Laurie Taylor Column

December 12, 2003


Following the enormous success of the THES readers' poll to discover the TV programme that has done most to undermine British culture, we now bring you the first results from a poll to discover the most mind-numbing, vacuous, dumbed-down, university lecture course.

Introduction to Basic Philosophy

First-year compulsory course given at the University of Old Sarum from 1976-89 by Doctor R. K. Lipton

Over 200 readers who experienced this course wrote in to describe its "patronising, simple-minded vacuity". Many recalled Lipton's inability to spell the names of the philosophers he claimed to understand ("Never mind 'Nietzsche'. I can remember him having trouble with 'Kant'."). Others recalled his sweeping description of the past 100 years of continental philosophy as "a load of foreign cobblers". One critic was particularly appalled by his clumsy attempt to dress up as the categorical imperative.

Colonialism and Post-Colonialism

Postgraduate option given at the University of Uttoxeter from 1978-92 by Dr L. B. Roughage

"It was clear from the first seminar," emails one THES reader, "that Doctor Roughage was out of his depth. He frequently referred to the indigenous inhabitants of colonised territories as 'natives' and on at least two occasions described Africa as a 'country'."

Several dozen others were appalled by his simple-minded insistence that students learn the geography of British imperialism by colouring in a duplicated world map with a red crayon.

Marxism Today

Second-year compulsory course given at the University of Poppleton from 1973 to the present by Mr Ted Odgers

There was general condemnation of Mr Odgers'

persistent tendency to describe anyone who disagreed with him as suffering from "false consciousness". Some objected to his "simplistic" drawing of a house with a roof and a basement to illustrate the conceptual difference between "base" and "superstructure". Several others complained about his constant references to the head of department, professor G. Lapping, as "a class traitor".

Has Your Mind Been Addled by a Vacuous and Dumbed-Down Lecture Course?

Send us the name of the course and we will name the guilty people.

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