Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Radical Provides a Reasoned Response to Past Events

Dear Fans of the Radical and Others:

Normally I do not respond to comments with posts, but in this case I would like to. First of all, thanks for all the supportive comments on the last post, and thanks to Ralph Luker for visiting.

Ralph said in the comments to the previous post that I bait KC Johnson, and although I appreciate the spirited defense of my writings by others, I have to agree with Ralph -- in a sense I do bait KC, although I wouldn't have put it that way. The easiest way not to draw KC's attention or his scorn is not to write about him, or respond to his attacks, and to let him continue about his business undisturbed. A lot of people do that, and I can't say I blame them. That said, for many of the reasons cited here, and in my post, I find his attacks on others deeply disturbing and wrong, and I often feel a moral obligation to stand up for people because of the manner in which he attacks them. Ralph and KC are, I believe, friends, and Ralph has every right and moral obligation to stand up for a friend -- we don't know whether Ralph also makes some attempt to intervene informally as well, and we should probably reserve judgement on that score. Some conversations are -- and should be -- private. So please be polite to Ralph when you respond to him here and give him the benefit of the doubt.

That said, here are my friends: Duke faculty members Wahneema Lubiano, Sarah Deutsch, Robyn Wiegman, Claudia Koonz, Irene Silverblatt, Maureen Quilligan and Bill Chafe. Call me pink right down to my panties, but they are. I would add to that list members of the Iowa history department: Linda Kerber, Kevin Mumford and Leslie Schwalm. And I stand up for my friends. My guess is that most of us agree that when someone who is a friend does something wrong, you might be obliged to say so in a constructive way, and even oppose them in a public forum if need be, but you don't stand by and watch that person get machine-gunned on the internet for everything they stand for intellectually and politically.

In the case of the Duke faculty, queers and faculty of color have been subjected to disgusting attacks, and if the mail I have gotten is similar to what they have gone through, they have been threatened with personal violence; KC's posts on the Iowa department seemed to me to be a precursor to the same thing. That is why I posted on it.

KC may have been correct that Duke did not handle the lacrosse case well (although the mind-numbing wealth of details are the kind of thing you put aside a year's worth of reading in your field to absorb, and I can't say for sure) but this was not a symptom of the university's liberalism as an institution -- quite the reverse, in fact. It is the flip side of a university governance process, almost ubiquitously shared among institutions of higher education, that more or less declares the campus a "rights-free" zone. This elimination of civil rights in university processes is neither a liberal nor a conservative issue: it is a question of whether the private sphere -- whether that be Walmart or Harvard -- can make its own rules to protect its own interests as an institution. The law says they can, and they do.

Now, I want to be very clear here to say that I know those men accused of rape were acquitted. I am crystalline on that, and I have said it before. I am also clear that the prosecution of the case was fouled, as criminal cases involving poor people of color are also fouled in a prosecutor's attempt to add big wins to his or her record. But what I am also clear about was that these men got caught in a perfect storm: a prosecutor who needed a big case before the election and a university that was unable to cover up the ugliness of what happened in the way they are used to covering things up.

This latter point, in his zeal to whip up a culture war against elite universities with himself as the general, is something KC has not concerned himself with. Although gathering evidence is his forte, context is not. And the contextual frame that makes the Duke case incredibly complex is this: quick as the administration was to throw the lacrosse team members under the bus, this incident occurred in a historical and cultural context in which drunkenness, theft, queer-baiting, racially discriminatory speech acts and violent, damaging behavior has become a huge problem at Duke and other places (I do not exempt Zenith from this.) University administrations, as a group, continue to draw a curtain over these problems rather than address them in substantive ways. Were they to address sexual violence and substance abuse, for example, as the criminal behavior it often is, they would -- by federal law -- have to report significantly higher crime statistics to prospective students and their parents than they do, and risk losing federal funding. Instead, students who do awful things are brought up before university discipline boards, punished internally, and victims of violence are often persuaded to give up their right to pursue judicial redress in exchange for getting some "justice" from the university. At Zenith, an administrator told me, they budget $500,0000 a year for student theft and property damage -- which, the last time I looked, was 5/6 of the financial aid budget.

What this means at Duke -- as it has at Zenith -- is that in any potentially felonious confrontation, the perpetrator is just as likely to be privileged as the person who has been harmed, because the interest of the university is that the crime not see the light of day at all. This is what the so-called 88 at Duke were responding to. And if, in the instance of the lacrosse case, the response was inappropriate to the actual circumstances, if students were unfairly stigmatized in classrooms, that should have been the object of civilized critique as well.

What should not have happened is a carnival of racism, hate mail, queer-baiting, and open season on academic fields -- and scholars --that have gained an important place in the academy, not at the expense of others, but because they are smart critical thinkers. KC's field of foreign policy has not been made irrelevant by feminists, queer theorists and critical race thinkers -- it is immeasurably better for the work on gender, race and culture that has been brought to it in the last two decades. And yet, these fields have exactly been the point of the critique, in intensely personal ways. When I made my first appearance in DIW, commenters had one long discussion about whether I was black or not because I wrote about race -- "nappy headed 'ho" was the phrase used -- ultimately deciding that I wasn't, because I "write too well." I have been mocked for being a lesbian, and for being a woman. I have been mocked for the courses I teach. I have received hate email and snail mail; and university administrators, trustees, and colleagues have received these hateful messages about me. I don't think that this blog, Tenured Radical, supports or harbors the same level of venom that Durham in Wonderland did.

So while I agree with Ralph that blogging tends to support a general social tendency toward "clustering" among those with like opinions (much as newspaper reading, and TV watching does as well), I don't think that the commenters here are the same as the DIW crowd.

That said, Ralph's Cliopatra blog is one effort to try to wrestle with that, KC or no KC, so don't insult him please. I consider him a colleague, and I am glad that he showed up here.

TR

*********************************

It has been pointed out to me in the comments and by email that the accused Duke college students were not acquitted, the charges were dropped: I misspoke here, since that is in fact what I meant. Since I am not a criminal attorney, a defendant, or passionate about the legal and forensic issues at work in the Duke case, the distinction is less important to me than perhaps it should be. It has also been pointed out to me that I, and others who have been targeted by KC, have never been willing to say/admit that the accuser was not raped. I can't speak for other people, but why it would make an iota of difference if I did say such a thing -- since I never claimed that I knew a rape had occurred in the first place; since I have no authority over this case or any of its victims; and since either an acquittal or the dropping of charges through the fair use of scientific evidence should indicate to any casual observer (including me, who has not exactly been asleep for the past eight months) that the felony in question was doubtless not committed by those accused of it -- I do not know. But if it makes anyone feel better, by all means.....and btw, there are some long, thoughtful comments on this post that are worth taking the time to read.

********************

Wednesday morning postscript: Once again, except for one comment that will give readers a taste of the others, spiteful and/or vicious comments have been removed, especially those comments that continue to misread the original April post. Talk about potbangers.....

57 comments:

Pink 2 said...

Great post. I have a friend in the history department at Iowa and she is an honorable person who doesn't deserve any sliming at the hands of KC Johnson. And sliming is what I think he does.

I'm just hope this excellent post doesn't get you attacked by members of the sunshine band...

Susan said...

Thanks for this, TR. There is, I think, a difference between "baiting" and "challenging". When someone writes something that you think is misguided, wrong, or even dangerous, it seems to me that we have a responsibility to address those things.

No one who has spent any time in a university (or even a department) will deny that stupid decisions are made from time to time. So, in the context department, the question is whether stupid decisions all have a liberal bias. And, from my perspective as a feminist scholar, I don't think they do.

By the way, surely Zenith spends more than $600,000 a year in financial aid (if $500,000 is 5/6 of the financial aid budget)?

Historiann said...

"Although gathering evidence is his forte, context is not." Very well said. How is it "baiting" to question on one's own blog KC's bizarre insintuations about the motives of a search committee who made the wrong pick, in his entirely uninformed opinion? Why is Cliopatra the only legitimate forum in which to raise these issues? I don't get why Ralph Luker seems to think his blog owns this issue. Apparently, KC is permitted to make wild accusations about people's motives on a number of different blogs, but TR is not allowed on her own blog to offer an opinion about KC's behavior and opinions. What a strange double-standard.

andrea said...

Duke professors signed what was, in its most obvious form, an anti-racism ad. Those who read it into their own right wing agenda of hate and attack did so because that's the product they most recognize--and that's the kind of attack that characterizes them. It's no surprise those signatories were so maliciously attacked. But it is an extraordinarily disappointing statement about the profession that KC would fail to condemn and delete posts to his own blog that spoke to this hatred. That's why it's hard to separate him from those who wrote the emails in the blog you linked to "The Truth about KC Johnson." That email record is incredible. I can only imagine then the email you must be getting in response to TR blogspot. But it's also apparent that you claim some authority and control and delete the ugly and malicious attacks. Why did KC feel it was more appropriate not to delete these? I can only think he opened his forum for this racist, sexist hatred, to cultivate it. No surprise that another school is now his focus. This is toxic. KC is sullied here, and he need not have been. His mission to address the legal case and its weaknesses was a service. His descent into the muck suggests his motive was not as humanistic as we might have wanted it to be. The academy is better than it was with the diversity of bodies and voices that now constitute our universities. But for some, like KC, this diversity seems a threat and the evidence of this is the extended character attacks on colleagues he never met. I wish he had the generosity of your perspective of colleagueship.

Pug said...

TR,

I've been following this feud both here and on DIW and I find it interesting how the debate always turns back to inter-disciplinary and area studies and their role in the academe. I thought I'd share my thoughts about this issue on your blog, as your readers seem closer to academia.

I think at the root of all of this is the critical distance between the self-identity of scholars and their feelings toward the undergraduates they teach. While I find the development of various minority and subaltern studies programs to be valuable to the purpose of the academy, one of the outcomes has been the number of scholars that are essentially alienated from their own environment and labor.

Increased consciousness of racial, ethnic, and gender inequalities leads to inevitable confrontation with one's own profession. Post-colonialists, feminists, and critical race theorists at prestigious research universities often face the paradox of teaching a student body that they see as priveleged in one way or another to the detriment of peripheral social group. The result is that some, but by no means all or even most, scholars associated with said critical appraoches end up identifying themselves negatively against the undergraduate student body, who become mediated as intellectually uncomplicated, racist (or at least racially insensative), heteronormative, white, wealthy, philistine suburbanites. In other words, its not necessarily right-wing propaganda to say that SOME academics DO have contempt for their undegraduate students. I saw this during my time as a grad student at Unnamed Big Ten University, and have observed this trend becoming more and more prevalent among the grad students that will make up the next generation of the professoriat.

While the right-wingers' attack upon the humanities and social sciences is crude and the personal attacks against faculty members vulgar, their is, buried underneath the polemics, a very real concern and point of critique - this being that the response to the scandal by some faculty members may have revealed much more about the means through which these scholars, who see themselves as peripheral, relate to students in the university community (who, as previously mentioned, become understood as representations of the dominant culture) as well as the paradigm/narrative that the scholar imposes upon the world more than anything that happened that night.

This is not to trivialize the very real problems of racism, homophobia, or sexual violence that you mentioned; my point is that the academics that commented on the case may not have been merely contextualizing the event in relation to the campus environment at Duke, but possibly in accordance with their own personal narrative and identity in which they had emotionally invested.

I understand this is a heavy charge, but everyone here hopefully recognizes that intellectuals are not emotionally detached robots "objectively" analyzing social situations and circumstances, but human beings with their own means of negotiating the world.

Don in New Orleans said...

TR,
An important factual correction needs to be made. The men were not "acquitted" as you state. Rather, the state attorney general, after an independent investigation, determined that they were "innocent" and that they should never have been charged with any crime.

reharmonizer said...

In the middle of my own critique of the lacrosse scandal and Johnson's role in it, I appreciate not only TR's clear description of the context of Duke's "perfect storm" but also her frank acknowledgment of the human element--friendship, loyalty, and identification--in the reactions to such controversies. One of the worst aspects of Johnson's scorched-earth criticism of Duke is his lack of interest in or sensitivity to the human element unless it can be reduced to something useful--sinister on one side, sympathetic on the other. The point has been brought home to me when I've heard from people who were on the scene. Even those who disagree with my harsh criticism of DIW have done a better job than Johnson at putting the over-the-top vehemence of some of the reactions at Duke into a human context. I'll mention, by way of balance, one cordial note of correction that I got from a faculty member who, without downplaying the vile and hateful communications from outside Duke that TR highlights, wanted to register his personal experience of animosity and intolerance coming from on campus and directed at faculty who raised objections to the strident and categorical criticism of the lacrosse team.

It's easy to point out Johnson's flaws but harder to come up with a constructive reaction that goes beyond that. As I saw the "clustering" in the earlier comment thread--clustering I contributed to--I was tempted to chime in and reinforce an important point TR made in passing, contrasting Johnson's "manic resentment" with "the focused, constructive critique our profession undoubtedly deserves and should encourage." In the same vein her post today suggests that "if, in the instance of the lacrosse case, the response was inappropriate to the actual circumstances, if students were unfairly stigmatized in classrooms, that should have been the object of civilized critique as well." It's too easy to just circle the wagons in the face of Johnson's relentless attacks, and as I've been picking over the bones of the Duke scandal I've ended up with the impression that too many real issues were reactively and defensively ceded to his side.

In an earlier comment, Pug points out one of the real issues that could have been, and now and then perhaps was, the subject of a focussed, constructive critique in DIW. One way to insure that such a critique will not be constructive, though, is to make a simplistic connection between a faculty member's public, ideological stance and the attitude they bring to their day-to-day interactions with students.

Anonymous said...

Hi TR:
Disclosure: I'm not an academic, but I am an attorney. Your comment "[n]ow, I want to be very clear here to say that I know those men accused of rape were acquitted" is not correct. The men were not "acquitted", the charges against the accused were dismissed because of a complete lack of probable cause and were declared innocent by the state (which is unprecedented). An acquittal typically follows a trial by jury and a failure of the state to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In the Lacrosse case, there was not even sufficient evident to support a finding of probable cause that a crime actually occurred, let alone sufficient evidence to present to a jury.

Maryann

shorty said...

Whatever position one might take in the Duke matter, the comment of pug reflects lack of knowledge of actual faculty-student relations at Duke. While not all faculty publish all of their student evaluations, enough of the signatories of the ad and faculty of the so-called "angry studies" departments as well as Duke faculty whose work fits under the rubric of postcolonial studies, minority studies, feminist studies, critical race studies, or other critical approaches, have made their evaluations public online to students that it is possible actually to find out what students think of some of them. Even one of the self-described conservative student newspaper columnists is working with some faculty members who signed the ad

African & African American Studies, Cultural Anthropology, and Women's Studies faculty as a group are popular among students undergrad and grad. And teach athletes. Some Cult. Ant. courses, for example, have lacrosse student enrollees even since the ad's publication. And students have written in the campus newspaper with their names attached to their letters or their columns and have made comments in the online comments section anonymously, sometimes while criticizing the ad and the signatories at the same time, and affirmed their relations with faculty, including critical studies faculty, who signed the ad.

Unless one wants to believe that such undergrad students are dupes, the idea of a predictor for faculty-to-student interaction based on particular professors' critical approaches to research and scholarship isn't useful.

Jennifer said...

TR--there's not really anything substantive I want to offer since your post and most of the comments in support of your post (and blog) already cover much of what I would write.

I simply want to thank you for the clarity of your thought and the intellectual rigor that you bring to this post and especially to this whole issue. You basically covered in this blog post the exact issues that had been troubling me about the Duke case from the first rumblings to all the aftershocks that have followed from the eruption.

I can only hope to one day be a tenured radical myself

becket03 said...

Some years ago, the TV show Law & Order stole an old saw (source unknown) about college professors: Ques. "Why are the fights in academia so vicious?" Ans. "Because the stakes are so small."

That led to a plague of overuse of the dialog on the net, because, of course, its truth was widely recognized. For the past two years, though, the Duke case sidelined the witticism, since for once something that college professors said really mattered, i.e., "thanks" for railroading our students. Everybody paid attention, and the stakes were large --- a possible 30 years in prison for three innocent kids.

The college professors (88 of them at least, along with Claire "it's very clear" Potter) ended up with egg decorating their faces, and the case ended favorably for the interests of justice.

And now the earth is back on its axis and all is well with the world. And college professors, as we can see from Prof Potter's recent remarks against Prof Johnson concerning University of Iowa hires, are back to being vicious for very small stakes.

beckett

Tenured Radical said...

I want to thank the commenters on this post for their thoughts, which are amazing and complicated. The exception is becket03, who is a good example of the problem many of the followers if DIW have: they assume that "the other side" that they have constructed and targeted is just as intolerant and unreasonable as they are. I don't feel I have egg on my face, and only a very crazy, mean person would want people to go to jail for a crime they did not commit. I am really not that person, and neither are the others who object to DIW smear tactics and hate-mongering.

TR

Anonymous said...

No, beckett, you are incorrect. TR has no egg to wipe off her face. TR corrects her errors & maintains the opinions she considers correct. She goes more for nuance than you seem to. And, she can have opinions that differ from yours.

I think you need to wipe the snarl off your face and learn to participate in discussions in polite fashion. Didn't your mother teach you how?

FYIW: History is regularly rewritten. Just look over at DiW, where you've commented. One calls that interpretation, doesn't one?

andrea said...

Just a comment about the laxers being "declared innocent." We are all innocent until we go before a jury and are declared otherwise. For those outside of the legal community, it sounded like a big deal from the Atty Gen'l to say that they are innocent. But it was a strategic use of a technicality that actually meant they were not brought before a jury and declared guilty. So...for all those lining up trying to get the TR to correct things, understand that innocence is the state we are each in unless a jury or judge makes a different declaration.
Another way of reading the Atty General's comment is that he declared that he would not make them available to a jury to decide otherwise. Leaves a slightly different gloss on the matter, doesn't it?

Debrah said...

ROTFLM-tits-O!!!

Claire Potter is so cowardly and such a free speech rogue.

It's genuinely the most hilarious episode to witness her behavior and her dishonesty.

No wonder she is so threatened by such a virile brilliant man as KC.

Flail away, Potter!

Anonymous said...

Andrea wrote: "Another way of reading the Atty General's comment is that he declared that he would not make them available to a jury to decide otherwise." The AG did "not make them available to decide otherwise" because there was no probable cause that a crime even occurred. The state can not "make [an accused] available" to a jury to determine if the state can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt without probable cause. The criminal investigation did not reveal evidence of a crime (other than the criminal violations by the State of the accused's constitutional rights); this case should not have even been presented to a grand jury. Admittedly, I am more interested in the legal case than the dispute between the academics, but I believe that any dispute stemming from this case requires a basic understanding of criminal law and the constitutional violations of the accused by the State of North Carolina.

Maryann

adjunct whore said...

i'm not sure whether to laugh or become suicidal--mostly i'm just confused by the level of rancor and incivility of those like debra--aka, diva girl--whose sole purpose in blogging seems to be a forum for photos of herself and worship of KC. what can one say about such intellectual gravity? not much.

but it does beg the question: what precisely is at stake for this cabal? why so angry? the "innocent kids" were deemed innocent? trying to make sense of the aptly named perfect storm seems appropriate given that those stakes were, indeed, quite high--involving so many people's lives on so many levels.

i thank you, TR, for attempting to negotiate this with patience, thoughtfulness, and rigor; why disagreement and critical engagement from those who hold opposing views to yours cannot seem to take place is a mystery to me. i am sorry.

Debrah said...

TO 11:32 AM--

If you've got it....flaunt it.

Not everyone possesses the panoramic cluster.

And make note of one thing: I will match my intellectual veracity and history with you or anyone....any day.

Tell me, how does one become so insular as yourself?

Debrah said...

By the way, 11:32 AM--

Have you kept track of just how many comments and responses Claire Potter has deleted and hidden from public view which have clearly taken her to task for her dishonesty and her attempts to rewrite history?

I have and have saved them for DIW.....so the record is clear.

It still surprises reasonable people when they see envious Potter and the herd of appendages try to discredit KC.

A futile effort.

KC is one true champion for justice in this case.

A voluptuously authentic scholar.

Paris said...

Adjunct whore beat me to encouraging readers to check out Debrah's blog, which is truely remarkable. I suspect Debrah's on the road to getting her comments deleted here, but please TR, leave one so that readers can get the link!

To the point, however, I think this post and its antecedents are an interesting example of the difficulty of being a public intellectual in a time where much of the public seems to struggle with distinguishing between a good-faith critique and personal attacks. I think TR has held to the former quite well and I agree that ignoring those who engage in the later is not always the best tactic. Easy for me to say as I'm not getting the hate mail, I suppose!

Anonymous said...

Yes, pls. leave one of Debrah's comments up. She is such a good example of the nastiness that too often passed for discourse on DiW. She practically foams at the mouth if she believes that her heor, KC Johnson, has somehow been harmed. She also has special sort of vitrio she reserves for Duke's faculty. I keep wondering if she applied to school there or applied for a job there once.

Most striking about this woman, however, is her belief that any sort of racist, awful comment should be left up on someone's blog (in this case, TR's) just because she or some cyber-crony makes it. Debrah has a blog, let her comment there til the cows come home.

Anonymous said...

Corrections to 1:30

Paragraph 1, line 4: hero
Paragraph 1, line 6: vitriol

Sorry!

Debrah said...

TO 1:30 PM--

You are Exhibit A.

You are the best example anyone can have to show how dishonest you guys really are.

You have brought up something now about "racist comments"?

Please show this forum to what you are alluding.

The only person talking about "race" is you.

I find grotesque liars to be the worst cancer of all. You have come here and deliberately posted a lie.

Will Potter leave up your lie? Will she show some intelligence and delete such libel?

We know the answer to that question. You guys major in hysterical fabrication.

Was your lie supposed to divert attention away from the fact that Potter and the herd mentality which follows are unable to answer a simple question?

I would caution you about such lies.

This forum doesn't need to descend further down the abyss of fabrication.

Wise up! We will not abide such libel.

Lastly, I can assure you that I have never had the desire to apply to Duke for a job.

LOL!!!

The Random Rambler said...

Also, even though I am just a "lowly" graduate student, but I know the importance of using acquitted (OJ Simpson) vs. innocent.

Anonymous said...

To the Debrah at 2:03, IMHO, your racist and sexist comments on DiW were neither few nor far between. This is not a lie, but a matter of opinion.

You always attack. It's like you have pit bull genes. Maybe, you're having a bad-hair life?

Anonymous said...

Hi Debrah at 2:03--Is that the royal we or the papal we?

Maybe, you should wise up! You write a great deal, some of it apparently without forethought, so why is it a surprise that at least some of your nastiness would be considered racist or anything else? People can interpret comments a variety of different ways, as we know from the panopoly of reactions to the "Listening Statement."

You don't seem to have learned to express yourself very well without resorting to attacking, name calling, and threatening. Maybe, you don't understand how infantile your comments might sound to others.

Debrah said...

TO 2:13 PM--

What I understand is that mutts like you have to fabricate.

That's just to be expected among two-digit IQ's on a "mission".

GIS!!! GOL!!!

Very good addition to the Potter Mutt Club, you are.

Hey, don't forget to untwist those knickers.

It's cold outside!

Anonymous said...

The questions that random rambler
asks (and that Mr. Taylor's and Mr. Johnson's book asks) are really none of their business; they are properly the concerns of Duke's administration.

However, they are questions that the head of the Duke Chronicle ad office at the time of the ad (or the present head of the office) can easily answer. KC Johnson (with whom these questions originated) could have obtained this information from the chair of African & African American Studies had he wanted to get it. Oh wait, he did so query that chair, and he was answered. Ahem. Since he apparently chose not to publish the answer to his query in his book or on his blog, you might want to query the chair yourself.)

But in the interests, perhaps quixotic, of short-circuiting more tendentious repetition, I offer the following: the short answer to question nos 1-3 is that the Duke Chronicle, like many newspapers, has documentation guidelines from their legal office for ads of this nature. Those guidelines require that all quoted material be acknowledged by the person(s) being quoted even if the quote is run anonymously. The newspaper has proof of the speaker to protect itself legally even if that person's name is withheld. That way the quoted person cannot later sue the newspaper for misappropriation. Anyone quoted would have had to submit, from a Duke email account, his or her name, email address, as well as acknowledgment of, and permission to use, that language. The same applies to department and program acknowledgments. The department submitting the ad is required to provide that information and documentation in the form of forwarded emails that come from the specific departments or programs named in the ad and addressed to the department submitting the ad.

Question no. 4 is a question that the upper administration of Duke has cleared. If you think that it is your or anyone else's business, perhaps you should take it up with that administration.

As for your opinions with regard to university athletics, much has been written (books, essays, newspaper articles, blog writing, etc.) about this subject. A few minutes of library or online research will yield an immense amount of scholarship and popular analysis on this matter. Orin Starn (Cultural Anthropology at Duke), for example, has written scholarship and op-ed pieces about this matter. You might want to check out some of it.

Finally, with regard to what you think should happen to Lubiano, allegations alone are an insufficient basis for reprimand or dismissal, or even jail time, as the lacrosse case has taught us, has it not?

Tenured Radical said...

Dear all:

I don't know whether my regular readers have noticed it, but there are some old DIW readers who are now using this blog to gather on and do their thing now that their leader has gone on hiatus. They will stop, after a bit. I've taken a couple posts down -- one of which reiterates some baseless charges against a friend's reputation and another that does the same vis a vis me. I am leaving most of them up as exhibit B (exhibit A being a hyperlink in the post itself).

And as to Debrah, I don't know what ROTFLM-tits-O means -- she often uses abbreviations of various kinds, but the grandiose, sexualized rhetorical style and the mania -- once she starts posting, she can't seem to stop whether anyone answers or not -- indicates either that she is, perhaps, very unwell, and I wouldn't argue with her if I were you. There just isn't much in it for anyone but her.

best,

TR

Anonymous said...

Hi again,

I am the anonymous poster at 2:52pm. My post was addressed to questions about the student quotes in the listening ad that random rambler had posted earlier, but now his questions aren't there so my response might not make any sense. Sorry.

Tenured Radical said...

Sorry anonymous poster -- I realized only afterwards that was a risk. I just don't want to make this blog a bulletin board for more of the junky accusations these people specialize in, although I am sure my friend Professor Lubiano is familiar with all of them.

And with that, the comments will be put on moderation for the time being:

TR

pink 2 said...

I assume it means rolling on the floor laughing my tits off...usually, it's ass rather than tits. Your undergraduates would know it; it's teen-age text talk.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

I can understand Ralph's perspective, and I agree with you about the way people respond about friends. That said, I don't think that if people want to engage in the debates about Johnson/the Duke case/etc. etc., they're obligated to do so over at Cliopatria. There is a danger in clustering, yes, but there are also good reasons to have conversations about the same subject taking place in different settings (as the difference between comments here and at DiW make manifestly clear!). It's not like Cliopatria readers/authors can't come over here and to read and respond.

My concern is not so much with what KC Johnson has said about the Duke case (to the extent I've been following it) but the way in which it provides an opening for people to bash so blatantly and horrifyingly scholarship dealing with race/class/gender/sexuality.

Re: the Iowa thing, after reading Sharon's comment on the last post that the individual in question didn't even fit the job description - it's a shame that Johnson doesn't realize that posts like his about Iowa just call into question everything else he says.

(And I'm still gobsmacked at the idea of you being threatened by Johnson's voluptuous virility, TR. Not that I'm passing any judgment on said virility, voluptuous or not - just the idea that such qualities are remotely relevant!)

KC Johnson said...

In September, I presented as part of a panel at the Society for Professional Journalists Conference; my topic was the blogosphere and the lacrosse case.

I was asked to address a common critique of blogs--namely, that they lack editors, and therefore can be viewed as unreliable.

My response was that, unlike newspapers, which have a past history on which they can usually draw, a blog only has its credibility: a blog that repeatedly makes false or inaccurate statement will lose influence.

Recently, Prof. Potter attacked a position on a search in the Iowa History Department, writing, "It is, however, a known fact that one person who Johnson considers qualified for a campus interview in a current Iowa search did not receive one."

In fact, here's what I wrote, "All sorts of factors, of course, go into a final selection for a hire. On the basis of his publication record alone, however, it would seem that someone with Moyar's qualifications (two books, including one with a prestigious press) would have been likely to have made the preliminary cut in a job search for an entry-level position."

I'm not sure how Prof. Potter interpreted a passage in which I wrote that it was possible--if unlikely--that a candidate with Moyar's qualifications could have been legitimately excluded from a screening interview as suggesting that I had asserted it was a known fact he deserved a campus interview. Indeed, I never discussed the prospect of Moyar receiving a campus interview.

But, then again, I remain uncertain as to how Prof. Potter determined, in an April 2007 post about the Duke lacrosse case, that "the dancers were, it is clear, physically if perhaps not sexually assaulted."

That statement was, and is, demonstrably false. Prof. Potter has neither retracted it, nor has she apologized for her error. She has, however, asserted that she was basing her claim on media portrayals of the case. She has never identified the article or articles that prompted her to assert, as of April 2007, that "the dancers were, it is clear, physically if perhaps not sexually assaulted."

I do take into account Prof. Potter's assertion that she is friends with many in the Group of 88--an admission that she has not made in her previous posts about the Duke case or my blog. Perhaps this friendship has clouded her objectivity on such matters. If so, that is unfortunate.

To date, I'm unaware of a single specific passage at DIW (a blog of 1152 posts and more than 900,000 words) that Prof. Potter has described as inaccurate, or has provided evidence that cast doubt on my assertions. I invite her to point out such passages--though, if she does so, I would request that she render my argument more honestly than she did in her interpretation of my comments about Iowa.

As a blogger, both at DIW and at Cliopatria, I made occasional errors of fact. When I did so, I retracted and apologized. Based on her unwillingness to follow a similar course--first with her false assertion about the dancers, now with her (deliberate?) misreading of my Iowa post, it appears Prof. Potter adheres to a different approach. That, of course, is her right. But as someone who prefers to live in the reality-based community, it's my sense that a blogger who makes inaccurate statements and refuses to retract or explain them doesn't stay credible for long.

Tenured Radical said...

KC,

You have had your response. I think you are splitting hairs on the Iowa post -- and as to my April post, I have left it until this point because it is too inane for you to be going on about this but you need to be a better reader, not just a collector of facts. I should think the use of the passive construction in the phrase you and your readers have cited repeatedly from that post should have alerted you -- if not your readers -- as to the deliberate ambiguity I left as to *who* had assaulted the dancers, and it also means that they were physically assaulted, not sexually assaulted. Only a poor reading of that passage renders it an accusation against anyone in particular.

This is my final word of explanation -- now let it go and stop saying the same things over and over again.

And your blog is full of terrible stuff, and you know it, and it is often inaccurate. I am not the only person who thinks so.

TR

Tenured Radical said...

Postscript:

If you don't find my blog credible -- don't read it! Or critique it! Or send your readers here to trash it up with their hate mongering! Maybe it is unworthy of your powerful mind and you should just let me go my merry, "unobjective" way.

By the way buddy -- everyone has friends. Don't they?

TR

Anonymous said...

Regarding the spat between KC and Prof. Potter in the comments, supra: I'm afraid, KC, that I'm inclined to agree with Prof. Potter on this one. You are "splitting hairs" -- and not with much success, I am sorry to add. You clearly are complaining that Iowa didn't give this candidate an interview, and that's all she says. Your attempt to put some air between what you wrote and her characterization of it is unconvincing to this member of "the Sunshine Band".

What I found more interesting was her comment that, "[B]eing a Republican in Zenith is a lot like being a Snowball in Hell, whereas the Democratic party offers a nice cozy home for conservatives of all kinds." The first part of that sentence is subject to all sorts of speculative interpretation, but the second part is [unintentionally?] drink-spittingly funny.

pink2 said...

TR,

Although it wasn't your intent, this blog provides an important counterpoint to KC Johnson. His comments here--where he is not in control--are more clearly than usual laughable and biased. Is he unbiased? Is he credible? Not bloody likely. KC Johnson just can't stand it when people point out that he's wrong, because as far as he is concerned, he's not. Ever.

I can't imagine why he commented on a job hunt/hire at Iowa as he did. It makes him look sillier--and even more petty--than usual. And, I don't think this shrill attack has served as a good launching pad for his expansion of attacks on the politics of history departments. KC Johnson is so angry, he alone may constitute an "Angry Studies" program at Brooklyn.

KC Johnson said...

Prof. Potter notes that "If you don't find my blog credible -- don't read it! Or critique it!"

It is my practice to comment whenever something inaccurate is said about either me or something I write, regardless of my opinion of the quality of the blog or newspaper. As Prof. Potter is aware, I have not commented on any of her other posts, nor can I imagine a reason for my doing so.

She adds, "By the way buddy -- everyone has friends. Don't they?"

Prof. Potter's statement might well be true. But it is common practice for most bloggers (and, I suppose, journalists), to inform readers when we are writing about our friends. Prof. Potter's previous posts about Duke did not disclose that she was a friend to many of the faculty who had come under criticism at DIW. (There would be no obvious reason to assume that a professor at Wesleyan considers around 10% of the Group of 88 to be her friends.) This concealment denied her readers the opportunity to determine whether her objectivity in commenting might be in doubt.

pink 2 said...

KC Johnson puts on his white hat and rides again! Oh, me! Oh, my! TR has the unmitigated gall to consider herself friends with around 10 percent of the so-called 88!!!! Shocking! And she didn't tell the reader! Or KC!

Why would she?

TR, I am not sure KC is so good at collecting evidence. Moreover, he isn't as good as he claims to be about correcting errors on DiW. He can't always tell the "real" evidence from from the false as was demonstrated last summer when he was hoaxed on his site by someone claiming to be a professor at, I believe, a UC school. Johnson, in his best attack mode, went after the woman, even as his readers were noting that something might have been wrong with the post. And then, when he finally took both the faux post and his oh-so-KCian response down, he wouldn't/couldn't explain how he'd been fooled. Moreover, as I recall, he long let one of his entries be hazy about the fact that Priscilla Wald was employed elsewhere when her book was accepted for publication by Duke University Press. Didn't fit his argument.

Equally, I think his critique--and the attacks of his band--was not aimed just at gays and people of color (to be accurate, Asian-Americans were seldom mentioned; it was African-Americans who bore the brunt of the nastiness) but rather at all of those whom they considered to be on the other side in the culture wars.

I'm betting he'll come out of hiatus pdq to provide the sunshine band with a place to post their venimous comments.

I do have a question: what is it that frightens him--and people like him--so much?

AMac said...

pink 2 wrote at 8:23am –

> I do have a question: what is it that frightens [KC Johnson]--and people like him--so much?

Capt. Alfred Dreyfus was court-martialled in 1894 for passing secrets to the German Embassy in Paris, despite the fact that evidence of Dreyfus’ involvement was wholly lacking from the outset. Relatively quickly, it became clear that a French Army counterintelligence bureau was deeply implicated in the railroading of Dreyfus. Nonetheless, the Army’s officer corps, clerics, and conservatives ferociously defended the propriety of his conviction.

As seen from the closing years of the nineteenth century, the Anti-Dreyfusards might have had points to make about the need to restrict Jewish influence in a predominantly Catholic country, or the urgency of promoting solidarity with the Army High Command in the wake of the humiliating defeat of 1871 (certainly, Emile Zola did not think so!). However, any merits of the Anti-Dreyfusards’ ideas were overshadowed by the means they chose to advance them: namely, their refusal to honestly account for the factual and circumstantial evidence that wholly exonerated Dreyfus.

The Dreyfus Affair deeply affected France in the first decades of the twentieth century. Fortunately, most of French society was able to identify the intolerance and ideological rigidity that drove the Anti-Dreyfusards--and reject them. In 1918, Lt. Col. Dreyfus was inducted into the Legion of Honor, and he retired from the Army with distinction.

The Duke Frame/Hoax highlights some unwelcome parallels between 1894 France and the United States of today.

There are bad actors among the people angered by the treatment of the lacrosse players by Law Enforcement, the Media, and many in the Academy. Prof. Potter is surely correct about that, and Potter and Johnson are both right to condemn the writers of threatening or vile emails.

Still, the Anti-Lacrossard faction should not be so quick to preen. The regular Tenured Radical commentariat might try for a more dispassionate view of the actions of their champions during the Frame/Hoax. Profs. Lubiano, Baker, Davidson, et al. would profit from friendly critiques--it seems that “Solidarity on the Left!” is all they’ve heard from their allies, to date.

Misdeeds (such as the publication of the Listening Statement and the Clarifying Statement) have tarnished your shared causes of “social justice” and the like. An honest accounting might begin to restore some of their luster beyond the left-wing academic circles inhabited by much of Tenured Radical’s audience.

lynp said...

I have huge respect for KC but nothing short of a million in cash would persuade me to read Devorah's blog. Claire - why can't you just admitt your mistakes about the case and lets carry on.
That is some pals you have.

John said...

Dear TR:

You state: “…either an acquittal or the dropping of charges through the fair use of scientific evidence should indicate to any casual observer … that the felony in question was doubtless not committed by those accused of it … .” As a lawyer, I want to clarify a point that may seem trivial to a layperson about the difference between legal innocence after a trial, the dropping of charges, and innocence in the normal meaning of the word.

A “not guilty” verdict means the state was unable to satisfy its burden of proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" of a charge against a defendant. By no stretch is it innocence in the ordinary meaning of the word. If charges are dropped it means it has been determined there is an insufficient basis to bring a case, because of a lack of or weak evidence or any one of a number of reasons. This is not innocence either.

So it was indeed quite an extraordinary thing for the Attorney General of NC to take a step he did not have to take when he announced the LAX case would not go forward. When he said all charges are dropped, he could have left it at that. But he went on to declare the players, affirmatively, to be "innocent."

The distinction truly matters. It was not, as you said, that the “felony in question was doubtless not committed by those accused of it.” No, it was that there was never any felony at all, none … full stop.

This is why it puzzles me so that none of the Duke professors who were so convinced a felony had occurred, that Duke LAX players had committed it, and signed public statements obviously implying as much (the post hoc statement deconstructions ring hollow to me), have never admitted a mistake or honestly acknowledged their own part in fanning the flames.

Issues of race and gender on campus – and in society generally - are important, no doubt. But it really seems peculiar to me that a person – indeed a professor – who claims to be concerned about these issues, who ostensibly stands upon the values of equity and non-discrimination at the core of that debate, would find their own behavior and its consequences in this matter unworthy of any sincere inquiry.

The Duke professors have tried to explain it away, said it’s not what they meant, or that it was merely irrelevant, trivial and shouldn’t distract us from the larger social issues. Not one has said: “Yes. I presumed they were guilty. And I was outraged by the thought, so I did what I did. But I was wrong, totally wrong, and I regret it.”

Not one.

The Random Rambler said...

On this point, I would like to defend TR.

The majority of people in this country who are cleared of being charged in a court of law are acquitted. As it has been noted extensively, an Attorney General coming out and saying "these men are innocent" is quite a rare occurrence.

Contrast this with Mike Nifong, who called the (clearly) false accuser during his ethics and prosecutorial trials, who I believe did this on purpose. TR, in one of her posts, believes Nifong is sinister (which would account for him calling her a victim when clearly she is not). I believed this about Nifong until I heard more of his past. I seriously believe he and the false accuser truly believe these acts occurred and both are mentally unstable.

Anyway, back to my point. While it is important to point out to individuals that any label less than innocent is inadequate, I do not believe in this case TR intentionally used the term acquitted.

Anonymous said...

"andrea said...
Just a comment about the laxers being "declared innocent." We are all innocent until we go before a jury and are declared otherwise. For those outside of the legal community, it sounded like a big deal from the Atty Gen'l to say that they are innocent. But it was a strategic use of a technicality that actually meant they were not brought before a jury and declared guilty."

Andrea --

You claim that the Attorney General made "strategic use of a technicality" in declaring them innocent. There would of course be no reason for him to make 'strategic use' of any 'technicality' if what he had concluded as a result of his investigation was that they were, indeed, factually innocent. So it seems that you are claiming that, in the Attorney General's mind, there is some belief that they may in fact be guilty, even if the lack of a trial means they will stay in a state we might call 'legally innocent'.

However, the Attorney General's Summary of Conclusions, widely available since late April of 2007, states "the State had no credible evidence that an attack occurred in that house that night." I believe that even "those outside of the legal community" might safely assume that, when there is no credible evidence that a crime occurred, there are no grounds for a reasonable person to believe that particular parties were guilty of that crime.

I would have to ask, then, why do you believe and assert as fact that the Attorney General still believed that the players might be guilty even as he declared them innocent? He made clear that there were no grounds for a reasonable person to conclude that any assault had occurred, and it is of course impossible to be anything but factually innocent of a crime that never occurred. It seems that the three possibilities are:
* AG Cooper was lying when he said that the State possessed no credible evidence of an assault in the relevant time and place;
* AG Cooper is an irrational person who believes people to be guilty of crimes that he himself asserts he has no credible evidence occurred;
* You are mistaken in your assertion that he made "strategic use of a technicality" in order to declare that the players were legally innocent without declaring them factually innocent.

I understand that of these three possibilities, you will probably regard the third as the least probable. However, perhaps I may ask a few more questions to illuminate the issue.

1) Suppose, for the sake of argument, that what Attorney General Cooper meant to say, and meant for people to hear and to understand, was exactly what most people took his declaration to mean: that according to the best information assembled by the State in the course of its investigation, the players were factually innocent of the charges against them. How could AG Cooper have phrased that declaration so that people like yourself, who interpreted his statement "We believe these individuals are innocent" as "We believe that we, the State, will not be bringing these individuals to trial" would have understood that he was, in fact, asserting their factual innocence?

2) Your insistence on a distinction between 'factually innocent' (i.e., not being guilty) and 'legally innocent' (not having been found guilty by a jury trial) suggests that, as you see things, one can never be correctly regarded as factually innocent of accusations made against them if those accusations do not result in a trial.

Of course, our system does not require that all accusations go to trial, because of the obvious fact that not all accusations are true. Even if you choose to dispute the State's assertion that it had no credible evidence to support the charges of this case, or choose to regard the accuser's history of mental illness in this case as irrelevant, I am sure that you would agree that there is a point beyond which the possibility of actual guilt corresponding to an accusation is so remote that no person should be forced to undergo a trial based on the accusation.

Are you comfortable with the conclusion which results from adopting both these premises, which is that if an accusation is too blatantly false to go to trial, the person accused of it will be forever denied exoneration? That if the State has no reason to seriously entertain the notion that the accused is guilty of anything, that private citizens should then take this as justification for believing that the accused is legally innocent but factually probably guilty?

The Random Rambler said...

Andrea:

The (false) accuser stated in the last interrogation by the attorney general's office that she was raped while being suspended in mid air.

I think it is pretty clear these guys were COMPLETELY innocent. And if you are involved in law, please explain when degrees of innocence were created?

By the way, a jury cannot declare someone innocent.

And if you were these indicted players, would you want to face trial in Durham where people are making a comment like this:
http://www.newsobserver.com/content/news/story_graphics/20061215_dukelacrosse.pdf

"[The defendants should be prosecuted] whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past." Chan Hall, Chairman of Legislative Affairs Committee, Student Government of NCCU quoted in Newsweek May 1, 2006.

"Hopefully, justice is blind when it is time to carry out the proper punishment for what has been committed, and perhaps what has not been committed." PASTOR John Bennett quoted in the Herald-Sun October 16, 2006.

Would you want to face a jury in this situation?

pink 2 said...

I think some of those who've recently commented here should get a clue: there are varied ways to interpret the Listening Statement nobody who signed it has to apologize for anything they did or didn't think. If you're wrong about the Listening Statement presuming guilt--and I think those of you who think it does are wrong--then maybe you should apologize to the authors of the Listening Statement.

In any case, it is time to clarify for those who may not know it that interdisciplary studies are not new in academe (think of the Area Studies dating from the Soviet era) and that they are no more "identity" studies than American history written by Americans and military history written by veterans are. The one exception is Gender Studies, since presumably anyone who participates in such a program identifies with one gender or several... Many students and faculty participate in interdisciplinary programs. The interdisciplinary cross fertilization has enriched much scholarship over the last several decades.

AMac, I don't see at all what similarities between 1894 France and 2007 USA your v. brief overview of the Alfred Dreyfus affair highlights.

John said...

TR, Andrea, anonymous --

Here's the heart of the matter. When I first heard of this story, I assumed the LAX players had committed a crime, maybe not the precise crime charged but a crime. Nifong's statements were that certain.

My friends and I talked about "I Am Charlotte Simmons" and life imitating art and the caricature of white, drunk, privileged rich boys having their way with young women all without fear of consequence. And now, we said, based on the statements of Nifong, the Duke professors, Nancy Grace, Selena Roberts, and others in that chorus, the chickens were coming home to roost.

Who knows, if I had been a Duke professor, maybe I too would have signed the "listening statement."

And then, like many, I stopped paying attention - work, births, deaths and the other details of my own life required attention.

Then, by accident, I happened to see the Ray Cooper statement on national news, and despite how you parse his words, the effect on me as lawyer of his making the affirmative statement about the players' factual innocence was startling.

Months later, I heard Stuart Taylor on NPR and bought his and Dr. Johnson's book. I had to look hard for it as it did not get a lot of hype. The book forced me to look at my own initial reactions when I first heard of the case ... and I had to come to grips with my own biases that led me to conclude the LAX players must be guilty of something.

I do not think I am the only one, but I had cause to feel chastened and apologetic at that moment.

So when the Duke professors who jumped on this bandwagon, and fanned the flames in service of their pet meta-narrative, take the view that they are above accountability, free of any responsibility, misunderstood, and, astonishingly, even victims themselves, I am disgusted.

Debrah said...

tfqw"So when the Duke professors who jumped on this bandwagon, and fanned the flames in service of their pet meta-narrative, take the view that they are above accountability, free of any responsibility, misunderstood, and, astonishingly, even victims themselves, I am disgusted."

And herein lies the reason for much disbelief and outrage.

They now attempt to concoct a scenario where they are the "victims".

Someone whose profession is authenticating documents--most often for law firms--gives his very seasoned opinion that those disgusting e-mails being played up by the Hoax enablers appear to have been written by the same person.

There should be no difficulty in tracking down their origin. The authorities have ways of doing this post haste.

Instead of attempting to showcase such trivia as a defense for trying to railroad three innocent lacrosse players, why don't they just make it public, find the person, and prosecute him or her?

Why not make their name or names public?

I'm endlessly amused that a few wish to make this a "class" issue...as if those critical of the Duke professors are on the outside looking in.

I don't know about the rest, but I have been around academics all my life and never have I witnessed the declasse behavior of those and their ilk at Duke.

And more news: Many participants on DIW could buy and sell those professors one hundred thousand times over.

They have been shocked by what has been allowed to take place.

It appears that many in the academy are now desperately trying to provide an emollient and hope against hope that everyone just moves on.

AMac said...

pink 2 wrote (12/21/07 at 7:24am) --

> AMac, I don't see at all what similarities between 1894 France and 2007 USA your v. brief overview of the Alfred Dreyfus affair [supra, 12/20/07 at 11:53am] highlights.

In the aftermath of Dreyfus' 1906 exoneration, an anti-Dreyfusard might have started a complaint about his supporters with the following clause:

"Once Dreyfus got off/declared innocent, ..."

That gritted-teeth phrasing would be an elision of the plain facts. Dreyfus didn't "get off;" he wasn't "declared innocent" (on some technicality) -- he was innocent. He was framed.

One hundred years later, an anti-Lacrossard might start a complaint about their supporters with the following clause:

"Once the LAX people got off/declared innocent, ..."

(I am quoting pink 2's comment on We're Having More Fun...", 12/21/07 at 8:24am.)

The anti-Dreyfusards were wedded for ideological reasons to a particular meta-narrative. Those who had initially enabled the frame couldn't back down, far less apologize. Nor would their allies revise their views as the facts became ever-clearer.

Today's equivalent is the "Something Happened" meme, alluded to by phrasings that diminish the plain meaning of the NC Attorney General's findings.

John said...

I bet TR's friends among the Duke faculty who authored or signed the listening statement are no more or no less prone to hubris, emotional reaction, self-blindness, and denial than anyone else.

That includes you and me TR ...

If I could be persuaded by recent deconstructions of the listening statement that in fact it was not based on or meant to convey a presumption of guilt, I would be the first to say that Dr. Johnson has gone too far.

But didn't the author's original e-mail inviting her colleagues to participate explicitly state the statement was a reaction to the case?

Didn't one signatory pen an e-mail to the mother of a player stating that she had raised a farm animal?

Didn't the statement say "thanks" for making your views known at a time when the most obvious object of possible gratitude was the pot-banging protest featuring "castration" signs and the like?

It just doesn't read as a mere protest against racism on campus. I wish it did. I suppose if you make a lot of assumptions, torture the language a bit, and ignore the context, a case could be made. But applying Occam's razor leads to a different result.

I have friends too TR, and I stick up for them. And when friends screw up, you should stand by them, as you are, but I don't think that means pretending something that clearly happened, didn't.

This Duke matter was a case with perfect facts (and well-funded defendants) to uncover and expose a miasma of corruption and misconduct that disproportionately impacts (yes, I verbalize a noun) the poor and people of color every day.(See Profiles section on the Innocence Project website.)

To me, the saddest thing about it is that the Duke professors (and others, like the NC NAACP) fell upon a perfect cause to champion to make their point about racism and discrimination in society. Sort of a "now you know what it's like, and we're with you" kind of thing.

What did they do? They chose to throw the wholly innocent players under the bus.

Stand by your friends, TR, it's the right thing to do, but don't pretend that "down" is "up" and that "wrong" is "right."

The Random Rambler said...

Pink:

History must be placed in perspective (take for instance some of the banter on the 70's hit show "Match Game." By today's standards, some of the jokes were rather crude. Back then and in that time period, the culture was not as PC minded and people did not get offended).

As for the listening ad, it could be interpreted in many ways. However, look at the context in which the ad was placed.

1. It was started after the lacrosse incident. The author rushed to put it together and when she blasted the email, told other professors they have minimal time to sign it. She "raced" the revelation of DNA results.

2. In her cover email, she explicitly states "This is in response to the lacrosse incident."

3. We find in KC Johnson's book (on I believe page 63) that faculty attended a meeting accusing Brodhead of sheltering the players and demanded the cancellation of the lacrosse season and the firing of Mike Pressler.

History is a giant puzzle. You gather the facts and using those facts draw a conclusion. I do believe the pieces are that one could conclude, without being off-base, that the ad presumed player's guilt.

TR interpreted it differently. While I disagree with her and many do, she has that right to and it is a fair conclusion.

However, professors have the obligation to show support for their students. At the time of the ad, there were just allegations and no indictments. If anything, could this ad be perceived as throwing these students under a bus?

I think if this ad and fiasco shows us anything, is that you need to use clear language so your ad may not be misinterpreted, irregardless of intentions.

John said...

Mostly agree with Rambler except for "irregardless" usage.

Anonymous said...

Darling,
Again, the University was unable to cover up the ugliness that happened
because NOTHING HAPPENED. As far as I'm concerned, this is a mental health issue and everyone jumped on a political bandwagon pulled by some poor woman with serious issues. I hope she can be helped in some other manner than political exploitation as mental illness is painful.

Anonymous said...

Debra, could you please give me your blog address? I think you are hysterically funny. Thanks

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Display Name said...

It's 2011 and I only became acquainted with Tenured Radical in the past three days.

In those three days, she has turned out to be quite passive aggressive, cowardly, and intellectually dishonest.

http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/tenuredradical/2011/12/update-on-the-ryan-gosling-meme-and-other-blog-bites

She has engaged in distortion and personal smear.

I am quite certain anyone that engages with Tenured Radical will find the same to be true.

She really has no credibility.

Sorry.