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Jewish World Review Oct. 5, 2001 / 18 Tishrei, 5762

Julia Gorin

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The nutty professors

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- AS various representatives from the country's institutions of higher learning, called professors, admonish us to not think of terrorists as such but as soldiers, and chide the U.S. for any show of patriotism or national self-defense, they remind us that they are, in fact, institutionalized.

Just like the old saying goes: Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. These people have made our job easy: They've committed themselves voluntarily. They're telling us where they belong or, rather, where they don't belong: the real world.

So we know that these are people who are not capable of functioning in the real world. Instead, they live and flourish in institutions: They work in the institutions, commune with others of the institutions, live in housing provided by the institutions, and they don't get out very often.

Bewildered by world events and realities, they recruit those who are ripe for similar confusion, to nurture and mold cadres of others like themselves. To that end, they take willing yet unsuspecting hostages on whom they impose their dementia in order to incapacitate them so that they too emerge unready to cope with and comprehend the world. These victims are called college students.

During the course of the students' stay, professors use a grading system to inflict positive and negative reinforcement in response to the students' progress, or lack of it, in a system based on the programming experiments of scientist Ivan Pavlov. This programming is called education.

At the completion of their internment, students are awarded a certificate known as a degree, indicating that they too are now certifiable. (They often go on to make the same faux pas as their mentors, proudly displaying on their walls as many such credentials as they manage to collect over the years.) Indeed, leaders should always take their cues on how to govern from campus reaction to current events. They should monitor closely college protests and rallies, and practice an inverted version of the Pavlovian method: Whatever the students are calling for, do the opposite. Once again, the halls of academe make it easy for us.

In maintaining discipline among the professors' own ranks, meanwhile, techniques of positive and negative reinforcement are again employed. When they sense that one among them is unlike the rest, or suspect him or her of being cured-which usually manifests itself as dissent from the group-the individual is most often condemned by as yet ailing colleagues, and released by the institution's administrators.

Professors are called professors because they do not think, but merely profess. Among the things they profess is their sanity. For this reason, it is ironic that members of this group should also be known as "faculty," since they have lost their faculties long ago. In fact, many are known to occasionally break the teacher-student trust and carry on affairs with their hostages, suffering additionally as they do from compulsive marital infidelity coupled with borderline pedophilia.

All of this is to say that when professors such as Columbia University's Edward Said call the country arrogant and criticize it for not giving negotiations a chance, it is important to remember that, like Said, they could be pathological liars-in print as well as word-for their world view demands it. Likewise, when these academics tell their students, as one did, that "we need to examine the ethnic and cultural boundaries that we as a country have set up, if we hope to figure out why the terrorists hate us so much"-we must remember that they have voluntarily quarantined themselves from decent society.

True, they accept invitations to appear as distinguished guests on television and radio talk shows to offer their perspectives on the news of the day. And yes, their rantings appear not only as assigned reading on the syllabi of fellow patients at other asylums but in the printed press as well. But that's because, as the saying goes, crazy people don't know they're crazy.



JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a journalist and stand-up comic residing in Manhattan. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2001, Julia Gorin