The auguries are not particularly good if it is also true, as it is in my experience, that professors of literature are among the worst offenders. If those who teach youth are unable to control themselves, and to keep their disagreement within the bounds of common civility, what can we expect of youth itself?
The quote, in context, is exactly on this topic, though in a less pointed way. In fact, if you have read the length of the work, you may miss these two quiet sentences towards the end of the discussion.
The work is interesting and thought provoking. It is also a bit painful for college professors of English, since it is we who are being upbraided. Unfortunately, the verbal reprimand is deserved, at least as recounted by the author.
Theodore Dalrymple wrote “Thank You For Not Expressing Yourself at New English Review.
However, I went to the source of the George Bernard Shaw discussion, or at least the only one I could find, and found no comments at all.
Perhaps they were simply deleted or not published by the author. (I do the same to spam.) But it leaves us, as literature professors, at a disadvantage. Surely there are those of our number, perhaps even ourselves, who have ventured to write and publish a vitrolic of which the majority would be ashamed were they aware. However, based on the evidence available to us, these vicious literature professors could have been one or two who wrote before they thought. We don’t know.
Despite the lack of proof about professorial diatribes, the blog post is a call to care. We do not wish to have deserved such a reputation, so let us not contribute to it.
In response to the post, however, let me say that the article above does NOT list copious references to Shaw’s own words, as the author says in the post I first referenced.
Update: I kept looking and found another post where he says he received negative emails. So, these could be negative emails, but again, there is no source citing of Shaw and there is no record of vituperation. Perhaps Dalrymple is simply exaggerating for effect. Or perhaps, as many of us have experienced, our memory does not match the facts.
Another point is that the post which was quoted to begin my own entry seems to be predominantly about not allowing comments because people write without thinking. But the negative responses he received were via email. You can’t not receive email.