Gertrude had spent her adulthood thinking. Since early teens she had been interested in philosophy, and several doctorates later she found a job teaching at a university. She worked her way up the ladder and it didn’t take long before she was queen of the roost.
But did she rule with an iron fist! Many thoughts and philosophical insights were banned from her department. Some things are plain wrong, she said, and will not be tolerated. Socrates to start with; his name is not to be mentioned. And indeed such sinful thoughts were not tolerated. Several lecturers lost their jobs. A number of bright students failed. We’re not here to mollycoddle notions of wrongness, she said. Those who don’t agree cannot be defined as philosophers. Philosophy exists to move the world forward in a very specific way.
The university, at her behest, banned Romeo and Juliet for sexism, Othello and The Merchant of Venice for racism, all opera sung by systemically racist Whites – except of course for Verdi’s Otello and Puccini’s Madame Butterfly if the lead parts were sung by Blacks and Asians. The university’s History Department made an attempt to win her favour. Would she lecture in History? She knew how to create facts more amenable to contemporary thought. Likewise, the School of Medicine wanted her to devise a curriculum that stuck to a Science that advanced social justice.
Anyway, one day, while walking from the staff cafeteria to the staff recreation room, she dropped dead. As Mrs. Smith of 24 Shirley Crescent in the suburbs observed: Is there a God or is there a God?