Friday, June 06, 2008

SoCal Acadamecia

Those who do not live in San Diego are missing the experience of having daily access to the twilight-zone-like San Diego Union-Tribune. You can read the news, sports and, on the op-ed page, be transported into another dimension. Not infrequently our tour guide for such a journey will be a member of the faculty from one of our local institutes of higher (?) learning.

First we had the wingnut who teaches political science at SD State and was alarmed that the dean of that school would call in the DEA to investigate a drug marketing (not just selling, actual marketing) ring that was operating on campus. It turned out later that it was actually the campus police that called in the DEA, but this prof was concerned that such action might lead to the IRS getting called in if students were overheard protesting the income tax laws.

Or maybe the DHS or FBI if somebody wears a checkered scarf.

Yesterday we had a guest editorial written by a history professor at the University of San Diego entitled “How we all harm national security.”

The subhead was pretty damning of the country as a whole. “National security is about culture. Ours is in crisis, because we no longer consider basic values to be important. Because it is so ubiquitous, the police ultimately cannot solve this crisis.”

Or it was damning insofar as one might consider the first sentence to be accurate. I actually consider national security to be more about people blowing us up in large numbers. Others may disagree with me, but from the speeches I’ve heard none of the candidates for president seem to.

It was also unclear to me what the police might have to do with culture, or for that matter what “basic values” might have to do with culture, but I decided to read the editorial to see if that would be cleared up by the professor.

It seems the outrage that the professor was feeling was provoked at a rock concert he attended on Memorial Day weekend. Okay, how seriously am I going to take a professor who is attending rock concerts? Oh well, onward.

The Ticketmaster website where he bought the tickets, he says, indicated that chairs could not be brought to the amphitheater. When he arrived, however, the security guards were permitting concertgoers to bring in beach chairs, the kind with no legs that sit on the ground. One security person even had a tape measure and was measuring the legs of chairs. I’m not sure of the national security issue here. Chairs? That he wasn’t allowed to bring a chair? That others were? The Kossack with the tape measure?

What the government should do about beach chairs was not defined.

Then there was an issue with people standing in front of people sitting and being averse to sitting down when “politely” asked to do so.

I’m not sure what to make of a person that would stand up at a rock concert; they might have terroristic tendencies. I’m even less sure what to make of a person who would sit down at a rock concert; they might be brain dead. Why is that person even at the freaking concert? You might very well sit down at a Mozart concert, but The Police?

What should be done about rock concert standees was not defined.

But then we get to the meat of the professor’s outrage. “The smell of pot wafted through the air.” At a rock concert! Of all places. OMG, who would have thought!

Um, professor, why do you know what pot smells like?

My first impression was that the professor was outraged that there were not a zillion police and/or federal officers panting hotfoot after the odor of pot to arrest and incarcerate the offending pot smokers. He compared the lack of law enforcement to the “blitz on drug users and traffickers” that had occurred at SD State a few weeks earlier, as if a few people smoking pot they probably brought with them was equivalent to the cocaine and heroin marketing operation busted by the DEA.

But then the professor declaimed against the pot smokers themselves and against all those nearby who did not intervene, presumably by yanking the joints away from the smokers and stomping them on the ground. That might actually be a rather dangerous and stupid thing to do, and might well have turned the concert into mayhem, but…

He went on to rant that the permissive society illustrated by the pot smokers and those who tolerated them at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater that weekend was what ultimately led to Osama Bin Laden perceiving us as a country that should be attacked. He finishes by saying that we have so numbed ourselves by drug use that we are “an easy target.”

I cannot figure which is more inane – that a college professor would write this drivel, or that the Union-Tribune would devote a full third of a page to printing it. (Or, admittedly, that I would devote a blog post to it.)

See what you miss by not living in San Diego?


  1. He sounds like he thinks this is new? I remember a John Denver (admittedly not "rock") concert in Pocatello, Idaho about 38 years ago, where a friend with me asked "what is that funny smell? It's like rope burning." The rest of us had a good laugh.
    I would have thought San Diego to be a bit ahead of anywhere in Idaho. Sounds to me like "culture" is kinda static, in fact.

  2. Makes me really glad I don't know anyone going to school there and taking classes from such a crazy prof. It does make me wonder about who the employ to teach our college students....
    I gat teh impression he doesn't know his history very well (or maybe he is an Ancient History prof. Fortunatelly, he isn't a Cultural Anthropology one.

  3. Anonymous4:33 PM

    Measuring chairs? Like there was a limitation on the size of chairs because longer legs would make them more easily used as weapons? Sounds as logical as how the DHS does airport security.

    The basic values part... well, maybe civility and manners, perhaps. But that is a sociological issue, not a national security one.

    Um, professor? how do you know what pot smells like? You would be a Chemistry prof, right? No? Maybe a 1960's hippie radical turned into a right wing nut? I think he maybe didn't sniff enough of the pot wafting by... But I digress.

    Using is a misdemeanor at best. And would be hard to catch at a concert. There are a lot of ways to hide it. Dealing it however, is a felony in every place I can imagine. And easier to catch. And perhaps has a better downstream ripple effect. Thus, the decision to bust the dealers on campus.

    But hey, this is a pragmatic and logical dicussion, which apparently this professor is not a party to. And whatever [fill-in-the-blank-substance ] use I and the poster/commentors have had, I don't think it has numbed any of us (at least now).

    And this sort of drivel is published everywhere, sorry to say.