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Columbia 7 years earlier

Reader comment on item: Harvard's Worst Class Ever

Submitted by Lorenz Gude (Australia), May 11, 2021 at 02:04

I entered Columbia in the fall of 1960 and the idea that nude co-ed bathing would be au courant at Harvard within a decade still amazes me. The Barnard girls were still locked up in loco parentis and panty raids still conceivable. Conception was also still possible and I found myself helping young couples slinking around seeking abortions.

The student literary magazine - The Columbia Review - got censored by the trustees when its editor - a classmate and still friend - published poems by Ted Berrigan using the 'f' word. In a day or two, 'The Ad Hoc Committee on the Censored Review' were distributing mimeographed foolscap copies of the entire Review including, naturally, the poems in question. As I lined up to get my copy I realised I felt intensely uncomfortable with these fellow students and could sense that they lived in a different world that saw a literary dust up as simply an excuse for agitation. I didn't understand what was happening, or what was going to happen.

By 1968 I was teaching at a college in Chicago and my literary friends in NY called looking for a place to stay for a political activist who wanted to raise Cain at the Democratic convention. I again felt extreme discomfort with his activism saying to myself. "On the issues around the war particularly, I should agree with him and what is doing, but I don't and don't understand why."

So began a long slow journey away from the left and my own confusion. The classical education - extending even to Latin and Greek - I experienced at Columbia gave me the confidence that I could get to the bottom of my delusions and even my potential for depravity. I got the tools at Columbia to examine and live my life consciously and it has been quite a different road from Daniel Pipes' journey from Harvard. I would reflect that Jordan Peterson taught at Harvard many years after Harvard's 'worse' class graduated and that he has since exposed the sterility of the propagandists who have colonised our universities and spoken directly to the hunger for genuine education they have left in their wake.


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