It’s easy to get fired from an American college these days. Just make some innocent remark that a member of a recognized victim group claims to find offensive and you’ll be on your way to the unemployment office pronto.
On the other hand, it’s really, really tough to lose your college teaching job by spouting off leftist slogans. Which makes Kevin Allred a very special guy. He is a white man who, for several years, taught a course in the Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University entitled “Politicizing Beyoncé.”
Judging by all accounts, it was a perfect example of a thoroughly ridiculous 21st-century humanities course, heavy on pop culture and political correctness and light on anything remotely resembling academic or practical value. It was a very popular course with the Rutgers student body, doubtless because it was less challenging than, say, Quantum Mechanics.
(Sample student comments from Rate My Professors: “Awesome professor! Doesn’t believe in grades and is very lenient. No actual homework.” “BEST. PROFESSOR. AT RUTGERS. Like the second class the computer wasn’t working and he cancelled class.” “He doesn’t even lecture, we watch one or two of Beyonce’s music videos and then we discuss them … super easy.” “SUPER CHILL! Like literally, he let us choose our final grade!”)
Allred had a sweet deal. After studying his Twitter and Facebook accounts and listening to his idiotic podcast, I can testify that he has very little in the way of intellectual heft to offer. Indeed, not to put too fine a point on it, he’s a silly drama queen whose mind, such as it is, is a ratatouille of left-wing ideological clichés.
Nonetheless, he had succeeded in landing a job teaching – or, rather, “teaching” – at one of the best colleges in the country. Note well that a far more highly qualified individual with moderate or conservative political views would find it tough, if not impossible, to secure such a gig in a Rutgers humanities department.
In short, Allred was one lucky fluff-head. But his ivory-tower idyll would not last forever. In November, Trump’s election victory unhinged him so much that comments he made on campus – and on Twitter – led to a visit to his home (in Brooklyn, where else?) by members of the NYPD, who took him to Bellevue for psychiatric evaluation.
“We were informed by Rutgers PD,” explained the NYPD in a statement, “that he made threats to kill white people.” Allred himself, in a piece published online last month, maintained that “[a]n anonymous complaint from a parent claimed I forced students to destroy an American flag, threatened every white student in class by saying I would shoot them all given the chance, then returned home and tweeted proof of my dangerous behavior.”
The tweet read as follows: “will the 2nd amendment be as cool when I buy a gun and start shooting atrandom [sic] white people or no…?”
Although the doctors at Bellevue sent Allred home, he was later visited (he says) by members of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. And Rutgers, after temporarily suspending him, gave him the heave-ho. In the aforementioned piece, in which he depicted himself (naturally) as a victim and rejected all the accusations made against him, Allred said that the whole episode “makes me want to teach harder, more ferociously, and more unapologetically than ever.”
Such is the marketability of his brand of twaddle in the academy these days, alas, that he actually managed to get another teaching job – this time at Montclair State University. It’s not Rutgers, but it ain’t McDonald’s, either.
Now, you’d think the administrators at Montclair would have been wary about hiring him, given his vow to “teach harder,” etc. But no – in the academy these days, a music-video-addled nitwit like this counts as a prize hire.
Anyway, things were apparently going smoothly enough until late July, when events in Washington apparently pushed poor Kevin over the line again. On July 27, he tweeted: “NO MORE WHITE MALE PRESIDENTS!!!” Later that day, apropos of the attempt to repeal Obamacare, he commented: “Mitch McConnell deserves to watch everyone he loves (if he has any feelings) die painful deaths in front of him with his hands tied.” The repeal attempt, Allred charged, “was/is an ongoing act of terrorism on the american people. the GOP is threatening to kill us all outright.”
The next day he tweeted that Trump was “building an army out of his base and he’s asking them to kill all the rest of us. i’m not being hyperbolic. HE HAS TO BE STOPPED.” Later that day he added: “this is the most literal recreation of Nazi Germany that could possibly take place.” And on July 29: “Donald Trump is a traitor and a terrorist.” Somewhere in there he also re-tweeted Kathy Griffin’s ill-advised picture of herself holding a severed, bloody Trump head.
Most of this would probably have been just peachy keen in the eyes of his Montclair colleagues. But the statement “HE HAS TO BE STOPPED” was a bridge too far, even for them. It was an explicit incitement to violence against the president. And so, once again, Allred was out of a job.
But no worries: in today’s culture, a guy like this is bound to find a professional position worthy of his, er, gifts. As for American higher education, it’ll be OK, too. Fortunately for the college students of New Jersey, the nation’s graduate programs are pumping out plenty of Ph.D.s capable of stepping into Allred’s shoes and filling their urgent need for a professor with whom they can talk about music videos.
Whether they’ll be able to write a coherent sentence, tell you what year the Civil War ended, or name the author of War and Peace when they graduate is, of course, another question.