If I were Wilson Riles, I would feel it incumbent upon me to see whether this Watergate of wastrels can be prosecuted. Administrators so incompetent or venal that they would allow such conditions to develop as they play the ADA numbers game would be sacked in a decent society.
My prison poetry students were behind bars for trivial offenses compared to theirs—if the underground consensus of staff and students about this abuse of the Free Lunch system is true.
More frustrating to a teacher than the ADA-Vet shysters are the majority of students who do come to class—mostly tardy, often absent, almost never prepared. The want to be teacher’s Chum, and psychobabble on in a lunatic’s lexicon of current cant phrases.
(The handful of students who are taking advantage of SRJC, I must acknowledge are as good as any I’ve ever had the anywhere in Academe—U of Penna. Grad School, the East-West Center of the University of Hawaii, perky undergrad proles at Trenton (N.J.) State, or my students of five years ago at Beaver College. But what a placer mine this subsidized sandbox is: ten nuggets in a class of forty nothings. Sand. Sand. Sand.)
Any reasonable outsider must ask how could this Bloat arise? I have intimated in the beginning of this essay that the Bloat began at least with Andy Jackson’s “spoils system.” But the Bloat spread in America because everybody tried to get a piece of the action—or should we say Reaction.
The professors in my discipline are strict constructionists about open admissions; so you would expect them to blow the whistle on the Free Lunch louts.
Ah, there’s where Jacques Levy’s new book, Cesar Chavez: Autobiography of La Causa (Norton, 1975), provides a brilliant gloss on the flabbiness of liberals, maybe especially liberal professors.
Chavez had a moral crisis about quitting his secure job as a Community Service Organization worker for the wild improbabilities of organizing what became the UFW.
At one point, Chavez’s epiphany over his experience is that affluence is the great American problem—gelding so quickly, so surely; putting our soul in escrow.
That’s why your humanist professors don’t blow the whistle on the Welfare Louts. Cut back the ADA bloat to those who are earning the right to be educated at the public’s expense, and there would be massive unemployment among the clerisy.
Since conscienceless Humanist imperial administrators overproduced Ph.D.s to build their won fiefs in the 1960s, making a glut to rival Detroit’s great car park-in, the job market is already a mess, with tenure protecting the geriatric from the worthier young’s challenge.
This is no place to get into tenure but I could see starting a GAWage by pensioning off elder professors. If they dessicated, they’d be less harmful at home. If they aren’t, it would release their energies, take away the students that get in their ways anyway, I mean in the way of their bibliographies.
But the present issue is that, given the best of times (and we're in the worst), it would take a saint the size of Chavez to holler the academic equivalent of “Huelga” at flab among students, teachers, and administrators.
FLAB LIB!! The Era of Bloat is over. There’s no giving the kiss of life to a bad idea that has overlived its time. King Boodle is dead in San Clemente. Long may he be interred.