By Fred Reed
In the fall of the year, as leaves turned red and gold on the campus of U.PE, an aging professor stood on the podium to give the welcoming address to the new class of freshmen. His hair was white, his mien one of resignation and cynicism. He looked as though he would rather be almost anywhere else. He spoke as follows:
“Welcome to this…place. I trust, or fear, that you have settled in.
You are now officially in college. You need to know several things about this condition. You will not like knowing them, which is part of why they are important. I will elucidate.
To begin, you do not belong here. You are spoiled, self-important, narcissistic, infantile brats, unprepared for college work, in which you likely have little interest. In the past, students of your age were almost adult and trying to learn how to be adults. You are different, alas. Your chief interest for four years will be in avoiding adulthood. This will be easy because you are less mature than earlier students, less prepared academically, and less ready for university.
In all likelihood you will waste these four years of your time and mine in this institution, which once was a university—during which you will take absurd courses of your own devising, courses having nothing to do with the purposes of education, of which you know nothing. You may already have discovered English 205, Batman and the Legacy of Patriarchy, and Sociology 202, Subliminal Oppression and the Frontiers of Resistance. You will study such nonsense in a spirit of tiresome self-adulation. I will have to babysit you during this sorry process. I do not know who is getting the worse of the deal.
This state of affairs is not entirely your fault. Here is something else you need to know: This university is interested only in collecting your tuition and, having no spine, will accede to whatever your little hearts may desire. You will find that nothing is too silly, imbecilic, or pointless to engage your attention, and nothing too absurd for the faculty to permit. You will make fools of yourselves protesting about the rights of transgendered endangered hermaphrodites of color with AIDS and, like three-year-olds, you will throw fits over imaginary racism, rape, microaggressions, and all the other embarrassing gewgaws, glass beads, and shiny objects of the undeveloped mind.
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