There is a new article in Slate written by Rebecca Schuman.
She discusses (the article is linked below) a famous college professor named Slavoj Zizek who is important in his field, loved by his students but considers those same students to be idiots. Zisek also hates office hours and gets upset whenever a student shares a personal story or wants to be friends.
Let’s be clear, I do not regard my students as idiots. I like my students and want them to succeed. Mr. Zizek’s opinion of his students is offensive to me.
However is this a business ethics problem?
On the surface, there would seem to be no problem at all. He is popular with his students and important in his field. We can safely conclude that he is teaching his classes successfully, so where’s the problem? I want to find a problem because I don’t like his attitude but he fulfills the requirements of his position and his students find him lovable. I would like to think I can probe beneath his success at his job and find some moral lack but by the rules of business ethics, I don’t see one.
I view teaching as a calling, more an art than a science. So when someone finds his students in a sense, unworthy, my personal values seemed to be attacked. I would rather every professor cared about their students as much as I do. I would rather that every professor would willingly do his office hours. And I would rather that professors feel honored that a student would confide in them.
I don’t know if you remember Wesley’s line from the movie, The Princess Bride, when he says to Montoya, “Learn to live with disappointment.” Apparently, I have to learn that too.
Slavoj Zizek calls students stupid and boring. Stop worshiping this man! (VIDEO.)
He is also a grade-A, number-one, world-class jerk, who brings to life the worst caricature of the humanities eminence: someone who loves subjecting other people to his talks, but who loathes contact with students—who, being “like other people,” are mostly “boring idiots.”