Aristocratic Marxist Professors and Other Eerie Tales of the Macabre
Why a diploma in the Culinary Arts in Canada is an excellent idea & why a two-year Arts diploma is the worst possible investment you could ever make
Professors in the Canadian college post-secondary Arts sector aren’t really professors. They’re teachers—if there is to be any meaningful distinction in definition between the two terms. The term professor carries an unmistakable connotation of expertise, autonomy, and authority: three qualities which no longer pertain to the actual functioning of the position which carries the title—if they ever did. Teachers, on the other hand, while they may possess some expertise in the subject they are teaching (in the Canadian public school system this is not required), are nonetheless expected to teach what they are told, as they are told, when they are told, and to be happy about their summers off. They are not expected to be authorities on any given topic, to publish new scholarship in peer-reviewed journals, to stay current with new and emerging theories in one’s given field or discipline. Teaching is an honourable profession, and many of the people who altered the direction of my life for the better were teachers. There is nothing wrong, not at all, with being a teacher.
There is, however, something fundamentally wrong, something deeply corrosive to the proper functioning of society, when professors are turned into teachers against their will. Although professors are employed by a given institution, they have a primary obligation beyond it: they are employed to profess, as it were, the truth of their discipline—even when, especially when—the truths of their discipline are not good for enrollment, run contrary to currently prevailing socio-cultural trends, and are critical of the same institution in which they are being taught. This is, to put it gently, no longer the case.
Professors are expected to cheerlead for the home team. They are expected to go ye into all the local high schools and tell students—17-year-olds you’ve never met, about whom you know nothing—that investing an easy $15,000 for a made-up diploma is indisputably the best life decision they could ever make. Professors are expected to putt butts in seats. Or, as I began to view it, professors were expected to save the souls of small-town locals and add their tithing power to the congregation.
Not because anyone really believed that a two-year, fifteen-thousand-dollar investment, in a diploma cobbled together over the summer, was ever going to pay itself back. They didn’t. How could they? There is no money to be made from studying Communications Studies. None. Everyone knows this. Students should study communications if they are personally wealthy, or like getting balls-deep into theory and/or debt.
I can’t tell you how many professors and grad students over the years I’ve heard take the piss out of churches for passing the plate, for asking people to give for a whole lot of bogus words. What a racket! What a bunch of car salesperson phonies! After awhile, you begin to hear it as a kind of cognitive dissonance. They really didn’t/don’t see the irony. The worst church I ever went to—and fucking hell did I ever go to a lot worst churches—never forced families to spend five thousand per family member per year. They never demanded that money up front. They never outright lied to their parishioners about what the benefits were.
Can you imagine?
After two years of intense, once-a-week-theological training conducted primarily on Sundays, graduates of our Hermeneutics and Public Discourse in Contemporary Society Diploma will be eligible for professional work as: mystic, World of Warcraft cleric, playing the role of creepy youth pastor in the film/tv production sector, sandwich-board apocalyptic, medieval solstice re-enactor, volleyball chaplain, holding up a sign saying John 3:16 at major sporting events, and many more!
While it is true that education in Canada is still publicly-funded it is also true that seemingly none of the money which the public gives to the post-secondary arts college sector through taxes ever seems to reach the students. Not a drop of it. Tuition keeps going up. Books cost hundreds of dollars that aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Scamademia. It’s not a word I made up. It’s a word I picked up in the comments section of Glenn Greenwald’s Substack (which is the first time I’d ever heard of Substack where, it turns out, Matt Taibbi, Suzanne Moore, Jesse Singal, Bari Weiss and a whole lot of other recently cancelled writers have ended up, and in whose comments sections you will thousands of professionals—seemingly hundreds of them leftist professors—saying the same thing: The Arts has turned into a false religion perpetrated by a new kind of cleric—collectively the most socially powerful and prone-to-punitive enforcement class of people to come into existence since, at least, The Victorian Age.)
What makes all this comically horrific is that the post-secondary Arts sector is where nine out of ten Marxists in this country call themselves home. I would wager any money that the average salary of a Canadian professional Marxist is $100,000 per year and growing all the time. (Anyone believing in “from each according to his ability to each according to his need” will know why that’s an indefensible number, or they should stfu about being a Marxist). Side bet that nine out of ten of them have never actually suffered long-term employment in anything remotely resembling a menial working class position ever in their lives. Longshot with the best chance of paying off? Five out of ten have never been friends with a tradie or hung out with a custodial engineer, ever.
But they announce themselves as always on the side of the people—the exact same people they don’t know and don’t seem in a hurry to try to understand. Indeed, North American Marxist Arts professors are SO on the side of the people that they are willing to sell the people the benefit of their extremely advanced training to tell them how to lead better lives. Because they love the people so much, they have left their homes far away (usually the GTA—no joke) to tell the people what it is best that the people know. And although they may wring their hands at increasing tuition, they will still tell themselves that what they teach is of value sufficient enough to justify putting student and family into decades’-long debt; that cosmically, in the long term, it will all come together for good.
They’re missionaries, in other words—highly paid, sanctioned-by-the-state, secular missionaries. Either that or teachers—which is, I guess, where we came in, so I suppose you can take your pick: teachers or missionaries. Just not professors.
They’re there to fix lives. Not because they care about any lives other than their own. But because they’re born into a time when fixing lives as a professor is far and away the most lucrative place for the Arts-educated to end up. Not because they believe any of it. (Often, they scarcely seem to try and understand what they teach, anymore than evangelical Christians of the ‘70s dove deep into theology.) If you want to measure the conviction, try this: cut professor salaries to be commensurate with the medium average of the city in which the institution is situated, and adjust their compensation packages accordingly. See how many still burn with that old desire “to transform lives and communities,” when they’re no longer allowed to live like the parasitic aristocrats they’ve become while pretending to be Marxists.
I love the Arts. I was always a True Believer—apparently to a fault. The Arts and Humanities improved my life more than anything else did. But is the pale and degraded version on offer at college-level even the Arts anymore? And if it isn’t, what is it?
But first let’s talk about chefs.
Canadian accents show up so seldomly in international television that, at first, we were sure the guest chef on MasterChef Australia recently merely sounded Canadian but was probably, in fact, from North Dakota or some other border-hugging, Minnesota-kind of place. But, no—dude was Canadian. Not only that, from the old Alma Mater, SAIT, where I studied Jornalism. Far wiser choice for us all would have been the SAIT Culinary Program. Jason Staudt, after stints at the Rimrock and in NYC, is now head chef at Melbourne’s iconic Stokehouse Restaurant.
It was the second time that happened this year—the Canadian accent on a cooking show part. During Stanley Tucci’s very recommendable culinary tour through Italy for CNN—which I hope gets a second season—the Tooch meets Jessica Rozval, who Montreal-readers will know was recently named Top Female Chef…in Italy. Rozval is a graduate of Montreal’s ITHQ.
If you can afford a two-year degree in Canada, become a chef.
If the Arts sectors’ diplomas were working at a comparable level, we’d have dozens, hundreds of names of writers, journalists, publishers just fucking killing it at the international level to brag about. Which is not the case. At all. Most two-year diplomas sold by College Arts departments are ethical in the same way it is ethical for an automotive salesperson to sell you a $15,000 car that breaks down before you get it off the lot.