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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rush Limbaugh Attacks Classical Studies

It's difficult to imagine a major more beloved by conservatives than Classical Studies. The one bulwark against all those trendy majors has always been a nice dose of Greek and Latin. So it was strange yesterday to hear Rush Limbaugh denouncing Classical Studies as part of a vast left-wing conspiracy and announcing, “If you go to college, do not do classical studies.” Inspired by an Occupy Wall Street protestor with a sign about how worthless her Classical Studies degree is, Rush denounced her: “somebody shoulda told you that from the moment you declared the major in Classical Studies.”

Rush asked: “Tell me, any of you at random listening all across the fruited plain, what the hell is Classical Studies?” It became painfully, and embarrassingly, obvious that Limbaugh had no clue what Classical Studies is: “And how are the classics studied? Oh, cause you're gonna become an expert in Dickens?” He added, “What if it's classical women's studies? What if it's classical feminism? Who the hell knows what it is? One thing I do know is that she, the brain-dead student, doesn't know what it is, after she's got a major in it.”

Limbaugh declared that Classical Studies was a devious plot within the leftist conspiracy to destroy America:
The socialists that run universities dilute the education, they offer useless majors, and then they lie about the quality of these useless majors. They lie about the happiness and the jobs and the money that awaits you after you get the degree in something like Classical Studies....I think this is part of a strategy that the left has had....They got great degrees like classical (raspberry) studies! They're un-hireable, unemployable, and that's just unfair and unjust -- and ergo, here comes the clamor and the clarion call for socialism, for government to fix it.
This kind of lunatic conspiracy theory (which is not in any way meant jokingly) has become a daily ritual on Limbaugh's show, where he imagines Barack Obama is plotting to intentionally destroy the American economy, among other crackpot assumptions of a Manichean worldview.

During a break, Rush looked up classical studies on the internet and found that it involved the study of ancient Greece and Rome. Incapable of admitting that he was wrong, Rush instead decided to take a McCarthyite tactic of guilt by association, declaring that “Karl Marx was a classical studies scholar.”

Later in the show, Limbaugh announced that “Queer musicology is a degree at UCLA” and “You can get a degree in Star Trek at Georgetown.” There have been classes on queer musicology at UCLA and a class on “Philosophy and Star Trek” taught at Georgetown, but obviously not a degree. Perhaps when Rush denounces “you idiot college students,” he ought to take a long look in a mirror. Limbaugh is so uneducated he doesn't know what Classical Studies are or even the meaning of the word “degree.”

In my book about Rush, I cite about case after case where Limbaugh's views are not merely wrong, but entirely ignorant. The leading conservative voice in America is a monument to stupidity who denounces even the most conservative-friendly major in college. All of us, left and right alike, should be concerned about the state of conservatism in America and the move led by Limbaugh to new heights of anti-intellectualism on the right.

Crossposted at Academe Blog.

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