From my view as a civilian from 30,000 feet, I wonder if the survey of the forest might be missing the trees. IOW, the actual content of what's being offered. We're all aware of the patent fraud that exists in the academy.*
But there's also what would drive away a fellow like meself, like the Marxist [marxian?] emphasis on the subjugation of womyn and the plight of the downtrodden and how the white man screwed the black man and the red man and the yellow too, as Richard Jeni put it, at the Fidel Castro Building for the Continuing Study of Why America Sucks.
As Roger Scruton put it in "The End of the University"
Of course, the culture of the West remains the primary object of study in humanities departments. However, the purpose is not to instill that culture but to repudiate it—to examine it for all the ways in which it sins against the egalitarian worldview. The Marxist theory of ideology, or some feminist, poststructuralist, or Foucauldian descendant of it, will be summoned in proof of the view that the precious achievements of our culture owe their status to the power that speaks through them, and that they are therefore of no intrinsic worth.
To put it another way: The old curriculum, which [John Cardinal] Newman saw as an end in itself, has been demoted to a means. That old curriculum existed, we are told, in order to maintain the hierarchies and distinctions, the forms of exclusion and domination that maintained a ruling elite. Studies in the humanities are now designed to prove this—to show the way in which, through its images, stories, and beliefs, through its works of art, its music, and its language, the culture of the West has no deeper meaning than the power that it served to perpetuate. In this way the whole idea of our inherited culture as an autonomous sphere of moral knowledge, and one that it requires learning, scholarship, and immersion to enhance and retain, is cast to the winds. The university, instead of transmitting culture, exists to deconstruct it, to remove its “aura,” and to leave the student, after four years of intellectual dissipation, with the view that anything goes and nothing matters.
Oy. What a sensational drag.
The Phallus: Explore the role this part of the male body has played in society from the early, often sexist works of Freud to newer feminist theories. [Occidental College]
American Degenerates: Learn more about the relationship between writers and early Americans and their sense of personal identity in this course. [Brown]
Comparative History of Organized Crime: While the streets may be education enough for real gangsters, this course aims to teach students about the history and culture of the mafia around the world. [Williams College]
European Witchcraft: While so-called witches are still around today, you can learn about the origins of what people thought were witches and the often extreme and illogical measures they took to get rid of them. [Oneonta College]
Sex, Rugs, Salt & Coal: Not only does this course have a snappy name, it also is full of topics students find compelling, including sex, slavery, money and more. [Cornell]
Age of Piracy: Johnny Depp’s kooky but sexy Jack Sparrow has gotten many students interested in learning more about the pirating arts, and this course offers them the chance to take a look at the much less appealing, real-life lives of pirates. [Arizona State]