In a blistering essay in the book section of The New York Times on Sunday, David Lehman skins, guts and chops into itty bitty pieces the academic elites in this country.
His report is aimed at broadening a discussion about poetry, which is regularly declared dead and unlikely to be revived.
But, in the course of that purpose, he has some scathing words about intellectual life in these United States. In the midst of his extended and finely argued rant, though, comes a stunning reference to an article in The Wall Street Journal written by Heather Mac Donald that says that UCLA has eliminated its core English requirements that students read Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton, requiring them instead to read "alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race and class."
In Lehman's mind, this coup "is but one event in a pattern that would replace a theory of education based on a 'constant, sophisticated dialogue between past and present' with a consumer mind-set based on narcissism and political self-interest."
The situation he describes throughout his essay is not just deplorable, but also scandalous.
Right-wing nuts don't have a corner on moral outrage. Just ask me.