The continuing adventures of Beau Yarbrough

Phyllis Schlafly: Tech’s English curriculum made Cho a killer

Thursday, May 10, 2007, 12:48
Section: Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech black ribbonPhyllis Schlafly, whom many will be surprised to learn is still alive, has a theory about what happened at Virginia Tech: All that evil learning made Seung-Hui Cho do it.

Without having access to Cho’s transcript, she goes through the godless, secular Tech English department course list — which, I can say from personal experience, has biblical stuff all over it (it’s where I first read Lord Byron’s “Cain,” as well as getting involved in endless discussions of “Paradise Lost” and various types of angels and numerous saints) — and finds the smoking gun is a book. A lot of books, in fact.

Cho was an English Department major and senior. As a frequent lecturer on college campuses, I have discovered that the English Departments are often the weirdest and/or the most leftwing.

A look at the websites of Virginia Tech’s English Department and of its professors reveals their mindset. We don’t yet know which courses Cho took, but it could have been any of these.

Did he take Professor Bernice L. Hausman’s English 5454 called “Studies in Theory: Representing Female Bodies”? The titles of the assigned readings include “Black Bodies, White Bodies: Toward an Iconography of Female Sexuality in Late Nineteenth-Century Art, Medicine, and Literature,” “The Comparative Anatomy of Hottentot Women in Europe, 1815-1817,” “Selling Hot Pussy: Representations of Black Female Sexuality in the Cultural Marketplace,” “The Anthropometry of Barbie: Unsettling Ideals of the Feminine Body in Popular Culture,” and “Foucault, Femininity, and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power.”

One of the assignments in this course (worth 10 percent of the total grade) is to “choose one day in which they dress and comport themselves in a manner either more masculine or more feminine than they would normally.”

Is this really a course taught by the English Department? It sounds like just the thing to confuse an already mixed-up kid.

Hausman uses “feminist pedagogy” theory, believing that sex and gender are merely “rhetorical constructs” resulting from cultural experiences, and that “students are more responsible for the creation of knowledge.” She lists her areas of expertise as “sexed embodiment, feminist and gender theory, and cultural studies of medicine.”

Other titles authored by Professor Hausman include “Changing Sex: Transsexualism, Technology, and the Idea of Gender,” “Do Boys Have to Be Boys?,” and “Virtual Sex, Real Gender: Body and Identity in Transgender Discourse.”

Perhaps Cho took Professor Bernice Hausman’s English 3354 on “Fundamentals” for which the syllabus promises an understanding of “deconstruction” (a favorite word in English departments).

Did Cho get evil egotistical notions from Professor Shoshana Milgram Knapp’s senior seminar called “The Self-Justifying Criminal in Literature”? Indeed, that could serve as his own self-portrait.

Did Cho take Professor J.D. Stahl’s senior seminar, English 4784, on “The City in Literature”? The assigned reading starts with a book about an urban prostitute who finally kills herself and a book about a violent man who kills his girlfriend.

Virginia Tech’s Distinguished Professor of English, Nikki Giovanni, has built a reputation as a “renowned poet,” even though many of her so-called poems feature violent themes and contain words that are not acceptable in civil discourse. She specializes in diversity, post-modernism, feminism, and multiculturalism.

Giovanni appeared last year at a public celebration to open Cincinnati’s new Fountain Square. She used the occasion to call Ken Blackwell, then the Republican candidate for Ohio Governor, an “S.O.B.”, and when challenged, simply repeated the slur. (Note: Nobody suggested giving her the Don Imus punishment.)

Did Cho take a course from Professor Paul Heilker, author of another peculiar piece called “Textual Androgyny, the Rhetoric of the Essay, and the Politics of Identity in Composition (or The Struggle to Be a Girly-Man in a World of Gladiator Pumpitude)”?

Or maybe Cho preferred the undiluted Marxism espoused by English instructor Allen Brizee, who wrote: “Everyday, the capitalist system exploits millions of people. … Our role in the capitalist system makes us guilty of oppression!”

Schlafly, of course, ignores even more shocking courses like Introduction to American Literature and Late 19th Century English Literature and Introduction to Creative Writing, all of which are also terribly profane and, you know, more likely to be taken by any given student than a one-semester seminar that’s done mostly to keep professors happy. I had to take a full semester of Jane Austen and Lord Byron as my senior seminar (“Mythology in the Modern Day” was full, to no one’s surprise).

(Source: Wired.)


  1. Lord knows my English degree made me a depraved person. I mean, I went on to become a philosopher of all things. /boggle

    Phyllis Schlafly is a nutcase. Wasn’t she bantering around the view that marital rape is impossible recently? Lets just all agree to put her on ignore and move on.

    Comment by Nicole — May 10, 2007 @ 13:10

  2. I’m surprised Anne Coulter didn’t beat her to the idealogical punch, considering that she’s been doing a sort of Andy Kaufman-esque impersonation of Phyllis Schlafly for the last decade. As in, fairly dead-on immitation to the point of near-parody taken to extremes that is only funny if considered as performance art.

    No, wait, Anne Coulter is no Andy Kaufman, that’s a terrible, Dennis Miller-esque pseudo-analogy. Andy Kaufman was funny. Phyllis Schlafly is also funny for very different reasons. Anne Coulter, however, is not funny.

    The main point is, drivel is still drivel no matter who writes it. What a lousy column. She should hook up with Fred Phelps and do a tour. Call it the ‘Blue Rage Hootenany’ and sell tickets to the freak show.

    Comment by f. chong rutherfod — May 10, 2007 @ 20:23

  3. “Blue Rage Hootenany” should be the name of a CMT-worthy band. NO, I take that back. That’s not fair to CMT.

    Oh, and Schlafly is an idiot.


    Comment by John — May 11, 2007 @ 7:53

  4. English was making me evil, especially all the college level English coursework. So, I took up Ebonics and e’rythang has been tite to toe since den!

    Comment by Houston — May 14, 2007 @ 8:34

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Veritas odit moras.