Despite it being incredibly important given the hold it has over the minds of the youth, one issue I rarely write about is the sorry state of academia. Perhaps I, being a law student, am too close to it to formulate clear thoughts on the topic. Maybe it just doesn’t normally interest me in the same way that other culture war battles do. To be quite honest, I’m not sure.
What I do know is that it deserves more attention than I’ve given it, which is why I leapt at the opportunity to read Bruce Newsome’s excellent The Dark Side of Sunshine, a brilliant novel about the sad state of Western academia.
As The Dark Side of Sunshine brilliantly shows, there’s a hydra facing down the American education system. Critical race theory, modern feminism, diversity insanity, “accommodations” for students with no real disability, LGBTQ+ nonsense, a general ivory tower mindset, an impenetrable bureaucracy, and an unmotivated and unexceptional base of students have turned our once-great system of higher education into a stinking cesspool of Marxism and mediocrity.
Instead of having brilliant minds hard at work to discover the nature of man, the secrets of the universe, and the various important aspects of the great works of the past, we have overfunded bureaucrats using their immense powers to crush wrongthink while tired, overworked professors struggle to impart their knowledge on students that would much rather be drunk, high, or in the embrace of another student (probably of the same gender). And that’s the best-case scenario. In many colleges and universities across America, the professors are part of the woke bureaucracy and are just as bad as the assistant deans of whatever when it comes to cracking down on dissenting thoughts and stifling non-woke opinions.
The Dark Side of Sunshine is the tale of one of the better professors, a humble Brit named Simon, and his quest to force his students to learn facts rather than CRT-premised nonsense.
Set in the imaginary (but still very real) campus of “Sunshine,” a California school, he has to deal with unmotivated and unexceptional students, woke faculty, Antifa, rabble-rouser speakers, and, worst of all, legions of bureaucrats that pretend to play nice while (not so) secretly working to shut him down and send him back to Britain. He’s much-hated, quite overworked, and only succeeds in small doses.
It’s as aggravating a tale as it is incredibly realistic; any conservative student could tell you that, thanks to the leftist takeover over practically every school in the nation, they learn little more than vague, woke generalities and that not only is Big Sister a petty bureaucrat that turns out to be yet another assistant dean of something meaningless, she’s also always watching and always right.
A few short passages show the headache-inducing state of woke academia that Newsome perfectly encapsulates in The Dark Side of Sunshine:
“Oh, you don’t want to go to America! They don’t have any public healthcare! I had the most awful experience in New York last year.” Simon turned with genuine interest: “Why? What happened?” “The doctor saw me the very same day! I wasn’t ready for that!” “I see.”
he saw a poster entitled “This library is color-blind, inclusive, and non-aggressive,” next to a cartoon of a rising fist, entitled “Fight White Power!”
Everybody agreed that ‘isms’ are bad, until Aimee asked, “What about feminism?” Everybody agreed that feminism is good.
John persisted: “Bayside is still highly ranked.” “Over-ranked: I would put graduates of Bayside at the bottom of my hiring list. Chances are they’re lazy, self-righteous, and indoctrinated, but not educated; at least, not educated in anything useful.”
What’s better is that, in case you couldn’t tell from the above passages, Newsome is absolutely hilarious. Two more passages show the funny tone of much of the book:
“Living in Britain is like watching ancient Romans turn into modern Italians.”
Simon looked down despondently. “I am challenged by a grounding in reality.”
Despite being about an infuriating topic, The Dark Side of Sunshine is fun to read because it’s so funny. Rather than attack the left in the overdone, Thor-wielding-Mjollnir-like fashion of this website and others on the right, Newsome utterly dismantles every woke argument by poking fun at it and showing the contradictions inherent in leftist thought. In doing so, he shows just what’s wrong with western academia while also treating the reader to a book that’s laugh-out-loud funny. I can’t recommend it highly enough,