February 25, 2005

The Latest on Ward Churchill

Yesterday's revelations on Ward Churchill had the effect of reversing my position on what should be done WRT him. Malkin has the best summary of the '03 transcripts. That goes beyond mere speech, in my opinion, and crosses over into the realm wherein one is, indeed, yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater. Toss him out.

Via Mikal the bookseller comes the latest wrinkle: Churchill has also been in the habit of selling his own personal artwork, which draws on existing art about/by Native Americans to the point of plagiarism: it sparked this discussion on Little Green Footballs. Also, Malkin has a few of the side-by-side comparisons here, with links to the Freepers' coverage on this issue.

I can't believe this bozo was being supported with public money. I knew some elements in academia were beyond accountability, but the degree to which that is the case shocks me.

Posted by Attila at February 25, 2005 01:58 PM

But is he much worse than the others? Or just more indiscreet?

Posted by: jeff at February 25, 2005 02:22 PM

Ugh. If this is widespread, I just don't know what to say.

Other than, thank god for the hard sciences, where I know there's still some integrity.

But I suspect there are still plenty of hard-working, honest people in the humanities and social sciences. We shouldn't extrapolate too much from this one case.

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 25, 2005 02:31 PM

Well, Paglia's been saying for years the humanties depts are full of theorists who'll blackball anyone who doesn't agree with their (passe) French theories. But anything ethnic studies, women's studies, gay studies is probably a sewer of agitprop with very little breathing room for scholoarship

Posted by: jeff at February 26, 2005 03:01 PM

My problem when I was an English major is that I was never sure if/when there was a there there. One wasn't ever dealing with facts, but only with interpretation. Essentially, I felt like I was making up a new "take" on something that was made up in the first place (fiction).

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 26, 2005 06:38 PM

Churchill is just the tip of the iceberg. The guy is not exactly shy about his opinions, yet not only did the system put up with him, until a few weeks ago he was a department head. Academia has degenerated into a swamp that breeds algae like Churchill, and that chokes out any other kind of life, at least where liberal arts are concerned. Imagine what the career prospects would be for a young Assistant Professor who publishes anything positive about America when Ward Churchill is the department head.

Posted by: Van Helsing at February 27, 2005 07:11 AM

I personally believe that the problem of people marching in intellectual lockstep is more pervasive in academia than in Hollywood, because in Hollywood it's possible to have a successful career if people know you're a Republican. It isn't easy, and you have to REALLY make a name for yourself befor you come out of the closet. But it's possible. After all, when push comes to shove the studios want to make money.

But in the humanities and social sciences, a person's views on political issues can be considered a window into how good a "thinker" he/she is—and a good thinker is likely to be one who thinks like one's department advisor.

I remember hearing someone I know from the journalism world discuss The Atlantic vs. Harper's. "The writing is better in The Atlantic," he proclaimed. "But the thinking is better in Harper's."

"I'm a libertarian," I replied.

"So maybe you prefer The Atlantic."

"I think I do."

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 27, 2005 10:57 AM

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

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