Education

10 Unbelievable Things I Was Taught in College

November 25, 2010

Multiple Pages
10 Unbelievable Things I Was Taught in College

It used to be a big deal to have a college education. Back in 1960, about 8% of the population had one, and this chosen few deserved their popularity in the job market. The baby boomers decided this was unfair, so when they seized control of education in the 70s and 80s, they removed all the hard parts and rewarded themselves handsomely in the process.

Today, nearly four times as many Americans have degrees, despite students being expected to shell out upwards of $120,000 for a Mickey Mouse diploma that is totally useless in the real world. If you went to art school in the 1950s, you graduated knowing how to do photorealism with oils. If you got your art-school diploma last year, you graduated knowing how to put a tampon in a teacup. When education allows dissertations on Lord of the Rings, we end up with a culture where The New York Times sees nothing wrong with telling us to think of sanctuary cities as “where Keanu Reeves was trying to get to in ‘The Matrix’.”

How did we get here? Because people who say the following things are in charge of our education:


1. ERNEST HEMINGWAY IS NOT AN ERNEST HEMINGWAY EXPERT

In an American Literature class, the professor told us The Sun Also Rises was boring on purpose. Apparently, Hemingway was trying to capture Europe’s useless frivolity from the 1920s—or something. I had read elsewhere that Hemingway loved every minute of his time over there, and when I said as much the teacher replied, “In this class we go through the author’s intentions and into what the book actually was.”

What I learned: Hemingway should have taken a Hemingway class.


2. THE UNIVERSE IS 90% WATER

With the death of math came the arrogance of liberal arts. Suddenly, sociology professors were telling students about complex astronomy as if it was all common sense. In attempting to prove we are all the same, a professor uttered the above quote. I think she was headed for “Humans are all 62% water” and took a sharp left turn at “I have no idea what the fuck I’m talking about.” As she rambled on, the rest of us sat back in our chairs and wondered things such as, “Wait, isn’t the universe 99.999% nothingness?”

What I learned: “Water” is loosely defined and can include gas, solids, and antimatter.


3. YOU DON’T EXIST

Though I received a BA in English, I took a lot of math courses in college because it made my parents happy. These classes were rational for the most part, but one time our professor went off on a tangent about how we don’t exist.

He told us that when something is infinitely small it is the mathematical equivalent to zero. When compared to the ever-expanding universe, he said we are infinitely small. Therefore, we don’t exist.

What I learned: The nine senses that insist we exist are full of shit.


4. OF COURSE, THIS IS ALL DONE WITH LASERS NOW; BACK THEN ALL WE HAD WAS A CATHODE RAY TUBE

This is the ONLY sentence I understood in a Philosophy of Science class where the professor mumbled unintelligibly like Uncle Monty for hours at a time.

My dad has a degree in physics, and when I showed him some of our assignments he ran to the Dean in a rage, only to discover the senile old coot had created an impenetrable force field of tenure for himself and his entire department. “There’s not much I can do about that, Mr. McInnes,” the Dean told my old man. “It’s the Flat Earth Society over there.”

“With the death of math came the arrogance of liberal arts.”

What I learned: Professors are always right and cannot be challenged by anyone, including their boss.


5. SEXISM CANNOT BE QUESTIONED

In a Philosophy of Feminism class (I know, I know) a young girl had the gall to put up her hand and say she grew up with six male siblings and never saw any kind of latent misogyny lurking around the male brain. Other students seemed excited about this idea and one asked, “If women do the same work for less money, why wouldn’t corporations hire them exclusively?”

The professor rolled his (yes, “his”) eyes and told us, “If you don’t accept that women are systematically and seriously oppressed in this society, you cannot be in this class.” The debate ended there.

What I learned: Women don’t choose the lives they lead and if they say they do, they’ve been brainwashed.


6. GRAFFITI ISN’T VANDALISM

It’s an expression. You see, the poor are muffled by the powers that be and have no choice but to scream their message from the brick walls that imprison them.

What I learned: If a restaurant owner pays $1,500 to replace the glass someone wrote their nickname on in etching cream, he is violating the First Amendment.


7. IT’S RACIST TO DISCUSS OVERPOPULATION

In an Environmental Science class I asked why we weren’t discussing overpopulation. Mother Nature can take a kick in the crotch from a few people, but when ever-expanding generations do it successively, she collapses. Unfortunately, you can’t criticize overpopulation without citing immigration as its cause, and lefties hate that. This is an issue that later split the Sierra Club in two and arguably started a civil war within the entire Green movement.

Then things got really weird. The professor implied I’m a racist. “Are you sure,” she asked with the tone of an aristocrat discussing cutlery blunders to one of her manservants, “you aren’t simply angry that it’s nonwhites who are, as you so deftly put it, ‘overpopulating’?” I actually was sure I didn’t mean that because I had no idea whitey was the only one not breeding.

What I learned: Math is racist.


8. ANDREW JACKSON LOVED KILLING INDIANS

About a year before he died, I heard Howard Zinn state those exact words during a talk in New York’s Cooper Union. I was catapulted back to the 80s, where professors cherished his People’s History and happily digested every word as fact, even though every word was nothing more than a politician’s emotions. The Trail of Tears wasn’t pretty, but the simple truth is that after 200 years of warring with the Indians the president said, “Like it or not, this is America now. You can become American or you can fight it.” The natives chose to fight and lost. The Indian wars raged on for another century. Not sure how you dug up a love of killing Indians from that.

What I learned: Our history is a bunch of drooling white sadists massacring innocent victims for sport.


9. PUTTING A FINGER IN SOMEONE’S EAR IS RAPE

Though this was taught in Women’s Studies, it was also a general understanding throughout the school. What started out as a way to destigmatize rape and encourage open discussion ultimately raped the word ‘rape’ of all its meaning.

First we were told that there’s no difference between assault and rape. The latter only seems like a bigger deal because of the taboo. If you feel that way, I highly suggest you try being the victim of both and get back to me.

You back? The rape was a little more invasive, wasn’t it?

Then we were told a man needed explicit permission for every move during an amorous encounter. After you put your hand on her leg you are required to ask, “Are you OK with this?” The end result was that intercourse felt a lot more like child molesting than it did a normal adult sex act. Eventually, we were told any touching that wasn’t clearly greenlit was considered rape, even putting your finger in someone’s ear (something we had been calling a “Wet Willy” since kindergarten). 

What I learned: I am a serial rapist.


10. IT’S OKAY TO HAVE AN ABORTION UP UNTIL A YEAR AFTER THE BABY IS BORN

Our Introduction to Philosophy professor was also the head of the Communist Party of Canada. He explained that the abortion debate hinges on when a fetus becomes human. Some say at conception; others will wait until the last trimester. He then argued one only becomes human when one displays “characteristics that do not include nonhumans.” Stay with me here: Monkeys can do everything an 11-month-old baby can do. They can feed themselves and move around the room and recognize faces. Therefore, a monkey is just as human as an 11-month-old. After about a year, the child’s capabilities surpass a monkey’s and thus it has no nonhuman peers. Only then can it be considered a human being.

What I learned: If you see a baby in a pram, it is perfectly ethical to walk over and brain it with a ball-peen hammer. If the mother starts screaming, she is clearly uneducated (poor woman).

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