Every now and then, it helps me feel sane to hear it be told exactly as it is by Tom Wolfe. Go read IN THE LAND OF THE ROCOCO MARXISTS (originally June 2000 Harper's Monthly) for his dead-on take on America pre-9/11.
Sean: You wiener. I just read the whole thing and my day's productivity is shot.
Wolfe is right on the money. I started my post-high school education at a bottom tier state college, but even that place had the kind of intellectual Wolfe describes. Except that they were even lower-rent.
Sitting in those classes where they teach garbage like Marxist Criticism and Reader Response is like going to a restaurant and eating a plate piled high with horseshit. You go there every day for three or four months, packing in more horseshit and digesting none of it. Then, on the day of the exam, you vomit it all back up onto the page and make a solemn oath never to eat horseshit again.
I remember getting into a fight once with a literature professor about the worthlessness of feminist literary criticism. We went at it tooth and nail for two straight days, with her little toadies in the class nipping at me from time to time. One of the toadies went on to write a poem attacking me in the school literary magazine that the professor edited (it didn't say my name, but it was perfectly clear who it was about). To her credit, she also published the poem I submitted, even though it was an embarassingly awful immitation of T.S. Eliot. (Maybe she did it to humiliate me.)
After that I just went back to eating the horsehit and vomiting it back out at exam time.