The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Rising above the Macalester Consensus

By Matt Won

When family, friends, fellow church members and other un-Scots ask me how college is going, I tell them GREAT.
I don’t tell them about that girl in my Poli Sci class that makes me think bad thoughts about women every time her lips mouth “post-structural” in that way that barely registers in my discussion-addled brain when she runs out of other varieties of warmed-over air on one of her participi-tation point runs.

Or THAT DUDE who answers every question with an anecdote from his summer trip hanging out with the Touareg tribes in Africa, or, when no anecdote is handy, says “That’s a difficult question,” stroking his chin like a Buddha charm’s tummy, as if his consultation was somehow beyond solicitation, as if it was demanded by circumstances.

I don’t tell them about all that. That’s why I’ve got these pages to occasionally put you on to what I think is up.
Many of us know of the Washington Consensus, a neoliberal values set that has been pushed on the world by the capitalist complex in order to serve the ends of interests in certain developed nations.

Our world at Mac is much smaller. Here, we get the WC’s bespectacled, beaten up, lunch-money-not-having little brother. Here, we’ve got the Macalester Consensus, in its greenroofed biodegradable tower playground, far from its elitist ivory counterparts. Here, that little brother is king.

The Macalester Consensus is a set of beliefs marked by perceived universal approval and righteousness, and unconscious half-sensical passing-on and inheritance by new converts.
College is the place where socialization is supposed to happen: exposure to new ideas, people, and cultures outside your narrow home experience. As the saying goes, there’s a time and a place for everything: it’s called college.

My problem with the Macalester Consensus is not ideological. I believe I’m a much more fervent post-structuralist, post-modernist, and feminist than the average Mac student, and my views on race are much more radical than the norm.

When I malign the Mac Consensus, I am maligning its unskilled practitioners, and their methods in-class and out.
The presence of the perceived Macalester Consensus allows students to fall back on its ideology, and it breeds a certain kind of learning experience, an inferior one that contradicts the humanist ideology of the Macalester Consensus.
In short, my chief beef is that the Macalester Consensus gets in the way of learning. I’ll use some personal examples to demonstrate how this really happens.

This is the first weapon in the arsenal of the MC degenerates.
While a big problem at Mac is everyone spreading themselves too thin interest-wise, a lot of people just get really focused on one issue. And since they care about that issue or critique so much, they never fail to do us the favor of enlightening us and raising our awareness of it.

Yes, overfishing is a big problem, and postcolonial theory offers a viable and oft-overlooked perspective, but I don’t need to be reminded of that every time a new topic is covered every class period.

If every report that you write for every class is on the same subject, your perspective won’t be changing much, and neither will your assumptions. You might’ve written a report on another subject, and found a subject even better than the one that is so important to you.
The other day I was in a discussion-based class and the group I was in was stuck in a deadlock. Finally, I gave my best shot. A girl in my class who had already unilaterally taken it upon herself to be unofficial group leader and semi-official scribe was verily bursting with enthusiasm at my suggestion.

Before I was even quite done she cut into my response with overjoyed alacrity, extolling the virtues of my point, and by the time she had said her piece she had somehow ended with expounding another point entirely. Her point, as you might imagine.
She took it upon herself to transcribe her wonderful idea, obviously quite pleased with herself. There was a pause of disbelief, as the magnitude, the brilliance, the cunning, the gall of what she had done set in. Then someone suggested I repeat my point.

But bottom line, the Mighty Morphin’ Point was pulled on me in class.

This girl is obviously not terribly concerned with actual discussion, as she attempted to subvert the discussion in an effort to serve her own point, which she obviously thought was so excellent that it did not need to be subjected to the time-consuming rigors of actual discussion. Kind of like the Communist Party’s great ideas on governance.

And that’s where the real problem with all of the Macalester Consensus’s acolytes. It’s all terribly paternalistic. They take as dogma what should be fiercely debated. The belief that everyone already believes what they do becomes tyrannical, and retards the learning of everyone.

We’d all be helped if the Shoehorner put his or her efforts and considerable intellect behind a different project that might enrich everyone’s knowledge. How much better would the class be without the Mighty Morphin Point and with a fair discussion?
Don’t get stuck in an academic rut: keep searching for new perspectives and keep challenging your assumptions. Because there’s only one thing we can be sure about: at 18, 19, 20, or 21, you don’t have all the answers, no matter how many post-structuralist critiques you think you can do.

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  • F

    Fiona ReesSep 12, 2019 at 4:43 am

    Thanks for the helpful article. It is also my belief that mesothelioma cancer has an incredibly long latency period of time, which means that warning signs of the disease won’t emerge till 30 to 50 years after the primary exposure to asbestos. Pleural mesothelioma, that’s the most common sort and is affecting the area across the lungs, might result in shortness of breath, upper body pains, including a persistent cough, which may produce coughing up blood vessels.

  • B

    Brandon ScottSep 8, 2019 at 11:22 pm

    I agree with your points, wonderful post.