It was a very invective sort of tone

I hope you’re not bored with Priya Venkatesan yet, because I’m not. She’s the mother lode, so to speak.

Tyler Brace asked her if it was true that she called the students fascist demagogues, and she said no never, not true.

I went into class after that whole clapping incident, and I said. ‘What you did was horrific. What you did was really bad.’ Not bad, I didn’t accuse them of being bad, I said what you did was unacceptable. They started arguing with me. I said fine. You think you know everything. You think you know everything without the knowledge base to boot, without the training, you think you have a command of all the knowledge in the world at this stage in your life, then I’m sorry, that is fascism and that is demagoguery. When I made the two words fascism and demagoguery I looked at the picture on the wall. I made sure that I did not look at the students, and that I did not make any personal attacks on them.

Isn’t that cool? She didn’t call them fascist demagogues, all she did is say when you do what I’m saying you did, that is fascism and that is demagoguery – and she was very careful to look at the wall when she said it, so they would know it was nothing personal. There’s semiotics for you! Or something.

The fact of the matter is that by being so arrogant about their command of knowledge about arguing with me about every point that I was making and that’s really arrogant. That’s very arrogant because frankly, and I’m not trying to be an academic elitist, but frankly, they don’t even have a B.A. They’re freshmen. They’re freshmen.

Yeah. And they just don’t have the rich knowledge that she has, which shines through in everything she says and writes. You have only to read the full interview (endless as it is) to see that. She’s erudition itself. She knows a really really lot and they don’t.

[T]he fact of the matter is that I have the PhD in literature, I make the assessment if someone has talent for philosophy, literary theory, and literary criticism. A student might say, well, the hell with you I’m still going to become a literary critic, I had to do that, there were people who criticized me while I was a student, you’re not a good writer or whatever, but I said well I’m still going to go ahead with my goals, but I never made any personal attacks on them…

Ya…but you should have listened to them though. They were right. You’re not a good writer. And I wouldn’t trust your opinion on who has a talent for philosophy, either. Literary ‘theory’ you can decide if you want to, but philosophy? I don’t think so.

I made the argument that in many cases science and technology did not benefit women, and if women were benefiting science and technology, it was an aftereffect. It was not the goal of science and technology. It was a very feminist claim, and you may not agree with it. But that was Merchant’s argument…But there was one student who really took issue with this…science and technology, women really did benefit from it, and to criticize patriarchal authority on the basis that science and technology benefited patriarchy or men, was not sufficient grounds for this type of feminist claim. And he did this with great rhetorical flourish; it was very invective, it was a very invective sort of tone.

Aw, that’s a shame. I suppose he was another one who has no talent for philosophy.

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