It has become something of a Pun Salad tradition to check out how the University Near Here is celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. And what better day to do that than the Official Federal Holiday marking the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.?
[Note: since it is a tradition, there's quite a bit of
recycling of previous years' content in this article.]
Not that today is the birthday: that inconveniently fell a few days ago, January 15. But who wants a day off in the middle of the week?
And, not that UNH is celebrating MLK Day today, or even back on the 15th. We were between semesters last week, and even the U isn't silly enough to schedule serious events on a holiday. Instead, MLK-related events will be held between January 28 and February 22.
As always: the announced schedule is full of the usual thoughtless gasbaggery:
The goal of the 2015 MLK Celebration is to engage members of the campus and local community in conversations that recognize the diversity of experiences and viewpoints of people with intersecting identities, such as those who identify as inter-racial, inter-cultural or of mixed religious background. As we seek to live Dr. King's legacy, we seek to broaden our understandings of the intricacies of our roots.
That's just two sentences. When you are "inclusive", your primary prose style directive is: "include" as many words as you possibly can. Also pluralize unnecessarily, because that makes you sound more profound. So: "understanding" becomes "understandings"; "intricacy" becomes "intricicies".
And about the "intersecting identities" thing: this is a term of art among the grievance industry, specifically hatched from the feminist sociological theory of intersectionality:
The theory suggests that—and seeks to examine how—various biological, social and cultural categories such as gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, religion, caste, and other axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels, contributing to systematic injustice and social inequality. Intersectionality holds that the classical conceptualizations of oppression within society, such as racism, sexism, biphobia, homophobia, transphobia, and belief-based bigotry, do not act independently of one another. Instead, these forms of oppression interrelate, creating a system of oppression that reflects the "intersection" of multiple forms of discrimination.
You thought you had just one identity? Oh, you poor individualist troglodyte. In fact, "you" aren't really "you" in this tedious telling: "you" are simply an endlessly pigeonholed product of your "gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, religion, caste, and other axes of identity".
But there's no specific evidence that our UNH writers meant to drag in (or were even aware of) all that ideological claptrap. Instead, they imply it simply means people with parents of different backgrounds.
That includes one of this year's invited speakers: Natasha Trethewey, a past United States Poet Laureate, and a Pulitzer Prize winner. If you would like to check out some of her work, Google "Selected Poems by Natasha Trethewey, and click through to the NYT. Ms. Trethewey was an invited speaker last year, but her event was cancelled due to weather. UNH could do worse (and has).
Also coming is Kane "Novakane" Smego, a "nationally-recognized spoken word poet". A YouTube sample:
Catchy! Undeniable talent! But a fast-talking charismatic out-of-towner talking in rhyme… where have I seen that before? Oh yeah: