The Whitney Museum of American Art is inviting more than 1,000 educators and community leaders to an open house. . . . The informal opening will provide the Museum’s Education Department an occasion to . . . demonstrate the opportunities available to utilize the Whitney Museum’s great resources for art education at all levels. . . . The Whitney Museum offers one of the most stimulating programs of any art museum in New York. . . . [It] has built nationally recognized education programs that include the Artreach Program for New York City Public Schools, a docent program, teachers’ workshops, Seminars with Artists, symposia on issues in contemporary art, the annual Whitney Symposium on American Art & Culture, panel discussions, and lectures.
—From a museum press release, May 1992

If quantity were quality, American cultural life in the 1990s would be putting Periclean Athens to shame. Never has there been so much art for so many. Never have so many involved themselves in the arts. Our schools teach art appreciation and boast state- and federally funded programs to unlock the creativity inside every first- and second-grader. Later, the National Endowment for the Arts and allied agencies take over, offering artists of every description public funds to pursue their divers visions. Countless radio and television programs, commercially as well as publicly funded, bring an unimaginable array of cultural endeavor right into our dens and living rooms. Colleges and universities across the land have recognized the importance of the arts and have established myriad courses, programs, and institutes to encourage students and faculty members to explore the art of our time. Performing-arts centers have sprouted in every municipality to bring the latest in avant-garde dance, music, and theater to a curious public. And the museums! Even in today’s troubled economic climate, new museums continue to open in many cities while scores of established arts institutions are still in the midst of or have only recently completed ambitious programs of expansion.

Nor are these new museums the fusty, elitist institutions of olden days, obsessed with the preservation and exhibition of great art. As the epigraph from a recent Whitney Museum press release suggests—and as anyone who has spent much time in museums these days knows from firsthand experience—the contemporary art museum places a premium on education. From coast to coast, busloads of schoolchildren can be found on the floors of museum galleries, huddling restlessly in front of everything from the Old Masters to the latest fashions in contemporary art as a teacher or museum docent swaddles them with well-meaning patter. At the same time, tours for older students and adults surge through the galleries in groups of fifteen or twenty, carefully avoiding the youngsters and accompanied by a teacher or museum docent who swaddles them with different but equally well-meaning patter. In blockbuster exhibitions, thousands upon thousands of art lovers file quickly past paintings while attending carefully to the soothing voice of a curator, museum director, or show-business celebrity explaining the works in a specially prepared audio tape. Then, too, as the press release from the Whitney reminds us, there are sundry teachers’ workshops, seminars, symposia, panel discussions, and lectures: an embarrassment, you might think, of riches.

No doubt, some of these efforts are more responsible and serious than others.

No doubt, some of these efforts are more responsible and serious than others. And if some seem fundamentally misconceived—the practice of herding groups of ten-year-olds through exhibitions, for example, or the ever-more-popular fad of supplying visitors with an audio “tour”—other recent innovations may be seen to perform legitimate educational functions. Nevertheless, the explosion of interest in “the arts”—or what we might better term the explosion of interest in the idea of being interested in the arts—confronts us with a host of questions and anomalies. For one thing, it is by no means clear that the immensely greater access to art and information about art that we enjoy today has actually led to a greater or more thoughtful appreciation of art. There are, to be sure, not only more museums and concert halls than ever before, but also more publications and reproductions, more recordings, more video tapes, more computerized databases, etc. And yet the ease of access that economic prosperity and advanced communications have made possible often seem to breed superficiality and ennui more than passion and genuine engagement. Already in the 1960s, W. H. Auden noted the trivialization that such abundance can engender. “While it is a great blessing,” he wrote in Secondary Worlds,

that a man no longer has to be rich in order to enjoy the masterpieces of the past, for paperbacks, first-rate color reproductions and stereo-phonograph records have made them available to all but the very poor, this ease of access, if misused—and we do misuse it—can become a curse. We are all of us tempted to read more books, look at more pictures, listen to more music than we can possibly absorb, and the result of such gluttony is not a cultured mind but a consuming one; what it reads, looks at, listens to is immediately forgotten, leaving no more traces behind than yesterday’s newspaper.

Moreover, if cultural gluttony presents us with one set of problems, cultural confusion presents us with another. This shows up immediately when we ask ourselves why we care about the arts in the first place. The answers typically provided by the fund-raising letters, membership drives, and other appeals for support with which we are inundated today are no less true for being composed of clichés. At some basic level, we lavish so much attention and money upon the arts because we believe—or want to believe—that without art human life is diminished in important if incalculable ways; we believe or want to believe that aesthetic experience affords emotional and spiritual satisfactions not otherwise obtainable.

The problem with such laudable if hoary convictions is that so much in the contemporary cultural situation contradicts them. For if the public face of the cultural establishment still appeals to the liberating quality of aesthetic experience, then what we might call the professional face of the cultural establishment increasingly mocks those appeals as naïve, covertly “hegemonic,” or otherwise unsavory. Indeed, we more and more find that the custodians of our greatest cultural institutions—universities, museums, orchestras, and theaters—wind up despising the cultural heritage that they have been trained to preserve and pass on. Oh, yes: the old-fashioned appeals to the beneficence of art and culture are routinely issued when the public must be dunned for support. But the activities sponsored by our cultural institutions—especially the “sophisticated” activities sponsored by our elite institutions—often have more to do with abolishing than nurturing the life of art and culture. In the university, the subversion of the humanities by multiculturalism, “Cultural Studies,” and the clotted rhetoric ushered in by deconstruction has rendered the traditional idea of a liberal-arts education all but anachronistic at many institutions. In the art world, kindred pressures have worked to undermine interest in aesthetic achievement in order to promote an “art” devoted to political protest and radical attitudinizing.

If the implications of these developments were broadly appreciated, the public would undoubtedly be quick to withdraw its support. For what we are talking about here is not scholarship or art that is merely “difficult” or esoteric. (The American public long ago learned to indulge what it did not understand with tolerant, and often munificent, neglect.) On the contrary, what we are talking about are beliefs and activities that seek to destroy an entire way of life: the essentially liberal, bourgeois way of life that has struggled to establish itself wherever advanced capitalist societies have thrived.

It is rare, though, that this nihilistic side of contemporary cultural life declares itself frankly and receives widespread scrutiny. And when it does—as in some of the controversial projects supported by the National Endowment for the Arts in recent years—the issue is immediately obscured by the introduction of two red herrings: the ideal of free speech and the contention that important new art must be “challenging,” i.e., subversive in some aesthetic, moral, political, or spiritual sense. The issue of free speech is a red herring in this context because there is no reason to assume that the essentially political demand for free expression should automatically neutralize or trump all moral and aesthetic concerns when one is dealing with works of art. Similarly, there is no reason to think that new art must be subversive to be important. Most of artistic history argues against it. And while the idea has its roots in Romanticism, it is really only since the unexpected triumph of Pop Art in the 1960s that the notion has gained public credence. That is to say, the idea that new art must be subversive became possible only after facetiousness was granted a central place in the life of art.

In order to begin to appreciate the nature of the changes that have taken place in the cultural world, one must address a number of difficult questions. What is the content of art education today? What is expected of graduate students who enter this or related fields? What benefits—in greater insight or understanding—may we look forward to from their labors? What exactly are our museums and universities asking us to support when they raise the banner of education? Complete answers to such questions would require a detailed examination of many institutions and programs. But we may discern something important about current trends by looking at a representative event.

Last month, the Whitney Museum of American Art obliged us with its fifteenth annual Whitney Symposium on American Art and Culture. Those who have bothered to follow the cultural scene in recent years know that the Whitney Museum long ago ceased to function as an institution seriously committed to the study, preservation, and exhibition of American art. Under its previous director, Tom Armstrong, the Whitney degenerated into a plaything for a certain species of socially ambitious cultural radical. There were occasional bright spots—the exhibition of work by the twentieth-century painter and watercolorist Charles Demuth that Barbara Haskell mounted in 1987, for example—but such events were as rare as oases in the Sahara.

The appointment of David Ross in 1991 as the new director of the Whitney removed whatever hope remained that the museum would reclaim its place as a responsible cultural institution any time soon. Previously the director of Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Mr. Ross could be counted on to raise the ideological stakes at the Whitney. And indeed, if the effect of Tom Armstrong’s tenure at the museum was to transform it into a slightly laughable panderer of art-world trends, David Ross has already set about remaking it into a bastion of grim radical pieties. He has, for example, hired the Marxist critic Benjamin H. D. Buchloh to advise him about exhibitions, publications, and programming. It is not clear whether Mr. Buchloh was involved in organizing this year’s Symposium on American Art and Culture, or whether Constance Wolf, Mr. Ross’s new Curator of Education, must be given sole credit for the program. In any event, a more revealing presentation can hardly have been imagined. Entitled “Femininity and Masculinity: The Construction of Gender and Transgression of Boundaries in 20th-Century American Art and Culture,” the symposium dramatized almost everything that is wrong with the professional discussion of art and culture today. Considered as an intellectual event, the value of the symposium was nugatory; regarded as a symptom, however, it turned out to be priceless.

More than one hundred New Yorkers sacrificed a splendidly lucid spring day—one of those rare balmy days before the smog and humidity take over for the summer—in order to crowd into a dimly lit theater at the Whitney. The event was announced with the utmost seriousness. “Designed to introduce original research by advanced graduate students beginning their careers in American art and cultural studies,” a press release told us, “the Whitney Symposium is noted for its receptiveness to new theoretical approaches as well as traditional art-historical methods.” As it happens, there was not much in the way of “traditional art-historical methods” on view. But the spectacle of what advanced graduate students from some our best universities are thinking and writing about today made the symposium noteworthy, at least as a cautionary tale.

In her introduction, Constance Wolf proudly explained that the six papers chosen by the Whitney’s jury this year were selected from a group of sixty: an impressive number of submissions indicating that the topic of the year—“gender”—was a subject of “great importance” whose time had come. Miss Wolf spoke as if “gender” (that is, sexual politics) was a dazzlingly new idea for such a symposium; in fact, the category of “gender”—along with race, class, and ethnicity—has long since become an academic cliché, echoing through the arts and humanities like a mantra.

But Miss Wolf’s enthusiasm for the subject of “gender” did illustrate a rhetorical gambit that has been much favored in the academy and the art world recently. The basic procedure is to choose an item or two from a handful of approved radical clichés and then to present them as daring new ideas. It is not clear whether a talent for this sort of thing is a result of training or temperament, but Miss Wolf is clearly pretty good at it. In addition to announcing the topic of “gender” as if it were a new discovery, she explained that the Whitney Symposium aspired to present material that adopted an “interdisciplinary” approach, that went “beyond a traditional art-historical framework.” This, too, was supposed be news, even though there is hardly an academic humanities program anywhere in the country these days that does not champion “interdisciplinary” studies and the breakdown of traditional disciplinary boundaries. No matter: Miss Wolf looked forward to the day’s presentations to provide us with a “new understanding of our visual culture.”

The morning’s first contribution to a new understanding of our visual culture was “Mothers and Anti-Mothers, or How to Ride the Backlash Without Wiping Out,” by Susan R. Kandel, a Ph.D. candidate in fine arts at the University of California, Los Angeles. It was a classic performance. Beginning with a slide depicting the actress Demi Moore nude and seven months pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair, Miss Kandel launched into a long disquisition on the political implications of motherhood and abortion. Along the way, she treated the audience to slides exemplifying “pregnancy porn”—that is, pornographic photographs of pregnant women—works of art centered around the theme of abortion, and an installation piece entitled “Menstruation Extraction Kit.” Miss Kandel also had frequent occasion to allude to “the current political climate,” which she judged to be dangerously reactionary, as well as to “male paranoia,” “so-called high art,” and other tidbits from the current feminist lexicon.

Miss Kandel’s main argument seemed to be that abortion provides a powerful “metaphorical construct” for feminists wishing to liberate women from the politically imposed tyranny of motherhood. Part of her point was that women should get beyond the nasty patriarchal notion that motherhood is a woman’s biological destiny. As she put it near the end of her paper, she is adamantly opposed to any view that “would have all women meet their destiny in a delivery room.” Hence the prominence of abortion, for it “suggests that giving birth is not the only thing that women do on their backs with their legs spread.”

But Miss Kandel did not want to do away with motherhood tout court; she wanted to rethink it in a way that was suitably liberated. This turned out to be difficult. The photograph of Demi Moore, she told us, glamorous even in pregnancy, might suggest that “sexuality and motherhood are not mutually exclusive.” (Has it actually come to the point where people think they are?) Throughout, Miss Kandel revealed a flawless ear for lit-crit jargon. This, as nearly as I could get it down, is how she proceeded:

To regard the maternal body as a site of feminist intervention is indeed tempting. For Julia Kristeva this body is transgressive and thus potentially liberating, in that it hypostasizes the split self. It is the field upon which motherhood’s impossible syllogism is played out, the notion that the self and the other are coexistent, codependent, and coterminous. From this syllogism Kristeva spins a romantic tale of maternal jouissance, but the union she celebrates is not relative to the unity of the phallus. It speaks of nonidentity, assumes fragmentation, and augurs loss. In this the pregnant body resists the masculine fantasy of wholeness and thus becomes—this thing in the state of becoming—an oppositional figure.

In “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell observed that “in certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning.” But even he could not have foreseen the barbarities that go under the name of criticism in the academy today. Miss Kandel is clearly already proficient at the genre, and I’d hazard tenure in five years, tops, if she (so to speak) keeps it up.

But even he could not have foreseen the barbarities that go under the name of criticism in the academy today.

Miss Kandel is not easily seduced by the charms of motherhood, even when they are so attractively repackaged by the Bulgarian-born French feminist Julia Kristeva. The idea of a woman resisting “the masculine fantasy of wholeness” is, ex hypothesi, a good thing, of course, as is the image of the pregnant woman as a kind of metaphysical guerrilla, “an oppositional figure,” etc. Being against “the whole Enlightenment concept of the unified self,” as she put it during the question-and-answer period, Miss Kandel naturally favors anything that is “transgressive” or “augurs loss.” But given the “politically regressive moment,” she said, we must be suspicious of this version of feminism. What she meant was that, given the current campaign against abortion on demand, we must regard any affirmation of motherhood with great wariness. In this context, she concluded, “the oppositional nature of the woman with child reveals itself as a bloated theoretical conceit,” i.e., not certifiably progressive.

This doctoral candidate in the fine arts then went on to quote the radical feminist Andrea Dworkin, according to whom the “great obsession” of “the right-wing male” is the idea of the pregnant woman. “Pregnancy,” according to Dworkin, “is the triumph of the phallus over the death-dealing vagina. Pregnancy is confirmation that the woman has been f_____. Her belly is his phallic triumph and one does not abort his victory.” Noting that she does not share Miss Dworkin’s “misogynistic” interpretation of the pregnant body, Miss Kandel nevertheless lamented “the new traditionalism where the family reigns triumphant and abortion is besieged from all sides.” She looked forward to a view of female sexuality that “traces an autoerotic circle, celebrating self-sufficiency, self-determination, and self-preservation,” a repellent prospect that used to be called narcissism. Miss Kandel devoted considerable attention to Post-partum Document, an early (1970s) example of “politicized, feminist art” by Mary Kelly. Later published in book form, Post-partum Document is a kind of scrapbook that includes various trinkets and effluvia that Kelly saved from her son’s early years: baby teeth, baby shoes, soiled diapers, and other charming objects.

Miss Kandel harbors considerable admiration for Mary Kelly’s work. True, Post-partum Document suffers from concentrating exclusively on motherhood: that is, it “occludes the heterogeneous array of sites and discourses which construct the subject, absorbing these back into a coherent and explicitly biological unity.” It nonetheless performs two laudable functions. First, it confronts “the patriarchal ideology that insists upon motherhood as a natural and instinctual process”—the less a feminist has to do with the natural and instinctual, the happier she is—and, second, it seeks to “redress a lack within Freudian and Lacanian theory by outlining the possibility of a female fetishism.”

Perhaps you never thought of female fetishism as a desirable thing; perhaps you even believe that the more lacunae there are within Freudian and Lacanian theory the better. But for Miss Kandel, such prospects are pure ambrosia, for they suggest yet one more way in which traditional differences between the sexes can be undermined. Nevertheless, Mary Kelly made one big mistake: she bore a son, not a daughter. For this means that her identity, even when emancipated from the father, is constituted “through specific moments in his [i.e., her son’s] masculine development. Herein,” Miss Kandel said, “lies the rub.” Alas! Mary Kelly was trying to be a good feminist, but by devoting her piece to a male child “she affirms the Freudian notion that a woman’s greatest fulfillment lies in giving birth to a son.” Miss Kandel then showed us a slide of Mary Kelly sitting on the floor with her son sitting between her legs, “his body becoming quite literally her phallus, her identity sealed in and through her male child.” Miss Kandel did not supply the italics when she spoke, but she certainly deserves them.

It would be pleasant to report that Susan Kandel’s paean to abortion represented the grotesque nadir of the day’s presentation of “original research by advanced graduate students.” But unfortunately the other contributions, different as they were in style and subject, betrayed deep affinities with Miss Kandel’s paper. In every case, the announced subject was merely an occasion to preach politics: feminist politics, racial politics, homosexual politics. Not one dealt with works of art as aesthetic objects; all indulged heavily in opaque “theoretical” jargon. The next presentation, for example, was “Reconsidering the Stain: On the Inscription of the Body in Helen Frankenthaler’s Paintings.” The author was Lisa Saltzman, a doctoral candidate in fine arts at Harvard University. Miss Saltzman’s paper blended two themes that are enjoying great popularity in the academy at the moment. First, the reinterpretation of Abstract Expressionism as a political movement, an idea that the writer Serge Guilbaut pioneered with his contention that Abstract Expressionism was a tool of Cold War politics; and, second, an obsession with bodily evacuation as a key to the meaning of recent art. “Urinating, ejaculating, bleeding, sneezing,” Miss Saltzman rhapsodized, “the body, male and female, is inscribed in the drips, spills, stains, and sprays that coat the majority of the canvases of the New York School.”

As anyone acquainted with current fashions in criticism will have guessed, the “stain” that Miss Saltzman wishes to decode in Helen Frankenthaler’s paintings refers not to the delicate stains that she achieved with paint poured onto unprimed canvas but to blood, especially menstrual blood. For Miss Saltzman, Frankenthaler’s paintings provide a “visual analogue” of “bloodied wedding-night sheets.” “As constructed and coded within patriarchal society,” she told us, “the stain is decidedly feminine. It is menstrual. It flows. It represents something out of control. It is something to be feared.”

Not surprisingly, Miss Saltzman’s real subject was the way Helen Frankenthaler’s famous stain paintings were underrated by an art establishment bent on preserving patriarchy. She was especially outraged that critics should have used words like “softness,” “feminine,” and “sensuous” in describing her paintings when the paintings of Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis, which were deeply influenced by Frankenthaler’s “soak-stain” technique, were often described in different, more “masculine” terms. Never mind that Noland’s signature paintings feature shapes that are distinctly hard-edged, or that Morris’s work is very different from Frankenthaler’s in its formal vocabulary: contemporary critics committed the unpardonable sin of treating Helen Frankenthaler as a woman painter.

Miss Saltzman’s presentation was a farrago of historical half-truths and crude ideological phantasmagoria. Yet what was most noteworthy was how poorly she did by her subject. In part, Miss Saltzman’s aim was to rescue Frankenthaler from the depredations of patriarchal criticism and restore her to her rightful place as a pre-eminent member of the New York School. But if taken seriously, her lucubrations could only diminish Frankenthaler, transforming an important and original artist into a proto-feminist puppet with questionable habits of personal hygiene. By enlisting Frankenthaler’s painting in a political campaign, she denies its achievement as art. The effect is far more patronizing than anything even the most sexist of male critics could have contrived.

The papers that followed seem to have been composed on—and perhaps by—the same word processor that furnished us with the Misses Kandel and Saltzman’s efforts. Cathy Greenblatt, a doctoral candidate in the history of consciousness program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, wondered whether there were any plausible female counterparts to Jack the Ripper, who, she informed us, was a figure that “generated and organized specific anxieties about sexual difference and feminism” at a moment when “the difference between men and women was being radically rethought in medicine, psychology, and sociology.” The image of the female killer, she said, “gives shape to the anxiety that feminism may be exacting its political price in the realm of femininity.”

Most of Miss Greenblatt’s talk was devoted to a discussion of two examples of the “monstrous feminine”: a Texas housewife who was sentenced to jail for plotting to have a neighbor’s daughter murdered in order to make room for her own daughter as a high-school cheerleader, and a lesbian prostitute in Florida who was recently condemned to death for murdering at least five of her male clients. Far from being repelled by these women, Miss Greenblatt finds that they “articulate limits of femininity, and respectively its excesses and depletions in a late-twentieth-century rhetoric of gendered anxiety, a rhetoric that figures contradictory fears, pleasures, and desires of a culture fraught by questions of sexual identity.” Thus what irritated her were not the murderous actions of these women, but the unfair way that they were treated by the media.

That concluded the morning’s session. One poor fellow from the audience had the nerve to ask whether some of the assertions put forward that morning did not betray “almost a wild attitude.” For example, he asked, what about the contention that a little boy sitting between his mother’s legs is “quite literally” a phallus? But such doubts were not to be countenanced. Constance Wolf abruptly silenced him with the admonition that “one has to have an open mind” and the assurance that “interpretation is inherently subjective.”

The afternoon’s presentations reminded us of just how subjective interpretation could be. In “Kinky Escapades, Bedroom Techniques, Unbridled Passion, and Secret Sex Codes,” Matias Viegener, a doctoral candidate in comparative literature at the University of California, Los Angeles, introduced the audience to the fetching world of “underground gay punk fanzines,” which were said to offer “signposts for a new map through alternative gay identities, recolonizing areas such as punk, drag, hard core, camp, and S&M.” In what was perhaps the most insightful comment of the day, Mr. Viegener observed in passing that “in a way punk is about not thinking, an attack against rationalism and its bourgeois valorization, which explains its appeal to intellectuals and graduate students.” For his part, Christopher A. Davis, a doctoral candidate in cinema studies at New York University, ran several clips from silent comedies of the 1920s. The main point of his paper, “The Semiotic Solution: The Construction of Masculinity in Silent Comedy,” seemed to be that these films provided a more plastic, and hence more amenable, notion of what could count as sexual identity than the rigid world we have inherited from the 1950s. The presentations concluded with an examination by Carla Willard, a doctoral candidate in comparative literature at the University of Pennsylvania, of the halftones that were published to accompany the first appearance of Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery. Here we discovered, among much else, that Washington “suppressed his own masculinity” in a cunning effort to overturn the dominant image of blacks in white America.

Any hopes one might have harbored that graduate students could be counted on to outgrow such antics vanished when the jurors responded to the papers. One of the jurors who selected the papers presented that day was Jonathan Weinberg, assistant professor of art history at Yale University. He began a comment by noting that he was “horrified” to admit he was a juror now that “juries have been so discredited” by the Rodney King verdict. And another juror, Anna Chave, visiting associate professor of art history at Hunter College, expressed her dismay that abortionists should be paid only “a pittance” for their work while obstetricians receive “hugely lucrative” fees for theirs. Professor Chave then took a moment to denigrate Helen Frankenthaler as “the art-world starlet who [once] hitched her wagon to the brightest and biggest male stars” and who more recently “endorses Rolex watches and espouses good quality and good taste on the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times.” About one of Miss Greenblatt’s murderesses, she noted that the woman in question was “calling men to account as a gender for their many crimes against her, repaying them in a way she knew she couldn’t legally justify, but for which she may have felt a moral license. For that matter,” Professor Chave continued, “any woman who has been subject to a sexual crime of any magnitude—which is to say most of us—will have an inkling of what that license looks like.” She ended with a few kind words about Anita Hill and a nasty phrase or two about our “already gynophobic Supreme Court.”

Professor Weinberg began his official response by congratulating the Whitney for welcoming “difference” and for providing a center for “ideas and art.” Fifteen years ago, he noted correctly, papers such as those we heard at the Whitney would not have been taken seriously by any respectable university.

What progress we have made! Today, the very concept of art may be rejected for the sake of spurious “ideas” cobbled together from ill-digested bits of academic esoterica. Yale, Harvard, Penn, the University of California: the products of these and other elite institutions were all on parade that day at the Whitney, sharing their “research” with a large and respectful audience. One recalls that Juvenal satirized a time when people were content to distract themselves from serious matters with “bread and circuses.” Today’s academic intellectuals seem to prefer a blend of sexual posturing and cultural politics. It is a form of betrayal. In the end, though, one’s response to such antics is as much pity as anger: pity for the graduate students and professors who have willfully exiled themselves from the riches of art and literature, anger that they should have leave to deprive their students of those riches.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 10 Number 10, on page 4
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