Category Archives: orthodoxies (pedagogic)

Pinker’s piffle

The vogue word ‘pellucid’ is used by the half-educated to describe books such as these — or the even more tired ‘seminal’. This work is neither. It is humbug.

Dalrymple writes that pedagogically, disapproval of standard grammar

has become almost an orthodoxy.

A very smelly one.

In his preposterous book The Language Instinct (1994), the popular scientist and purveyor of pap Steven Pinker argues that, because all forms of human language have their rules, a standard language is, as Dalrymple puts it,

only a language with an army and a navy, as it were.

Whatever else may be said of this view, says Dalrymple,

it is certainly socially conservative in its effects.

Dalrymple points out that to discourage impoverished children from learning a standard language

is to ensure (unless they become sportsmen or the like) that they remain impoverished for the rest of their lives, not only economically but most likely in intellect.

Dalrymple observes that

to be intelligent but not to have the tools to be able to use one’s intelligence is a terrible fate, and dangerous too.

A spouter of rubbish

screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-12-50-25The noted bodybuilder Asao B. Inoue, editor of Muscle Invasion magazine and professor of writing at the University of Tacoma in the state of Washington in the USA, writes like this:

Antiracist writing assessment ecologies explicitly pay close attention to relationships that make up the ecology, relationships among people, discourses, judgments, artifacts created and circulated. They ask students to reflect upon them, negotiate them, and construct them. Antiracist writing assessment ecologies also self-consciously (re)produce power arrangements in order to examine and perhaps change them. When designing an antiracist writing assessment ecology, a teacher can focus students’ attention on a few of the ecological elements discussed, which inter-are. This means addressing and negotiating one element, say the part of a rubric, means you are addressing others, such as power relations and the ecological places where students problematize their existential writing assessment situations.

Dalrymple comments:

Cicero said that nothing was so foolish that some philosopher had not said it. This is just as well for us journalists, because it gives us such easy targets when we have deadlines to meet and no time to think, which is most of the time. The targets are becoming easier and easier. It is almost unfair, like mowing down a herd of deer with a machine gun. Massacre is not sport.

Not exactly Gibbon

Not exactly Gibbon

Still,

it must be done, or rubbish will rule the day; for the problem with the spouters of rubbish is that they are serious, in intent if not in thought. They want to change the world, and often succeed because at first no one takes them at their word. All that is needed for evil to flourish, Edmund Burke is said to have said, though no one can find where or when exactly, is for good men to do nothing.

Inoue, whom Dalrymple describes as

a deeply conventional corrupter of youth,

has

delivered himself of the pseudo-original opinion that American grammar is inherently racist.

screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-12-58-35Dalrymple writes:

It might be thought that a man like Professor Inoue could do little damage. It is unlikely that ghetto youth will ever go on the rampage shouting Problematize our existential assessment situations! It has other problems on its mind, such as police brutality and the price of crack.

The problem is that Inoue

probably demands of his students that they reproduce his thoughts—or rather, opinions. Professor Inoue is not alone in his disapproval of standard grammar, far from it: Pedagogically, it has become almost an orthodoxy.

The professor goes in for polysyllabic pseudo-ratiocination

The professor goes in for polysyllabic pseudo-ratiocination

Whatever else may be said of this view,

it is certainly socially conservative in its effects, for to discourage impoverished children from learning a standard language is to ensure (unless they become sportsmen or the like) that they remain impoverished for the rest of their lives, not only economically but in intellect. To be intelligent but not to have the tools to be able to use one’s intelligence is a terrible fate, and dangerous.

Absurdity in the modern world, says Dalrymple,

is not just funny (though it is funny); it has harmful effects. Politically correct thinking seems to have insinuated itself into the nooks and crannies of our culture. People who have utterly conventional thoughts by the standards of political correctness think they are daring, and that subversion consists of saying what everyone else (everyone in le tout Paris sense of the word) says.

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