OPINIONSrnGreat Expectationsrnby Frederick Turnerrn’There is only one step from fanaticism to barbarism.”rn—DiderotrnI t I ‘rnJ ilrn1rnIn Defense of Elitismrnby William A. Henry HIrnNew York: Doubleday; 212 pp., $20.00rnJn Defense of Elitism joins what is nowrna spate of books documenting thernmadness of contemporary “pohticalrncorrectness.” It is an amusing, readable,rnand journalistic work, full of the mostrndelightful anecdotes about the absurditiesrnof our times, unusual in that itrnlocates the problem in the cult of egalitarianism,rnfed by the self-esteem movement:rnone of its more original observationsrnconcerns the rise of karaoke as arnsubstitute for the art of the professionalrnsinger, of the snapshot as a substitute forrnart. Significantly, like many recentrnbooks on the same subject, it comesrnfrom the pen of a confessed and accreditedrnliberal, staunchlv loyal to thernDemocratic Party. It is now not only thernFrederick Turner is Founders Professor ofrnArts and Humanities at the Universityrnof Texas at Dallas. His new book, ThernCulture of Hope, will be published thisrnspring by The Free Press.rnright that is warning of the threat to ourrnculture; perhaps a new consensus isrnemerging.rnWilliam Henry, who died last year,rnwas a cultural critic for Time magazine.rnHe begins his book by describing therncurrent radical egalitarian attack onrnelitism, which, he postulates, springsrnfrom nostalgia for the experience of thernBaby Boomers in college in the 60’s,rnwho shared an illusory and temporaryrncondition of total equalit’ until persistence,rnhard work, luck, and talent sortedrnout losers and winners. Henry traces thernenshrinement of mediocrity throughrnaffirmative action, feminism, multiculturalism,rnand the nature-nurture contrornersy, and concludes by suggestingrnradical changes in the educational system,rnincluding a cut in the proportion ofrneach generation to whom we attempt torngive higher education, a greater concentrationrnon vocational education, and thernabolition of academic tenure. Thesernsuggestions are interesting, and wernshould stud}’ them while keeping inrnmind the experience of Britain, wherernMargaret Thatcher tried something similarrnwith the result that the leftist facultyrnsur’ived but many valuable programs inrnthe sciences and humanities were cut.rnStill, something indeed needs to berndone. In our universities, the artistic andrnhumanistic heritage of the past is eitherrnignored or vilified; at Johns Hopkins onernyear the only Shakespeare course wasrnentitled “Shakespeare and Sodomy.”rnStudents are introduced to Mozart as arnwhite racist, Aristotle as a sexist, andrnAusten as a sellout to male oppression.rnInstead, the young are urged to read thernworks of the Nazis Martin Heideggerrnand Paul de Man, the wife-murdererrnLouis Althusser, or the sadomasochistrnMichel Foucault (who spent his lastrnyears in the Bay Area knowingly infectingrnother homosexuals with AIDS).rnLet us grant Henry’s hypothesis thatrnour culture is sick and needs cure. Butrnsurely the problem is older and deeperrnthan the illusion of equality at 60’s universities.rnTo understand its roots, wernmust look at the cultural history of thernlast hundred years, summed up in thernTo order these books, (24hr$, 365 days)rnplease call (800) 962-6651 (Ext. 5200)rn30/CHRONICLESrnrnrn