Grammatically incorrect

Propagandists in the classroom are a luxury that the poor can afford least of all. While a mastery of mathematics and English can be a ticket out of poverty, a highly cultivated sense of grievance and resentment is not.

-Thomas Sowell

Jeff Jacoby has a piece worth reading at Jewish World Review on the Rutgers English department debacle.
Is English grammar racist?

A slice (but RTWT):

Today, of course, Rutgers and its champions of “critical grammar” would regard Churchill’s emphasis on acquiring “the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence” as a primitive abomination. John F. Kennedy said of Churchill that he “mobilized the English language and sent it into battle”; there is little question that the power of Churchill’s well-wrought English rhetoric helped save Western civilization in one of its darkest hours. (The power of that prose also earned Churchill the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.)…

“In short,” observes David Bernstein, a university professor and head of the Liberty & Law Center at George Mason University,

the Rutgers English Department wants to make sure that students who come to Rutgers with a poor grasp of standard written English not only remain in that state, but come to believe that learning standard English is a concession to racism. I remember when keeping “people of color” ignorant was considered part of white supremacy.

Churchill’s majestic command of English was due, in part, to rigorous training. Training of the sort that instills discipline, perseverance and clear thinking; whatever the subject. Rutgers charges over $900 per credit hour to willfully deny this opportunity to its students. Because those virtues have been racialized.

Churchill’s profound grasp of rhetoric didn’t merely serve him well during Question Period, it played a critical role in keeping all of us – including Black, Indigenous, People of Color – from slavery under a global racist tyranny. Countless LBGTQ people live today because a virulently anti­gay totalitarian was defeated.

At Rutgers, though, it is no longer enough to vilify Churchill with slipshod fantasies of racism, sexism, and colonialism: Now add to his sins an exemplary command of language.

It might be useful to bring the news to Rutgers that among those who shared that facility are Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, and Martin Luther King.

Can’t say that

Yesterday, I wrote about Rutger’s efforts to eliminate grammar from English language studies, providing a couple of examples of how that might go askew:

“[Writing] “Protest, shootings, and arson,” rather than “Protest shootings and arson,” might pass in an Applied Critical Theory class where there is only one possible meaning…”

“A Masters (A word on the way out, and I don’t think we can use “He da man,” either.) in English is now a purely political credential.”

There is a long and growing list of words which are being assigned purely political application. One must be cautious in finding alternatives.

Here’s someone who wasn’t:
Why I decided to take the word ‘chief’ out of my CEO title to respect Indigenous people

Catherine Roome, the former CEO in question, is now is president and lead executive officer of Technical Safety BC.

I fear she didn’t take enough time to think this change through, even as a team formerly known as the Redskins provided an example of careful consideration by relabelling themselves as the Washington Football Team while working their way through the critical race linguistic minefield.

Ms. Roome’s new title of Lead Executive Officer has a couple of problems. First, the very concept of leadership presumes merit-based anti-egalitarianism. Second, and most damning, LEO is also a widely used acronym for Law Enforcement Officer.

Since we are allowed only one political meaning per term, I’d say law enforcement officer wins on seniority.

Now. On to “executive.”

One who can make significant decisions on their own authority. A position that coordinates and governs the action of others; supervisor

And “officer.”

One who has a position of authority in a hierarchical organization, especially in military, police or government organizations. A respectful term of address for an officer, especially a police officer.

These words would seem of limited use in our new woke world, and subject to banning at any moment.

One might think congratulations are due future holders of Rutgers English degrees for having improved job prospects as English Sanitation Clerks, except they will never have heard the words they’re trying to sanitize.

Bab’l, Towr of

Rutgers English Department to deemphasize traditional grammar ‘in solidarity with Black Lives Matter’

“Under a so-called critical grammar pedagogy, “This approach challenges the familiar dogma that writing instruction should limit emphasis on grammar/sentence-level issues so as to not put students from multilingual, non-standard ‘academic’ English backgrounds at a disadvantage,” the email states. [So long as they are not Asian.]

“Instead, it encourages students to develop a critical awareness of the variety of choices available to them w/ regard to micro-level issues in order to empower them and equip them to push against biases based on ‘written’ accents.””

Well, writing that in Ebonics would be an improvement. At least it would be less confusing about the dogma Rutgers no longer favors.

But, it’s not Ebonics I want to pick on here. Like any useful vernacular it affects the everyday language of most of the population. Words creep into accepted usage as the language naturally evolves. Still, there are standards for spelling, sentence structure and grammar that need not be hastily discarded by imposing Critical Theory memes.

It’s not that Rutgers is returning to rigorous grammar instruction, the dogma most of us would expect to inform University level English courses. They are abandoning grammar/sentence level instruction entirely.

An emphasis on grammar has a place in at least some University English courses, and certainly should be required for an English degree. Poetry, obviously, has different rules from prose, and Creative Writing 201 might encourage you to break rules. But to break them effectively you have to know what they are, and why they are. Entry to a University used to assume that incoming students did know.

But, in a rush to wokeness, Rutgers “”has moved past bias awareness and prevention and into a focus on “decolonization.””

Put more clearly, bias awareness has become insufficiently patronizing – we now need to let students know that whatever ideas of English they bring with them are as valid as any other ideas, because some students aren’t capable of learning. Because “white supremacy.”

The real irony is that the pedagogical change order was written by a Professor of English trying to impress his peers. If he wanted to help those who can’t grok English grammar he might have abandoned the critical theory box checking and used a comprehensible sentence structure. Instead, we have wordy, woke, Academiot jargon.

One might wonder how those downtrodden souls came to be in an elite college English program. Surely an inability to distinguish an adjective from an adverb should have funneled them into a Grievance Studies discipline (to maintain the fiction that English hasn’t become one), where nouns are regularly made into verbs.

Ignorance of commas: “Protest, shootings, and arson,” rather than “Protest shootings and arson,” might pass in an Applied Critical Theory class where there is only one possible meaning. But it could limit your chances of entering J-school at Columbia.

And, these days, not understanding pronoun disagreement could be fatal to your career.

Lest you think this sleight of hand racism is unique to Rutgers, let’s take a similar example from a Ball State conference:
Professor says grading, good grammar are examples of white supremacy

“White language supremacy, according to [Asao] Inoue, [associate dean of the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at Arizona State] is “the condition in classrooms, schools, and society where rewards are given in determined ways to people who can most easily reach them, because those people have more access to the preferred and embodied white language practices, and part of that access is a structural assumption that what is reachable at a given moment for the normative, white, monolingual English user is reachable for all.””

Translated: Grades should be given in mysterious ways (though with extra credit for the oppressed) to those who have the most to learn – whether they learn or not. We must assume these people can’t learn another dialect.

A Masters (A word on the way out, and I don’t think we can use “He da man,” either.) in English is now a purely political credential.

So, now I’m wondering about what happens when the “pedagogy” meets the rubric. Starting with why someone would pay over $900 per credit hour, plus room and board, for a English degree from Rutgers?

The English language is the remit (noun) of Professors of English. They are choosing to trash it.

What do CAGW and CCP virus have in common?

Models. Models built by sinecured credentialists for careerist advantage; enabling anti-human busybodies, corporate elites and autocratic politicians to demand policies commanding the lives of ordinary people.

That both sets of models, and the ensuing policies, have been failures is not a coincidence. Neither is the refusal of the busybodies, elites, or politicians to apply the policies to themselves.

For example, flying from their mansions to environmental conferences in private jets and ignoring social distancing in BLM marches.

Rounding up

I think you have probably heard that St. Louis lawyers Mark and Patricia McCloskey became a viral sensation when they displayed firearms to fend off a large, violent crowd of trespassers. No shots fired.

I immediately thought of Joe Biden’s advice on home defense:

“[If] you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.

It’s only my opinion, but I don’t think you should get too fixated on shooting through a door at something you can’t see. Maybe that’s how Corn Pop did it, but “C’mon Man!

Two rounds of 00 would open up your field of view (so you can see who you’ve shot) a bit more than would a .223 or 9mm round, but there’s no chance you’ll be able to patch that door.

In this case, the Biden surprise-your-neighbor method of home defense was inapplicable, since Mark & Patricia were not behind a door. They were already outside on their porch when the mob smashed down an iron gate.

The former Vice President had that covered, too:

“[I]f there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out and put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.

He made these suggestions in support of his contention that semi-automatic rifles with standard magazine capacity should be banned from civilian ownership. They aren’t needed for self defense because we have 2 round shotguns.

I thought adding “outside the house” was a nice touch. It was the only sensible thing he said.

The McCloskeys, fortunately, ignored Joe’s preferred weapon, blasted no entryways, and didn’t inflict random collateral damage on the neighborhood. Nor were they forced to perform a reload under the mob’s gimlet eye.

Mark McCloskey had an AR-15. Which he didn’t have to fire.

Had he followed Joe’s advice, I’m thinking he might have died. Two rounds from the shotgun and you’re obviously dry. The crowd either completely panics and runs, or they come for you. They have to run 40 feet. You have to get 2 rounds loaded with your fine motor control in shambles. Even if you make that reload, you won’t make the next.

So, in one sense Joe’s right, you don’t need 30 rounds. Or even 2. But you’ll appreciate the deterrent effect of larger capacity when several dozen Biden supporters show up and threaten to burn down your house with you and your dog in it.

In the snippets of the confrontation I watched, I thought Patricia was, let’s just say, inadequately trained. She stood by her husband in a desperate time, even though he was in nearly as much danger from her handgun as the mob.

She must have been very frightened. Needs must, training or no. She shouldn’t be criticized for ignorance of something she never thought she’d have to know. I would criticize her if she doesn’t now get some training. She knows now.

Reflecting on that, I wonder if her ignorance of muzzle control and trigger discipline actually helped disperse the crowd. Some of them discovered prudence.