Saturday, December 5, 2015

Are you one of “the 17,” or are you 18, 19, or 20?

British Dictionary definitions for Balkanize:


1.  (transitive) to divide (a territory) into small warring states

2.  to divide (a group or organization) into small factions

If you follow financial and economic matters, you’re probably familiar with the term “leading economic indicators,” which contrasts them with their relatives, the “trailing economic indicators.”  The former, of course, are interpreted as predictive of future trends, while the latter characterize recent history. 

In the same fashion, there are “leading cultural indicators” and “trailing cultural indicators.”  We doubt these terms are unique to us, but if you want to think we just coined them, knock yourself out.


Here in Brunswick, whether you realize it or not, we’re fortunate to have first hand glimpses of these indicators.  We refer, of course, to Bowdoin College, the boot camp where future leaders of the culture wars are trained in the ways of cultural combat, ranging from hand to hand techniques, to larger scale methods of mass cultural destruption.

In this steaming pile of intellectual compost, where young human seedlings are nurtured with untested and sometimes deviant ‘organic’ fertilizers of the mind, the often startling results are on full display, if only you look.  

We do our looking primarily through the student newspaper  - The Bowdoin Orient – where the fruits, vegetables, and nuts of the Bowdoin ‘garden of the mind’ are frequently displayed and discussed.

Here’s an elementary example from the most recent issue’s Security Report:

Wednesday, December 2:  A student reported seeing a suspicious character walking near Baxter House.  It turned out to be just a suspicious-looking faculty member.

(Ed. note:  the above photo of a plunger-headed chap is, for those with a good memory of Other Side past classics, reminiscent of one showing Bowdoin Professor Vladimir Duhovnikoff similarly adorned; said photo has seemingly been expunged from the digital universe, and with good reason.)

Moving along to the real point of our discussion, we assert that today’s political landscape, and the culture at large, is wholly based on and driven by ‘identity group’ considerations.  Nowhere is this more apparent and active than on college campuses, as evidence by the shining example right here in town.  This is in keeping with the broader national landscape, which grew in large part from the seedlings grown in academia.  And such seedlings have now become invasive species thanks to the multiplicative effects of ‘social media.’  Which should really be treated as an infectious social disease of the new age.

We submit that the identity group structure, especially on campuses like Bowdoin, is Balkanization on a personal level.  It’s driven by the dominant grievance mentality of our day, and the victims so represented seek appeasement in what ever form they can compel from those who govern their lives.  As you might expect, the more appeasement that issues forth, the more grievances that follow.

Just take a look at recent events at Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, MIzzou, and other bastions of academic freedom, intellectual exploration, and “learning.”  We don’t know how well Bowdoin’s new President, Clayton Rose, had prepared himself for the realities of the college experience, but he’s up to his intellect in it now! 

And he’s already bowing obediently to student pressure, real or not.  He knows if he doesn’t demonstrate suitable obeisance, he could be gone in a flash, if only to quell student protests.  Witness this report:


You can infer what you wish from the subtleties of the wording employed here; we certainly have, and in our view, he’s already admitting guilt on behalf of the college, and appropriate consideration will have to be forthcoming.  The only question is how far it will go, and how it will set the stage for further repentance.

Now take a look at this item from the same front page, which gave rise to our title for this post:


Note that there are already 17 various campus groups defined by Multi-cultural parameters of whatever sort are used these days.  We suspect most Side readers would have trouble coming up with more than 10 labels for such groups, which just shows how uneducated and insensitive most of us are.  17 even puts the Balkan region to shame.

Still, we ask if you are one of the 17, or whether three of five (or even more!) groups would need to be created to see that the interests of YOUR identity group would receive equal billing and consideration.  How we would love to see a listing of the 17.

On second thought, perhaps not.  Instead, we could keep ourselves busy looking at the Bias Incident Display.  You see, if you thought the Bowdoin Campus was an enlightened “space” when it comes to such things, you would be wrong.


Some excerpts:

Another recounts a sexual encounter during which the author felt “fetishized and unsafe” because the man she was with would repeatedly ask her if she were a lesbian, as he had seen her name on the OutPeers list. “I repeatedly told him no…[he] was fixated on my queerness,” the story read.

We’ll file that one under “reaping what you have sown.”

One story explained, “Telling the stories and incidents that have happened to me on campus cannot begin to describe the pain I feel inside.”

No doubt the campus is a reflection of the local community, with a soupcon or two of added refinement and dignity.  Only time will tell.

Anyone up for occupying council chambers and demanding something?  It doesn’t matter what, as long as it’s SOMETHING!  ANYTHING! 

To right historic wrongs.  And anyone who denies they’ve occurred needs to step down from office.  NOW!  Power to the people!

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