I'm having a one-sided conversation with Google. I ask questions, and it dispenses routes to answers. Is Britney Spears a genius? Yes, according to the Weekly World News. Am I a hottie? I could find out if I submitted my picture to amithisorthat.com . And when, might I ask, is Messiah coming? Turns out he’s almost 2,000 years late.
Inquisitive web browsing is a sedate, lonely pursuit: it’s like talking to an artificially intelligent brick wall. It’s slightly more personable than the class to which I’m currently being subjected. Above the clackety din of my typing, I can make out the professor lamenting that the American army used white phosphorous to fight the Iraqis in Fallujah. I haven’t yet asked Google whether employing that agent is immoral or not, but by my teacher’s grave tenor I gather that, at the very least, it’s socially unacceptable.
Which brings me to this: professors believe that a lot of things are unacceptable, be it sexual categorization, politicians in power, or school policy. These ombudsmen have the fortuitous fortune of teaching, which is the most fitting profession for a person with myriad strong beliefs that they don’t want challenged. For instance, my politics of terrorism teacher maintains that American military policy is unacceptable, but refuses to say why. The class convenes at 10:50 in the morning, so his claims are met with minimal resistance. Later in the day, my contemporary Middle East teacher thinks that the term “Middle East” is itself unacceptable. Right or wrong, she doesn’t garner—or get—feedback from us. Her conviction falls into the timeless rubric of “irrefutable opinion.”
I had an Israeli ex-patriot professor who thought that the state of Israel is a collection of Zionist aggressors and fanatical murderers (just for confusion’s sake, she wore an Israeli flag pendant every day). Her fire breathing elicited a response from exactly one person, who would rebut with something about Israel’s social welfare proficiency or absorption of desperate immigrant populations. Then the professor would mutter something about “Zionist fear mongers” and trail off back into her insipid lecture.
Was my professor a bitch? I don’t know, but when I asked Google the same question, I was redirected to fascinating discussion of the family by Bitch Ph.D. Enjoy.
Stay Silent, Google