Hatred Won’t Improve the Discourse
Now, granted, communications is not my academic area of expertise, but I am pretty sure that starting off a column with the sentence “I hate X” pretty much precludes any chance of communicating (at least having discourse with) members of group X.
And yet, Susan J. Douglas, Professor and Chair of Communications at the University of Michigan, starts a column thusly: “I hate Republicans” and then continues
I can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Darrell Issa or any of the legions of other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform or championing fetal “personhood.”
She ultimately laments that she misses “civilized discourse” (but does so unironically, it would seem). I am pretty sure this type of column will not aid its return. Further, it just helps to denigrate academia for no good or useful purpose.
Regardless of one’s views of a particular political party, it problematic to start off with the hate talk and then accuse your opponent of “craft[ing] a political identity that rests on a complete repudiation of the idea that the opposing party and its followers have any legitimacy at all” (again: unironic).
One would think that a professor of communications would understand this fact.
And, really, while I think it is perfectly fair if a professor is willing to let their worldview be public, I can see nothing useful about declaring one’s hatred for a specific political party, religion, philosophy, or whatever when one is going to be in the classroom trying to teach those persons. Because I hate to tell Dr. Douglas: she has Republican students.
Politics can be frustrating, without a doubt, but this kind of declaration from someone supposed engaged in the intellectual enterprise is unacceptable.