10. February 2005 · Comments Off on Warm, Breathing & Avant-Garde · Categories: Ain't That America?, General

Since everyone else in the blogosphere has taken a couple of manly thwacks at the academic carcass of Ward Churchill, the dunce of the University of Colorado ethnic studies department, I didn’t think there was a need for moi to pile on… but what the hell. I’ve got the bile and the energy left over from ripping Eason Jordan, a far more suitable target. I can always make the time to mock a guy who looks like the late Susan Sontag in bad drag, anyway. Professor Churchill is just the lagniappe, the dessert truffle… and besides, they had a story about him on NPR Morning edition this morning. Someone over there must have learned how to do a google search, and skim Instapundit, so there may be hope for them still. The story left out all the amusing stuff— the faux-Indian pretensions, the Che-revolutionary posing, the crack-pot political theorizing and the extremely dubious scholarship— and simply dealt with it as a matter of academic freedom. In other words, the right of academia to traffic in unpopular ideas without having your ass canned with extreme prejudice and a couple of burly campus security officers.

Well, it certainly doesn’t get much more unpopular, idea-wise, than suggesting that people who worked in the Twin Towers were all functionaries of a Nazi state, that they were all “little Eichmans” and richly deserved to die by fire, fall or collapsing building. I am sure if he really worked at it, he could have thought up something much more richly insulting, more hurtful, more calculated to outrage the taxpayers of the state of Colorado who (for some bizarre reason!) provide him with an insanely generous paycheck… but.

Oh, yes, the big “But”…. NPR was right; academic freedom means putting up with stuff you don’t agree with. In fact, there ought to be more of it; a lot of people on college campuses everywhere ought to be hearing a lot more of stuff they don’t agree with, but that’s a rant for another occasion. Getting back to the good Professor, though— there is a better reason to keep him. Given the sort of poseur he appears to be, he would milk being fired for even more. Oh, yeah, make me a martyr to the altar of academic freedom, baby! Crushed under the wheels of the fascistic state for the crime of speaking truth to power! I can already hear the interview on NPR, with Juan Williams going all gooey and wobbly-voiced over how poor, poor Professor Churchill was savaged, savaged by the mob of reactionary right-wing death beasts. I have a low nausea threshold, and would prefer not to barf up my morning cup of tea with milk, one tsp sugar, and slice of wheat toast with honey, so I think they should keep him. After all, they hired him, on what looks like very thin qualifications; warm, breathing and theatrically avant-garde. Figuring out who exactly approved him for tenure, and why would provide another vein of rich amusement.

And that brings me to the main reason I think they should keep him; for the sheer amusement value. Professor Churchill has inestimable value as the bulls-eye for metaphoric target practice; chained to the academic stocks as it were, focus for scorn, derision, for deconstruction of his fraudulent scholarship, vilely insulting writings and speeches, his questionable status as a “native American”, extremely thin academic qualifications, bullying demeanor, and general fuckwittedness. There is just so much good materiel to work with; we could go on laughing at him for years, picking him up in the intervals between bigger and more transient matters for a little more thrashing, much like my cats derive hours of amusement and exercise from batting around palmetto bugs. I’d rather go back and thrash him every one in a while for practice, than have him all over the media being a martyr.
Besides, I have the feeling that being laughed at, long and heartily is a far, far more subtle and lingering torment. What say you all?

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