Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Niceness: Not A Cardinal Virtue, Argues Mean College Professor


Megapolis, USA: Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, Justice...ring a bell?

They are the four classical cardinal virtues, named as such because they are essential to living the life of virtue. Niceness, declares Philosophy professor Erin McLaren of RBCU, is not on the list.

McLaren states, "This arose as an issue when my students began an argument in class that niceness should be a cardinal virtue. 'It's the social lubricant, it often denotes respect for the other, and it makes life pleasant.' I responded that while it is a sweetness in an otherwise well-functioning civil society, unfortunately, niceness doesn't make virtue a reality. And then the ugliness started."

Senior Dana Thomson, self-appointed class spokesperson, said "What Professor McLaren was arguing was really threatening, to be honest. Since we've been five years old, we've been told that the essence of being good was to be nice to others. Think about it: we chastize five year olds by saying 'That's not nice,' not 'That's not temperate.' Clearly it is essential to the virtuous life...or else every American's childhood has been malformed. So we went to the Dean to file a complaint."

"...Which wasn't particularly just, temperate, prudent, or nice, although I suppose it did require some fortitude," continued McLaren. "The Dean, Harry Rottersdam, initially backed me in the classroom but suggested that I needed to be more prudent in raising controversial issues. I responded, with some vehemence, that this suggestion wasn't just. He rejoined with 'well, that's not nice' and forwarded the issue to the President, Fr. Raymond Cartinale."

Fr. Cartinale's spokesperson, Bob Greenwood, said "Fr. Cartinale would like the time to make a prudent decision based on the facts of the accusation. As this is Professor McLaren's only official complaint on record, any consequences would be temperate. And he in fortitude refuses to be bullied into a rash decision by any party. He plans to announce his decision next Friday and appreciates everyone's patience in this matter of justice. Thank you for your patience."

This reporter asked students in the RBCU cafeteria to respond to the President's statement. Tiffany Gilcrest read the written statement to her peers, and ended saying "Oh, that's nice." Everyone nodded vigorously.

--I.C.

6 comments:

Ray from MN said...

Delightful!

Methinks a teacher briefed you on modern day education.

I often think the best part is the "real" names of your people. Do you use the telephone book, or are these people from your past who have irked or pleased your?

The Ironic Catholic said...

For the record, nothing like this has ever happened to me--well, concretely. I do think students think niceness covers a multitude of sins, esp. in the land of "Minnesota Nice"--yes?

The names are COMPLETELY fictional and out of my head. None of these names mean anything, although I thought Erin McLaren had a good beat to it. :)

Thanks for the compliment!

Tony said...

Fr. Cartinale's spokesperson, Bob Greenwood, said "Fr. Cartinale would like the time to make a prudent decision based on the facts of the accusation. As this is Professor McLaren's only official complaint on record, any consequences would be temperate. And he in fortitude refuses to be bullied into a rash decision by any party. He plans to announce his decision next Friday and appreciates everyone's patience in this matter of justice. Thank you for your patience."\

LOL!!!!

A teaching moment, and I bet these little pampered brats didn't get it :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. As my pastor preaches, we as Catholics are not called to be nice. We are called to be radical like Christ.
Karen

The Ironic Catholic said...

They aren't pampered brats, I 'd say. But way too "nice" for their own good sometimes.

Tony said...

Reminds me of a line from one of my favorite movies, "Roadhouse".

"...and be nice. Until it's time to be not nice..."