By Professor Doom
I know, referencing Orwell’s 1984 is tiresome and cliché but…every day it seems I see something in the real world that mirrors the supposedly purely fictional world:
“…Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building…”
My apologies for patronizing anyone, but part of the lead character’s job in 1984 was to throw any evidence of anything that was contradictory to the government’s narrative down the “memory hole.” Orwell was typically brilliant by creating such a name, as things which went into the memory hole were forgotten; almost everything in government is named the opposite of what it does, from our Defense Department (which hasn’t defended this country from a foreign attacker in decades, if ever), our Education Department (which has done everything it can to annihilate education in this country), to the Department of Homeland Security (which has empirically made our citizens less safe) to the Affordable Care Act (which has made health care less affordable) to…well, you get the idea.
It’s so funny watching evidence contrary to the current narratives foisted upon the public be tossed down memory holes. The narrative regarding the Civil War, for example, is that the South was run by Evil Slave Owners, and everyone who fought for the South was an Evil Slave Owner of pure Evil.
The reality, of course, is that less than 5% of citizens of the Southern Confederacy owned slaves. So, we have these statues of heroes of the Confederacy, many of whom didn’t own slaves, and weren’t evil…they were just soldiers fighting for their homeland, bravely and honorably enough to merit a statue.
As long as those statues were allowed to remain, they violated the narrative. Nobody could possibly build a statue of an Evil Slave Owner of pure Evil, after all. Anyone who looked at that statuary evidence might ask questions about how that statue came to exist…might learn of other things that have not yet been tossed down the memory hole. Such knowledge endangers the narrative, and must be destroyed.
And now we have Trump.
The current narrative on Trump is he’s an idiot, a fascist, a racist, a sexist, a rapist, and a buffoon, to give just a sample of the litany of words used to describe him. That’s the narrative…but there’s a problem here.
Donald Trump has been in the public eye for over 30 years.
In 1989 he had a board game (I almost bought it way back then, but didn’t—today it sells for hundreds of dollars on E-bay). Why would America allow a fascist, a racist, whatever, to have his face on a board game. My God, children could play it!1
Now this board game doesn’t threaten the narrative that much. It wasn’t a top seller by the standards of games in those days, selling some 800,000 copies. Still, anyone who cares to look can find it, and that game really questions the narrative of many of the bad things being said about him.
For over a decade, Trump was on TV every week. How could he possibly be a racist, sexist, fascist, and rapist and be on a hit TV show? The narrative can’t handle that, but, luckily, Trump couldn’t continue with his show and be president, so this piece of evidence violating the narrative self-destructed…a thinking person can’t help but realize Trump was never called such names until he ran against a Democrat.
Another part of the mainstream narrative about Trump is how he’s a moron, a fool, an idiot…not very bright. It’s a strange narrative to advance, truth be told. The man came out of political nowhere and won a presidential election against perhaps the most powerful political machine this country has ever seen.
Every decision made in his presidential campaign was ultimately made by Trump. He fired campaign managers until ending up with Kellyanne Conway. She’s the first female campaign manager to win a presidential election, by the way. The vast bulk of the country does not know that—Trump having a female campaign manager violates the narrative about him being sexist, after all. So, down the memory hole that detail goes.
Anyway, Trump has a few honorary degrees, five honorary doctorates, mostly Business related, of course. How can a moron, a buffoon, and an idiot have so many doctorates? Now, I grant these degrees are often given in exchange for money “gifted” to the institution, but I don’t have a problem with such crassness, particularly in business.
The whole point of business is to make money; if you’re so good at it that you’ve plenty of money to give to higher education, you’re probably as deserving of that degree as an academic with a “legitimate” business degree who’s never made a penny in business in his life.
Without even considering how he got the degrees, Trump having these degrees violates the narrative…you just can’t be a moron and have multiple doctorates.
There have been petitions from those whose beliefs are little different from The Party in 1984, to revoke these degrees, to toss these honorary slips of paper down the memory hole. One university caved quickly:
This is such an idiotic, cowardly thing to do, but at least it opens up precedent. Can we now start cancelling other fake degrees? We’ve many, many, examples of administrators who clearly have done stupid/evil/illegal things with horrible administrative decisions…can we strip out their Administrative degrees?
Curious, I seem to be the only person on the planet who’s considered this (if a reader with superior Google skills can find an example, let me know, please). But, yeah, it supposedly makes sense to go after an honorary degree given to Trump years ago, based on…what, exactly? As near as I can tell, the rescinding of this degree was justified based on obvious lies made by the mainstream media.
This is ridiculous behavior, bringing shame to the institution. But one can only imagine how many priceless artifacts were destroyed in the memory holes of Orwell’s world…the people asking to revoke Trump’s degrees would do the same, clearly, and I suspect if they had the power they’d throw quite a few other documents down that hole (Hi Bill of Rights!).
So far, no American universities have embarrassed themselves in this way, although they are receiving pressure. At least one, Lehigh University, has officially said it won’t do such a thing…but it appears to be alone in exhibiting such a spine. Who's to say they won't change their mind as the pressure increases?
It took years of pressure before those Confederate Statues found themselves being tossed down a hole, so I suspect the pressure to rescind those degrees, to destroy any evidence contrary to the mainstream narrative about Trump, will continue. I find it likely he’ll eventually lose other honorary doctorates.
Is there a chance he’ll keep even one of those meaningless degrees? I suspect he won’t care if he loses them all, but the gentle reader needs to understand that if our institutions can’t maintain their integrity even over a nigh worthless piece of paper, they probably aren’t maintaining integrity anywhere else, either.
1 ) As an aside, another 80s board game, Fortress America, had a likeness of Saddam Hussein’s face on the box. When the narrative changed to him being The Next Hitler, Milton Bradly actually recalled the game and reprinted it in a new box, minus Saddam, of course. Memory hole!
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