The negative critique of American education has grown from a mere trickle back when Albert Jay Nock delivered his lectures on Theory of Education in the United States at the University of Virginia in 1931 into a roaring flash flood. When the sound and fury of the various Jeremiahs of American education have ceased echoing in the halls of the nation’s high schools and universities, we look around and see that little has changed—and that mainly for the worse. Rudolf Flesch tried to explain a generation ago Why Johnny Can’t Read. When Beavis recently commented, “I hate videos with words in them,” his comrade Butt-head assented, “Yeah. If I wanted to read, I’d go to school.” E’ ben trovato, ma non e vero. Between videos, movies, computer games, rap sessions, and the use of Uncaptioned Visual Cues to supplement Oral-Aural methodologies, little reading takes place in the nation’s schools. As French intellectual Regis Debray has explained in several (ironically) best-selling books, we have moved from the Logosphere to the Videosphere. We know the officers were guilty, not because we listened to evidence and arguments and read and pondered them, but because we saw the tapes. What classicist Eric Havelock called “The Literate Revolution” has been overturned. We have moved from the Civilization of Writing back to an oral culture.

One reason for the failure of traditionalist laments to stop the forces of change is their purely negative character. What is needed is a positive response to the contemporary American university and its glitzy supermarket of alternatives and electives. A few years ago an associate dean noted to his curriculum committee that not only were there Women’s Studies programs and departments galore in the American Megaversity, but more and more schools were introducing Men’s Studies. One gloomy faculty member muttered in response that he would vote in favor of them, as long as they were Real Men’s Studies. The administrator snorted in contempt, and we returned to our business of approving a new course on Lesbian Literature of the Black Renaissance. Not content to issue futile ukases like an academic King Canute against the rising tide of innovative new programs, I am presenting my tentative curriculum for a Real Men’s major.

RMS 1001. Introduction to Real Men’s Studies: Role Models and Wimps in American Cinema (cross-listed with Film Studies 1001). An introduction to the role of real men in contemporary American culture through an in-depth study of selected films starring John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, and Chuck Norris. Reports by students on how viewing these films changed their self-image.

RMS 1005. Real Men and Music (cross-listed with Music 1005). A survey of the history of Western music.

RMS 2001. Real Men and Sports (cross-listed with Kinesiology 2001). Class will concentrate on salary differentials between men’s and women’s sports, beginning with tennis. Class reports on why the Sports section is the only accurate part of the newspaper and what this means for the Wall Street Journal.

RMS 2345. Real Men’s Humor (cross-listed with Creative Writing 2345). Oppressed minorities fight back with humor. As the latest addition to the world of the oppressed, Real Men have not yet developed their own distinctive, self-deprecating humor. This course will develop Real Men’s creativity in this direction. Class begins with jokes modeled on the famous “How many does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” routine. Examples: How many real men does it take to invent a light bulb? One. Thomas Alva Edison. How many real men does it take to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? One. Michelangelo Buonarroti. Oral reports and written analyses of ethnic and real men’s humor.

RMS 3001. Theory of Patriarchy (cross-listed with Philosophy 3001). Selected readings with discussion and oral and written reports on selected masterpieces of Real Men’s literature and philosophy, including Genesis 1-3, St. Paul, John Knox, Robert Filmer, James Fitzjames Stephen, Steven Goldberg, and Thomas Fleming. RMS 3470. Women and Ancient Mathematics (cross-listed with Biology 3470). A presentation of the genetic basis for women’s contributions to ancient mathematics, compared and contrasted with the word of Eudoxus, Theactetus, Archimedes, and Euclid. Creative papers on what those two women were doing in Plato’s Academy.

RMS 3510/3520. Junior Seminar: Topics in Real Men’s Studies. Fall: Polygamy. Study of the history, philosophy, and social function of a widespread and important social custom. Spring: The Hunting Hypothesis. Study of the role of hunting in the development of religion, sex roles, and higher civilization.

RMS 4510/4520. Senior Seminar: Practicum in Real Men’s Studies. Fall: The Defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment. A practicum on the use of public opinion and grass-roots politics to preserve and protect the role of Real Men in contemporary society. Spring: Real Men’s Civil Rights: A Study of the History and Theory of the Second Amendment. Readings and reports on Livy, Machiavelli, and the Virginia Bill of Rights. Mandatory shooting practice twice a week.

The science requirement is 16 hours of lab sciences or mathematics. (There is no social science requirement.) The language requirement may be satisfied by four semesters of any language used to conquer substantial portions of the Mediterranean world or the Near East before the year 1000 A.D.

It is time to stop complaining about educational decline and start designing our own curricula. You see how easy it is. Your first assignment is to draw up a Real Men’s reading list. No, no, not Tom Clancy and Louis L’Amour. Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and Milton’s Paradise Lost. Now you’re getting the hang of it. Go and do likewise.