Friday, April 03, 2009

As If The Right Wing Has Not Had To Endure Enough, Now the Jury System Bites Them In The Butt

Lynne Cheney must be home banging her head against the wall. First she finds out that all but a very few of the men her hubby has been keeping in Gitmo are innocent after all. Now the culture wars have been set back a century or so by a Denver jury, in a recent ruling that University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill was wrongfully terminated.

It is amazing to me (and makes me all teary about the Constitution) that juries often really get the nuances of a thing. Churchill was awarded attorney's fees, but only $1 in damages because of the plagiarism charges that arose in midst of the controversy. Churchill did appropriate someone else's work: there is no doubt about that. But the reason he was summarily fired, the jury argued, was because of political speech that was unpalatable to the governor of Colorado and the Colorado legislature. And that, they agreed, was wrong.

Satisfactory all around if you ask me. And just in case you think the Radical is a big Ward Churchill fan, guess again: you don't have to talk to too many Native Americanists to figure out what a thorn he is in the side of the field.

However, I am a big fan of due process, thank you very much. And by the way: I wouldn't have called all those Wall Streeters Nazis after 9/11 either. It was mean and factually incorrect besides. But I must say, popular attitudes toward the New York money people have changed eight years later, haven't they?

Hat Tip.

15 comments:

Ahistoricality said...

Add to that the Iowa Supreme Court's decision, and you've had a good day, legally!

Not sure I actually agree about Churchill, but stopped caring some time ago, as hardly anyone involved is worth any sympathy.

JackDanielsBlack said...

Yes, and then we have Holder's decision to drop the prosecution of Senator Stevens. Too bad justice didn't break out until after the election, though. As former Labor Secretary Ray Donovan said in a similar situation many years ago, "Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?"

mackmarine said...

Ward Churchill: A jury of likeminded peers has now confirmed it. You can dig up a coprolite, put sunglasses, an ugly gray wig, and clothes on it, give it a job, even paint it. But it’s still a rigid, unyielding, unsightly, and worthless piece of coprolite.

Anonymous said...

"Satisfactory all around if you ask me."
This is way too superficial. Can you explain why it was satisfactory all around, and just what nuances you think the jury got, since you acknowledge that he appropriated someone else's work.

Also can you explain what Lynne Cheney has to do with this.

AYY

Anonymous said...

How times do change! And Ward Churchill, creepo that he is, does deserve freedom of speech and expression. Lynne Cheney, hit your head on one more wall :-)

Anonymous said...

Lynne Cheney often writes books about American history, and she is even rumored to have written a book with SHOCK *** lesbian characters in it... a historical novel.

She makes some claims to wanting traditional history taught in the schools again... "In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, he sailed and sailed and sailed and sailed to found this land for me and you." It's a catchy little third grader's song that's probably no longer sung in the schools. I must admit a certain affection for mythic history as it is taught to children. Lynne Cheney doesn't want multi-culturalism, native history or anything other than the traditional taught, thus the connection to Ward Churchill.

Anonymous said...

"She makes some claims to wanting traditional history taught in the schools again."

I know, but there's something wrong with that?

"Lynne Cheney doesn't want multi-culturalism, native history or anything other than the traditional taught, thus the connection to Ward Churchill"

Sorry, but I don't see much of a connection here.

AYY

Anonymous said...

I would venture that any interpretation of the past that results in one group of people in the present deeply hating another group of people for acts of their ancestors or the ancestors of others is not valid history-taking into account the nature of the human species which is still under study- but is instead political action masquerading as history or mere personal vendetta or self-gratification. Would there be some validity to this position?

Anonymous said...

Lynne Cheney wants to go back to the "only the dead white men matter" school of history. Sorry for the lack of clarity here.
Believe it or not, around 1979, she was once a feminist. Don't know what happened.

She would object to a mention of George Washington's slaves, for example. She would object to genocide used as a word for "westward expansion." I'm not a historian, and I don't know what is taught in high schools, gradeschools or junior highs anymore, but whatever IS being taught, Cheney hates it! Hope this clarifies it all.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:30
Can't tell if what you're saying is pro-Cheney or anti-Cheney, or pro-Churchill or anti-Churchill

Anon 4:42

"Lynne Cheney wants to go back to the "only the dead white men matter" school of history."

Well a lot of history was made by dead while males. So we can't very well ignore them if we're going to teach political history. Besides I never heard a traditional historian claim that people like Q. Elizabeth, Catherine the Great, Q. Victoria, Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, or other female heads of state/prime ministers, shouldn't be studied.

"She would object to a mention of George Washington's slaves, for example."

What evidence is there for that? The only reason I could think that she would object is that there are only a limited number of things that could be covered in a course, so one should focus on the things that are the most relevant. If she objected on that ground, she would have a point. As much as we might sympathize with the plight of slaves, the role in American History of any slaves George Washington might have owned is far less than the role of George Washington.

"She would object to genocide used as a word for "westward expansion.""

Well, don't you think she might have a point on that as well?

"I don't know what is taught in high schools, grades schools or junior highs anymore, but whatever IS being taught, Cheney hates it!"

In that case it would probably be a good idea to find out what's being taught. You might find that she's not as off the mark as you think she is.


AYY

guez said...

"Ward Churchill: A jury of likeminded peers has now confirmed it. You can dig up a coprolite, put sunglasses, an ugly gray wig, and clothes on it, give it a job, even paint it. But it’s still a rigid, unyielding, unsightly, and worthless piece of coprolite."

This is the second blog on which this odd comment has appeared...

Tenured Radical said...

Interesting. But you know coprolite (I had to look it up) is *not* worthless. It tells you a lot about the period in which it was created, animal migration patterns, and so on. So it may seem to be just an old piece of s***t, but only to the uninformed and incurious.

guez said...

The plot thickens: googling "You can dig up a coprolite" produces hits on 6 sites, including the poster's own blog, complete with a picture of a s***ting dinosaur skeleton:

http://mackmarinesmusings.blogspot.com/2009/04/i-wanna-really-be-somebody-by-ward.html

JackDanielsBlack said...

There is a good article in Salon today that details the harm that Ward Churchill's "scholarship" has done to his field. How do folks with no discernable qualifications get appointed important positions in ethnic studies, gender studies, etc.? The University of Colorado should be ashamed. Anyway, the article is at http://www.salon.com/opinion/kamiya/2009/04/09/ward_churchill/

By the way, the author calls Churchill a "tenured radical". Hmmm.

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