to make better porn.'"
It's no wonder our college degrees are failing us with such repugnant refuse being espoused as intelligent. The culmination of the course was a final assignment whereby students were instructed by Professor Hope Weissman to "Just create your own pornography". My beloved school would've been better off just calling the class "Hedonism 101".
I began with this story because in more recent events, Syracuse University has decided to throw its hat in the ring of the battle between reason and stupidity. As much as it pains me to admit it, I think stupidity might be winning.
When you think of rapper Lil' Kim, you don't think of the word "class" (in either meaning of the noun). But according to CNN, Syracuse recently introducted a course titled, "Hip-Hop Eshu: Queen B**** 101 -- The Life and Times of Lil' Kim". According to instructor Greg Thomas, the course seeks "to look into things that gender studies have been trying to grapple with" and requires students to read Kim's song lyrics as literary texts and analyze her iconography in videos and performances. Move over Maya Angelou, there's a new poet in town. Kim has even made a guest appearance to speak to the class about her music. A better working title for this course would be "The New Misogyny: how women hate themselves".