Monday, January 25, 2010

"The Loony Left"-- Vintage 60 Minutes

(This won't be for everyone, but here it is, anyway. . .)

Here's a little something I saw linked to on Twitter this morning:

The following YouTube videos present a circa-1987 story from 60 Minutes titled "The Loony Left".  Some of the issues are very familiar.  I suppose the point of posting it in the first place was to highlight those similarities between Britain at that point in history and the US today.  The sad thing is that for many of us-- those my age and younger-- it's difficult (and for some, impossible) to remember a time when we weren't always being bombarded with such sickening political correctness and the politicization of everything.  (Math can be racist, for example.  What?  Didn't you know that?  Those wicked numbers and formulas-- you can't trust 'em for a minute!) 

Part 1 of 2:

Part 2 of 2:

If it weren't so dangerous, parts of it would be funny.

For instance, take the bit in the first video where the committee of book-banners explains how bad that one book is. The horse that behaves badly just happens to be black.  "It's not a white horse," the annoying woman feels compelled to point out-- not that there appear to be any white horses in the book... (Coincidence? I think not!) And then he's "tamed" by a little white girl. (White, I tell you! How can you not see the blatant racism when it's there before your very eyes?!) 

And it's not just racist-- it's sexist, too, because the little girl tames it using sugar instead of force to overcome it, as a little boy might have done.  But isn't that using her brains?, Mr. Interviewer asks.  Isn't that preferable to her beating the horse into submission?  Would you rather she hit it instead?  One woman answers, "I'd rather she had the choice."

. . .Had the choice?  What on earth do you mean?  This isn't a choose-your-own-adventure book, lady.  The author has to make the choice for the character in his/her book. 

And then there's math (as I mentioned before). 
Direct quote from some guy (who, forgive me, doesn't look like someone I'd instinctively trust, what with his hippie hair and humongous messy beard) interviewed in the story:  "Math isn't neutral, and it isn't culture-free, but is a product of the society in which it exists.  It transmits the messages of that society-- the political ideas of that society."  Apparently this man was commissioned by someone-or-other to help them in their goal toward "non-racist mathematics".  *gag*

Interviewer (whose name I ought to know, because I recognize his face):  "In teaching percentages, the questions are phrased in terms of exploitation of the workers."

Mr. Scruffy Non-Racist Mathematics Dude:  "There are people who gain from profit and people who lose from profit in society.  You can't understand profit without actually centering it in a particular form of society."

Interviewer:  "So beyond learning how percentages work, there is a social message..."

Mr. Scruffy:  "Yes."

Interviewer: "Or a political message..."

Mr. Scruffy:  "Yes.  Yes.  Yes. . . Yes." 

Then there's a charming example of a math exam where one question compared the spending on arms in the Soviet Union and the United States, "showing an enormous increase in expenditure by the United States".  You can't afford to waste a single opportunity to cram in a little more indoctrination.  Not even in the traditionally (comparatively) sterile environment of the mathematics test.