#DisruptClassics

It’s kind of really funny:

To justify this silliness, they’ll do some inane #DisruptClassics initiative and declare a bunch of YA novels by “gender fluid persons of color” to be the real classics.

The reason why this is being done, though, has nothing to do with race or anything of the kind. Latin and Greek are hard. It’s next to impossible to BS your way through them. Back at Yale, we were required to take Latin for our degree in Romance languages, and the graduate student union was obsessed with getting rid of the requirement. Latin was hard, and almost nobody passed on the first try. Similarly, the union wanted to get rid of grades because grades made things too hard.

The only thing that’s new here is that the students got smart, realized that the adults grow weak in the knees the moment you say “racial equity,” and are using this weakness to get one over on the idiot professors.

12 thoughts on “#DisruptClassics

  1. I really want to have Sanskrit or Arabic added to the requirements instead and then see them wriggle.

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  2. The only thing that makes Latin hard is not knowing anything about grammar, parts of speech, etc., before you start. It’s a logical, elegant language. Greek is harder because of the strange things it does with participles, but interesting, too. As to “racist,” check this out: https://www.bolchazy.com/William-Sanders-Scarboroughs-First-Lessons-in-Greek-P3955.aspx
    It’s really a teacher’s guide; you couldn’t teach yourself Greek from it without another textbook, or a teacher. But that’s the point, really. Scarborough not only knew Greek, he wanted to make it available to other black scholars and students.

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  3. My first degree was in Classics before I moved on to another Humanities discipline. I sometimes still read Greek and Latin, and feel a bit disappointed that I left the field. I then read these kinds of stupidities and the disappointment is gone. This “intellectual”, for example, was saying six months ago that requiring Classics students to read Latin and Greek is “cruelty and violence”: https://twitter.com/isisnaucratis/status/1334939498048872450

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  4. If they just wanted Classics majors to also learn more about the various Middle Eastern and North African civilizations that influenced Greece and Rome, well, great. Allow the option of taking Phoenician, Assyrian, Egyptian, or Avestan. Nothing wrong with reading old Persian texts to understand how Zoroastrian beliefs influenced major religions, and how Achaemenid geopolitical strategy shaped the world.

    But that’s not what this is about. We all know it.

    Also, how could anyone at a selective school like Yale argue with a straight face that Latin isn’t a valid requirement for a degree in Romance languages?

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    1. Right?? I have no idea how you can teach Spanish with no knowledge of Latin. It’s ridiculous. I find my knowledge of Latin to be infinitely helpful.

      But then again, these are the same graduate students who mocked anybody who cared about finding a job. It’s a trust fund crowd. Worrying about making a living is declasse.

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      1. On a very practical level any language can be taught without knowing its parent language. I doubt your English teachers knew much Old Anglo-Saxon.

        But if you want to engage in doctoral study of a language, yes, parent languages seem useful for context.

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        1. Studying a foreign language is actually the easiest way to learn formal grammar in your own language: it doesn’t let you “cheat” by just knowing what sounds right.

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  5. Are we going to see departments of engineering dropping their requirements for maths and physics, because racism? Is that next?

    I shudder to think what’s next, but something fishy is already going on in admissions to medical schools in the U.S. If you have the right skin colour you can get in even if your grades suck. Great start for a future doctor!

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