The New Threat Facing Enlightened America

The New York Times has just run two unintentionally hilarious articles by David Kirkpatrick, covering evangelical Christians attending Patrick Henry College in Virginia, which was established to serve graduates of home schools.

 

Writing in a tone reminiscent of a vampire anthropologist covering the annual Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, Mr. Kirkpatrick's first article dwells extensively on the emphasis on chastity, modesty, and sexual restraint on campus. Not that New York Times readers have any obsessions or hang—ups, of course. His readers are immediately alerted that these people are kooks, living in the midst of Victorian repression, and probably seething with anger due to unexpressed sexual energy.

 

He cannot keep himself from sneering through his keyboard at courses such as Biblical Reasoning, using scare quotes around the lower case rendition of the partial course title, as if sweet reason were diametrically opposed to scripture. In the universe of the NYT newsroom, we suppose that is a received truth.

 

Kirkpatrick holds his nose as he notes, 'Campus televisions block transmission of MTV and VH1,' as if it were the old Soviet Union jamming Radio Free Europe broadcasts. However, I strongly suspect that the college does no such thing, and that transmission of the two channels remains unimpaired. At most, the college probably disables reception of the two channels on the campus cable system. Obviously, Mr. Kirkpatrick and his editors at the Times did not have the benefit of a rigorous education in the meaning and use of words, which is, after all, their chosen profession.

 

The second article makes clear the threat these exotic and repulsive creatures pose to the self—consciously enlightened readers the Times defines as its own kind. These repressed religious fanatics, who 'may show affection publicly only by holding hands while walking,' are being groomed for leadership in future reactionary (Republican) regimes, which will threaten to take away abortions and the right of Times readers to make whoopee:

 

'Of the nearly 100 interns working in the White House this semester, 7 are from the roughly 240 students enrolled in the four—year—old Patrick Henry College.... An eighth intern works for the president's re—election campaign. A former Patrick Henry intern now works on the paid staff of the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove. Over the last four years, 22 conservative members of Congress have employed one or more Patrick Henry interns in their offices or on their campaigns, according to the school's records.'

 

The election year threat is now made perfectly clear. Defeat Bush, or else you will face an army of repressed Christian fanatics attacking your right to sexual self—expression, and imposing their irrational devotion to 'biblical reasoning' on your wholly rational and free—thinking minds. Why, they will even 'block transmission' of  ideas and arts with which they disagree.

 

Kirkpatrick reports at the top of article two that,

 

'Only about half a million families around the country home—school their children and only about two—thirds identify themselves as evangelical Christians, home—schooling advocates say.'

 

Are the home—schooling advocates really saying that only about half a million families homes school? Or just that two—thirds identify themselves as evangelicals? Regrettably, Kirkpatrick's sloppy use of language has not remedied itself since the first article in the series. Whichever meaning he intends, his reportage toward the end of the article contradicts the half million figure, as he quotes Mike Farris, founder of The Home School Legal Defense Association claiming that over two million children are being home schooled, a figure which strikes most informed observers as far closer to the truth. Of course, it is true that counting families versus counting children will yield a different number. But does the average home schooling family have four—plus children enrolled all at once?

 

Towards the very end of the two articles, Kirkpatrick finally manages to report that Patrick Henry College students average a combined SAT score of 1320, which ranks the school near the top of all American campuses. But by this time, the force of disdain marshaled by the rest of the prose is sufficient to inoculate his intended audience from any possible positive reaction.

 

Taken together, the two articles are a useful indicator of the threat felt by the leftist establishmentarians at the prospect of home schooling establishing new institutions with access to the upper reaches of politics. I suspect there will more such articles in the future. With any luck, the Times will find a home school graduate to copy edit and remove the embarrassment of substandard prose.

The New York Times has just run two unintentionally hilarious articles by David Kirkpatrick, covering evangelical Christians attending Patrick Henry College in Virginia, which was established to serve graduates of home schools.

 

Writing in a tone reminiscent of a vampire anthropologist covering the annual Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, Mr. Kirkpatrick's first article dwells extensively on the emphasis on chastity, modesty, and sexual restraint on campus. Not that New York Times readers have any obsessions or hang—ups, of course. His readers are immediately alerted that these people are kooks, living in the midst of Victorian repression, and probably seething with anger due to unexpressed sexual energy.

 

He cannot keep himself from sneering through his keyboard at courses such as Biblical Reasoning, using scare quotes around the lower case rendition of the partial course title, as if sweet reason were diametrically opposed to scripture. In the universe of the NYT newsroom, we suppose that is a received truth.

 

Kirkpatrick holds his nose as he notes, 'Campus televisions block transmission of MTV and VH1,' as if it were the old Soviet Union jamming Radio Free Europe broadcasts. However, I strongly suspect that the college does no such thing, and that transmission of the two channels remains unimpaired. At most, the college probably disables reception of the two channels on the campus cable system. Obviously, Mr. Kirkpatrick and his editors at the Times did not have the benefit of a rigorous education in the meaning and use of words, which is, after all, their chosen profession.

 

The second article makes clear the threat these exotic and repulsive creatures pose to the self—consciously enlightened readers the Times defines as its own kind. These repressed religious fanatics, who 'may show affection publicly only by holding hands while walking,' are being groomed for leadership in future reactionary (Republican) regimes, which will threaten to take away abortions and the right of Times readers to make whoopee:

 

'Of the nearly 100 interns working in the White House this semester, 7 are from the roughly 240 students enrolled in the four—year—old Patrick Henry College.... An eighth intern works for the president's re—election campaign. A former Patrick Henry intern now works on the paid staff of the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove. Over the last four years, 22 conservative members of Congress have employed one or more Patrick Henry interns in their offices or on their campaigns, according to the school's records.'

 

The election year threat is now made perfectly clear. Defeat Bush, or else you will face an army of repressed Christian fanatics attacking your right to sexual self—expression, and imposing their irrational devotion to 'biblical reasoning' on your wholly rational and free—thinking minds. Why, they will even 'block transmission' of  ideas and arts with which they disagree.

 

Kirkpatrick reports at the top of article two that,

 

'Only about half a million families around the country home—school their children and only about two—thirds identify themselves as evangelical Christians, home—schooling advocates say.'

 

Are the home—schooling advocates really saying that only about half a million families homes school? Or just that two—thirds identify themselves as evangelicals? Regrettably, Kirkpatrick's sloppy use of language has not remedied itself since the first article in the series. Whichever meaning he intends, his reportage toward the end of the article contradicts the half million figure, as he quotes Mike Farris, founder of The Home School Legal Defense Association claiming that over two million children are being home schooled, a figure which strikes most informed observers as far closer to the truth. Of course, it is true that counting families versus counting children will yield a different number. But does the average home schooling family have four—plus children enrolled all at once?

 

Towards the very end of the two articles, Kirkpatrick finally manages to report that Patrick Henry College students average a combined SAT score of 1320, which ranks the school near the top of all American campuses. But by this time, the force of disdain marshaled by the rest of the prose is sufficient to inoculate his intended audience from any possible positive reaction.

 

Taken together, the two articles are a useful indicator of the threat felt by the leftist establishmentarians at the prospect of home schooling establishing new institutions with access to the upper reaches of politics. I suspect there will more such articles in the future. With any luck, the Times will find a home school graduate to copy edit and remove the embarrassment of substandard prose.