Looks like I’ve fallen out of favor with Georgetown’s radical right, the fractious sect of our extended community that finds great cheer in deriding all that is liberal and most that is modern.

The big problem with the left, they tell us in self-righteous tones, is that it is not the right. The big problem with the new, they tell us with patronizing smugness, is that it is not the old.

The claptrap that broke my back, so to speak, appeared in the most recent issue of The Georgetown Academy, which for those who have not read it, is much the same as any other issue: Pages littered with pseudo-intellectual essays punctuated with potshots at administrators and students alike.

And may I direct your attention to page 13, wherein sometime Academy contributor and rabble-rouser emeritus Manuel A. Miranda directs his rhetorical water pistol at my fair face and derides my wits, my composure, my intellect, my prose and a column I wrote over a year ago.

He writes that I stand in the shallows (a charge The Academy leveled against professors and “some, not all, Jesuits” in the publication’s latest editorial). On the contrary, I think he’s so far out to sea the Coast Guard abandoned the search.

I dispute as well his charge that the column in question was “prattle”-ridden and “sophomoric,” though if he found it to be so, that might be because I was only a few weeks past my sophomore year at the time.

But in his response, which has been in the pipeline since September 2000, I expected a bit more. Miranda has no excuse. His sophomore year began the day I was born.

For a man twice our age, Miranda certainly feels confident in his ability to ascertain and judge the nature of today’s college culture. He writes us off as the “T-shirted collegians of our day,” a statement wholly consistent with the elitism I took issue with over a year ago.

I wear T-shirts indeed, two or three a day, and generally a red sweatshirt and blue beach sandals, comfortable in the assumption that those around me have escaped from the manacles of the medieval notion that how we look has any bearing on how we think.

Only two other issues of contention shall be mentioned here:

That something lasts for 171 years (including a 20-year hiatus) does not make it worthy of praise. It makes it a fossil. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the odds aren’t bad that it is; for every fossil that winds up in a museum, a handful enter tourists’ eager hands via airport souvenir shops.

If listening is so valuable, why isn’t there a medal awarded to great listeners? To be eligible for the grand prize of Philodemic debate, you must open your trap.

You get the point, I think, and I have more to say. Chiefly, I am sick of The Academy.

Sick of long-winded pining for the Georgetown that was.

Sick of bogus appeals to “reason,” as if they hoard and bottle the stuff, giving it away two free copies at a time ($1 each for extras).

Sick of malicious, personal jabs at students and administrators, crossing the line between discussing ideas and attacking their sources. We’d expect more from a group that takes such remarkable glee in the italic typeface of ad hominem.

Sick of satire that isn’t funny and praise that isn’t sincere.

Sick of a writing style so dense and convoluted it causes shortness of breath and dizziness and is totally unsuitable (and likely not intended) for pregnant women.

Sick of reading the same arguments: embrace tradition in whatever form it takes, speak glowingly of Catholic identity while lamenting its decline, assail the Women’s Studies department, assail the Women’s Center, attack as intolerant the champions of tolerance, just agree with the predictable conservative agenda. And again and again and again, ad infinitum.

Stock footage.

You even see the same pseudo-intellectual vocabulary that’s been co-opted by the campus conservatives in every issue: “churlish . boorish . self-indulgent . self-absorbed . populist . prattle . pillory . shameless . sophomoric,” etc.

Sick of their patronizing attitude. Read the letter written by Academy advisor and Alumni Chair in Entertainment and New Media Law Richard A. Gordon in last Friday’s Hoya, “I am old and wise and you are, well, new and not so wise.” Apparently little has changed since Oct. 21, 1998, when he wrote nearly the same line in a letter to The Hoya, “I am old and wise and you are new and – well, less wise.” The main difference being that now he’s even wiser.

Sick of the predictably abnormal errors that appear in The Academy: introducing Vice President for Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez to the campus as Jose Gonzalez. Encouraging students to take classes taught by a deceased professor.

Sick of holier-than-thou pomposity and self-righteousness, so sick that I wouldn’t be surprised to see the staff show up in Red Square selling indulgences, Johann Tetzel-style.

They can dress their shabby arguments in three-piece suits, make them look as nice as Michael Graves trashcans, but they won’t fool us.

And they can continue to hurl their baseless condemnations. As long as they hold us up to their standards, we don’t want to conform. Their attacks are nothing more than backhanded compliments.

By All Accounts appears every Tuesday in The Hoya. The author can be reached at haggertythehoya.com.

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