professor stephen tonsor

When I was an American Studies student at the University of Michigan, I took a European Intellectual History course taught by a fellow named Stephen Tonsor. He was equally loud and intimidating. I enjoyed his course tremendously, and, on one occasion, after he delivered an absolutely brilliant diatribe on Madonna being a “whore,” I encouraged my bandmate Pete to come and check him out. Well, a few days ago, over lunch, Pete and I were chatting about the good old days, when Tonsor’s name came up. We both assumed the old curmudgeon was long gone, but apparently he isn’t. Here’s a clip of an interview he recently conducted with a blog called GOP Nation:

BC: How much are our current political problems in America a result of our own population’s ignorance of history?

Dr. Stephen Tonsor: It’s hard to say how it came about exactly but the evidence is pretty damning. How anybody in the world could vote for Nancy Pelosi is beyond me. Were they not ignoramuses in terms of history they never would have. Oh, I have lived in California a good deal and I am quite familiar with the kind of people who elected her. There’s no question that people don’t know as much history as they did 40 years ago. I can tell you that our department of history at the University of Michigan, the one at which I taught, is completely dominated by Marxists and feminists. The most dominant male professor is a former member of the Communist Party. Supposedly, he is a professor of German history but that man knows as much about German history as I do about the history of Yorkshire. In fact, my knowledge of Yorkshire, of which there is precious little, is undoubtedly superior.

BC: Would you agree with me in saying that the culture war has been lost?

Dr. Stephen Tonsor: No I would not. I don’t agree with you at all. All kinds of people say the same thing to me that you did, but you’re all wrong. The culture war isn’t over. I’m a historian. I’ll wait those people out. You know, what you have to understand is that the universities have always been in a messy condition. The culture war is no more lost today than it was when Cardinal Newman was a student at Oxford before the whole English university system was transformed in the nineteenth century. The culture war is not lost. No, it’s only just beginning. Look, Queen Victoria took up power in 1837 and things were not in good shape back then in England but soon came the entirety of the nineteenth century with the Oxford Reforms, Victoria’s reign, and the return of Catholicism to England. Of course, you won’t be surprised that a German, Victoria’s husband, was directly involved…

I don’t know if he’d be up for it, but I’m planning to write and ask him if he’d be willing to contribute a monthly essay here at on some facet of popular culture. As I hear that Madonna has a new album out, I’m thinking that perhaps he might want to start with a review.

For more information on Stephen Tonsor, click here… I was hoping like hell someone had posted video of him lecturing on YouTube. The closest thing I could find, however, was this old recording of his lecture entitled, “The Abandonment of the Utopia and the Contemporary Intellectual Situation.” I hope all you Marxist, feminist Commies enjoy it.

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  1. The Exterminator
    Posted July 7, 2008 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Ask him about Yellow Fever!

  2. Posted July 7, 2008 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Geoff Eley Rules!

  3. Ol' E Cross
    Posted July 8, 2008 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Aristocracy, the rule of the best, the aristoi, is the key to the creation and sustenance of culture.

    Dangee. He isn’t shy. Would’ve made for an interesting class. And, could make for interesting posts.

    So, what grade did you get, pinkie?

  4. Paw
    Posted July 8, 2008 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    We should encourage him to run for Mayor of the Township! I bet he’d win in a landslide.

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