Marc Tessier-Lavigne, president of Stanford University, reminds the alumni, on the anniversary of George Floyd’s death, that awful things have happened in this country, that these awful things are being studied, that new “clusters” of race-specialist faculty are being hired to combat the awful things, that they have a flashy new acronym (“IDEAL” — Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in a Learning Environment”) as part of an “initiative” to cure awful things from happening in the future, and that Stanford’s Public Safety is being reminded about the possibility of awful things happening.
“It is deeply important to me that every member of our community feels safe and protected at Stanford. In the coming months, we’ll continue to draw on the Community Board’s insights as we work to improve public safety at our university.”
Pfew. What a relief. For a minute there I was beginning to worry that regular lynchings and cross-burning would be allowed to proceed, completely unchecked by Stanford’s Public Safety people. It’s so comforting to know that under this president of the college, they have no plans to stop “drawing” on the “Community Board’s insights.” (In the past, apparently, college presidents have been very abrupt about just saying, “no more insights, please!”)
My search for meaning in life, whenever I read gibberish like this, endures a kind of brain freeze, and I’m tempted to just shout, “no, uh, listen, Mr. Almighty, we are too stupid to be of much use to You, or to each other.”
I think it works something like, say, this: a Stanford Queer Studies “professor” understands, on some level, that they are as lost a creature as poor George Floyd, enlarging his heart on too much fentanyl. They desperately NEED some ugly cracker to perform some intellectual act of neck-kneeling, so that, by comparison, they can feel meaning in their protest. It’s reactive.
Kinda like what I’m doing here, except far more pathetic. I’m overjoyed not to have the obligations of Stanford’s president — piously mouthing new “initiatives.” Can you even IMAGINE what it must be like to play referee to so many highly paid neurotics?
Let’s all go pick strawberries. It would be much more meaningful.