Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Australian universities - 'would you like bias with that?'

My only university experience was obtaining a (mostly) worthless print journalism degree locally. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and perhaps in the future, I could look back upon it as a positive move.

I didn't take much social enrichment away from it - I just wanted to to go to my lectures, do the work, and get it all over and done with, and I wasn't too obliging of myself to join a social circle, or even make friends or go to the uni bar.

I had acquaintances, but I never fully felt like 'one of the gang', having started off in second year with credits from a media course from TAFE.

Even mentioning 'TAFE' was to announce your banality, your crudeness, and your lack of intelligence, since TAFE was seen as strictly the domain of the unthinking, unwashed masses.

Of all the TAFE students that had the same crediting, both locally and from Sydney, I was, as far as I know, the only one to actually graduate with the degree - so kudos to me, I guess, even though it remains largely unprofitable.

But while I didn't take away any great social experiences from university, I did take away an overwhelming leftist bias, with a feminist flavour, and at times I had the unnerving feeling that as a male, I shouldn't be looking at journalism as a career.

Which sounds paranoid in itself; but journalism in Australia is overwhelmingly dominated by the ladies, which is great, but there was a level of poo-pooing a guy that wasn't interested in just doing sports journalism.

I even made the mistake of taking a public relations module, filled with rich and snooty ladies that bemoaned my presence - luckily I only took the one class and fled as fast as possible.

But all of that aside, and I'll put it down to just my perception at the time, there was a very large, roaring left undertone.

For instance, what kind of neutral journo wannabe would wear a Kevin 07' tee-shirt?

There was the odd guy that would debate climate change and make snide remarks about Tim Flannery, and for the most part, most of them were politically apathetic, but there was an elite taste of the left.

One example was during a lecture in Politics 110. The lecturer was a stout lady that always wore cardigans, and would often leave the subject matter and drift off into a diatribe about the 60s and 70s.

A particular story was to do with abortion. She gave an account of how one of her friends had had a backyard abortion performed with coat hangars to scoop out the fetus, because guilt-free abortion wasn't available at the time.

Everyone was aghast, and agreed with the premise that it was a woman's right to choose, and abortions should perhaps be freely available as sunscreen or diet coke.

Of course, abortion is one of those wedge issues. Personally I feel it's appropriate under certain circumstances, but if it's a clumsy drunken accident, then responsibility should have already been taken by both parties - especially given the plethora of contraception options available.

In America for instance, the highest rate of abortion is amongst the African American community - 10 million since 1973 - that's a lot of black babies that won't grow up and strengthen that particular group of citizens.

Overall, about 55 million abortions have taken place in America since then and now, with the African and Hispanic community being represented highly.

But under the auspice of militant, leftist feminism, that information was never taught at university.

As a matter of fact, in a module elegantly called 'Identity Politics' (which I proudly failed), we were taught by a female former ski instructor that because men didn't have wombs and could not have babies, that, ergo, the scientific knowledge on pregnancy and birth has been skewed by a male perspective over the centuries, and so it was wrong.

The men should stick with building bridges.

Obviously she wasn't teaching science, because it's difficult to argue established scientific facts. But it went to the absolute core of how removed from reality universities can be, especially when they preach only one view.

The irony being, the vast majority of the university student population is made up by the 'born-to-lead' types of children from wealthy upper-middle class families that hold traditional, strict, right-leaning views, which I am also averse to.

Maybe the left bias is supposed to be edgy, to engage the children more? I'm not sure, but I'm glad I can at least say I have the same little piece of paper that they do.

But as with both school and university, the most I've learned is what I have taught myself before it goes through a reality distortion filter.

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