Griffin Epstein teaches at George Brown College in Toronto. In 2009, she wrote her master’s thesis on “mad Jewish identity,” which began:
“Can we be accountable to privilege? Can we find a space for coherent anti-racist secular Ashkenazi Jewish identity in North America, where Jews have been deeply implicated in structural violence? Can we be agents of both complicity and change?”
This 200-page “autoethnographic” treatise is crazy on steroids. That someone could obtain a graduate degree on the basis of such work is damning testimony to the abysmal standards of contemporary academia.
Professor Epstein attracted public attention after she published a letter in the Toronto Star, criticizing the newspaper’s coverage of a controversy at Wilfrid Laurier University:
“Instead of taking a stand against hate speech, you have given dangerous credence to the views of (University of Toronto Prof.) Jordan Peterson and his supporters, flying in the face of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
This controversy involves people demanding to be called by gender-neutral pronouns. Lindsey Shepherd, a teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University, showed her students a video of a debate between University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan B. Peterson and Nicholas Matte, a professor in the Waterloo University women’s studies department. Peterson has become “controversial” for refusing to address students by such pronouns as “they/them” or “ze/zir.” Shepherd said she was told “that you can’t debate something like this because it causes an unsafe or toxic learning environment. I ended up being called transphobic and someone who causes harm and violence.” If you don’t do whatever transgender activists demand, you’re Hitler, basically.
When Professor Epstein weighed in on the controversy — condemning Peterson, Shepherd and the Toronto Star as proponents of “hate speech” — Badger Pundit posted a Twitter thread with excerpts from Professor Epstein’s master’s thesis, full of startling revelations. Professor Epstein is mentally ill — diagnosed with anorexia, major depression, generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD — and her “autoethnography” reveals that mental illness runs in her family. (Her uncle Larry was treated by Bruno Bettelheim.) Her master’s thesis includes statements like these:
“As a queer person who has been psychiatrized . . . the marginality that I have experienced has always been experienced in this landscape of privilege. . . .My version of secular North American Ashkenazi Jewishness was stripped to its barest component part: memory. . . . When I renounced Judaism at fourteen, weeks after my rush-job Bat Mitzvah, my mother’s devastation did not arise from my refusal of God, but a refusal to raise my hypothetical kids with the ghostly memory.”
Question: Should mentally ill people be teaching at universities?
Readers will recall that the notorious Deb Frisch was once a tenure-track psychology professor at the University of Oregon. Isn’t it important to keep such lunatics away from impressionable young people? Do we really want nutjobs and wackos teaching our youth? University faculties are beginning to resemble a casting call for a remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.