Yes, I know. Tens of thousands of ordinary college students are lonely, full of rage, lost and frustrated. A few percent are psychotically disturbed, and some of them can kill. Our big factory colleges are alienating. Take millions of adolescents, and at any time there are bound to be quite a few confused and seething souls walking loose. Just visit downtown in any American or European city, and you can see all the lost and disturbed living in their private hells. And no, that doesn't excuse executing thirty-two innocents.
Still, I wonder --- was Cho taught to hate? Whatever he learned in his classes --- did it enable him to rage at his host country, to hate the students he envied so murderously? Was he subtly encouraged to aggrandize himself by destroying others? Was his pathology enabled by the PC university? Or to ask the question differently --- was Cho ever taught to respect others, to admire the good things about his host country, and to discipline himself to build a positive life?
And that answer is readily available on the websites of Cho's English Department at Virginia Tech. This is a wonder world of PC weirdness. English studies at VT are a post-modern Disney World in which nihilism, moral and sexual boundary breaking, and fantasies of Marxist revolutionary violence are celebrated. They show up in a lot of faculty writing. Not by all the faculty, but probably by more than half...
...The question I have is: Are university faculty doing their jobs? At one time college teachers were understood to have a parental role. Take a look at the hiring and promotion criteria for English at VT, and you see what their current values are. Acting in loco parentis, with the care, protectiveness, and alertness for trouble among young people is the last thing on their minds. They are there to do "research," to act like fake revolutionaries, and to stir up young people to go out and revolt against society. Well, somebody just did.
I'm sorry but VT English doesn't look like a place that gives lost and angry adolescents the essential boundaries for civilized behavior. In fact, in this perversely disorienting PoMo world, the very words "civilized behavior" are ridiculed --- at least until somebody starts to shoot students, and then it's too late. A young culture-shocked adolescent can expect no firm guidance here. But we know that already.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
James Lewis says Virginia Tech's curriculum is full of crazy ideas that may have set the stage for Cho Seung-Hui's violent rampage: