Friday, May 9, 2014

What I did with my University of Dallas education yesterday

While websurfing yesterday, I came across a lovely little story about a Black Mass "reenactment" that is being performed as part of a "cultural events" series at Harvard.  Yes, Harvard.  The premier academic institution in the United States, founded in 1636 as a school to train Unitarian and Congregationalist ministers.  I couldn't begin to describe how much the entire thing disgusts me.  So, instead, I wrote to the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club and the President of Harvard.  While I would note that my argument against this disgusting piece of work calls out these people for their bigotry and intolerance, that's not my primary argument against it -- of course, I think it's blasphemous and evil.  But, an argument on those grounds would only serve to encourage and affirm the prejudices of these people, so I wrote:

Dear Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club:
One does not have to have attended Harvard to see that the "reenactment" of a "Black Mass" planned for May 12 by the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club is a terrible display of bigotry and racism towards the majority of Roman Catholics. I am sure you are aware, with your Harvard education and everything, that, of the world's Roman Catholics in 2004 (the latest year for which numbers are available), 725,823,970 were from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Oceania while 352,765,647 were from Europe and North America. By mocking the beliefs and rituals of Roman Catholics, you directly attack brown and black people all over the world. One need hardly mention that people living in these regions are among the most economically disadvantaged in the world, while Cambridge, Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest areas in the wealthiest nation in the world. One could reasonably conclude that a bunch of privileged white kids with a surfeit of time and a dearth of sense have deliberately decided to denigrate the belief system of the world's poor black and brown peoples. The cognitive dissonance must be deafening.
One notes that, in an attempt to justify its support of this event, the University has said, "In this case, we understand that this independent student organization, the Cultural Studies Club, is hosting a series of events -- including a Shinto tea ceremony, a Shaker exhibition, and a Buddhist presentation on meditation -- as part of a student-led effort to explore different cultures." Although I did not attend Harvard, even I can see multiple logical holes in this justification of bigotry. First, Harvard attempts to distance itself from the event by claiming that it is planned and executed by an "independent", "student-led" group. After throwing its own students to the wolves, Harvard then likens the "Black Mass" to a Shinto tea ceremony, a Shaker exhibition, and a Buddhist event. This violent yoking of disparate ideas, which the Metaphysical poets called a "conceit," is unsuccessful. The Shinto ceremony, the Shaker ceremony, and the Buddhist event are straightforward presentations of different cultural artifacts. A "Black Mass" is, by its nature, a parody and perversion of a religious and cultural event. Finally, the assertion that the "Black Mass" is an artifact of a culture is simply false. The Roman Catholic Mass is a cultural artifact which has inspired art, architecture, literature, music, philosophy, theology, and (for some) reverence, joy, and a reformed heart and mind for over two millenia. The Black Mass is a desecration of the same.
Shame on you for your bigotry and shame on Harvard for its support of this display.
Colleen Monaghan Zarzecki
Class of 1988, the University of Dallas

I wanted to put in parentheses after University of Dallas something snarky like "a university where people learn something other than how to be idiots" or "a university where people learn to love logic" or "a university that knows what education really means," but I thought that it would be unproductive and unkind.  

Disgusting prats.  Pray for them anyway -- they are so confused and lost, they really need it.

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