“Question Authority,” say the academic generals, but God help you if you dare to question theirs.
By Anthony Esolen, American Greatness,
Anthony Esolen is a professor and writer in residence at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts, in Warner, New Hampshire. Dr. Esolen is a senior editor for Touchstone Magazine and a contributing editor for Chronicles.
Thirty years ago, when I was a young professor at Providence College, still a fairly Catholic school at that time, the name of the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe was suddenly in the news. Mapplethorpe was known best for his black-and-white photographs of naked homosexual men wearying themselves in sadism and obscenity. He himself had died of AIDS in 1989. The Corcoran Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C., intending to run a big exhibition of those photographs, found itself embroiled in a controversy with the conservative Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.). That, predictably, set the vanguard of the free and the brave—that is, the supporters of artistic license at the taxpayer’s expense—against the guardians of decency.
What interests me here is what happened at the college. The students didn’t care about the matter. But certain professors did. ….