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These College Kids Need To Wake Up Their Minds

August 26, 2015

This is simply a non-starter when it comes to a college education.   College should be about opening the mind to all sorts of thinking and if the kids are not ready to accept that responsibility they should go home and flip burgers.  Let their place in college be taken by someone who wants to embrace the world of learning.

As college students across the country stream onto campuses this week, Duke University’s The Chronicle reports that “some” members of the Class of 2019 were refusing to read a book assigned to them this summer as part of the elite school’s Common Experience Summer Reading program.

It’s unclear how many of Duke’s 1,750 incoming students skipped Alison Bechdel’s highly-acclaimed 2006 graphic-novel style memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. That anyone admitted to a top university would purposely ignore their first assignment is, first and foremost, sad. These students have denied themselves a great read. The book, beautifully written and illustrated, won numerous literary awards and inspired a Broadway musical that swept the Tonys this spring. It’s a bittersweet story detailing Bechdel’s life growing up with a closeted gay father “who killed himself a few months after I came out to my parents as a lesbian.” Heavy stuff, for sure, but higher education is about examining the heavy stuff. Through her unique lens, Bechdel explores the themes of family, growing up and self-acceptance; themes we all can relate to. 

What’s really disappointing, however, are the reasons students have given for refusing to read the book. According to The Chronicle, they think it’s pornographic. When I heard that, I grabbed my copy off the shelf to find the porn I apparently missed the first time around. I’m not sure how one labels a book pornographic without actually reading it, of course. Maybe it’s a new twist on the Stewart test: I know it when I don’t see it? Either way, it represents the antithesis of education, which requires both the opening of books and the opening of minds.

  1. tom permalink
    August 27, 2015 9:03 PM

    I didn’t remember your post on the trigger warnings, but this does demonstrate the degree to which this has gone.

  2. August 26, 2015 8:14 PM

    I do not think I have been selective on this topic. I hope I have not been.

  3. tom permalink
    August 26, 2015 6:52 PM

    Wow! Kind of selective outrage here. Colleges have been banning and interfering with conservative speakers and texts for the last decade–where have you been? It is the left which sanctions this behavior. Perhaps these kids just wanted a “safe space,” “trigger warning,” or one of the other covers for censorship that the left employs daily on universities.

    Perhaps they are just bored with enforced diversity and liberal fundamentalism.

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