Chapter 2: Becoming Deplorable. Excerpt from Springtime for Snowflakes
Communist Professor Took The Red Pill, and Reality Changed His Life
Criticism of political correctness was supposed to be the exclusive province of the rightwing. For most observers, it was almost inconceivable that an anti-P.C. critic could come from another political quarter. Unsurprisingly, then, the majority of people who discovered my case, including some reporters, simply assumed that I was a conservative. As one Twitter troll put it: “You’re anti-P.C.? You must be a rightwing nut-job.” But as I explained in numerous interviews and essays, I was not a Trump supporter; I was never a right-winger, or an alt-right-winger; I was never a conservative of any variety. Hell, I wasn’t even a classical John Stuart Mill liberal.
In fact, for several years, I had identified as a left communist. My politics were to the left (and considerably critical of the authoritarianism) of Bolshevism!
Excerpt from Chapter 6 of Springtime for Snowflakes: Villains and Laughing Stocks, The Gender Jackpot, Transgressing the Boundaries
Click on title above for video.
“Michael Rectenwald was a professor at New York University who described himself as a full blown Communist. But when he committed the mortal sin of [against] collectivism, which is to question the wisdom of the party line …. The process was enlightening because it allowed Professor Rectenwald to see that leftist ideology is merely a velvet glove that covers an iron fist.”
Corrections: The bias reporting hotline was instituted in the fall of 2016, not 2014. Two, I was never fired from NYU but rather retired voluntarily and on “amicable” term.
Professor Rectenwald will be a speaker at Red Pill Expo in Hartford, Connecticut, on June 7 at 2:30 PM.. His topic is Leftism, Leftism Everywhere. Tickets are available here.
From Chapter 5: The Seduction of Theory: Excerpt from Springtime for Snowflakes: "Social Justice" and Its Postmodern Parentage
Obviously, I had by now known and accepted the premise that English Studies was a battlefield of “textual politics,” and that the players made no bones about their agendas. Previously, critics in the field, like the old New Critics with their plodding close reading of texts, had pretended to be neutral, but their neutrality was merely a thin scrim for cultural domination. Dead white men had ruled the English canon long enough. But this was only the most flagrant of offenses. Other suspects were singled out for prosecution – including an exclusive focus on the text itself (New Criticism), assuming the centrality or superiority of European culture (Eurocentrism), implicitly endorsing heterosexuality as a norm (heteronormativity), believing that humanity is exceptional and that individual humans have unitary selves (humanism), believing in an essence of human nature and/or in the essence of essential types of humans such as racial groups and women and men (essentialism), the belief that neutral knowledge is discoverable by scientific means (positivism), the belief that words might faithfully represent an external reality (logocentrism), and the privileging of the masculine in the construction of meaning (phallogocentrism) – among others. Every one of these notions or beliefs has been treated as a villain, a laughing stock, or both.
Chapter 1: Introducing the @antipcnyuprof: Excerpt from Springtime for Snowflakes: "Social Justice" and Its Postmodern Parentage
Had my dad understood it, my graduate school enrollment in “Literary and Cultural Theory” would have struck him as tantamount to madness, like self-commitment to an insane asylum. After the Ginsberg apprenticeship, which definitively ended any remaining prospects I had for medical school, he wouldn’t have had tears left to cry…..
So, twelve years after the Ginsberg apprenticeship and after working in broadcast advertising for nine years, by my early thirties, I finally decided to become a literature professor. Read more…
After “Social Justice”: New Paradigms for the Humanities and Social Sciences
On September 12, 2016, I established a Twitter account with the name “Deplorable NYU Prof” and the official handle @antipcnyuprof. This Twitter identity – replete with Friedrich Nietzsche avatar – represented a satirical character wielded by a self-proclaimed but anonymous NYU professor apparently gone rogue. As with all satire, the mockery was over-the-top, but the intended effect was serious criticism. The Twitter account allowed me to air views that I felt reluctant to issue under my real name, and to render them without undu circumspection.
“Social Justice” and Its Postmodern Parentage
Despite its loosely aggregated elements, social justice is arguably the hegemonic paradigm for teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences today. Yet, some scholars have been subjecting the “social justice university” to trenchant criticism, and Heterodox Academy, an organization of professors advocating “viewpoint diversity,” was recently established to combat the overweening influence of social justice ideology in the academy. Meanwhile, a Sokal Hoax redux recently exposed social-justice-inflected fields for political tendentiousness and absurdity, as the lampooners made a mockery of acceptable research in what they pejoratively termed “grievance studies.”
In this talk, I review critiques of social justice then point to several emergent paradigms gaining attention outside of the academy. in New English Review February 2019 February 2019.
Trigger Warnings, Safe Spaces, Bias Reporting: The New Micro-techniques of Surveillance and Control
At the moment postmodern theory lay dying in the academy, it bore a child, namely, “social justice.” Social justice gestated within the university as postmodern theory ruled the roost. It was nursed during the Occupy movement and the Obama era. The financial crisis left its hapless followers in search of empowerment. It took root on the internet on social media. But because its parent had taught it that the object world is not real, or else that the world at large was beyond one’s purview, the child of postmodern theory could only change itself, as well as, so it imagined, those who bore signs of its oppressors. In Academic Questions. 31.2. (10 April 2018): 130-139.
Craig on God and Morality
A singular orthodoxy has infiltrated the discursive parameters of U.S. and other universities and colleges. This orthodoxy now constitutes the ethical vocabulary of academia. Adopted from feminism, anti-racism, and LGBTQ theory and practice, the language, doctrines, and mechanisms of this orthodoxy now dominate academia's policies, procedures and handbooks. The terminology has become the vernacular among the swelling ranks of administrators, especially the relatively new cohort of chief diversity officers, directors of diversity, associate provosts of diversity, assistant provosts of diversity, diversity consultants, and so on and so on. I refer not merely to the orthodoxy of "diversity," but in particular to "diversity" initiatives as they are currently administered, using a particular set of policies, procedures, and mechanisms: trigger warnings, safe spaces, bias reporting, and the like.
Local Histories, Broader Implications
THERE IS AN HISTORICAL DEBATE in philosophy that begins with Plato’s Euthyphro on the relation between the omniscient authority of God and morality. We do not intend to rehash the vast literature on this topic.1 Instead we will concentrate on the arguments given by William Lane Craig, a well-known philosopher of religion whose influence on Christians is considerable. Craig has given a moral argument for the existence of God.2 If he is correct, then non- believers and non-theistic moral theories are inadequate. We regard Craig’s view as invalid and in need of correction. We contend that the argument Craig gives is unsound.
Science in the Popularis Aura: Opening Statement delivered in defense of the dissertation: “The Publics of Science: Periodicals and the Making of British Science, 1820-1860”
Review of Patricia Donahue and Gretchen Flesher Moon, eds. Local Histories: Reading the Archives of Composition. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007. Series in Composition, Literacy and Culture. College Composition and Communication. Vol. 60, No. 2 (December 2008): W53-W57.
From Romantic Catastrophism to Victorian Gradualism: A Reading of Epistemes
As Thomas Carlyle quipped in 1829 in “Signs of the Times,” in the nineteenth century, “every little sect among us, Unitarians, Utilitarians, Anabaptists, Phrenologists, must have its Periodical, its monthly or quarterly Magazine;-- hanging out, like its windmill, into the popularis aura, to grind meal for the society.” In my dissertation, “The Publics of Science: Periodicals and the Making of British Science, 1820-1860,” I have endeavored to study the “machinery” for the production and dissemination of science in culture—to examine how various sects or publics provided scientific “meal for the society.” Examining several periodicals from early to mid-nineteenth-century Britain, my dissertation is an account of emerging sites for the production, dissemination, negotiation, and appropriation of knowledge amongst various participants—authors, publishers, editors, reviewers, critics, readers and others—as they vied for (and against) cultural authority on the basis of beliefs claimed as “scientific.”
Reading Around The Kids
Several nineteenth-century scholars have remarked upon the movement from “catastrophism to gradualism” in the transition from Romantic to Victorian culture. They see the shift to gradualism in literature (and society) as the result of the incursion of science and its ideas into cultural realms (e.g., Cosslett, Culler). While recent writings in the discourse of science and literature studies have complicated this one-way traffic by acknowledging a dialectical flow between cultural realms, such readings are nevertheless situated with reference to C.P. Snow’s “two cultures” paradigm.1 In referring literature to scientific discourse and vice versa, science and literature studies may capture a mutual conditioning of respective cultural spheres, but nevertheless continues to discount a reading of the determinations of both spheres by other important social and political factors.
In order to account for a shift from catastrophism to gradualism, I argue that science and literature must be referred to underlying discursive pressures mediating between cultural spheres. Rather than considering literature as appropriating the idioms of science, and/or vice versa, the social and political significations of competing epistemologies and philosophical positions within and across cultural spheres should be traced to account for changes within cultural representation.
The books are everywhere, stacked like barricades between me and my family, on coffee tables, end tables, the kitchen table, dining room table, chairs, desks, dressertops…In Constance Coiner and Diana Hume George, eds. The Family Track: Keeping Your Faculties while You Mentor, Nurture, Teach, and Serve. University of Illinois Press (1998): 107-13.