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The Children of Eden

All of us, I imagine, are granted from time to time moments of uninvited insight that will, for years to come, provide a basis for reflection and a more penetrating glimpse of the forces that shape the realms in which we live and labor.  Such a moment was granted to me back in the early 1990’s, shortly after I left graduate school and embarked upon my first full-time position as a college professor.  I was lucky enough to find employment—albeit temporary—at a major Southern university, one of those SEC football titans whose pursuit of academic excellence was never allowed to handicap its recruitment efforts.  In short, this brief appointment seemed a safe haven.  Whatever the limitations of its intellectual life, I thought, surely I would be free in this sacred grove to plow my little acre of academic soil with little or no interference from prying overseers eager to upgrade my “pedagogy” with the latest politically correct inanity.

How naive I was not to have anticipated the call I received one day from the dean’s office requesting my prompt appearance about a matter of grave importance.  What in the world, I wondered, could possibly have drawn the attention of such an exalted personage to my lowly self, a mere peon, an underpaid assistant professor without a scintilla of hope of tenure?  To be fair, the dean in question was no ogre—not quite elderly, but silver-pated...

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