Those Scary Veterans

If you haven’t already seen it, this is worth a laugh: how academics look–down–at those weird people who have volunteered to serve their country. Is that scary, or what?

This video was prepared by Penn State’s Counseling and Psychological Services office, as a training device. It is one of a series that depict “worrisome student behavior.” The “worrisome student” is a veteran:

When veterans objected, the university quickly took down the video, but college Republicans preserved it on YouTube. I don’t have much to add to James Taranto’s comments:

The video about The Veteran is similar to the others, in that all depict abnormal behavior by young people who probably are normal, but are immature or temporarily impaired. But the characters in the other videos are all completely generic, with no distinguishing characteristics other than their sex. Only The Veteran is fleshed out enough even to be a stereotype.

The obvious objection to the depiction of The Veteran is that there is no reason to think that veterans are more prone than anyone else to lash out angrily, blaming others for their own failings. If anything, one would think that the rigors of military training and deployment would leave them more mature, at least in this regard.

But The Veteran’s status as a veteran is relevant to the video’s story, inasmuch as he believes the instructor is treating him unfairly because he is a veteran. This lends another dimension to Maggie Kwok’s speculation about the reaction if the character were depicted as a member of an ethnic or sexual minority.

What if the student in the video were black and accused the instructor of racial discrimination? Would this be depicted, as it is in this video, as if the charge was absurd on its face? Would the student’s threat to have the (presumably untenured) instructor “fired” come across as an empty one, the way it does in the actual video? And if the department chairman in the opening exchange identified the student by asking, “Oh, the black guy?,” would that not be seen–with some justification–as bolstering the charge of discrimination?

In the video, The Veteran behaves inappropriately–but he also accuses the instructor of inappropriately bringing her politics into the classroom at his expense. We are meant to think the accusation is preposterous. But at a university that produces such a video, is it hard to believe that such things actually go on?

No, sadly, it isn’t. Every now and then we get a glimpse into how liberals–to be fair, not all liberals, but most of them–actually think. It isn’t pretty.

PAUL adds: Penn State features prominently in David Horowitz’s new book, One Party Classroom: How Radical Professors at America’s Top Colleges Indoctrinate Students and Undermine Our Democracy.


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