'Liberal studies' professor writes that squirrels are victims of 'racist' media bias

A professor who teaches "liberal studies" at California State Polytechnic University has written an academic paper that claims that the eastern fox squirrels are victims of "gendered, racialized, and speciesist" media bias.

As far as I can tell, the professor did not write this paper from a padded room.


Teresa Lloro-Bidart, an associate professor of liberal studies at Cal Poly, argues in a recently published postmodernist research paper that eastern fox squirrels are on the receiving end of racially-charged media bias. Lloro-Bidart claims that she worked towards such a conclusion by analyzing the coverage of eastern fox squirrels through "feminist posthumanist," and "feminist food studies" lenses.

Lloro-Bidart contends that eastern fox squirrels, which is the most populous species of tree squirrel in North America, are on the receiving end of such bigotry due to several factors, most notably, the "western, modernist," framework by which humans interpret their behaviors and actions.

Multiple choice question: who is more insane?  1) The professor who wrote this idiocy or 2) the "academic journal" that published it?

The paper appears in the online journal "Gender, Place, and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography."  The more you read, the farther your jaw drops:

Given that the shift in tree squirrel demographics is a relatively recent phenomenon, this case presents a unique opportunity to question and retheorize the ontological given of 'otherness' that manifests, in part, through a politics whereby animal food choices '[come] to stand in for both compliance and resistance to the dominant forces in [human] culture'. I, therefore, juxtapose feminist posthumanist theories and feminist food studies scholarship to demonstrate how eastern fox squirrels are subjected to gendered, racialized, and speciesist thinking in the popular news media as a result of their feeding/eating practices, their unique and unfixed spatial arrangements in the greater Los Angeles region, and the western, modernist human frame through which humans interpret these actions.

OK – so she gets paid for this sort of thing.  Does it matter that Californians are footing the bill for her lunacy?  I realize that in academic life, it's "publish or perish," but this is ridiculous.

Eastern fox squirrels, Lloro-Bidart argues, are facing discrimination as a result of the human tendency to lump the species in with the western gray squirrel, a species which is much less tolerant of human beings.

Lloro-Bidart also evokes the concept of intersectionality, an academic concept popularized by Kimberle Crenshaw, which describes overlapping human identities and their relationship to systems of oppression, to analyze the plight of the eastern fox squirrel in California.

It wouldn't be so bad if professors like Lloro-Bidart made it clear that papers like this were an "academic exercise" and not a reflection of reality.  There are all sorts of academic schools that posit hypotheticals and alter reality to make a point. 

Sadly, this isn't one of them.

In the future, I promise not to practice "speciesism" when writing about the eastern fox squirrel.  However, if you want my recipe for a sumptuous squirrel stew, I would be happy to email you the ingredients.

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