Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

"You look familiar. Have I threatened you before?"

“Look, Madam,” we might begin, “at the newspapers on your table. Why, may we ask do you tale in three dailies, and three weeklies?” “Because,” she replies, “I am interested in politics, and wish to know the facts.” “An admirable desire, Madam. But why three? Do they differ then about facts, and if so, why?” To which she replies, with some irony, “You call yourself an educated man’s daughter, and yet pretend not to know the facts–roughly that each paper is financed by aboard; that each board has a policy; that each board employs writers to expound that policy, and if the writers do not agree with that policy, the writers, as you may remember after a moments reflection, find themselves unemployed in the street. Therefore if you want to know any facts about politics you must read at least three different papers, compare at least three different versions of the same fact, and come in the end to your own conclusion. Hence the three daily papers on my table. [...] Compare the views, make allowances for the distortions, and then judge for yourself. That is the only way. Hence the many newspapers on my table.”
-Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas (Chapter 3)
I was pleased to see that the Winter 2003-04 Smith Alumnae Quarterly focused on international issues; it’s crucial for Americans to learn more about the rest of the world and how we are perceived. However, I was dismayed that the “Faculty Perspectives on America’s Place in the World” were all extremely liberal viewpoints. Where’s the diversity of opinions, which Smith supposedly cherishes?
     Professor Bukovansky’s essay characterizes the United States as acting unilaterally (not true), and makes no mention of the inability of the U.N. to deal with dictators who oppress and torture their people, or to prevent proliferation of nuclear arms to rogue states. Professor Fantasia declares that the United States has “the most brutal and unforgiving socioeconomic order.” Compared to whom exactly? What an absurd statement! Professor White relays the media coverage in Spain during the Iraq war yet never wonders if the Spanish media might be equally slanted as American coverage. The entire tone of that section was quite damning of the United States, with no alternative options offered.
     Aren’t colleges supposed to help students learn to think critically and independently? Couldn’t the Quarterly find one professor at Smith to offer an alternative (conservative) view of international affairs? There are, in fact, many people in the Middle East who praise our intervention in Iraq.
     The Quarterly simply did not provide a well-rounded view on this topic, but instead was a forum for typical leftist ideology. If that reflects the nature of discourse in Smith’s classrooms, then Smith students are being shortchanged.

Mary Beth Hayes ‘80
Chelmsford, Massachusetts

[from Smith Alumnae Quarterly, Summer 2004]
The Weekly Standard talks about "punitive liberalism." My father writes:
There are a lot of things wrong with this article but I think the idea of "punitive liberalism" gets at a real truth about a lot of people (one of the things wrong is the idea that Ronald Reagan defeated "punitive liberalism." On the contrary, it is alive and well, a minority in the country as a whole but a majority in high-powered universities, well represented in non-profits and the major media.).
Slate slams Michael Moore’s latest film in an article worth reading.

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