…that I was given a televised tour of the home of a nonagenarian who stayed sharp by practicing a sport she had once competed in at the 1924 Olympic games. She wore a black one-piece swimsuit and a jeweled turban. The game she played was called Trunk; she used a paddle — also bejeweled — to hit a tiny white plastic ball up against a mirror rimmed in incandescent bulbs. She hit the ball back to herself again and again with amazing speed and precision. The interview went awry when she began to complain of how the Chinese had stolen the game, added another player, and turned it into ping pong. She used racist language unselfconsciously and never missed the ball.
Now she is a young woman. She and her lover are flying small airplanes over a field, diving and swooping like mating birds. The planes land and become hatchback 1978 Honda Civics. She rolls hers down a ravine, over a dock, and into the ocean, but effortlessly swims free, because she is an Olympic athlete. Her lover, driving the other car, picks her up, and they watch her carplane sink into the moonlit bay.
First, you defund public higher education. Second, you deprofessionalize and impoverish the professors (and continue to create a surplus of underemployed and unemployed Ph.D.s). Step Three: You move in a managerial/administrative class who take over governance of the university. Step Four: You move in corporate culture and corporate money. Step Five: Destroy the Students.
It’s a pessimistic but accurate assessment of the decline of the public university. The post suggests that political organization might reverse some of this process, but today I feel less than sanguine about such prospects for improvement.