I started reading The New York Post online because the rest of the news is mostly infuriating and depressing.
I started reading The New York Post online because the rest of the news is mostly infuriating and depressing. How many more articles do I need to read to confirm that America is basically having a giant “going out of business” sale? The Post has all the those stories too, but you have to do a bit of searching to find them. What’s front and center are always lurid and sensational stories that make great conversation starters. The comments are also hilarious — a mix of neanderthal bigotry, Basil Marceaux-esque calls for mandatory gun ownership and mobocratic bloodlust in response to child molesters and serial killers. Enlightening they are not, but it’s kind of refreshing to see a major newspaper allow that sort of peanut gallery lunacy on it’s website when story moochers like Gawker ban people for using the word “fag.”
So with all that in mind, imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this excellent article on how college freshman are being treated like American POWs in Korea. DePauw University in Indiana set up a “Tunnel of Oppression” where students were, “taught lessons such as how religious parents hate their gay children, Muslims would find no friends on a predominantly non-Muslim campus and overweight women suffer from eating disorders.” The University of Delaware required its RA’s to “ask intrusive questions about students’ sexual identity and write reports about their responses while lecturing students on environmentalism and telling them that ‘citizenship’ required them to recognize that ‘systemic oppression exists in our society.’” Meanwhile, Hamilton College ordered all freshman males to attend a seminar called “She Fears You” that is “designed to get them to acknowledge their personal complicity (after just a month on campus!) in Hamilton’s ‘rape culture’ and to change their ‘rape-supportive’ beliefs and attitudes.”
The article struck a personal chord as I had experienced something similar during my four years at art school. Having applied for a job as a curator to the student galleries, I expected a few one-on-one interviews about my previous work experience, professional ethics and knowledge of contemporary art.
Instead, I horrifyingly found myself involved in group activities about the nonjudgmental diversity of multiculturalism and holding the right party line when it comes to disabled tranny Inuits. One such activity had us designing a poster for Diversity Day with magic markers, which I assume was judged on artistic merit. During a brief break, my group discussed what ethnic groups we came from. This concluded with a half-black, half-Asian kid throwing his hands in the air and shouting, “I win!” Given that my English-Irish-Scots pedigree wasn’t going to win any medals, I crossed my legs and feyly flipped my bangs out of my face.
The highlight came when our group was given the hypothetical situation of a sinking ship with more crew than lifeboats and it was our duty to decide who should survive and who should drown. Like most ships on the high seas, the crew featured a disabled woman who had been beaten by her husband, a white toddler with AIDS, some sort of nonwhite person, some sort of nonwhite non-heterosexual person, a bisexual Hispanic gangbanger who was the abusive ex husband of the disabled woman and a white supremacist scientist with the cure for AIDS. As you might imagine, the white supremacist AIDS curer didn’t make it.
Outside of the anger I felt at having to endure this stupidity, I kept wondering what all this had to do with curating an art gallery. After all, I was applying for the only job there that actually had to do with the subject I was studying. The rest of the happy applicants were all going for RA positions. Apparently the college found that the desire for work experience wasn’t nearly as important as holding the right social-political line.
But why whine about it? Why bitch about some job I didn’t get in college that paid $9 an hour anyway? I mean if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! So here is my submission for a Socially Conscious Movie Night that colleges can arrange for incoming freshmen (and freshwomen).
First off is White Dog from 1982. It’s a bit like Cujo or Man’s Best Friend except the dog is a racist which is like ten times worse. That’s right, that dog bite just turned into a hate crime. Plus it’s got Kristy Nichol who has bipolar disorder, which must be worth something (you ableist creep!).
Next up is that tour de force of Nineties cinema: Higher Learning. Extremely relevant as it takes place on a college campus and features the all too common threat of neo-Nazi snipers.
ATTACK THE BLOCK
And there’s this year’s Attack the Block, which offers a more lighthearted plot compared to the grave seriousness of the previous two films. Nevertheless, underneath the jokes and action is the very real message that all underclass kids who mug for a living actually need is a good hug. On top of that, they may just be the last hope humanity has for global understanding, as recent events in England attest to.
Send “Open Mic” written/video submissions to SBTVC@StreetCarnage.com.