By Alberto Zambrano
Not everyone has the suitability to handle a Public Relations crisis. Today, we examine how woke culture in the campus of Venezuela’s most prestigious academic institution is rife with digital revolutionaries hellbent on running Kompromat schemes against those they deem worthy of the Social Network reputation guillotine.
The stage for our decadent show is none other than the Central Library building. The structure is a concrete behemoth that has a lower building and an iconic red tower. Right at the entry hall, past the extraordinary beauty of the Fernand Léger’s giant stained glass that decorates the interior of the lobby of the Central Library, a newly graduated female doctor takes snapshots of her academic achievement. In a rebellious act, she decides to snapshot her happy face trampling a copy of Guyton’s Textbook of Physiology that the Library keeps. Time passes by, and some digital advocacy group picks up the transgressive snapshot off of her Instagram & the shaming campaign begins.
Red shapes –like tongues of fire– vibrate with resonation in a blue –notoriously vertical– background, with other sinuous, floating shapes as clouds. They make a composition of impressive attractiveness: Red, yellow, blue, green & black, framed by the texture of the supporting lead & concrete. The abstract concept & the stylish design makes of the mentioned stained glass a true masterpiece. Graduation day for medical students at the Faculty of Medicine is a centennial tradition that includes a medal imposition & receiving the diploma at the Great Hall of the University, under Alexander Calder’s acoustic clouds. Venezuela’s Universidad Central –La UCV (Universidad Central de Venezuela)– is the country’s most reputed academic institution, now it’s shambles thanks to decades of mismanagement. Many graduates have the tradition of taking snapshots in their luxury dresses & suits. It’s a time for celebration because years of hard work translate into academic achievement. While most graduates are conservative with their parties, others try to be edgy. And that sort erratic nervous behaviour is what got this doctor into trouble. What she did –for privacy reasons, we omit her name, also in no way, shape or form do we condone her actions– by trampling a copy of Guyton’s Physiology raises questions on the moral valency of the arguments wielded by her detractors.
The edgy inside joke –trampling a Guyton means the student approved the utterly challenging Physiology course at the José María Vargas School of Medicine, hence the trample– had the sole purpose of bringing about a smile in the face of those whose hard work earned them a prized medical degree. Physiology at “La Vargas” can be a problematic subject –often described by its students as a traumatic rite of passage for disadvantaged youngsters that are behind of the curve and still have the competences to survive the complex world of medical training–. Physiology is a subject that’s essential for any doctor to know to comprehend how does the human body work.
Medical education in Venezuela has a unique character to it, teachers have a no-nonsense approach; the abundance of modular testing creates giant biases in which female students always do better than their male counterparts. Gender issues aside, the student body of Venezuela’s most reputed university is known for their activism of all sorts, pick an activity at UCV –from Yoga to improvised explosive device fabrication– and there’s a club that will share common interests with the interested party. Our transgressive anti-heroine is a newly graduated medical doctor, does her fair share of activism. Her digital assailants are also activists.
Viva La U is a student lobby affairs formation from which many waves of student leaders have emerged. It’s a political party franchise & platform –with verified social networks accounts– that conducts political work for left of centre causes in the micro-cosmos of Venezuelan College politics. Incendiary tweets, a sort of démodé lazy journalistic style –characterized by complaining & Generation Z Social Justice Warrior culture– is how we can best describe Viva La U’s writing style.
Our doctor took the snapshot of her trampling of the Physiology Textbook home, posted it, and sometime later, her mobile phone starts to vibrate, sound, ping & make all sorts of noises. –Some WhatsApp group, an “IG” photo of a friend in some exotic place, a contest raffle for comments, or perhaps some auntie spamming throwback Thursday photos.
Never did the doctor in our story think about putting together a rationale that would lead her into thinking that her utter lack of common sense, expressed in depicting herself destroying the patrimony of a University in ruins could rouse the digital Robespierre spirit of the egalitarianism bonafide. The Viva La U clique would grab her photo, edit her, & “call her out” in their verified profiles, giving out anti-hero her Warholian fifteen minutes of fame.
Her friends start texting her because she’s holed up somewhere because of work, she can’t take out her device and read about how the Campus clique decided to call her out for her misdemeanour.
Hospital work for newly graduated doctors in Venezuela means endless hours of emergency room consults in places where it’s not safe, or healthy, or even sanitary to take out your phone. We will never know where the piece of news caught our anti-hero. Still, we can safely assume that her pupils dilated when she saw the post. The immediate sensation of feeling exposed to the public starts to kick in –Dopamine is the drug of choice here–, shivers travel her spine, she gulps, she curses, she can’t do anything about it.
It’s not her post, and the comments, replies & likes pile up in her Notification Center –designed by Apple in California–. In Venezuela, cancel culture, shaming & invasion of privacy are painful events. This doctor couldn’t handle the pressure, the immediate measures she took –that of restricting access to her social network profiles– are futile, she’s already exposed, now she has to navigate the storm & let the next victim of Viva La U’s antics appear in their timeline.
How can a Social Network profile of a political student lobby target an edgy post from a heavily criticized medical student? Why target her –of all people–? Why now? Her graduation isn’t recent. Ulterior motives from her peers, a relationship status & some comments seem to cloud chats all over. That kind of gossip is not what we’re here for, we take the time to write this article to express & wonder how did the political sphere of Venezuela’s top academic institution become so full of nihilistic, low, self-obsessed, pathetic, young folk?
A look at the psychologic profile of these SJW kids gives us the information we need. Cancel culture works in a way that those who do the cancelling need recognition for their deed to be considered worthy. The concerns for issues like the quality & scarcity of updated textbooks are legitimate if Venezuela were a reasonable place. What we find instead of Venezuela is a country where the foundational levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are not even met. Still, the decadent twist of this story lies on the fact that the assailants are a clique of disorganized SJW’s, who always scour social networks profiles for the next incautious victim.
It’s also true that our anti-heroine had a shady background regarding the academic authorities granting her a dark fifth-year subject approval. Our anti-heroine used a nasty precedent that a student of dubious credentials –with a knack for Insurance Chicaneries– employed to trick the university into avoiding his expulsion from the Medical School system for a record sixteen years.
Our anti-heroine used the administrative fabrication to have the Medical School allow her to study with her friends –because falling behind in “La Vargas” is the social distancing of the worst kind– the same subjects that need prior approval of Basic Sciences –the courses she didn’t approve– & thus had no right to take in the first place.
The medical students of the José María Vargas School know about this trick because it became a traditional way –of the worst kind– to trick the system. It grants the students the uncanny ability to take subjects they don’t have the credits to do so, all under the complacent eye of the authorities.
The modernity attribute of the post-Ancien Régime Parisian life & the revolution is the key figures of history available to us to comprehend & understand that artistic evolution is a political uprising. The mentioned uprising is not just an instrument of those against the bourgeois society but against the community that got influenced by a hierarchy that stems from European aristocracy, against any idealistic notion that propagates the ideas of intrinsic beauty or artistic quality.
Art must dominate and order experience concerning a creative gesture so that it does not have to rely on passively –or excessively effeminate– sensory impressions. The art observer must be aware of the notion of art as a form of hierarchical coordination. If we understand art as a masculine, hieratic, religious and occasionally spiritual form –the spiritual dimension of life in art cannot be ignored–, art must have aesthetics in the sense that it is the recognition of the purity of mankind’s creative processes.
Jean Arp was born in Strasbourg in 1887, his work is of capital importance in the History of Modern Art. It was revolutionary, polemic, gifted with a creative spirit. A collaborator to the Dadaist & Surrealist movements, he became part of the precursor artists that paved the way for individual hierarchies of a fertile imagination. We see the drive of Jean Arp’s personality in his work: Art, poetry & humour full of happy ironies that place him amongst the greatest sculptors of the Twentieth Century. The “Cloud Shepherd” was born out of a personal concept Arp had for the cosmic & the germinative. There’s a notion to the Man-Universe that underpins the naturalistic sculptures of this French artist. Said notion materializes in a symbolic image if we translate it’s far away from language & meaning in the oneiric edges where realities meet dreams. The viewer can look at the Cloud Shepherd from any point of view and notice the towering, massive figure that stands above the pavement of The Covered Square. This robust vertical figure draws a virtual oval shape, resuming in a symbiotic manner the evocations of pregnancy & fecundation as they take form in the poetic purity of art. The quality achieved in this massive brass reverts visual sensation in a physical attraction that entices the viewer to softly follow the sinuosity of the suggestive roundness to grasp the emotional heat that they transmit.
Just behind the Cloud Shepherd, Mateo Manaure’s mural exhibits an abstract composition of the likes of Wassily Kandinsky. This work by Manaure is notable because of the originality of the design & its chromatic strength. A long mural, with extreme colour intensity to the right with red, black & violet contrasts of shapes above white & grey backgrounds. To the left of the wall, the total harmony of the tones with violet, blue, black & grey at the background.
If we analyze the bandwagon effect, in which everybody gets behind the idea of sending the antics of our anti-heroine –or any other victim to public shaming, for that matter– we stumble upon the fact that sometimes, even those who hold a grudge against the victim, should refrain from kicking a colleague when they’re down. So, regardless of the content of that person’s character, we encourage the reader to live with empathy. For what they’re about to read says a lot more about our anti-heroine’s colleagues than of the content of her reckless handling of social networks.
Our anti-heroine wasn’t a great student –she did the trick of fooling the authorities into letting her take subjects she had no right to take under the Law, & the woman is off the hook for using a precedent–, nor she was held in high esteem by her peers. Her colleagues jumped into the discussion & comment about how they disapprove of her actions. Woke Culture again. The paradox lies on the fact that those bold enough to comment on her actions never had the need to go to the Central Library to use a Guyton & Hall textbook to study physiology in the first place. Our anti-heroine’s critics have the original version of the book downloaded & synced into iCloud. One of the doctors involved –a prestigious teacher’s assistant in the fields of molecular medicine– in the extensive repertoire of disparaging comments even told the author at some time when she was under his wing as a Public Health teacher that “books are a thing of the past”.
When the author received audio documentation of our anti-heroine crying desperately in pain, complaining about how “toxic” her peers got for shaming her. The attention of the author went from a shrug to some consternation regarding the fact that Viva La U is hellbent on attacking personal individualism only to have it subjugated to the sycophant chant of liberal political correctness.
Years ago, when some degenerate decided to climb on top of Jean Arp’s Cloud Shepherd to brag about how edgy he was in an IG post, the author worked as a professor at Universidad Central & condemned this behaviour against the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site. Posing the question to his readers that regardless of yearning for a fresh new means of expressing one’s thoughts about personal affirmations with past dispensations or orders, climbing on top of a masterpiece of “Modern Art” –or Entartete Kunst, for that matter– is nothing but an act of mere vandalism. What would our anti-heroine experience in feedback for her antics, if she trampled on a copy of the Bible or a Quran? Consider how hellbent is your average college student –the kind that composes student lobby groups– in destroying faith as a personal expression would have received? Our anti-heroine would have been revered & praised. But since she decided to trample the prestigious flagship Textbook of Physiology, she gets the digital boot.
Luckily for our anti-heroine, fame –or infamy– are ephimerous in an atmosphere where the latest trend is shaped by the fraction of a second, let that be a hard lesson to learn, all wounds heal, and the Venezuelan folk have a marked proclivity for forgiving & forgetting. That’s the personal side of this story, the other side, the side of the assailants remains at large, at prey, watching & waiting for the next “woke” trend or aisle gossip to exploit.
As Andrew Breitbart used to say: Politics is downstream from culture & for culture, what better place to find it than at a University? Guess again. Venezuelan academia is no short of intellectuals, teachers & activists that think that the idea that a person’s beliefs, values & practices should be best understood based on that person’s own culture, rather than be judged agasint the criteria of another. The Viva La U clique is no different in regards to cultural relativism than chavismo when it comes to the moral valency of their arguments & the tribe-like primitive savage mentality of their advocates. These perennial students –they’ll never graduate because the political system has many posts available for them–like to portray themselves as the bulwarks of academic excellency while virtue signaling out some random act of student decadence, that would have gone otherwise ignored & not turned into a debate on social networks about how the ghetto ethic is a state of mind. These are the same people that ignore the sheer fact that they epitomize social media lunacy & the academic decadence they despise from chavismo –UCV’s top export–
Evil does exist, there are evil folk out there, roaming the aisles of that pretty & decadent University, some places at UCV are more dangerous than others, because some cultures & believe systems –the kind that make the living soul of the Student Body & Faculty– are worse than others.
Some comments in the social media post read “she had to be from the Vargas School of Medicine”, a tasteless, unfortunate, disgraceful remark to the fact that even the most dandy of medical students from the Luis Razetti School has ever had the posh & glam avant-garde –the Lentejuelas– look that your average Varguista medical school student. Looks can be deceiving. Our negative perception of some attitudes isn’t just a product of what your average SJW would call “ignorance & bigotry”, it’s a just appraisal of what happens in the lives of the inhabitants of a micro cosmos that reflects the stark realities of modern-day Venezuela. The projection of the self-delusion of these Generation Z leftie sycophants that the world can be a utopia if we all collectively believe it. The world is wired in a different way, & no matter how many people Viva La U shames nor what “progre” cause they push with their endless stream of hashtags, none of those futile, polymorphous rebellions is ever going to change.