And all this time I was taking physics classes!

07Jan07

Here’s one that caught my eye reading the L.A. Times: A conservative organization called Young America’s Foundation (YMA) has published their annual ‘The Dirty Dozen: America’s Most Bizzare and Politically Correct College Courses.’ As the [L.A.] Times noted, Southern California universities had a strong showing, with Occidental College’s course titled “The Phallus” leading the way as ‘the most bizzare class of 06-07.’

I enjoyed reading the list for their funny course titles. UC Berkeley got a ‘dishonorable mention’ for its course “Sex Change City: Theorizing History in Genderqueer San Francisco.” I thought Stanford’s popular “Rock, Sex, Rebellion” course would make the list, but I now see that it had no chance against Cornell’s similarly-titled-but-less-inspiring “Sex, Rugs, Salt & Coal.” The most politically charged course title I found was “Taking Marx Seriously: Should Marx be given another chance?

Anyway, the YMA seems pretty peeved about these courses, claiming that they represent a dumbing down of the curriculum and ‘leftist activism’ indoctrinating students. It took me a while to realize this since I had originally thought the list was meant to be more like “funny courses that are actually offered!” I’m not really very interested in writing about politics here, so I’ll leave it at that.

I can’t help mentioning, however, a parallel (but totally unrelated) critique of “String Theory for Undergraduates courses.” Maybe if someone developed a “Queer String Theory for Marxists course there would be some overlap between the two posts. (The curriculum would include homo-erotic string theory and the egalitarian population of the landscape as a way of overthrowing the bourgeoisie principles of naturalness).

As an unrelated aside that’s somewhat relevant, I’d like to congratulate the Caltech basketball team for breaking an incredible 207-game NCAA game losing streak against Bard College. Caltech is a Division III team that offers no athletic scholarships and whose players often do not have much prior experience with the sport. As an internationally renowned center for mathematics and science, however, I imagine there’s a corner of each Caltech student’s heart that is sad to see that streak go.



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