The remarkable rise of the Tloxiproctyl to academic prominence began at UC Berkeley, where the creeping fascism of George Bush gnawed at the professoriate. Worse, no one was paying attention to them, always distressing to the narcissistically irrelevant.
They desperately wanted to jumpstart the faltering engines of progressivism. (The metaphor doesn’t quite make sense. Of course, neither did the progressivism.) To do this, they needed an irritating Cause.
This proved to be a problem. Every imaginable loony idea seemed to have been worked to exhaustion: buggery of Boy Scouts by homosexuals, outlawing English, compulsory issuance of condoms to the unborn. Anxiety followed. In rooms filled with pot smoke and defective grammar, they pondered mightily.
Then, not foreseeing the consequences, they chose to revitalize affirmative action, which is the proposition that jobs should be given to people who can’t do them.
It was an odd choice. Affirmative action was a hallowed principle of progressivism, but only one of several, and anyway it had been done.
There was also welfare, which held that money should be given to those who haven’t earned it. Others were multiculturalism, which is the view that societal comity is best achieved by dividing the country into groups that hate each other; and bilingualism, the belief that countries work best when people can’t talk to each other.
But the professors added a zinger: Incompetence was good; no one debated this. But-did it not then follow that greater incompetence was better? Brilliant!
Conservatives, ever churlish, said progressives really just wanted to annoy society, which they had confused for their parents. This was grossly unfair, though accurate.
Under pressure from the faculty, Berkeley lowered its affirmative-action standards. Theretofore, the school had accepted blacks, and others regarded by universities as inferior, with SATs 200 points below the white average. It was an easy policy, because it was all they could find.
Now, so as to promote social justice, they were going to reject blacks with a 200 point deficit as being excessively qualified, and therefore inauthentic. Henceforth, only applicants with a 300-point deficit would be accepted.
The benefits for social justice were obvious. Minorities who had no business at Berkeley by 200 points, and therefore almost always flunked out, were replaced by those with a disqualification of 300 points, who failed without exception.
The ACLU was baffled. Its members knew they were against white Christian civilization. This, however, was a dispute between minorities. Who to support? After much soul-searching, they went with the principle that worse is better. But it was a close thing.
The more astonishing effect occurred back east when Cornell, striving for progressive leadership, began recruiting students 400 points below par.
Competitive incapacity had arrived. Soon schools were fighting each other to recruit the cerebrally understated.
A problem arose. The SATs did not go below 400, an arrangement intended to protect the self-esteem of furniture, cocker spaniels, and education majors. But now the universities needed ever lower levels of intelligence. The scale was dropped to allow lower scores and therefore greater ethnic authenticity.
It worked, at first anyway. Cornell reigned briefly as the Killer Kowalski of affirmative action. Its students displayed record levels of inability. The advance was not without problems. Many of the new students had trouble remembering where they lived. There was talk of equipping them with electronic homing devices.
Various luminosities of progressivism weighed in on the side of the new policy. Ted Kennedy, his voice trembling with emotion or, as some suggested, delirium tremens, introduced a bill requiring the federal government to give preference in hiring to the intellectually minimal. Republicans said he was cynically taking credit for a policy of long standing.
Everywhere advanced thinkers joined the vanguard. An ABC camera crew interviewed Hillary Clinton in the Bahamas, where she was sunning herself on a flat rock to keep her body temperature up.
“Cookies,” she said, eyeing the cameras. “Children.”
Pressed to elaborate, she said, “The hopelessly unintelligent are just as smart as the rest of us and just as valuable in the eyes of God, if there were one. Though of course there may be. We must work together to develop the wonderful abilities these people don’t have. Cookies. Vast right-wing?.”
One of the cameramen, an unreconstructed Southerner, muttered something about “crocodilian Betty Crockers,” and vowed to write a book called “It Takes A Village To Raise An Idiot.”
The race for academic nullity continued apace. Stanford ransacked the coma wards in the Bay Area, harvesting a rich crop for social justice. In Chicago it was rumored that the dead were applying.
Unfortunately there seemed to be a limit to witlessness. Soon the better schools had exhausted the neural tundra. The bus stations and prisons were picked clean. Desperation set in. Yale was caught registering a caribou, but said it was an honest mistake.
Things were getting a bit flaky, as even progressives privately admitted. At Harvard, Dr. Chuleta Marimacha-Mapache, who taught Central American Lesbianism, wrote a book called, “Patriarchy and the Oppression of Inanimate Objects.” She argued compellingly that things had the same right to education people had. Some of the affirmative-action students seemed to be evidence of this. Bumper stickers appeared proclaiming, “Desks Are Students Too.”
The culmination of the new progressive movement came, unexpectedly, from Wellesley. The anthropology department remembered an obscure tribe of naked savages, the Tloxiproctyl, who lived in the Amazon rain forest. Of uncertain genetic provenance, they drank rainwater, ate squalid grubs they found in rotting logs, and hadn’t invented shoes. They spoke a language consisting of three words, none of which meant anything.
The Tloxyproctyl, Wellesley realized, were perfect for affirmative action. Mentally speaking, they barely existed. Because of inbreeding, they were actually evolving backward, and lived in danger of extinction because the grubs were too complicated for them.
Wunxputl, a thirty-seven year old Tloxiproctyl, was regarded as retarded (or, as Wellesley put it, differently brained) even by his fellow primitives. It wasn’t just that the grubs outsmarted him. He couldn’t remember how to eat them. He sat wherever he was put, said, “Ooogh,” and slowly lost weight.
Wellesley later refused official comment on just how the Tloxiproctyl got to the campus. Rumor had it that the tribesmen, seeing an air mattress, decided that it was the Mother of All Grubs, and thereafter worshiped the anthropology department. At any rate, they were soon enrolled in the School of Heartwarming Non-Western Cultures, each with an air mattress. The anthropologists, smug at having trumped Cornell, began grooming Wunxputl as department head. They figured he would get tenure in five years and last a long time, if fed.