Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On Unsolicited Opinion and Tapeworms

Hey!  It’s time for your weekly dose of depression!  What, you thought the economy was the real story?  Or Afghanistan?  No, friends, the real story these days is the death of virtue, and that is the story I tell.

From New York, we have the amusing case of Professor Scott Galloway of NYU’s Business School.  Galloway has the irritating habit of maintaining standards, of demanding excellence from his students, of knowing personally what it takes to succeed in life.

So a student showed up an hour late to his first class and, in accordance with his If-you’re-more-than-15-minutes-late-don’t-bother-rule, he kicked the student out.  Oh, Professor Galloway, did you expect this incident to go away without the obligatory whining and sniveling?  You are a teacher aren’t you?  Presumably you have met people in their twenties.  The student’s email explanation:

As of yesterday evening, I was interested in three different Monday night classes that all occurred simultaneously. In order to decide which class to select, my plan for the evening was to sample all three and see which one I like most. Since I had never taken your class, I was unaware of your class policy. I was disappointed that you dismissed me from class considering (1) there is no way I could have been aware of your policy and (2) considering that it was the first day of evening classes and I arrived 1 hour late (not a few minutes), it was more probable that my tardiness was due to my desire to sample different classes rather than sheer complacency.

I have already registered for another class but I just wanted to be open and provide my opinion on the matter.

To be clear, this little incident is making the web rounds because Galloway’s response to this email is a spectacular smackdown.  What is actually newsworthy, however, are the assumptions by which Student X lives and dies:

(1) The most important criterion for making choices is “What I like most.”

(2) It is inconceivable that I, as a paying customer, should be denied my right to “try before I buy,” regardless of circumstance.

(3) Being unaware of the rules exempts me from being punished for breaking them.

(4) My unsolicited opinions and feedback are always valuable.

Good Lord, this generation is simply beyond parody.

Next, we have the charming story of Angie the Anti-Theist, who is live-tweeting her abortion.  Maybe I should let her tell you about it:

Angie wants to de-mystify the abortion process, remove the shame, stuff like that.  Let you know that it’s okay, anyone can do it.  In case you’re wondering, this is the New Courage:

Angie Jackson is the first person that I know of who has live-tweeted her abortion on Twitter — if I am incorrect about that, smart Frisky readers, please correct me in the comments — and I think it’s brave of her to share something that will make her a bulls-eye for anti-choice activists. Obviously, people who are against abortion are criticizing Jackson on Twitter and on her blog, calling her a “killer” and all those things. It takes a certain toughness to not allow oneself to feel judged by strangers and a certain magnanimousness to want to help other people even while being judged. 

Brave, Tough, magnanimous.  Angie the Anti-Theist is a Byronic hero, carrying the torch of self-expression into digital frontiers.  This is how she tells it on her blog:

This is not a child; this is a squatter which could potentially become a child. Or kill me. Maybe even both. None of those are outcomes I'm frankly interested in.

This may sound... cold? At the moment, it's hard to care what anyone else thinks. I know this is the right thing to do in this circumstance, and I won't be regretting this later. I love my son & I'm glad I have him. When I was pregnant before, I *felt* like I was carrying a baby, the little boy I had always wanted. Right now I feel like I have a tapeworm or some kind of horrible infection. Maybe the hormones aren't working right yet or maybe I'm practical.

I honestly don’t even have the heart to snark this.  I was originally going to highlight the selfishness, the navel-gazing, and the obscene diction, but I can’t.  This isn’t funny; it’s sad.  Here’s a woman who was brought up in a fundamentalist cult, who escaped, and who turned to atheism-by-way-of-American-consumerist-hedonism to deal with the psychological fallout.  Angie’s story is just another gaping wound on the body of a dying America.  Her anger, her dysfunction, her deep insecurity cheaply masked as bravado—these are the symptoms of a pervasive cultural evil, a sickness unto death, an eschatological despair.  Ours is a universe where all the lights go out, where suffering knows nothing but elongation followed by brutal, Darwinian extinction, and, with not even the possibility of fashioning a satisfying response, our last flailing impulse is to make certain we film every last detail of the flaming wreckage in high definition and distribute the unedited director’s cut on YouTube.  This is a cultural suicide in need of violent expurgation, or, to put it more acutely, sacrifice.

Dear Universe, please accept this little tapeworm.  It seems like it’s all we have to offer.


Both stories ultimately via Instapundit.