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Inadvertent Comedy from the ASA, or, an Ecofeminist Does Milk

December 31st, 2013 - 5:59 am

The American Studies Association has been much in the news lately for backing an “academic boycott” of Israel.  That disgusting display of politically correct, anti-Semitic grandstanding has garnered the ASA some small portion of the obloquy it deserves.  As my PJM colleague Ronald Radosh pointed out here, the ASA picked on “the Middle East’s only existing democracy to protest.” The ASA’s obtuse and juvenile leftism has even embarrassed other elements of the academy: MIT recently joined Yale, Harvard, Brown, Brandeis, and other elite institutions in condemning the boycott, which, as MIT President L. Rafael Reif noted, “fundamentally violates the principles of academic freedom that are central to the excellence of MIT and American higher education.”

You may not know much about the American Studies Association. The small (5000-member) organization is known to many outside the academy as the “Anti-American Studies Association” because of its reliably backwater, reflexive leftism. In that, it hardly differs from many, perhaps most, other academic organizations in the humanities (or perhaps I should say the “humanities,” since such organizations are antithetic to the spirit of humanism in any normal sense). The Modern Language Association, to take one obvious example, has long been a virulent redoubt of politically correct, leftwing attitudinizing.

I have to admit that is has beem quite a while since I have given such rancid, misbegotten products of wayward affluence much thought. Having labored in that repellent vineyard long enough to write Tenured Radicals and The Rape of the Masters, I have “supped full with horrors” and figure I have done my bit for the cause of academic forensic pathology.

Every now and then, however, something truly egregious bubbles up from the dismal pit of pseudo-intellectual academic lucubration, some special gem of fatuous, wood-pulp darkening nonsense that even now, at the fag-end of Anno Domini  2013, has the capacity to spark a little frisson of nauseated wonderment in this jaded breast. As it happens, the latest such production comes to us courtesy of our friends at the American Studies Association, that’s to say it comes from its official literary organ, the American Quarterly. Perhaps your subscription to this pointless agglomeration of polysyllabic, reader-proof grievance-mongering has lapsed.  Mine has, too. But my fellow connoisseurs of repellent academic nonentity will not want to miss “Toward a Feminist Postcolonial Milk Studies,” by one Greta Gaard, “an ecofeminist writer, scholar, activist, and documentary filmmaker.” (According to an opus called Ecocomposition: Theoretical and Pedagogical Approaches, she is “one of the most influential ecofeminist scholars.” Ponder that.)

You might think I am making all of this up, that I somehow confused The Onion with the official publication of the American Studies Association.

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Top Rated Comments   
Since the 21st century will transition 3rd world economies into the 20th century, Ms Gaard needs to examine milk from the cows, where all those kids will be getting it. My sister runs a 250 head dairy in SW Washington. I offer Ms Gaard an educational opportunity to examine the true "contexts" of dairy production. She should fit in immediately, as she's so familiar with the other product that cows produce.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
(According to an opus called Ecocomposition: Theoretical and Pedagogical Approaches, she is “one of the most influential ecofeminist scholars.” Ponder that.)
That would be like being one of the tallest munchkins.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's impossible to parody them. You could write a parody article, submit it, and they'd publish it as an earnest article. So we're left with mocking them.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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This piece should launch a thousand quips, no? I mean how good is it and how much does it highlight obviously and inferentially? I see now that the good feminist writing of which I have heard espoused so highly, instead of the latinesque crap that a man like Mr Kimball writes is economizing on period marks, shunting sentences together with commas and basic adverbs while filling the in-betweens with technical jargon and long and loosely flung adjectives.

Societies remain successful due to their diligence and technological level. Can't wait till her lot take full control of the science faculty and allocate equal properties to all elements, I mean poor hydrogen having just one electron, and that plutonium, well we will just have to marginalized it, it is nothing more than unbridled testosterone.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I had no idea that there were enough obfuscatory terms in a Buzzword Generator to produce 25 pages of this stuff. I'm impressed! Imagine what she would have produced on a more philosophical subject. The mind boggles.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I thought there might be some pictures of boobs. My mistake.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps there will be a sequel (or would that be prequel?) addressing the role of male bovines in causing the plight of female bovines. Although one might reasonably question whether a feminist perspective offers a logical foundation for inquiry into the role of bulls in the post-colonial exploitation of cows, the undeniable expertise of this eminent scholar in the digestive system of bulls makes such a follow-up study a natural. Ecofeminism forever.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't understand. Does she wish to stop milking cows? Has she spoken to the cows about this?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hereby nominate Greta Gaard for the 2013 Malcolm Muggeridge Award for reality surpassing all possible satire.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Words, words, glorious words. I cannot possibly convey how thoroughly I enjoyed the skill with which Kimball eviscerated the peacocks of the ASA. Truly the pen is mightier than the sword and surely the members of the ASA are sitting at home writhing in shame (if they had any) after such a thorough and contemptuous dismissal by a master of the written word. Hear, hear, Mr. Kimball!! It's how I imagine Da Vinci would critique a Warhol.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
It was Da Vinci, in one of his more misanthropic moments, who wrote that most people are of no more use than as machines for turning food into excrement. The mind boggles at what he would have written about this creature...
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good grief! This Greta woman certainly milked the post colonial dictionary to churn all those words. That excerpt goes right pasteurize. Why is she fixated on what happened since 1776?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Clearly, the woman is possessed of the milk demon and we need a biblical intercession.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh. My. God. All I can say is, I guess the postcolonial cows will appreciate this. I think. It wasn't clear from the prose.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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