The University of Sheffield has produced a video claiming that Shakespeare, Blake and Woolfe were “not necessarily the best,” but are only studied because of racial bias [they might have a point with Woolfe – ed.]
When I was younger I wanted to be an academic. I loved literature, and thought there could be no better job than sharing the pleasures of reading the best and wisest works of the past with the generations of the future.
I was a geek from a working class background, a late reader who became an obsessive reader. It’s why I did a BA, an MA and a PhD. I really believed in the ‘life of the mind’ and that it had some value.
Today, I have a pretty broad loathing of academics and universities. It seems to me that they were given something beautiful and precious. They have a relatively easy life, not a rich one perhaps but a comfortable enough living, and they get to enjoy the greatest works ever written.
They accepted a task as custodians of this treasure house of knowledge and creativity. They promised to defend and protect a cultural legacy, to pass it on with fresh insights and commentaries, to think deeply about the even deeper thoughts of our ancestors. In their teaching, a love of this heritage of literary splendours should be the most fundamental and abiding principle, the guiding star of all their efforts. It is not a lot to ask. Just respect what you have been given. Try to get others to share that respect.
Instead the custodians have become the barbarians. They don’t add fresh thought or wisdom. They sneer at minds far greater then their own. They teach an obsession with race and a rejection of objective aesthetic standards. They praise the trivial if it confirms their own ideological prejudices, and they denigrate and demean two and half thousand years of culture and learning. They produce sad little robots in their own image, a production line of fucking arrogant fools, and call this progress.
Today if you find an idea that is vile, noxious, hypocritically racist, demeaning to both the dignity of man and the spirit of rational enquiry, it is almost certain to come from a university and to have been born in the squalid imaginings of an academic. They join politicians and journalists in forming an unholy trinity of professions who have largely betrayed the reasons for their existence. I’d add lawyers to the mix but they were always there to twist the spirit of the Law and divert the course of natural justice.
Of them all, the academics are the worst.