The past couple of April Fool’s Days, I’ve amused myself — and hopefully a few of you — by indulging one of my pet peeves: campus political correctness. It’s a pet peeve because, you know, it has the power to destroy Western Civilization. Some are concerned that Evergreen State College won’t be evergreen anymore because of global warming; others are concerned it won’t be a college anymore. It’s one of those pick-your-battles kind of thing.
In 2016 I imagined a scenario in which traditional clothing becomes outlawed on colleges for all of its problematic baggage associated with the past. Well today The Drudge Report did something quite amusing that further stimulates the imagination to conjure up a not-to-distant future in which students at elite universities are given identical gray uniforms the moment they arrive. The editors needed a generic image to go with a headline about “aggressive masculinity,” and what did they come up with? What would really drive the point home?
A group of guys in blazers, colorful shorts and bow ties.
So don’t be surprised in our lifetime if we see a complete inversion of campus dress codes. The old codes used to force undergrads to dress up to a certain minimum of formality; the new codes may enforce dressing down to a maximum of informality. If Harvard can say that being a member of a same-sex social club is grounds for expulsion, why can’t it say the same about wearing a tie associated with such an organization, even if the organization no longer exists? And then why not ban ties altogether, or any other item of clothing that that is traditionally masculine?
Don’t think so? Just in the past week Yale essentially sent the message that men aren’t allowed to sing together, while at the University of Michigan it was proposed that “masculine” wood paneling inside one of the buildings marginalizes minorities.
I mean, if you’re 18 and just arrived at university and are already freaking out because of “quiet” “masculine” rooms inside the student union, how in the world are you going to deal with Aristotle, Dante, Shakespeare, Locke, Dostoyevsky, Freud and “The Great Gatsby,” not to mention endless hours of math and science homework and infuriating roommates? — CC