Posted by Mary Grabar, April 30, 2013: Exiled: Stories from Conservative and Moderate Professors Who Have Been Ridiculed, Ostracized, Marginalized, Demonized, and Frozen Out is now on Kindle! Buy it here.
I would like to thank Mary for allowing me to publish her work. RK
Exiled contributor Malcolm Allen ("The Most Sacred Part of Them: Professors Behaving Badly") spoke recently at the Fox Valley Conservative Forum. He is pictured to the left, with the John Deere sign serving as a nice backdrop. Dissident Prof is heartened to hear about these forums, here in Georgia and in Wisconsin too! There still is a remnant in our population interested in issues beyond pop culture (and race, class, and gender)!
His talk is titled, "The Plight of Conservatives in Liberal Academia," and his dispatch is here:
On 23 April, 2013 I gave a talk on the above topic to the Fox Valley Conservative Forum—and now that I’ve written the date I realise that I forgot to wish my auditors “Happy Shakespeare’s Birthday!” and “Happy St. George’s Day!” With an e-mail list of three hundred or so names, the Forum is a local group recruiting its members from the “Fox Cities,” based around Appleton and Menasha in east-central Wisconsin, and possibly drawing a few from more distant places like Oshkosh and Green Bay. It begins its meetings with prayers and the Pledge of Allegiance and then there is a speaker.
I addressed the group for about thirty minutes, the basis of my presentation being the three most offensive examples of academic liberal loutishness I have encountered to date. Readers of Mary’s Exiled: Stories from Conservative and Moderate Professors Who Have been Ridiculed, Ostracized, Marginalized, Demonized, and Frozen Out will doubtless remember all three from my contribution. I said a little about my introduction to the necessity of line-toeing when I so far forgot myself as to give a talk about English women travellers in the Middle East at the University of West Virginia in the early nineties. Although I was, I think and hope, perfectly respectful to the travellers and to women writers and scholars generally, in my naïveté I did attempt a few mildly amusing stories about an admittedly eccentric group of females. The reaction was outrage, and I learnt exactly what my fellow-contributor to Exiled Martin Slann means when he writes about “eating alone.” Sitting alone and walking alone to and from later conference sessions as well. I said a little about the panel discussion held at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, where I have taught now for nearly twenty-three years, when I and my fellow conservative speaker were heckled, openly mocked, and, in my case, publicly hissed because we had doubts about the aesthetic excellence of The Vagina Monologues and the moral acceptability of alcohol-facilitated child rape and a favourable representation thereof. And I said a little about a speaker from another branch of the UW System I once heard publicly make caddish jokes about Condoleezza Rice’s private life as a single woman and who displayed a picture of her dressed as a dominatrix and whipping Dick Cheney. (This in a talk purportedly about Dickens’s Barnaby Rudge.)
But I was able to discuss some less dramatic examples of what it is like to live in Occupied Territory, apologizing in advance for the Eng. Lit. discipline-specific nature of some of them. I mentioned a decent, likeable, eighteen-year-old male student, doubtless a future good husband, father, employee, and citizen, who, in an otherwise perfectly acceptable essay about Beowulf, suddenly introduced the phrase “the objectification of women.” There are no women in this epic poem about beefy warriors and the necessity of hanging in there, I said, not entirely accurately but still. I mentioned another indoctrinated male student, again a good and likeable guy, who lamented the lack of “diversity” in David Copperfield! All those white-bread characters like David and Steerforth and Dan’l Peggotty! (Perhaps it is a sign of prejudice in the last named that he did not hang out with the Lascar sailors—is that word useable now?—who undoubtedly then formed a large proportion of the downtrodden sea-faring population in Yarmouth.) I mentioned the student who, in Composition II, presented me with a paper to the effect that the USA is an institutionally racist country. Her one and only source? A textbook she was using in another class. And I mentioned what happened to me when I once said what has to be said about Rigoberta Menchù—namely, that she is a fraud and a fabulist (I got angrily and protractedly glared at by someone who had previously liked me, not that worse things haven’t happened, as I have already pointed out). Widening our horizons a little, I observed that there are literally hundreds of scholarly journals that will never accept anything from my word-processor, and I quoted the rejection letters I would get were I so foolish as to submit to them (“fails to take into account issues of race, class, and gender”).
I had the unusual experience at this meeting of finding that I was popular and that nearly everybody agreed with me (one or two minor exceptions) and liked me for saying what I said. “Hey!” I thought to myself. “This must be what it’s like for liberals in the academy and the media all the time!"
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