February 25, 2008

Review: Indoctrinate U

Note: I got a free reviewers copy of this new documentary. Details at the end of the post.

Indoctrinate U website.

Many documentaries are biased, and that's ok as long as you recognize it and take it into consideration as you watch. Also, many "documentaries" these days are factually challenged. Michael Moore's work comes to mind. The man knows how to make a compelling feature, it's just that his personal agenda gets in the way so much that he has serious problems telling the whole truth. He picks and chooses facts to present things in a way that supports his viewpoint. A lot of people do that, but he is an extreme practitioner, although not the only prominent one. Al Gore, nuff said.

Indoctrinate U is biased as well, to the "conservative" side. It's a look at American college campuses and how liberal politics and groupthink are enforced by academia and students seeking to suppress opinions that don't match their own. And the great success they've had doing so.

Like any documentary that begins with a specific point of view, most of the footage that ends up in the final product is going to be supportive of that perspective. There were some silly moments shown where the director/interviewer and camera crew wandered several campuses, talking to faculty and staff while looking for the "Men's Study Center". These campuses each had a "Women's Study Center" and the law requires equal treatment.

There were also quite a few scenes where the staffs and faculty would stonewall or tell obvious lies to try to get them to leave. Quite often, the police would be called to escort the camera crew off campus.

But it was also clear from the number of on camera interviews (from both sides of the argument) that those colleges were the exception rather than the rule. I didn't keep count, but I'd guess that probably twenty universities were represented by the various professors in the interviews.

Topics covered affirmative action, speech codes, ROTC and military recruiting on campus, feminism, LBGT issues, diversity and more.

Like I said, I recognize the bias here, but still, I'd heard of most of the events specifically mentioned in the film. I've heard of the "affirmative action bake sales", where minorities are charged lower prices for cupcakes than whites as an illustration of the problems with racial preferences. I knew of the students threatened with expulsion because they violated someone's "right to not be offended" simply by hanging up a flier advertising an event featuring a conservative black speaker. There was so much more.

The point of this all was that college campuses, in general, no longer tolerate diversity of thought. You must think a certain way and believe certain things (or at least keep quiet if you don't). Going against the groupthink doesn't mean you disagree, it means that there is something wrong with you. Grades can suffer, harrassment and even threats may occur, often while the university looks the other way.

I have some personal experience with this, in that I've got two daughters who have directly dealt with this in college classes. I believe that it's real, but I'm biased, and I recognize that too.

Bottom line: Recommended for everyone. If you agree, it'll affirm your beliefs. If you don't, well, it's a good thing to hear someone with an opposing viewpoint once in a while.

*** The Indoctrinate U website offers you the chance to download a couple of different versions of the film. I chose the DVD version, which I would then burn to my own DVD. That was the plan anyway. (There's also a mp4 version for those who prefer it.)

A couple of tries later, I did a little research and found DownThemAll, a download manager plugin for Firefox. It's free and worked like a champ. When the download was interupted or hung up, I simply clicked the pause button for about a minute and then clicked resume, and the download would continue on its merry way. The download file is a little over 4GB, so do yourself a favor and get a download manager first thing.

Once you've got the file downloaded to your hard drive, you can burn the DVD. I used the package that came with my PC, called Nero. Once again, worked like a champ.

Through it all, I exchanged several emails with the support folks at the Indoctrinate U website, and they were quick to respond and genuinely helpful.

Good job guys!

Posted by: Ted at 11:35 AM | category: Cult Flicks
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1 Having not seen it I agree that colleges are limiting the freedom of speech and independent thought, and more often then not embracing stereotypes. There have been several instances on my own campus where I was forced to change my actions or apologize for expressing my own point of view or for not being "normal". One such instance was during my first semester here, right about when the Flying Speghetti Monster first surfaced and I was forced to take down the fliers I had posted and apologize to a girl that was offended because she saw it as a direct attack on her religion - catholicism. Another time I was essentially forced to drop a class because the teacher was unwilling to help me and thought that I should have a basic knowledge of the bible and christianity. She was willing to spend time with with the exchange student and the islamic student in the class, but she would not see me regularly and put outrageous demands on me that the rest of the class didn't have to do. And all because I didn't fit the stereotype. Another girl I know was denied access into out program for minorities (which is actually an african club only) because she was not "black enough". College is supposed to be a place to think outside the box and to challenege every stereotype you've been presented with, but... it just doesn't work that way anymore.

Posted by: Rachael at February 25, 2008 12:53 PM (DkMAx)

2 Charles Sykes wrote his books ProfScam and The Hollow Men in the late 1980s. They covered the same ground. It certainly helped shape my collegiate experience nearly 20 years ago.

Posted by: Brian J. at February 26, 2008 10:37 AM (CkCC9)

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