ever have someone tell you to stand up straight? look you in the eye when they're talking?

the closing of the american mind by Alan Bloom — or — the author’s admission that he is old, useless and in the way.

Allan Bloom is a hysterical, raving, reactionary lunatic. He and his academia ilk are exactly the reason why education teaches kids nothing, because they know absolutely zero about the children they’re supposed to teach. mostly, this book is little more than a “get off my lawn” diatribe against any and all (race, sex, drugs, rock music) youth fascinations, blaming each of them in turn for the “Closing of the American Mind.”

Bloom continually condescends in the most irritating manner of the American intellectual elite; yammering on and on yearning for some lost set of ideals that never existed; kids who didn’t slack off. Americans who knew their place. Businessmen who were kind and good, not greedy, because they’d read French poets in school. Quoting Socrates, Plato, Tocqueville to bolster arguments that are pointless and stupid, Bloom completely fails to engage and communicate anything meaningful, which of course may be the real reason his own Ivy League students seem so disengaged. That thought, of course, would never enter the author’s mind in a million years. With guys like this, it’s everyone else’s fault you know.

Built on a false notion, this book can never succeed. However, that doesn’t stop the author from telling us all the ways in which we’re so stupid and he’s so fucking smart. Bloom’s problems? Liberalism. Integration. Equality. Without a class and caste system, youth have no set place! No reason or need to struggle! No reason to look up to the “elite” class! Kids these days, they accept everybody without prejudice! That’s wrong! Because, because now we have women thinking they can learn stuff! Make decisions about things old men like me have already decided. And ask men out on dates and nobody blinks an eye! And black people! Right there! On campus! The horrors!

That all being said, some of it in fun, the author does make some interesting observations. Observations of which I happen to agree with. For example, education has turned into glorified career training. Students are no longer being taught foreign languages, art or music — their education is much less rounded — but further missing are basic skills such as composition and critical thinking. The reasons for this are many, teaching to a test, classroom over-crowding, budget cuts, and we need more champions of the complete educational experience. However, puffy-chested, hyper-educated egotists do nothing but damage that important message.

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