Phonetic fertilizer



There are some words that just make your eargasm.

“Interdisciplinary.” “Biopharmaceutical.” “Multicultural.”

The university very tactically employs the above terms. Their euphony resonates from the headlines of every big announcement, making your ears ring with excitement and hope. Progress, the future, Delaware Will Shine.

The words even permeate our local vernacular. Inscribed onto buildings, we use them every day. By squeezing the word “interdisciplinary” into the ISE Laboratory acronym, we forget that by “interdisciplinary,” they only mean bridging the other two letters of the acronym — science and engineering. In other words, science and applied science (spare a few policy folks scattered throughout the building).

“Biopharmaceutical” sounds nice, too. So nice that we don’t even consider the amount of private sector, Big Pharma dollars that are bound to pour into the center’s projects. The word brilliantly masks the invasion of corporate America into the sphere of intellect and inquiry.

“Multicultural” also rubs smooth on the tympanic membranes. The word itself accomplishes about as much as the multicultural center ever will.

What results is a phonetic harmony that swirls throughout this inviolable little concert hall of learning. We place blind faith into the words, abstracting them and ourselves from the reality of what’s taking place. Funnelled into a grand “vision” (another sexy word), the words divert our attention from the growing neglect of certain disciplines, the virulent corporatization of higher education, and the marginalizing commodification of undergraduates.

The words cultivate the fertile soil from which a menacing STEM is growing. This STEM has roots spanning all throughout the university’s crust. It absorbs nutrients from profit-driven market pressures, unreciprocated undergraduate tuition payments, the decay of the humanities and social sciences, the growing graduate student enrollment, increasing adjunct professorship and, above all, the insatiable corporate drive to compete at the expense of educational value.

This phonetic fertilizer is not organic. It’s like the TruGreen lawn product your parents buy to make your grass pretty — it makes for a nice temporary facelift, but don’t get too close to it or you’ll probably get cancer someday. That goes for your dog, too.

While furnishing an ostensibly healthy growth, the university’s phonetic fertilizer is more insidiously cultivating a cancer. An internal destruction and seizure of what remaining healthy cells there are.

As students continue to allow the university’s agenda to disguise itself under a flowery vocabulary, they’ll become complicit in the ongoing apoplectic doom of higher education. Disillusioned by lusty language and fantastical dreams of progress, we’ll fail to realize our money, our education and hence our future going to waste.

So, go organic. Fight the fertilizer, piss into the soil of the thorny STEM, and spread your seed across campus. Be fruitful and multiply in the mission to revive the voice of the student, hitherto drowned by the phonetic foolishness of the university.

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