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Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

Reader comment on item: Bad News from Slippery Rock

Submitted by Howard E. Cook (United States), Apr 11, 2006 at 15:56

Dear Dr. Pipes, your brilliant vignette of the academic atmosphere at Slippery Rock reminds me of the English Dept, at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in the silent, button-down 1950s. I was a graduate student there then, and the prevailing attitude of the rulers of the roost was McCarthy age conformism: be like us or get out -- no deviants, no free thinkers, no hippies, no beatniks, no pinkos. Is that 'be like us or drop dead' spirit perhaps an institutional syndrome?

My experience as student and teacher in American schools, private and public, suggests that what you describe is a flowering of the "team spirit" commonly cultivated in American high schools.
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