They’re nucking futs at Harvard again: the Carole Hooven ordeal

Carole Hooven is a lecturer at Harvard, in the field of human evolutionary biology.

That single sentence tells us that Hooven probably isn’t a rightwing ideologue. To begin with, she studies evolution, and any good Bible-thumper will tell you that all of Creation occurred in six days, with the Almighty resting on the seventh. End of conversation.

Hooven also teaches at Harvard. My guess is that, given the Stasi-like environment at Harvard nowadays, you don’t get to teach at Harvard in the first place if your politics are much to the right of Joe Biden’s. The ideological vetting for a new prof at Harvard is probably just as stringent as the academic vetting, if not more so.

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But Carole Hooven has been denounced as “transphobic” by her Harvard students and colleagues in recent days.

What did she say? It must have been really bad, right?

I’ll let you be the judge of that.

What Carole Hooven—a scientist— said is that there are two sexes, and that biological sex is real.

Then came the usual uproar. The social media outrage. The sputtering denunciations. The shouts of alarm, because such talk could lead to fascism, ya know. Didn’t Donald Trump say something like that once?

Laura Simone Lewis, a PhD candidate at Harvard, took to Twitter and called Carole Hooven’s affirmation of biological sex “dangerous language”.

I’m going to go out on a limb here, and suggest that if terms like male and female are now “dangerous language”, we’ve become a bit too politically correct. I could be more blunt, and say that we’ve gone stark-raving, over-the-rails, fucking nuts. But I won’t say that. I’ll merely say that we’ve become too politically correct.

I live in Ohio, so I probably don’t know much. But I can tell you this: I spent a lot of time in farm country while I was growing up.

I would like to tell you animal husbandry stories in which two mares successfully impregnated each other. I just haven’t seen it. I also have yet to see two male dogs produce puppies…or piglets or chicklings, for that matter. 

I’ll get back to you, however, when I do see something like that. The horse farms, in particular, would be delighted, as stud fees can be quite expensive. Most of them would think that mares impregnating each other is an excellent idea.

But again, I have yet to see it.

This begs the question: should the farmer now ask the rooster if ze identifies as a hen?

Oh, that’s absurd! you say. Well, in this brave new world of ours, the lines between absurdity and political orthodoxy are extremely blurry. We therefore need to ask: are we still allowed to refer to two animal sexes? Or is that “dangerous language,” too?

Hooven’s Harvard critics would probably nod at this point, and congratulate me for taking instruction. Yes, yes, it is dangerous to speak of roosters and hens as if these terms were anything more than patriarchal social constructs! Say “rooster and hen” today, and you’ll be goose-stepping through the town square shouting “Sieg Heil!” tomorrow. It’s a very slippery slope.

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I guess I’m kidding…or I wish I was kidding. This is like something out of The Twilight Zone, or maybe Mad magazine.

Am I the only one who can’t decide if manufactured controversies like this are more sad…or more risible?

As a lifelong student of history, this reminds me of the darkest days of the French Revolution, when a person might be sent to the guillotine for inadvertently failing to address a neighbor by the revolutionary title, citoyen (“citizen”).

But at least the Jacobins weren’t offended by roosters and hens. This is more than we can say for the academic cream of Harvard—once a great university, now a far-left ideological loony bin.

Aaron Lewis and country music counterculture

Country music has long stood athwart revolutionary leftism. Back in 1969, Merle Haggard hit the charts with “Okie From Muskogee”:

“We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee

We don’t take our trips on LSD

We don’t burn our draft cards down on Main Street

We like livin’ right, and bein’ free

We don’t make a party out of lovin’

We like holdin’ hands and pitchin’ woo

We don’t let our hair grow long and shaggy

Like the hippies out in San Francisco do”

It’s pretty hard to miss the references in Haggard’s lyrics. In 1969, America was at the height of the student revolts, the drug culture, the protest culture, the counterculture. Also known as the hippie movement.

The hippies got quite a bit wrong. But at least the hippies made some great music, and they could be fun at times. They were a long way from the humorless, statue-smashing killjoys known today as the “woke”, the “social justice warriors”, etc.

Or maybe…the Man. In 1969, corporate culture was still conservative. The typical CEO was a country club Republican who would have agreed with Merle Haggard.

In 2021, though, most CEOs lean to the left—especially in the Fortune 500 and tech sectors.

And speaking of “the college dean” of Haggard’s lyrics. Fifty-odds years after “Okie From Muskogee”, our educational establishment leans left, too. Critical race theory isn’t being forced on our educators. Our educators are forcing it on children and their parents.

Ironically, this makes country music the music of the counterculture in 2021, if we define a counterculture as a movement or philosophy that is opposed to the values of those in power.

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Which brings us to a new country singer for a new century: Aaron Lewis. His traditionalist anthem, “Am I The Only One” recently surpassed Taylor Swift’s latest efforts on iTunes. No small feat, we must agree.

Like Merle Haggard a half-century ago, Aaron Lewis doesn’t waste time with abstraction, or beating around the bush:

“Another statue comin’ down in a town near you

Watchin’ the threads of Old Glory come undone”

It doesn’t take a huge leap of interpretation to realize that Lewis is talking about the summer-long urban riots of 2020, in which mobs tore down statues—including those of Ulysses S. Grant, who fought to vanquish the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Aaron Lewis doesn’t  mince words, straddle the fence, or attempt to appeal to both sides. His concerts often include conversations with the audience about current events:

Music industry critic Bob Lefsetz, who seems to be a total tool, called on the Big Machine Label group to “cancel” Aaron Lewis. The record company politely told Lefsetz to go…well, you know…himself.

Aaron Lewis is one voice of the new counterculture. We can be certain of one thing: Lewis will not be invited to perform at the White House between now and January 20, 2025.

But after that, who knows? We may be in a different world by then.

JibJab, and when America still had a sense of humor

Between 2004 and about 2009, JibJab was one of my favorite destinations on the Internet. The JibJab guys specialized in political humor.

Take this one: “He’s Barack Obama”, from 2009.

The above short piece pokes fun at the (then) newly elected President Obama. The video parodies Obama’s over-reliance on platitudes like, “Yes we can” and “Hope and change”. Also, on a more serious (but still funny) note: Obama’s tendency to over-promise and under-deliver, and his blithe disregard of the national debt.

“He’s Barack Obama” is clearly a work of political satire. That said, the video is not shrill or mean-spirited.

JibJab was bipartisan. The small production company also had a good time parodying Republican George W. Bush, as in this video from late 2005.

I would mark 2009 as the approximate point at which America lost its sense of humor. That period between 2004 and 2009 wasn’t so long ago; and yet, it seems like another world.

I’ve been referring to JibJab in the past tense, I realize. JibJab, for what it’s worth, still exists. But JibJab now avoids political satire. Who can blame them? We now live in a world of Twitter mobs, social media bans, and ever-watchful culture nannies.   

JibJab now specializes in mildly amusing, but basically ersatz, holiday e-cards. That’s a shame. I would love to see what JibJab might have done with AOC, Joe Biden, or—for that matter—Donald Trump.