Curriculum for sale to the highest bidder?
June 8, 2018 10:43 PM   Subscribe

 
Literally just got the email from Solidarity two minutes ago about us students trying to organise some sort of protest or pushback. They will not teach the Bachelor of Racism at my uni if we students have any say in the matter.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 11:08 PM on June 8, 2018 [16 favorites]


They should have just called it the Ramsey Centre for White Supremacy. At least it would have been honest.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:50 PM on June 8, 2018 [15 favorites]


Dark Web U should probably be an online university anyway.
posted by Zed at 11:55 PM on June 8, 2018 [8 favorites]


I think I liked it better when the right just wanted to turn universities into vocational schools...
posted by klanawa at 11:57 PM on June 8, 2018 [8 favorites]


This is at least a nice way to tell which universities still have integrity and which don't.

A few years ago, in my discipline, a very famous person with many millions of dollars in grant funding was fired from his university for harrassment and financial mismanagement (one of those firings where they seize your hard drives, escort you from the building, and post security around the site for months afterwards to make sure you do not ever attempt to enter again.)

That person then wrote to all the other universities in the country, working their way down the rankings, offering them their millions of funding dollars, and a priceless library collection, if they would give him a chair. One by one, the highly ranked institutions turned him down, and we breathed a sigh of relief to find they could not so easily be bought.

But eventually one of the lower-ranked universities accepted the deal, and no one in my discipline will now trust the academic integrity of that place or the value of the education of any of the students who graduate from it. Reputations are basically the only thing that matter to a university's success, and it always surprises me when they take them so lightly. Of course, universities wouldn't feel such pressure to sell out their reputations if they were properly funded in the first place...
posted by lollusc at 12:05 AM on June 9, 2018 [33 favorites]


The open letter from the 100 Sydney Uni academics about the proposal that Sydney Uni give the Ramsey Centre a home is pretty great:
"Ramsay’s aim, according to his centre’s website, was to create ‘a cadre of leaders … whose awareness and appreciation of their country’s Western heritage and values… would help guide their decision making in the future’. The centre was established to promote the study of Western civilisation ‘in this spirit’. Public comments of Ramsay Centre board members, for example Tony Abbott or John Howard, can leave no doubt as to the conservative, culturally essentialist, and Eurocentric vision the centre is dedicated to propagating, nor about its intention actively to shape the ideological and political tenor of its educational offerings and hiring practices. Simon Haines, the centre ‘CEO’, told The Australian that the centre ‘would expect to have a voice in the hiring process while acknowledging the autonomy of universities’, and that it ‘would not be wanting to hire somebody who is coming in with a long liturgy of what terrible damage Western civ had done to the world’. The intention to predetermine academic outcomes evident in these remarks is clear.
...
We are a university, not a training institute for a future political ‘cadre’... Decisions about how the cultural traditions of Europe are to be studied at university are for academics to make, not billionaires or former prime ministers.
...
The Ramsay programme represents, quite simply, European supremacism writ large: it signals that the study of the European cultural tradition warrants better educational circumstances than that of others.
...
The profoundly dangerous implications of this bias do not, we believe, need further comment."
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:07 AM on June 9, 2018 [38 favorites]


As someone who teaches a lot of Shakespeare and is also a big supporter of Indigenous Islamic Transgender Cultural Marxism, it makes me very sad when his name is used by racist conservative ass clowns.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:39 AM on June 9, 2018 [31 favorites]


I wonder how the curriculum would differ from that of a Classics degree.
posted by Leon at 1:16 AM on June 9, 2018 [5 favorites]


I just checked the open letter and it's a little heartwarming to see at least 6 of my lecturers as signatories, including 2/3rds of the lecturers I've had this year.
It does make me wonder about the lecturers I've had who refused to sign. Should I think less of them? I want to. Is that reasonable?
I'm not talking tutors or those in shaky positions either.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 1:20 AM on June 9, 2018 [5 favorites]


"Western Civilization" is sounding more and more like an oxymoron every day.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:39 AM on June 9, 2018 [9 favorites]


It does make me wonder about the lecturers I've had who refused to sign. Should I think less of them? I want to. Is that reasonable?

I'd suggest taking a little care in drawing that inference. Academics can be in precarious positions within a department in ways that aren't obvious from the outside.
posted by saltbush and olive at 2:14 AM on June 9, 2018 [17 favorites]


"Western Civilization" is sounding more and more like an oxymoron every day.

I am reminded of the ( sadly apocryphal ) Gandhi quote:
“What do you think of Western civilization?”
“I think it would be a good idea”.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:34 AM on June 9, 2018 [28 favorites]


It does make me wonder about the lecturers I've had who refused to sign. Should I think less of them? I want to. Is that reasonable?

I also wouldn't assume just because a signature isn't there that it means they refused to sign. The centre won't have been on everyone's radar yet, and emails requesting signatures on petitions are easily overlooked or accidentally spam-filtered.
posted by lollusc at 2:44 AM on June 9, 2018 [13 favorites]


I think that a fair appraisal of the Center's merits must surely start with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's moving description of a center that will cherish and promote Eurocentric thinking without any "Asian, indigenous and sustainability perspectives":
Paul Ramsay’s Vision for Australia
An education-union shop steward has voiced his resentment that money bequeathed by Paul Ramsay to establish the Centre for Western Civilisation is not being doled out by the ANU's academic board. Here, Tony Abbott explains what the undertaking is about

Yes, Tony, you do you! In your immortal, measured, and totally non-Asian words:
“[W]hat an exhilarating prospect that upwards of a hundred bright young Australians every year might soon gain such inspiration. Person by person, the world does change. A much more invigorating long march through our institutions may be about to begin!”
[my emphasis]

posted by Joe in Australia at 2:46 AM on June 9, 2018 [8 favorites]


What I don’t understand is why they don’t just found their own U of Racism and go from there. But, no, they want to coast on a reputation that has been built up over years and drag it down with their crap, instead of doing any real work themselves.

Oh. I realize I just answered my own question...
posted by lesbiassparrow at 3:27 AM on June 9, 2018 [16 favorites]


As someone who teaches a lot of Shakespeare and is also a big supporter of Indigenous Islamic Transgender Cultural Marxism, it makes me very sad when his name is used by racist conservative ass clowns.


Interestingly, the term "ass clown" was first coined by Shakespeare, in the play, The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:59 AM on June 9, 2018 [15 favorites]



I wonder how the curriculum would differ from that of a Classics degree


I imagine the proposed structure of the degree was "history and literature like what it was when I was a boy" (the late Paul Ramsay was born in 1936).
posted by chiquitita at 4:09 AM on June 9, 2018 [3 favorites]




I wonder how the curriculum would differ from that of a Classics degree.

I was wondering this too, until they said the sponsors wanted control over hiring decisions, and insisted the classes not criticize western thought. I don't think I would study anything that didn't include critiques of the subject matter. Was this even true in the 30's? Schools weren't critical of, say, slavery? Anyway, a school would be crazy to give up control over who they hire.
posted by xammerboy at 4:50 AM on June 9, 2018 [9 favorites]


I wonder how much of this is conceived as a catch-up effort, of sorts, due to things like the Confucius Institute, and how much is just another burbling up of the plain old run-of-the-mill Harold-Bloom-hangover-inspired HELP HELP THE FEMINISTS AND THE "STUDIES STUDIES" PEOPLE ARE COMING FOR OUR CULTURE anxiety.
posted by halation at 5:09 AM on June 9, 2018 [6 favorites]


A few years ago, in my discipline, a very famous person with many millions of dollars in grant funding was fired from his university for harrassment and financial mismanagement

You can name names you know?
posted by MartinWisse at 5:15 AM on June 9, 2018 [9 favorites]


insisted the classes not criticize western thought

so Kant is right out, then
posted by thelonius at 5:34 AM on June 9, 2018 [19 favorites]


So, this is essentially a shadow humanities department, only not contaminated by “Cultural Marxism” (i.e., any questioning of traditional God-given hierarchies) then?

I imagine if Niall Ferguson or Jordan Peterson are ever looking for a next gig, either would be an excellent choice for head of this institution.
posted by acb at 5:55 AM on June 9, 2018 [13 favorites]


so Kant is right out, then

I imagine Julius Evola won't have any problems though.
posted by acb at 5:56 AM on June 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


Wait, what: "Paul Ramsay"?!

I'd assumed it was to be named for the street.
posted by pompomtom at 5:56 AM on June 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


so Kant is right out, then

Yeah, uh, which western thought, exactly?

Is western feminism considered western thought?

What about communism? Hard to get more western than a German guy reading British history.

Anarchism? Propaganda of the deed?

Aquinas or Spinoza? Darwin or Lamarck?

Fascism? (Or is it like the question, Who is the greatest white fighter?, which leads to the inevitable counter-question, "Do Italians count?")
posted by clawsoon at 5:56 AM on June 9, 2018 [20 favorites]


acb: They'd have to fight Blaire Cottrell.
posted by pompomtom at 5:58 AM on June 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think I liked it better when the right just wanted to turn universities into vocational schools.

This is clearly the training course for the camp guards.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:09 AM on June 9, 2018 [10 favorites]


What really amazes me about this is the the governments of John Howard and Tony Abbott deliberately gutted university funding and brought about the demise of the very Classics, Literature, and History departments that taught the (supposedly) Great Works of Western Civilisation. I mean, $3 billion is what, a third of the value of the last round of cuts to universities nationwide? How can anyone be this much of an arsehole without literally shitting through their facebone?
posted by prismatic7 at 6:16 AM on June 9, 2018 [28 favorites]


Ramsay was the son of that guy who flayed people, right?
posted by I-Write-Essays at 6:32 AM on June 9, 2018 [6 favorites]


I think I found the curriculum.
posted by clawsoon at 6:38 AM on June 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


What really amazes me about this is the the governments of John Howard and Tony Abbott deliberately gutted university funding and brought about the demise of the very Classics, Literature, and History departments that taught the (supposedly) Great Works of Western Civilisation

Weren't they contending that the departments had been infiltrated by Marxists, and were not teaching the Great Works Of Great Men but instead spreading subversion?
posted by acb at 6:42 AM on June 9, 2018


What really amazes me about this is the the governments of John Howard and Tony Abbott deliberately gutted university funding and brought about the demise of the very Classics, Literature, and History departments that taught the (supposedly) Great Works of Western Civilisation.
Right, but their agenda isn't that they want students to study the Great Works of Western Civilization. Their agenda is that they want students to learn white supremacy. And if that's your agenda, it's actually helpful to gut Classics, Literature, and History departments, because that means that students will never be exposed to scholarly perspectives that challenge the interpretations of those texts that they'll encounter in the Department of Only Dead White Guys Are Good for Anything.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:43 AM on June 9, 2018 [23 favorites]


Academics can be in precarious positions within a department in ways that aren't obvious from the outside.
And

I also wouldn't assume just because a signature isn't there that it means they refused to sign.


Valid points, and I've just remembered one signatory I'd hoped to see is I believe overseas at a conference presenting right now too. Ta.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 6:53 AM on June 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


"We want no questioning or criticism in these courses! And you better teach Socrates!"
posted by clawsoon at 6:53 AM on June 9, 2018 [33 favorites]


Presumably the Great Titans of Western Civilisation will include not only the Da Vincis and Shakespeares and Goethes but the likes of Cecil Rhodes, Oliver Cromwell and Lord Kitchener.
posted by acb at 6:56 AM on June 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


Can someone explain the bit about "the scourge of ball tampering"?
posted by doctornemo at 6:56 AM on June 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


The scourge of ball tampering is a cricket (I assume) pun.
posted by Aravis76 at 7:02 AM on June 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


"I wonder how the curriculum would differ from that of a Classics degree."

Right? Like "hooray Western Civ!" is, like, your basic liberal arts degree. But then I realized they wanted it with way, way more racism and misogyny, because the racism and misogyny inherent in studying literally every Western classic written from the beginning of time through 1960 (and a lot of what comes after that, too!) apparently isn't enough.

"We're marinating these kids in dead white guy thought, which you'd think would be enough, but somehow they're not coming out hateful enough. We gotta make the racism more explicit!"
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:12 AM on June 9, 2018 [21 favorites]


My alma mater Reed College recently revised its Western Civilization first year class, in part in response to ongoing protests about racism. The new class sounds better. They're still keeping the core teaching, which is to teach first year students how to read a text, discuss a text, and write about a text. But now they're going to move the focus around. The first outing starts with the Ancient Mediterranean, yes, but then also study Harlem and Mexico.

It seems like a good change. Honestly I liked my Greek-and-Rome syllabus, I'm glad to have read the Republic and Herodotus and Apuleius and studied bits of the Bible in a historical context. But I regret that I didn't get any exposure at all to other cultures. And no education at all in cross-cultural analysis, in the sort of mental flexibility required to intelligently discuss such diverse parts of the world in the same class.
posted by Nelson at 7:36 AM on June 9, 2018 [5 favorites]


but the likes of Cecil Rhodes, Oliver Cromwell and Lord Kitchener.

And no doubt Thomas Bowdler will be on the curriculum, too.
posted by clawsoon at 7:39 AM on June 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


Yeah, to be clear I think that what exists is still incredibly neoliberal and laced with racism and misogyny, often through the older texts but also in the overall structure of units.
Yet there is pushback and that's what makes them uncomfortable and afraid. In my units, sure, centrists abound but it would seem that one right-wing thinker person per tutorial group feels about accurate. Maybe there's more who are obvious to the markers, but as far as speaking up in tutorials everyone gets a feeling pretty quickly for who holds toxic positions and they get shut down, by students a lot of the time when/if the tutor/lecturer isn't willing to take a hard line.

Semester just ended at USyd and it was lovely to see that when the lecturers asked us what could be improved, people respond by questioning whether we could have spent more time on women, on queer issues, on minority experiences.

A wrap-up on early colonial Australia had an entire tutorial group agreeing that we can't hold convict & settler-colonist history aside from Indigenous history, they are entwined and to focus on the one risks forgetting the other and missing how Imperialism works. Most of us agreed we need to not just focus on guilt and shame, but instead let our guilt turn to anger and that anger provide impetus for reform.

I'm sure many on the right are petrified. They go home, or their kids come home, and whinge about how they had to read yet another woman's opinion on social structure and capitalism instead of just regurgitated notions they had of the past. I'm sure they're scared and they bloody well should be. If my peers are going to be the future of our disciplines, those disciplines will be changing for the better. Probably not fast and far enough, but more than enough to make them aware their viewpoints are wholly unwelcome.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 7:44 AM on June 9, 2018 [14 favorites]


I have to say I'm impressed by the folks who turned it down, and I'll be interested to see whether they remain employed in their current capacity. Sounds like the Prime Minister is more of an 'I don't mind what we teach long as I GIT PAID' type of a guy, which is more in line with my expectations.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 7:44 AM on June 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'd assumed it was to be named for the street.

It's named after one rich bastard of an aristocrat.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:52 AM on June 9, 2018


I think I liked it better when the right just wanted to turn universities into vocational schools.

It's all part and parcel; that's what has opened the door for this nonsense. Claim there's only funding for STEM, starve the humanities, then sell them off if anyone happens to be buying. One of the universities where I used to work has shuttered most of its humanities departments. No more Performing Arts, no more Comp Lit, no more Film Studies, no more Hispanic Lit, no more Classics, no more programs which used to focus on 'western civ' texts (while typically also doing comparative studies/cultural studies, like French/German/Italian language and film and lit). British Lit hangs on in a vestigial state as part of English, and 'English' is now mostly basic comp and writing. Had the institution been given this choice, they might've taken it; the alternative is... nothing at all, with tenured faculty dispersed to whatever other departments will have them and untenured faculty all let go.

(That school does have a Confucius Institute. So the 'Asian' [in their terminology; in practice now mostly Chinese] film/lit/arts/humanities programs are well-funded and healthy and humming right along. At least one of the former cultural-studies-type profs there jumped ship to a CI program, because it was that or basically uproot a life or end a career.)
posted by halation at 8:15 AM on June 9, 2018 [5 favorites]



I have to say I'm impressed by the folks who turned it down, and I'll be interested to see whether they remain employed in their current capacity


Well the person who has turned it down so far is Brian Schmidt, the Nobel-prize-winning Vice Chancellor of ANU. So he's not exactly in a precarious position. I'm still impressed though.
posted by lollusc at 8:52 AM on June 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


and Lord Kitchener.


So...Queer Studies, then?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:12 AM on June 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


My classsics degree from back in the day might not have been “woke” in modern terms but by no means would it have pleased these people looking for a “rah-rah-rah white people” department. Critical views of subject matter were not invented yesterday.
posted by edheil at 10:51 AM on June 9, 2018 [12 favorites]


As someone who quite enjoyed their classics courses, I have to say that what I dislike in the older, and white supremacist lens, of classical studies, is the projection. When I took these courses, we treated these cultures as inherently alien. Besides a handful of ideas, Greek and Roman society is objectionable to most of our modern values. The links are there, of course, but I wouldn't call these guys my "intellectual ancestors" in any broad way. They were sociopathic, violent pederasts with a not-too-unfamiliar sense of cultural/ethnic superiority.
posted by constantinescharity at 11:04 AM on June 9, 2018 [9 favorites]


So, basically, Americans plus pederasty then?
posted by acb at 11:32 AM on June 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


I attended a college in the US that conservatives keep trying to make into this even though it's not. I'm so sorry.

I mean if these cretins ever actually read the books they’ve got such hard ons for, they'd be in for all sorts of surprises. That only starts with the Greeks and their pederasty. If they had the Hebrew and Greek necessary to read the Bible, together with the historical context and theological framework to position the text, they’d have all sorts of interesting ideas.

I kinda wish somebody would take this asshole’s money and really run it out to the logical conclusions.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:46 AM on June 9, 2018 [5 favorites]


Seriously, though- can't these people (or their US equivalents) just go to Chicago Econ, or The Committee on Social Thought with all the other Austrians, Friedmanites, Straussians, and various assorted swivel-eyed loons? It's not like there aren't already safe spaces for them in the Academy.


Dammit, I should have used A Midsummer Night's Dream for my earlier "ass clown" joke. It's the play that already has a clown who is literally an ass!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:50 AM on June 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


BTW, my comment above makes it sound like I’m dismissive of “‘woke in modern terms’” but I don’t mean to be. I mean my classics degree program was still problematic and worthy of criticism in many ways but was still not at all what these people want a “degeee in western civ” to be.
posted by edheil at 11:53 AM on June 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


leotrotsky: If they had the Hebrew and Greek necessary to read the Bible, together with the historical context and theological framework to position the text, they’d have all sorts of interesting ideas.

Yep, but I don't think you even need Hebrew and Greek to get ideas ranging from the subversive to the perverse from the Bible. You want Social Justice Warriors? They're in the Bible. (In the minor prophets, mostly.) You want existentialism? I first encountered it while flipping through the Bible while half-listening to a sermon. You want patriarchal oppression and intolerance? It's in the Bible, translated into plain English for anyone who wants to read it.

I don't know how they expect to get a curriculum about the greatness of Western civilization with no criticism of Western civilization, because what made most of the great Western thinkers great - and it's the same with the thinkers in all other civilizations - is that they have criticized the civilization that they're in. They've all had large blind spots - there's plenty of misogyny and racism and classism and whatever else you'd like - but I am truly at a loss to think of who they might put in the curriculum who'd give them the warm fuzzy feeling they want of comforting the comfortable and praising the powerful.

Who are they going to put into this curriculum? Who? I am genuinely curious what great thinker who shaped Western civilization they're going to find who didn't have ideas they'd find uncomfortable or unacceptable.

It's very much like all the people who claim to want to base civilization on "Biblical principles" who have clearly never read the thing.
posted by clawsoon at 12:25 PM on June 9, 2018 [14 favorites]


I am genuinely curious what great thinker who shaped Western civilization they're going to find who didn't have ideas they'd find uncomfortable or unacceptable.

They're going to cherry-pick selected chapters or even short quotes; they're going to whitewash history and downplay any awful traits of the people their exalting, and point to "the restless natives" as an excuse for attempted genocides. They're going to point to the results - modern cities, cars, air travel, space program - and show the faces of the white presidents and other heads of state, and say, "see, look at what white people did!"

They're going to have a timeline of history showing Great Victories and attaching each of those to a white person; it'll also show "uprisings" and atrocities where they can attach a non-white face to the event.

They won't do analysis or allow critique; it'll be "memorize this timeline, these quotes, this set of literature themes." It'll be 1/3 facts of the variety that any other school would accept, 1/3 questionable interpretation, and 1/3 outright racism - just like the "evangelical textbooks" used in some voucher schools in the US - so it's impossible to disentangle the real educational value from the propaganda.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:07 PM on June 9, 2018 [10 favorites]


I imagine Julius Evola won't have any problems though.

A name new to me.....wow. I got hipped to the idea that Romanticism is not that far of a slide into Fascism a long time ago, but, this fucking guy.
posted by thelonius at 1:17 PM on June 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


They're going to cherry-pick selected chapters or even short quotes; they're going to whitewash history and downplay any awful traits of the people their exalting, and point to "the restless natives" as an excuse for attempted genocides.

Man, I wish we had more grown-ups in the world, and less old wrinkly children.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:19 PM on June 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


I was wondering this too, until they said the sponsors wanted control over hiring decisions, and insisted the classes not criticize western thought.

Yeah, the control they want in exchange for the cash really paints them as bad actors. This isn't so much a bequest as a hostile takeover.
posted by Leon at 1:34 PM on June 9, 2018


I'm partway through The Rise and Fall of the Western Civilization Course (which you can find elsewhere). I suspect that it might provide some insight into what this is all about.
posted by clawsoon at 1:54 PM on June 9, 2018


If they put their money into making a new Civ game and giving it away for free to undergrads, they'd probably get more traction for their ideas.
posted by clawsoon at 2:15 PM on June 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


This is how you wind up with a bunch of undergraduate essays alluding to Gandhi's desire to make India a nuclear power.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:24 PM on June 9, 2018 [14 favorites]


Does this mean we can take Algebra, Algorithms, the number zero, and the German grammar out of the curriculum?
posted by infini at 3:32 PM on June 9, 2018 [3 favorites]




This is how you wind up with a bunch of undergraduate essays alluding to Gandhi's desire to make India a nuclear power.

Which is totally correct if they are referring to the right Gandhi.
posted by tirutiru at 12:53 AM on June 10, 2018


Wait, what: "Paul Ramsay"?!

I'd assumed it was to be named for the street.


I've stared at this comment for ten minutes and I still don't get it. I live in Australia. University of Sydney isn't near any Ramsay streets.
posted by daybeforetheday at 1:11 AM on June 10, 2018


pretty clear at this point the Ramsay Centre is intended as the Liberal Party's version of the Yasakuni Shrine.

That's a weird comparison. The Yasukuni Shrine was originally meant to just commemorate soldiers who gave their lives in service of Japan. It just happens to also have a bunch of war criminals on the rolls, added in secret and by surprise.
posted by anem0ne at 1:29 AM on June 10, 2018


daybeforetheday - the long-running Australian soap Neighbours is set primarily on Ramsay Street.
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 1:47 AM on June 10, 2018


the long-running Australian soap Neighbours is set primarily on Ramsay Street.

Which is really a street named Pin Oak Ct. in the eastern Melbourne suburb of Vermont South. You can recognise it by the minibuses of English backpackers going there to take selfies, before being returned to a Neighbours quiz night at a pub that serves imported Boddington's.
posted by acb at 4:46 AM on June 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Rise and Fall article in short: The "Western Civ" course first took off as a post-WWI American thing, teaching undergrads about the rise of Reason and Prosperity from ancient times until now. It lost its luster in the 1930s for what should be obvious reasons. After WWII, it made a comeback, only to lose its luster again during the Vietnam War, for equally obvious reasons.

It seems that some section of the rich and powerful think that the current triumph of reason and prosperity should be taught and celebrated, while the rest of us are thinking, "What triumph of reason and prosperity?"
posted by clawsoon at 5:49 AM on June 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


before being returned to a Neighbours quiz night at a pub that serves imported Boddington's.


Not Watneys Red Barrel?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:28 PM on June 10, 2018 [2 favorites]


Not Watneys Red Barrel?

I don't think that's a thing anymore. The generic cheap piss-lagers here are Carling (also associated with mid-00s shit indie-rock) and Fosters (which is branded with its Australian origins, but brewed under licence in the UK; apparently the Australian run of Fosters is really small, and mostly made for Pommie tourists wanting an Authentic Australian Experience). Above those are the likes of Stella, Kronenbourg and such, and then corporate-owned microbreweries like Camden Beer Co. and Meantime, which list which hops they use.
posted by acb at 2:38 PM on June 10, 2018


It's a reference.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:12 PM on June 10, 2018


>It's named after one rich bastard of an aristocrat

From the way his death and will was reported, I presumed he was a gay man.
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/sydney-confidential/paul-ramsay-shared-his-billions-with-charity-family-friends-and-a-loyal-sydney-man/news-story/88e7057b7e1075287a7babe2feee2ed5

So I would have thought this would make him questionable in the minds of some of Australia’s foremost conservative thinkers.
It would be pretty low if the bequest to fund extra liberal arts education (as opposed to STEM, for example) has been hijacked to become a culture war battle if it was originally intended to just be a donation to improve learning.

I know nothing about Paul Ramsay, so perhaps he was as thick as thieves with the colonials.
posted by bystander at 1:18 AM on June 12, 2018


So I would have thought this would make him questionable in the minds of some of Australia’s foremost conservative thinkers.

Well, Australia’s foremost conservative thinkers are nothing if not hypocrites of the highest order.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:24 AM on June 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


I know nothing about Paul Ramsay, so perhaps he was as thick as thieves with the colonials.

Sorry. It was meant to be a play on "one rich bastard" (not neccesarily in a nasty way, more like "that's one rich SOB") vs. one rich bastard in particular.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:59 AM on June 12, 2018


We just had a small action outside the office where Spence is talking to the uni senate about the proposal right now. About 50 people, from the NTEU, SUPRA, SRC, Socialist Alliance, Refugee Action Collective, Socialist Alternative and Solidarity. People spoke about the racist beliefs behind these ideas, the actual goals of their right-wing advocates and our belief in an open, student and staff controlled university free to all comers. It was good, if probably ineffectual :(
~9 campus security.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 8:41 PM on June 26, 2018


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