Jocks In, Academics Out

  • How that college in Florida is transforming itself to focusing on jocks, rather than academics;
  • How at least one commentator thinks Trump is doomed and will go to jail, while I’m not so sure;
  • Then several items about conservatives’ explicit homophobia, their simplistic take on the “war between good and evil,” and the increasing evangelical take on Jesus’ teachings as “weak”.

NYT, Michelle Goldberg, 14 Aug 2023: At a College Targeted by DeSantis, Gender Studies Is Out, Jocks Are In

History is full of authoritarian regimes whose early steps are to dismantle institutions that teach anything except the party line.

In two weeks, the new school year will begin at Florida’s New College, the progressive public liberal arts school singled out by Gov. Ron DeSantis for cultural transformation. Returning students will find an institution that is increasingly unrecognizable.

Over a third of the faculty members have left. Many of last year’s students are continuing their education elsewhere. Hampshire College, a small private liberal arts school in New England, has offered financial aid to New College students so they can transfer without tuition increases. Thirty-five plan to attend Hampshire this fall, and 30 more have inquired about doing so in the spring, a large number, given that last year New College had fewer than 700 students. Last week, New College’s leadership announced that it was moving to abolish the gender studies department. Chris Rufo, the culture warrior whom DeSantis put on New College’s board of trustees, boasted that it would be “the first public university in America to begin rolling back the encroachment of gender ideology and queer theory on its academic offerings.”

And the athletes will get better accommodations than returning, academically-oriented, students. Given the prevalence of men in sports, the college necessarily has to apply a different kind of gender ideology. Goldberg concludes:

But gender parity is not necessarily compatible with a pure academic meritocracy, which Rufo claims to prize. Women are outpacing men in education in many parts of the world, including Saudi Arabia and Iran. In Hungary, nearly 55 percent of university students are women, leading the government to warn about the “feminization” of higher education. Selective American colleges tend to have more female than male applicants; to maintain something approaching a gender balance, some have adopted lower standards for men. In other words, it often takes deliberate intervention — one might call it affirmative action — to create a student body in which women don’t predominate. New College isn’t jettisoning gender ideology. It’s just adopting a different one.


It would be pretty to think so, but I doubt this will ever happen. Millions really *would* riot in the streets.

Salon, Brian Karem, 17 Aug 2023: Folks, the wait was worth it: Donald Trump is going to prison, subtitled “Trump can’t come back from this: He will never be president again, and may well die in prison. The future awaits”

Finally. Donald Trump’s depravities are laid bare for all to see in a court of law.

With the latest felony indictments handed down by a Fulton County, Georgia, grand jury, former president Donald John Trump is accused of leading the “Fulton 19” — a loose assemblage of accused criminals also known as “The Enterprise” who face charges of trying to rig the 2020 election in Georgia.

Specifically, the “Enterprise” is accused of forgery, conspiracy to commit forgery, conspiracy to commit false statements and writings, filing false documents, influencing witnesses, conspiracy to commit election fraud, conspiracy to defraud the state, impersonating a public officer and a host of other charges.

Buried deep in the 96-page indictment are some of the most disturbing accusations ever leveled at a president. Indeed they rival those levied against the New York mafia figures Rudy Giuliani once prosecuted while with the Department of Justice.

How low did Don the Con go? Pay attention, all you Christians: Trump is accused of using a pastor to intimidate witnesses.

It goes on and on.

Here’s the thing. I’m aware of the unintentional bias in the new media. Not so much a bias, as that especially social media filters the news according to algorithms based on what each person looks at.

For example, Facebook videos continues to serve me person-on-the-street interviews with Trump supporters and MAGA folks, to portray them as clueless about basic facts about the law and of recent history.

The one that struck me recently was of a middle-aged woman who simply disbelieved that all the court cases concerning the stolen election of 2020 had been dismissed by judges. With her unchanging bland smile, she asked the reporter how he knew that. Well, the statements from the judges. How do you know that? He couldn’t say the news reported it, because she would simply deny the news; they’re making it up, it’s a conspiracy.

There’s no discussing facts with these people. They are living in a fantasy world. This is a deep crisis of epistemology on the one hand; or a trivial matter for the evolutionary matter of survival, where “truth” about reality doesn’t usually matter. (And as I’ve speculated, this is perfectly appropriate for tribal binding and thus reproduction and survival of the human race. Just not for the identification of truth and reality.)


Two more items for today.

Media Matters, 17 Aug 2023: Newsmax guest: “We need to be more homophobic”, subtitled “Shemeka Michelle: ‘This is a war between good and evil'”

Follow-up from a previous item:

Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta, 17 Aug 2023: The guy who said evangelicals today see Jesus as “weak” is part of the problem, subtitled “Russell Moore’s Christianity is just as monstrous as the version he’s condemning”

My thought is to wonder how many Christians have *ever* followed Jesus’ teaching, considering all their social policies. The Christian religion is more about a social solidarity, than about welcoming the poor, the immigrants. No doubt Christians have endless rationalizations for their current political stances, but for outsiders, they just seem like hypocrites.

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