Saturday, May 26, 2007

Poster Boy For Liberal College Professors?

I'd like to introduce you to Dr. Brian Tschanz, Assistant Research Professor at Utah State University. Brian received his PhD from the University of Utah in 1998, and specializes in "social psychology and the self and personality and self." Dr. Tschanz is teaching a Social Psychology class this summer. I enjoyed reading this part of the class syllbus:
A Note to Fans of Right-Wing Pundits: I promise to make fun of right-wing television and radio pundits early and often (Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, and Ann Coulter will be on the receiving end of this abuse most frequently). To be sure, I derive a great deal of personal satisfaction from this activity. However, these individuals also tend to illustrate classic social psychological principles on an almost daily basis. They almost beg me to reach out and take a poke at them!

If you are a fan of one or more of them and tend to defend them in the manner that they defend themselves - that is, lie about what they have either said or done and then cut to a commercial before anyone has a chance to challenge them -- be assured that I will be back the very next day with proof positive that they are schmucks. Unlike you and your heroes, downloaded videos from YouTube do not lie! Hell, I might have the video ready to go at a moment's notice! This computer has an Internet connection, baby! Don't make me use it!

If it were not for the fact that a member of the Bill O'Reilly Fan Club attended a talk that I gave and attacked me with bald-face lies that I didn't have the time to refute (nor the inclination, I really wanted to use my limited time to take psychology questions), I wouldn't even bother bringing this up. For example, the student at my talk made the laughably false claim that Bill has only said shut up on his show four times (and had apologized for two of them). My only consolation was showing my personality theories class a video of Bill yelling "shut up" many more than four times (the official count on this matter is that he's said shut up too many times to officially count).

And, while we're on the topic, whereas I absolutely forbid you folks to make stuff up, I reserve the right to do so myself. I often tell stories about historical figures, celebrities and renowned psychologists that are only loosely based in fact. The skeptical among you will be able to discern when I'm pulling your legs (And for those of you who may have been in my personality theories class this Spring, this would be as good as time as any to confess that Babe Didrikson Zaharias was not the runner up to Enrico Fermi for the 1938 Nobel Prize in physics. Nor, to my knowledge, did Carl Gustav Jung's friends call him "Gus").
I don't even know what to say about this. The blatant infiltration of personal views into class material/lecture? The professor who taught me the most, outside of my major, was a religion professor who refused to tell us his personal feelings in class. And this was at a "Christian" college. How about the assertion that "right-wing pundits" lie to defend themselves? Is that just because Dr. Tschanz is liberal and therefore anything that comes out of the mouth of a professed conservative is a lie?

I think my two favorite parts are his claim to bring "proof positive that they are schmucks" and his up-front hypocrisy stating that "whereas I absolutely forbid you folks to make stuff up, I reserve the right to do so myself." How do you prove that someone is a schmuck? Just by saying it? And finally, Dr. Tschanz, I'd like to congratulate you for holding yourself to a higher standard. I mean, you criticize these "right-wing pundits" for lying to defend themselves, and forbid your students to make things up, yet you have no problem lying in your attempts to teach (or should I say, re-educate) your students. To paraphrase the words of the legendary Ron Burgundy, "Stay classy, Dr. Tschanz."

1 comment:

Noah Braymen said...

That syllabus is imature! I agree w/ your two favorite parts as well. Just another case of tax-payer dollars hard at work. I wonder what his doctoral thesis was? I wonder if he has tenure?? later brother...

In Christ