From: “Wagner, Carl” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 4:16 pm
To: “Singer, Neil” <email@example.com>
Subject: Thank you for being a friend.
Thank you for buying me lunch the other day. I think I have some idea of why you wanted to have lunch with me, and I want to assure you that I am fine, that I’m not going to show up at the university with an AR-15, or an Uzi, or a flamethrower.
In fact, I am in better spirits now – now that I am no longer in contact with certain people in the English department. I even deleted the “English Majors at the University of Tennessee” Facebook group, so I couldn’t troll the grad students and lecturers if I wanted to.
Not that I consider what I did trolling. I mean, I was just trying to make a good-faith argument about the gender pay gap, because I think it's important my fellow lecturers and I see everything, opposing views and so forth, since a lot of my fellow lecturers and I, as well as the grad students, do bring politics into the classroom, something we must do, really, if we’re going to teach Hermagoras’s stasis theory to our first-year composition students.
Anyway, the point is I’m fine, Dr. Singer. 😊 I’ve just been going through an anger phase, and yes when my Facebook post about the gender pay gap received its barrage of attacks from the grad students and part-time lecturers a few weeks ago, I went ballistic, calling one part-time lecturer, Jamie Teschendorf, a cunt. It was impulsive, and I regret it. You can rest assured that I will not kick the beehive again, that I will not verbally abuse the grad students and part-time lecturers anymore, Dr. Singer. I swear.
There is just one thing I’d like to mention, though, if I may: Jamie Teschendorf isn’t being totally aboveboard about the whole thing. She isn’t innocent in all of this! A few weeks ago, when she ran into your arms, saying, “Carl Wagner made a post about the pay gap on the ‘English Majors at the University of Tennessee’ Facebook group and then he called me a cunt to boot,” she was not being totally forthcoming, I will have you know. You don’t know the whole story, Dr. Singer. At least I don’t think you do. Jamie Teschensdorf and I used to date. We met a year ago, in the fall of 2018, and bonded over Bret Easton Ellis novels, which so many of the English majors – Shakespearians, Spenserians – consider pulp fiction, not “real fiction” – not Tommy Orange, or Ta-Nehisi Coates, or the almighty Toni Morrison. In Knoxville, Jamie and I strolled through World’s Fair Park, admiring the Rachmaninoff statue. We went to the top of the Sun Sphere. We went dancing. But the relationship went South one snowy night when Jamie and I were downtown bar hopping. We stopped at The Market for a pack of cigarettes, and we were waiting in line when we noticed the homeless man in front of us had a Swastika on the back of his neck. “That’s Knoxville for ya,” Jamie whispered, angrily, into my ear. The Swastikaed man completed his transaction – he, too, was buying cigarettes – and made for the exit, but as he was leaving, he dropped his mitten to the floor, and without thinking I dashed after him, scooping up the mitten and calling, “Sir! You dropped your mitten, Sir! You dropped your mitten, Sir!”
I have not seen Jamie since.
Jamie can call me a poor historian all she wants, but I’m telling you that’s what happened, that she abandoned me because I’d assisted a homeless man.
(In all fairness, I think Jamie might be Jewish. The dalliance was short-lived, and believe it or not, we never broached the subject of religion, but I’ve heard rumblings that Jamie is a Jew.)
Finding Jamie was a relief, Dr. Singer. I couldn’t believe my luck! I couldn’t believe a beautiful woman like Jamie would go with me! Did Jamie have a brain injury? Was she experiencing brain trauma? Between you and me, I hadn’t had a woman since the Obama Administration, and it was nice not being lonely for a change, and I’d worried I was going to spend the rest of my life alone (at this point, it is pretty much a certainty that I’ll spend my life alone), and some nights, Jamie would stay over, and she would sleep in my bed (her body so warm, a radiator), wearing nothing but her CPAP machine (a snorkeler, a marine archaeologist), but then everything ended the night I helped that homeless man, and it was very cold, and when I called Jamie a cunt on Facebook a few weeks ago, I was very emotional, because my father committed suicide a couple months after Jamie and I “parted ways,” and I could have used a friend in that time (undoubtedly the darkest period of my life, a period from which I’m not sure I’ve emerged), and anyway what did I do to her that was so horrible?
I understand you ordered me to stay off Facebook not because I made an argument about the gender pay gap but because I called Jamie a cunt, but I maintain there is a kind of intolerance in Academe, an intolerance for more conservative talking points. Once, at the Oliver Hotel, friends and I were having cocktails, and we were discussing Barbeque Becky. Do you remember Barbeque Becky? She made headlines in April of 2018 when she called the police on two black guys because they were illegally having a barbecue in a park in Oakland, California? At the Oliver, I had the nerve to say there was no evidence to suggest Becky was a racist. She may have been persnickety, but racist??? The “victims” (if we’re willing to call them that) said Becky had used the word nigger, but if you watch the YouTube video of the fight that ensued in the park, you’ll notice the “victims” (the men trying to have the barbeque) don’t say anything on the video about Becky having used the n-word, and wouldn’t the “victims” have been dying to tell the world that this white woman had just called them the n-word? Like, wouldn’t that information have found its way onto the YouTube video? Like, during the kerfuffle that was being recorded, wouldn’t someone have said, “This lady just called us the n-word!” Anyway, if there’s no evidence to substantiate the claim that Barbeque Becky is a racist (and there isn’t, Dr. Singer), why are we ruining this woman’s life, calling her “a racist” and “a piece of shit” and “subhuman” and all the rest of it? That was my stance at the Oliver. Of course, my interlocutors did not agree. They assured me Becky was racist, that if the black men insisted she called them a nigger, then she must have. Furthermore, they insisted I was a racist for defending Barbecue Becky. Can you believe that, Dr. Singer? I was a racist simply because I’d had the effrontery to suggest Barbecue Becky might not be a racist! I was a racist because I wanted to enforce a kind of presumption of innocence!
It was nice talking with you over lunch, Dr. Singer. I found our conversation medicinal. I must say, however, I was a little hurt when you told me you didn’t remember who I was at first. Um, my name is Carl Wagner??? I was a graduate student here at the University of Tennessee between 2016 and 2018? I was in the MFA program? I took classes here and taught freshman composition concurrently? I know, I know, there are many of us, lots of grad students and part-time lecturers here in the English Department, BUT YOU EVEN OBSERVED ONE OF MY CLASSES IN 2017 AND EVALUATED MY PERFORMANCE AND SAID I DID A FANTASTIC JOB!!! And then, after I graduated, I took a job here as a part-time lecturer because I can’t find a full-time teaching position. RING ANY BELLS, DR. SINGER??? 😊 I enjoyed talking with you over lunch, Dr. Singer. I find I can really talk to you. (You won’t call me a racist if I say I hate Jordan Peele. You won’t call me an anti-Semite because I read Mein Kampf.) I can’t talk with anyone my age, Dr. Singer. They are all so quick to call me a racist. Dr. Singer, what does one do when they’re at odds with their generation the way I am? When they’re a total anachronism? A time traveler? Do they simply adapt? Join or die? I want to have community (i.e. friends, a girlfriend), but I have sat in many a Knoxville bar, listening to my peers’ views, and I can’t bite my tongue.
Like, one night, at The French Market, I was listening to Hollingham Woerner talk about his Fulbright scholarship. Before coming to the University of Tennessee, Hollingham (an alumnus of Brown, a macrobiotic vegan) had lived in Mexico for several months on a Fulbright scholarship. He was supposed to continue on in Mexico but cut his trip short because he felt unsafe in Mexico, and at The French Market, a tad sauced, he said he was worried he was a racist for going home early; and, as a matter of fact, Jorge Martin – another Brown asshole – suggested Hollingham was racist.
“Like…I dunno…I just think maybe you need sensitivity training,” said Jorge.
I could not bite my tongue, Dr. Singer.
“Gee,” I said, looking at Jorge, from across the table. “‘Sensitivity training.’ Don’t you think that sounds a bit like ‘reeducation camp’? Like Maoist China?”
HAS THE WHOLE WORLD GONE CRAZY, DR. SINGER??? HOLLINGHAM IS A RACIST BECAUSE HE FELT UNSAFE IN MEXICO??? BECAUSE HE WANTED TO GO HOME EARLY???
Hollingham hurled invectives at me on Facebook. You’d think Hollingham and I would be friends – he, too, was unfairly attacked, wasn’t he? At the French Market?
Hollingham and I should have started a group – Society for Men Embattled by Leftists (SMEL) – but, alas, when I made my argument about the gender pay gap on Facebook a few weeks ago, Hollingham attacked me, calling me a misogynist. He was among the mob that wanted my head on a pike all because I’d dared to poke holes in the gender pay gap argument and call Jamie a cunt to boot. He said I was “unwell” and I needed help.
Dr. Singer, I understand why you told me to stay off Facebook, but don’t you agree the Academy should be a Free Marketplace for Ideas? An Ideas Fair? A place where we share information, because we’re teachers, and every day we speak to impressionable young people, first-years, so it’s important we be informed, because, as kooky as it might sound, we can change the direction of the country? Like, if we inform students, we can change the way they vote? Like, we can help them vote responsibly? So we have an obligation to be informed ourselves? Because, to some extent, we’re “public-opinion sculptors”? Not unlike journalists? While I understand “The English Majors at the University of Tennessee” Facebook group is supposed to be a place where grad students can ask each other benign little questions about their upcoming comprehensive exams, I argue it ought to be a place where people can ask malignant questions, too (questions about the gender pay gap, for instance), and what does the word malignant even mean in this context? I’ll tell you what it means: A malignant question may hurt people’s feelings. A malignant question will challenge people. A malignant question may be violent, slaughtering sacred cows, demolishing ancient buildings, erecting new ones in their stead… For example, maybe all this atheism isn’t working for us, Dr. Singer. Did you know twenty-two percent of millennials say they’re lonely? And not just lonely, but…like…so goddamn lonely they can’t even cope with their loneliness. Maybe religion, real or not, is good for people. Like, maybe the messages are important. Not the homophobic stuff, but the aphorisms, the New Testament, Jesus Christ, King of Kings. Like, the idea that Christ was kind of like a samurai sword, folded one-thousand times, rid of impurities, purified, pure, perfect. Be good to people! Turn the other cheek! Judge not lest ye be judged! These are good things, Dr. Singer. Good messages. Not to be dispensed with. (Is “There but for the grace of God go I” from the bible, Dr. Singer?)
If nothing else, religion offers community, does it not?
Dr. Singer, did you know Jesus’s disciples were a mushroom cult? A bunch of guys tripping their dicks off on toadstools, amanita muscaria? Did you know Jesus wasn’t real, that he was a mushroom, that the word Jesus means “mushroom covered in God’s semen” in ancient Aramaic or whatever? (Now there’s a malignant question, Dr. Singer. And, yes, it ought to be allowed, as long as it’s made in the interest of truth.) I did a ton of drugs in high school, Dr. Singer. A pharmacopoeia of pills. A drugstore. My friend, Speedy, and I did them together. We did shrooms. We shroomed. We read psychonauts like Terrance McKenna, lending each other books. We were interested in drugs as intellectual catalysts. I once did ecstasy every night for three months. I once did methamphetamine and disassembled and reassembled a computer. I once did acid and “dreamt” I was an astronaut aboard a spacecraft called The Pequod – our mission was to rendezvous with an asteroid traveling 135,000 miles per hour, land on the asteroid, and then mine for conflict minerals, which we all use in our cell phones, of course. Dr. Singer, did you know NASA scientists are entertaining the idea of building a moon base out of mushrooms??? During another trip, I was working with cosmonauts and taikonauts to build a base near Mons Malapert, a mountain at the South Pole of the Moon. I once did toad venom and lived an entire life while I was on it. I had friends and girlfriends and a full-time job. I met a girl, got engaged, bought a house in the burbs, had kids, got old… Then I snapped out of it, and there I was, sitting on my friend’s sofa, fifteen years old again. Now I don’t even know what’s real. Are you real, Dr. Singer? Am I real? Is the University of Tennessee real? What about the English division? The grad students and part-time lecturers? Are they real? And if they’re not real, what would be the harm in killing them?
Swipe left on toad venom, Dr. Singer. 😊
Dr. Singer, I was sad to see Estabrook Hall torn down last year. I remember the construction on campus – the yellow tape, the men in hard hats, the cranes, the wrecking ball…
The Academy is not a Safe Space, Dr. Singer. It’s a war zone, a place where structures come tumbling down all around you. It’s a place where your ideas may be smashed, demolished…
But what do I know, Dr. Singer? I’m deranged. Surely, that’s what everyone in the department thinks. That I’m creepy, deranged… That I’m having a meltdown, a psychotic break. That I’m sitting in my lair, reading Malthus, writing my multivolume manifesto. That I’m engineering a virus to be unleashed at the international airport. That I’m a renegade chemist concocting the next carfentanyl (fentanyl’s big brother) to decimate the human population, so concerned am I with overpopulation. That I’m a biodefense researcher gone mad, sending anthrax in envelopes all over the country, terrorizing the nation. That I’m raising hundreds of jungle cats – panthers, and jaguars, and snow leopards, and guinea leopards, and ligers, and tigers, and lions – only to set them loose on the city one day, all of them starving, and laugh maniacally as hundreds of innocents, among them children, are ripped to shreds!!! That I’m spearheading a misinformation campaign, convincing thousands of parents not to vaccinate their children, resurrecting diseases we eradicated in the twentieth century like smallpox and measles and polio. That I’m writing a riddle, the answer to which will diffuse the bombs I’m hidden all over the city. Every day, I post one or two or three or four things on my Facebook page, news stories about false rape accusations, hate crime hoaxes, murderous migrants, and my Facebook friends think I should let it go, give it a rest, “lay off social media, dude,” because I’m making an ass out of myself, because people are worried about me, but for God’s sake, I’m interested in truth, Dr. Singer, and this is merely their attempt to silence me. THEY KNOW I’M ON TO SOMETHING!!! I MUST BE SILENCED!!! I’M GOING TO RUIN EVERYTHING!!!
Wokeademics live in an echo chamber. Wokeademics are happy to go their whole careers, their whole lives, without thinking, even once, about opposing views. Dr. Singer, might I suggest a kind of Continuing Education Unit for the Woko Haram? One where they’re forced – if they want to receive tenure, anyway – to hear opposing views? One where they’re forced to hear healthy opposition? Here’s healthy opposition for ya: Is there such a thing as systemic racism, Dr. Singer? Is it possible that African American thinkers like Shelby Steele and Thomas Sowell are correct when they say blacks are stymied by their identity as victims? Are hate crimes really on the rise? Maybe they are, but did you know hate crime hoaxes are way more common than people realize? Is it true that women are paid less than men even when they do the same job, even when they work the same number of hours, even when they have the same education and experience, even when they too negotiated fiercely during the hiring process, even when they too moved across the country for the job? Are transgenders suffering a mental illness? Is transgenderism a type of apotemnophilia? Is fat shaming bad? Maybe yes, maybe no, but a rhetor ought to be free to question long-cherished beliefs. That’s the point, Dr. Singer!
The television talks to me, Dr. Singer. Right now, the news is on in the other room. There’s been a flood somewhere in the developing world. The T.V. says I created it. I’ve ruined all these people’s lives. It tells me over and over and over again that I ordered the flood. I want it to stop saying this. Because it’s not true. Can’t be true. I’m listening to the live coverage right now, as I write this, and the T.V. is laughing maniacally from the other room. It talks to me even after I turn it off. It tells me repeatedly that I’m a mass murderer, and of course if you repeat something over and over again, it becomes fact – or so says Hitler, in Mein Kampf. Have you ever read Mein Kampf? Hitler was like, “The most brilliant propagandist…[will be confined] to a few points and repeat them over and over again.” Have you heard about Sokal Squared? The publishing hoaxes? A group of gadflies transcribed passages from Mein Kampf, except they replaced the word Jew with Cisgender White Man or something like that, and the gender journals ate it up, calling it “brilliant work, important,” and the editors at these journals unwittingly published Mein Kampf!!!!! And now, not surprisingly, some folks are beginning to question the whole Gender Studies field as well as the goddamn quackademics that teach it, and I say it’s about time. Furthermore, I say Gender Studies students across the country ought to unite, come together and bring forward a class-action lawsuit, sue the universities!, sue them for selling snake oil, bunk. Ditto for the Post-Structuralists and Deconstructionists and Post-Colonialists. It’s all bullshit, bullshit baffles brains, obscurantism, or so said Sir Roger Scruton before he died of cancer, though some people think he was murdered, probably by a wackademic, because wackademics didn’t like Scruton’s views. It really does make me angry, Dr. Singer. If I were to get a full-time teaching position, I would teach Rousseau and Voltaire and John Stuart Mill, but of course I can’t get a full-time teaching appointment to save my life. Why, you might ask, can’t I get a full-time teaching appointment to save my life? Because the schools are busy hiring lunatics! They will almost certainly hire someone who’s published extensively in the field of Gender Studies before they hire me. (I write fiction, Dr. Singer. I told you that. Over lunch. You probably don’t remember that. I write about the incel. People make fun of incels, but these are guys who’ve never been touched, much less made love to, and make no mistake: We need to be touched, made love it, need it the way we need water, and when we’re not getting it, we’re flailing and gasping. But, of course, who gives a damn about the incel? The incel is not an important subject. It’s not like we would see fewer mass shootings if we had a conversation about the incel. Let me tell you something, Dr. Singer: When a society engages in an ongoing conversation about women, par example, women can see that their society cares about them – this is what I call the medicinal conversation. But what about young men, Dr. Singer??? Can we talk about men and boys for five minutes? How about one minute? How about thirty seconds? No, no, no, we must never stop talking about women. Not for a second. After all, it’s women who are living in an oppressive, sexist, misogynistic, dystopian patriarchy, a chimp enclosure, and they need to be promoted. All hands on deck, Dr. Singer! But did you know that men are more likely than women to commit suicide? [Men do it exceptionally well. My father is one of thousands, tens of thousands, who do it every year.] Did you know that men are more likely to be homeless? To suffer failure to launch? To be the victims of violent crime? To be incarcerated? To fight and die in a war? To be tortured in places like Hanoi? To die at work? To use illicit drugs? To be the victims of divorce laws that take away their kids? Did you know that men are less likely to be college educated? And yet the feminist’s voice, “Male privilege!” carries the day. Dr. Singer, are you familiar with the Cassandra Complex?)
YOU’RE A REAL FRAUD, DR. SINGER!!! I GIVE THE GRAD STUDENTS AND PART-TIME LECTURERS FOOD FOR THOUGHT, MAKING A GOOD-FAITH ARGUMENT ABOUT THE GENDER PAY GAP, AND TWO DAYS LATER (TWO FUCKING DAYS!!!), YOU, THE DIRECTOR OF FIRST-YEAR COMPOSITION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, SUMMON ME TO YOUR OFFICE, WHERE YOU ORDER ME TO “STAY OFF FACEBOOK,” AND THEN, ONE WEEK LATER, YOU ASK ME TO MEET YOU FOR LUNCH, WHERE YOU GIVE ME ANOTHER EDICT, A PAPAL BULL, SAYING, “STAY OFF FACEBOOK, CARL. HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING OFF FACEBOOK?” WHERE DO YOU LIVE, DR. SINGER??? KINDLY REPLY TO THIS EMAIL WITH YOUR HOME ADDRESS, AND DON’T YOU DARE GIVE ME ANY FUGAZI HORSESHIT!!!
I SAY YOU’RE A FRAUD BECAUSE YOU DON’T VALUE THE FREE MARKETPLACE FOR IDEAS! I SAY YOU’RE A FRAUD BECAUSE YOU DON’T VALUE THE IDEAS FAIR! I SAY YOU’RE A FRAUD BECAUSE YOU DON’T VALUE HEALTHY OPPOSITION! YOU’RE A FRAUD, DR. SINGER! A FRAUD!!!
You know, sometimes I think my mother isn’t actually my mother but someone pretending to be my mother. I don’t know who she is or why she’s doing this, but the person I talked with over the phone last Sunday was not my mother.
[Sigh.] Alas: The Academy is no longer a place of truth, Dr. Singer. (Did you know Edward Snowden dropped out of college because he thought he could learn more on his own?) The Academy – no longer a place of Age of Enlightenment concepts like free inquiry, no longer a place of high-quality scientific research and scholarship that adds to our current wealth of knowledge, no longer a place where we bring students into the fold and teach them to participate in our search for truth, no longer a place where we teach students to think for themselves and make coherent evidence-based arguments, no longer a place where we teach students to question assumptions, question everything – is doing more harm than good, and it must be destroyed. Fun while it lasted, but the idea of the university must be vacated. Things have reached Peak Absurdity, Dr. Singer. PEAK ABSURDITY!!!
I have this dream where I’m in a padded cell. I have this dream where I can’t get in the house. I am cold, and I can’t get in the house. I try the front door, but it’s locked. I try the side door, but it’s locked. I try the back door, but it’s locked. Everything is locked, tight, and I can’t get in. I am months behind on my rent. I live in Maplehurst Park Apartments. Building 727. Apartment 9. (Drop by some time. If I’m not hanging from the ceiling, I’ll serve you tea.) Are you familiar with Maplehurst? Maplehurst is right on the Tennessee River, which, as you know, snakes through downtown Knoxville. You know the Henley Street Bridge? My building is right under it. I am buried in debt – ten-thousand dollars in credit card debt, another fifty in student loans. As you know, I graduated recently from the University of Tennessee, and for a lack of anything better to do, I took a job as a part-time lecturer (here, at the university), but I am the part of the totem pole that is underground, and I don’t make a lot of money, and I don’t see a full-time teaching appointment anywhere on the horizon. (I swear it’s easier to become a five-star general than it is to get a full-time teaching position at a university or even a community college. Too many pigs for the teats, Dr. Singer.)
I am tired, Dr. Singer. Utterly depleted. World-weary and not yet out of my twenties. I think tomorrow I’ll go to the leasing office, here at Maplehurst, and ask Management, “What’s the damage?” and if I owe all these late fees on top of the back rent, I’ll take that as a sign, that life just isn’t working out.
Some people’s lives are simply duds.
The bridge looms over my apartment. I can see it from my balcony. I see it all the time, like Hart Crane, though I’m not as brilliant as Hart Crane. For months now, I’ve been working on a novel called Big Amygdala, and as I sit at my desk, writing, I look through the window occasionally, and there’s the Henley Street Bridge, glaring back at me. (I have a rendezvous with the Henley Street Bridge.) My heart is broken, because my father died. (I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone, this feeling of rejection.) He died a year ago, shortly after Jamie ghosted me, but it still hurts. (Always will?) I mean, he wasn’t my real father. I’m adopted. But, still, when my father died, I went into a tailspin, SO EXCUSE ME IF I CALLED JAMIE TESCHENDORF A CUNT!!! I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS SPEAKING TO PRINCESS NEFERTITI!!! AND, REALLY, WHAT’S SO HORRIBLE ABOUT SAYING CUNT??? IF A WOMAN IS BEING MISERABLE TO ME – LIKE, JUST FUCKING AWFUL – WHY CAN’T I LOSE CONTROL OF MY EMOTIONS AND CALL HER A CUNT??? WANETTA GIBSON FALSELY ACCUSED BRAIN BANKS OF RAPE, SENDING HIM TO PRISON TO FIVE YEARS… CAN WE CALL HER A CUNT, DR. SINGER? WHAT ABOUT THOSE DRUG LAB CHEMISTS WHO TAMPERED WITH EVIDENCE, WHICH RESULTED IN THE WRONGFUL CONVICTION OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF MEN WHO’D BEEN BROUGHT UP ON DRUG CHARGES? CAN WE CALL THEM CUNTS???
When Jamie enters a room, four semi-literate hulks bring her in on a divan.
EXCUSE ME FOR HELPING A HOMELESS MAN, JAMIE! OKAY, SO HE HAD A SWASTIKA ON HIS NECK! BIG FUCKING DEAL! LIKE, MAYBE HE GOT THE TATTOO DECADES AGO, WHEN HE WAS A KID, AND HE WAS REALLY ANGRY, AND HE WAS LOST AND CONFUSED AND HE REGRETS IT NOW, AND MAYBE NOW, IN 2019, HE WOULD GET THE TATTOO REMOVED IF HE COULD BUT HE DOESN’T HAVE THE MONEY, AND MAYBE HIS FATHER DIED, AND SIX MONTHS LATER HIS MOTHER DIED, AND THEN HE FELL OFF A LADDER AT WORK AND HE COULDN’T MAKE MONEY ANYMORE AND HIS WIFE LEFT HIM, TAKING THEIR LITTLE DAUGHTER (A HEARTBREAKING DEVASTATING BLOW), AND THEN HIS FRIENDS ABANDONED HIM, SAYING HE WAS GETTING TOO RADICAL, AND THEN HIS LANDLORD EVICTED HIM, SAYING HIS LATE-NIGHT RANTS ABOUT JUDEOBOLSHEVISM – THE JEWS, THE JEWS, THE JEWS – WERE KEEPING THE NEIGHBORS AWAKE (NOT TO MENTION SCARING THE SHIT OUT OF THEM), AND MAYBE HIS WHOLE LIFE CAME CRUSHING DOWN AROUND HIM, AND THEN ONE DAY HE SNAPPED. AREN’T WE ALL CAPABLE OF SNAPPING, JAMIE???I TAKE IT YOU DON’T BELIEVE IT BEHAVIORISM, THE WORK OF B.F. SKINNER. JAMIE, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT EARS?
I have an Uzi under my mattress, Dr. Singer. It’s black, high-gloss, like an eel. An ugly beautiful thing, like free speech. The Uzi fires sixty rounds per second. The Uzi is God. The TV tells me I’m a mass murderer, that I ordered the flood, so I’ve been toying with the idea of bringing the Uzi to campus and killing as many diversity officers as I can find. Might as well, since I’m a mass murderer already. Between 1975 and 2008, the number of administrators at American universities quadrupled, while the number of faculty members barely changed at all, and woke millennials wonder why tuition’s through the roof, why they’re saddled with debt. Someone’s gotta take a stand!
But I’m kidding about the Uzi, Dr. Singer. I mean, please. Where would I even get such a thing? I’ve been thinking of killing one diversity officer. With an axe. A single diversity officer with an axe. That, I think, would make a statement. Yes, that would make a statement. The media would get a hold of it. I would leave behind a manifesto. I would quote the Book of Matthew. (Matthew was like: “Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down.”) I would start a conversation. About the Academy. I would question long-cherished beliefs.
Or maybe I’ll self-immolate in the quad – after all, I’m not interested in hurting anyone else. Au contraire, Dr. Singer, I want to treat everyone else with kindness. I really do! Even neo-Nazis. Even murderers and rapists. As counter intuitive as it might sound. There but for the grace of God go I. Alex Fields come to mind. Are you familiar with Alex Fields? He murdered Heather Heyer in Charlottesville when he drove his Challenger into a group of counter-protestors. His mother was in a wheelchair. His father died before he was born. What would I do in those circumstances? What would you do? If you were given that hand? If only people could have pardon, Dr. Singer. Hurt people hurt people, Dr. Singer, so we should have pardon, even for people like Alex Fields. If people could just remember that, this fundamental truth, that hurt people hurt people, that scars make monsters… If people could just hold onto that, difficult though it may be…