Saturday, December 11, 2004

Missing It

There was recently a huge, ideologically bitter fight going down at my alma mater, which is to say that life is carrying on as usual up there. When one graduates from the Saint Mary's College/University of Notre Dame family, one departs with one's philosophical lightsaber sizzling from four years of deflecting such rhetorical laser blasts as "the administration must form a committee to ascertain student input" and "we must demonstrate our Catholic character" and, of course, the Official Ideological Trump Card of the college student ("I thought this was AMERICA.")

It is the mark of a good intellectual to be easily offended, and when the Left-Handed ProLifers of Saint Mary's are riled and the Notre Dame Rodeo Club is affronted, the screams of the wounded commence, largely in the form of screeds in the student newspaper. Editorial content seldom changes; most cries for justice consist of a mishmash of eleventh-century Catholic doctrine, half a semester of philosophy and a selection of Dave Matthews' more ponderous liner notes. Microsoft's thesaurus function is consulted, charges of racism/sexism/capitalism/homophobia are leveled, the First Amendment is called into the arena, and usually at this point a newer, even more offensive crisis appears over the corn of the Indiana horizon. We refer to this as "community dialogue."

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