Culture wars go meta in Oz

by John Quiggin on December 18, 2007

As in the US, the “culture wars” have been a long-running staple of political debate in Australia. The topics are much the same, except that Australian culture warriors tend to be a bit embarrassed about creationism and the more extreme forms of voodoo economics. And of course they’ve gone back and forth in the usual way, going nowhere much. With the departure of the Howard government, though, things have gone meta – we’re now fighting about whether we should fight culture wars.

The broadly unanimous centre/left position, (examples here and here) is “it’s over, no one cares any more, let’s get on with serious business”.

By contrast, the right is united on the view that it’s vitally important to keep on fighting the culture wars, but deeply divided as to the reason. As with Iraq, some say they’re winning and shouldn’t be tricked out of the victory that is rightly theirs, while others say the situation is so dire that only continued struggle will hold back the flood of leftist oppression.

As you can see from this post, we’re on the verge of going meta-meta here, but I suspect that this level of abstraction will be too much for simple Aussies.

Gobsmacked

by Harry on December 18, 2007

Apparently England’s new manager has promised to learn English. I was going to do a clever post on this, but then the excellently if improbably named Jimmy from Glasgow (scroll down to third comment) took the words out of my English-speaking mouth:

I don’t see the problem here with Cappello not speaking fluent English. I can’t think of many English football players who can speak fluent English either. They usually speak in general cliches peppered with generous helpings of ‘you know’, sometimes with the ‘what I mean’ added on. E.g. “They put us under a lot of pressure, you know, but Gav-o did well, you know, because sometimes in football you have to score goals, you know and the first 90 minutes of the match are the most important because, you know, I’m a firm believer that if the other side scores first you have to score twice to win, you know.”

It’s the Little Things

by Kieran Healy on December 18, 2007

Jonah Goldberg’s jacket-copy pronouncement that

bq. The quintessential liberal fascist isn’t an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore

is already passing into legend. In my earlier post I linked to the faculty page of Swarthmore’s Department of Educational Studies. Browsing around, and wanting to learn more about Swarthmorofascism®, I found some information on the academic program they offer:

bq. The Department of Educational Studies offers students several alternative programs of study. Although the Department does not offer a major, it does provide students with the opportunity to develop a Special Major in conjunction with another department. Students may also minor in Education. In the Honors Program, students may do a Special Major in Education and another field or may do an Honors minor in Education. Students may choose to do secondary or elementary Teacher Certification in addition to or independently of these other options.

So, you can minor in Ed, and you can study it in conjunction with something else. But you cannot in fact have “an education degree from Swarthmore” in the same way that you can have an Economics or Physics or History degree from Swarthmore.