Thursday, March 21, 2019

Intellectual Diversity, Fox News, Aexandria Ocasio-Cortez, And The Pygmalion Myth: A Minor Musing

Governor Kristi Noem has signed a bill that purports to promote intellectual diversity. Being the good conservative intellectual that she is, Noem surely will work hard to include expansion of a classic curriculum in addition to decrying the corrosive effects of Foucault's and Derrida's postmodern sophistry. (Were she writing this post, the Governor would surely take a moment to point out that sophistry, as is used here, is not merely pretty talk with no substance but a reference to the ancient Sophists who believed that truth was unknowable.)

One of the benefits of a classic education would be knowledge of the Pygmalion myth. Pygmalion feared women, so he created an ivory statute shaped as his version of the perfect woman. He then asked the goddess Aphrodite to make the statue a real woman. Aphrodite granted his request.

I was most recently reminded of the Galatea myth this morning when my Twitter feed featured this aclip of Fox News coverage of Aexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). The fearful folk at Fox are not content to brand AOC as a liberal. She immediately became a poster child for socialism. That's an old tactic, but a Democrat who is merely a liberal or a socialist is not a Fox News commentator's or a former Republican presidential candidate's idea of a perfect Democratic woman.

This morning Mike Huckabee and Fox and Friends completed their transformation of a freshman congresswoman who frightens them merely because she knows how to use social media. She is their perfect Democrat, a liberal, socialist Manchurian Candidate. Clearly, AOC is an empty suit who is being fed the questions she asks at hearings.
For Noem and her Trumpist ilk this unsubstantiated, fear-based rumor and others like it will pass for intellectual diversity. Explanations that put the rumor in the context of a long trend of trying to create a perfect woman who doesn't cause men to fear her will be called liberal bias.


Anonymous said...

This intellectual diversity solving yet another problem that does not exist. Does this mean our Universities can now be used by the crazy fringe to bring in Anti-vax speakers for an official event? Climate Change deniers? Islamaphobic/Xenophobic grifter speakers that no respected university would never give these people a platform or legitimacy? All of it for the SDGOP, Noem and legislators to distract from real issues and retain power?

When I read this intellectual diversity bill signed into law I am leaning towards advising prospective tech or college students to either leave South Dakota or not consider South Dakota for their educational prospects.

larry kurtz said...

How frustrating it must be for conservatives like Stace Nelson and Steve Livermont to have establishment Republicans in the South Dakota legislature encouraging intellectual diversity on campus while ridiculing and stifling it in the statehouse. Little of their agenda was passed during the 2019 session so principled conservatives in South Dakota really have nothing to lose by leaving the SDGOP for a viable third party.

Anonymous said...

It is best to advise these students to go out of state and avoid South Dakota.