declining morality

So, I’ve mentioned before that I’m teaching online this semester. It’s not so bad. I still miss my WTF face, though. I had a student today complain because I added a tiny assignment to the syllabus. All I ask is that in a “writing intensive” class, they prepare an outline for their papers and send them to me. It’s part of the writing process that they need to learn. Plus, it’ll help me help them narrow the focus of their topics so they’re actually sociological. Here’s what I mean about them not getting sociology:

Last week, their online discussion topic was about using their “sociological imagination” (thank you, C. Wright Mills) to discuss what they think is the biggest social problem in the United States right now. At least half of them agree that “declining morality” is the nation’s biggest social problem, and the root of all others – drug abuse, prostitution, teen pregnancy, you name it. Ugh. There’s not much else to say here. Despite all of my questioning of their meaning, they still agree that it’s a problem. They also can’t really distinguish between ethics and morals; apparently, ethics are simply a moral code. Yikes. They also have no idea what “integrity” means – just like Burt from the Waffle House – ask me about that story later. I met him at a conference once and asked him the difference. He said there was no difference. I immediately lost respect for the man.

So, despite the fact that our healthcare system is in shambles, our economy is crumbling, Black people are being discriminated against on a regular basis, gay people are gaining some sense of normativity but us queers are still far out in the margins somewhere, declining morality is the nation’s greatest social problem. I say cool. Give me hedonism. And a handbasket.

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