academic / political jargon

Biden vs. Bork, 1988: Democrats Smear a SCOTUS Nominee

Editor’s note: this article originally appeared in the May 1988 print edition of Crisis. It has been edited for brevity. Many people have asked me what it was like to live through the nomination and hearings of my husband, Robert Bork. I usually answer that it was like being besieged in a battle where the reinforcements [...]

Reproductive Rights Glossary for the Unwoke

I provide the following glossary as a service to those unwoke, unhip noctambulants who, like me, find themselves obliviously sleepwalking through the dreamscape of contemporary American culture. I provide for your edification, fellow somnambulists, the following terms taken from the argot of those who place themselves at the vanguard of the current reproductive rights/reproductive justice [...]

Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Abortion Newspeak

Seventy years ago in June 1949 George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four was published. On June 7, 2019, the day prior to Nineteen Eighty-Four’s 70th anniversary, The Guardian, the United Kingdom’s leading socialist newspaper, announced: “Why the Guardian is changing the language it uses to describe abortion bans.” What follows in this pronouncement would have [...]

Diversity is Not a Cult—But What is It?

A couple of months ago I was savaged on my campus on account of a title supplied by one of my editors: “My College Succumbed to the Totalitarian Diversity Cult.” I don't know that Providence College has succumbed, but the next day somebody had written on the blackboard of my class, “Diversity is not a [...]

The Narcissism of Campus Diversity Activists

Last week at Providence College, a group of students occupied the office of the president, Father Brian Shanley, for thirteen hours, presenting him with a list of demands toward making the school a more “inclusive” place for students of various racial and ethnic backgrounds. (I use the scare quotes not to criticize the students, but [...]

All Teacher Candidates Need to Know Is On the Web

In one of Baudelaire’s spleen poems called “The Generous Gambler,” a boulevardier is steered by a “Mysterious Being” into a subterranean casino. There they drink and chat till dawn, gambling all the while. The Mysterious Being proves an urbane and chatty devil, old fashioned in manners, but progressive in philosophy. The only time he’d ever [...]

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