Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic calls it a creative writing class, but there was nothing creative about the political tirade delivered in it the other day by Professor Brent Terry. It was just more of the liberal cliche and paranoia that permeate academia.
Purportedly prompted by a review of poems involving civil rights, Terry launched into a rant of partisan indoctrination. It was captured on a student’s cellphone camera and posted by the Internet site Campus Reform, which says it aims to expose misconduct and bias in colleges.
“It’s possible that the Republicans will take over the Senate as well as the House,” Terry said. “We will live in a very different kind of country if that happens. Colleges will start closing up if these people have their way. ... Racist, misogynist, money-grubbing people have so much power over the rest of us. ... There are a lot of people who do not want black people to vote, do not want Latinos to vote, do not want old people to vote, or young people to vote.”
The Republican minority leader in the state House of Representatives, Norwalk’s Lawrence Cafero, interrupted the chamber’s proceedings to express offense on behalf of all Republicans. But Terry’s attack on Republicans wasn’t really the problem. Some Republicans may be just as Terry described them, many people think as he does, and anyone is entitled to his opinions.
No, Terry’s offense was simply his exploiting his government job for personal political ends. Presumably that’s not what Eastern hired him to do in a creative writing class, though one never knows with higher education in Connecticut and its many “tenured radicals,” for whom “academic freedom” is the freedom to get paid for doing something other than the work for which they’re hired.
Having been exposed nationally, criticized in the state House, and questioned by his superiors at Eastern, Terry apologized for going too far, but not before remarking that he felt “betrayed” by the student who exposed him — as if that student might not have properly felt abused by what Terry had to apologize for.
Terry’s apology apparently will close the matter and allow him to keep his job supposedly teaching creative writing. But he is lucky he didn’t try something that would have been really creative for college in Connecticut: a rant about how Democrats have already taken over the state, making it the tool of the politically correct but money-grubbing government and welfare classes and driving out the productive private sector.
A rant from the other side of the political fence would have upset far more people and probably cost Terry his job.
Terry might apologize more sincerely by broadening the curriculum of his class.
For not all great poetry and literature are politically correct, statist, and comforting to the current regime.
A few lines from Kipling’s “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” are a good antidote to the ideology of modern liberal arts: As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of man.
There are only four things certain since social progress began: That the dog returns to his vomit and the sow returns to her mire, And the burnt fool’s bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the fire; And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins, When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, As surely as water will wet us, as surely as fire will burn, The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.
Frost’s essay “The Figure a Poem Makes” might be even more helpful for students facing the political propaganda of college.
“More than once I should have lost my soul to radicalism if it had been the originality it was mistaken for by its young converts,” Frost wrote. “Originality and initiative are what I ask for my country.”
Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.