Monday, May 25, 2009

The Next Generation

This blog has often noted how—in the race/class/gender groupthink atmosphere that dominates many humanities and some social sciences departments—it is likely that the academy will become more extreme in the foreseeable future. Since department members control new hires, those likely to challenge the status quo can be screened out at the stage of the job description or, if the candidate somehow makes it past the screening committee, at the campus interview.

Citing the research of Cass Sunstein, Mark Bauerlein has termed this phenomenon the law of group polarization, which predicts "that when like-minded people deliberate as an organized group, the general opinion shifts toward extreme versions of their common beliefs. In a product-liability trial, for example, if nine jurors believe the manufacturer is somewhat guilty and three believe it is entirely guilty, the latter will draw the former toward a larger award than the nine would allow on their own. If people who object in varying degrees to the war in Iraq convene to debate methods of protest, all will emerge from the discussion more resolved against the war. Group Polarization happens so smoothly on campuses that those involved lose all sense of the range of legitimate opinion."

I’ve written elsewhere about how these patterns have affected my own field, history. Subfields perceived as dominated by “dead white males”—military history, diplomatic history, political history, and constitutional history—have largely been eliminated or “revisioned” beyond recognition, to become aligned with the preferred race/class/gender approach.

Such redefinition has occurred in one direction only. Scholars in social history, or ethnic studies, or African-American history, or gender history—who dominate most history departments in the United States—have shown little interest in “revisioning” their fields to include more attention to relevant military, diplomatic, political, or constitutional topics. It would be all but inconceivable for a department’s sole specialist in, say, U.S. women’s history to specialize in a topic like the regulatory theories of female members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Such a research area would occupy the fringe of a field that —as my former colleague, the gender historian B.S. Anderson, once candidly explained—considers historians who explore the activities of “figures in power” to be “old-fashioned.”

The net result of these personnel patterns is to produce departments filled with historians of race, class, and/or gender—or historians who are described as focusing on fields such as military, diplomatic, political, or constitutional history but whose research specialties nonetheless revolve around elements in the race/class/gender trinity. And, of course, at large research universities, these scholars train the next generation of professors.


Duke’s History Department is marinated in the Group of 88’s race/class/gender-based philosophy. Ten of its members signed the Group’s statement, and an eleventh—Reeve Huston—attacked Duke students in his class in ways that clearly violated the provisions of the Faculty Handbook. So, perhaps, it should come as little surprise to see what passes for scholarly discourse among some of the graduate students that the Duke department trains.

One of those students, Sean Parrish, recently offered a glimpse into how he viewed the state of the field. The occasion was a posting by Douglas Campbell, who teaches at Cal. St.-Chico, on the blog of the National Association of Scholars. Among other items, Campbell discussed a class in which he spoke about military culture.

The Campbell post prompted a rambling response from Parrish, who identified himself as “an actual graduate student, studying at a university other Americans have actually heard of,” and addressed Chapman as “Mr. Doug Army Guy.”

Parrish begins by providing an unusual conception of the “point of academia”:

As I see it, the point of academia is to take note of the simplified caricatures society produces - whether by the media, a variety of counter-cultural knownothings, or crusty intellectual posers like yourself - and try to complicate them by pealing [sic] away their layers of obfuscation.

Those who thought that “the point of academia” was to pursue the truth and to expand knowledge apparently need to think again. Quite beyond the absurdity of allowing others—”the media, a variety of counter-cultural knownothings, or crusty intellectual posers”—to define the questions that dominate “the point of academia,” does anyone really believe that the contemporary academy has much interest in peeling (or “pealing,” in Parrish’s preferred lingo) away the “obfuscation” posed by counter-culture types? Or, for that matter, the “obfuscation” posed by politically correct broadcasts on NPR or PBS?

Parrish’s conception of the academy, in short, essentially seems designed to give license to professors to spend their time “complicating” what they perceive as “right-wing” ideas in American society.

Parrish further asserts that at Duke,

many[?!] of the grad students here are former military officers. One of our incoming students next year is an Air Force officer himself. There are many specialists here who study military history and military culture. Their aim is to understand the military as a sophisticated social institution, like the university, that presents problems continuous with themes social scientists have long considered important, such as the rise of the modern state, demography, economic trends, the history of the family, and wider social hierarchies. Their interests are not in advertising the military as an isolated bastion of unique values and heroic ideals mere “civilians” could never appreciate, nor are they concerned with waiving peace signs.

This is a wordy articulation of the “revisioning” thesis—military history as “the history of the family” and “demography.” These might be appropriate questions for a military historian to explore—but they also fall at the field’s margins, as opposed to more mainstream military history topics (the history of battles and tactics; strategic theories and the bureaucratic and intellectual struggles that help produce them; technological change and its effect on warfare; the relationship between war and diplomacy) that, unsurprisingly, seem to hold little, if any, position in Parrish's “revisioning” of military history.

This, again, would be a little like celebrating the fact that the department’s gender historians were looking at such themes as women in elective office, female judges, and Madeline Albright’s tenure as secretary of state—topics that might fit within the definition of women’s history, but that most would consider on the margins of the field. Somehow, if Duke’s women’s history graduate students were focused exclusively on women in politics and women in diplomacy, I doubt we would see Sean Parrish celebrating the situation as an illustration of the department's strength.

Parrish then loses control of his emotions, and describes the critique of the universities in the following way:

Let’s quit the bullshit and get at the real concerns motivating rightwing insecurities about the state of universities. It is not difficult to see this as just an updated version of an ancient fear among daddy-worshipping morons concerning the presence of effeminate ‘faggots’, ‘commies’, and women in positions of higher learning, and oh God forbid, positions of actual influence upon our youth! This has nothing to do with “rational debate”, it is merely an expression of paternalistic insecurities that always come to the surface and assume new forms as the traditional coordinates of public authority in society are renegotiated and debated . . . Perhaps the real concern underlying conservative diatribes such as yours is that many universities may be working too well in demanding students to ask questions, reflect upon their unexamined assumptions, and consider the troubling possibility that experience and understanding are not always one and the same thing.

Most defenders of the academic status quo would try to avoid the arrogance and condescension reflected in Parrish’s screed—at least in comments that they thought might be read outside of the academic cocoon. But there’s little doubt that the mindset reflected in these comments—and the fury at outside criticism of the academy that informs it—represents the majority viewpoint in most humanities and some social sciences departments nationwide.

Parrish then decides to argue against straw men.

“Brainwashing” [students], therefore, requires a level of effort and planning that few if any scholars would ever be willing to put into their work. The benefits are just not that interesting for personalities attracted to lonely recesses, personal independence, and the creative challenge of producing new knowledge even if it will only be appreciated by a small number of readers . . . Moreover, and this perhaps irritates me the most, is your incredibly arrogant disregard for the capacity of students to weigh the value of their instructor’s opinions against their own, and to maintain a healthy dose of critical distance in the classroom. There is much that goes on in the minds of students that you are not aware of, and it is your hubris that encourages you to believe that any student who expresses values different from your own must be a victim of some other pedagogical sorcery, rather than a critical and judicious thinker in his/her own right.

A handful of far-right figures—David Horowitz, Bill O’Reilly—have made the “brainwashing” allegation, a line of criticism that strikes me as absurd (one reason I have opposed, publicly and repeatedly, legislative enactments of Horowitz’s Academic Bill of Rights).

But Parrish’s description of how students approach their educational experience is nothing more than a convenient rationalization for those committed to safeguarding the status quo on today's campuses. The main problem in contemporary higher education is not academic groupthink “brainwashing” students. The problem is how the effects of groupthink lead to enormous areas of inquiry simply vanishing from the curriculum.

There is no reason to believe that the average student (who, after all, makes no claim to pedagogical expertise) has any idea what he or she has lost. Indeed, in the last 10-15 years, we have seen a conscious attempt to restrict the range of questions asked, issues explored, and knowledge derived— an unprecedented development in the history of the American academy.

Parrish concludes with a touch of class:

My point, Mr. Doug Army Guy, is that there are other more meaningful targets to attack if you insist upon exposing society’s many ills. You might want to consider, however, that the most logical reason for the proliferation of liberal attitudes on university campuses lies in the fact that books of a higher quality than those you cited are hardly in short supply there. I think we found your real culprit General Doug, get the bonfires blazing if you really want to do something about it. I look forward to hearing the responses of your pissant cronies as they derail my lack of professional decorum, obvious indoctrination, or failure “to understand your thesis”. Your supposed thesis was not all that interesting, the passions that motivated it and what it aims to conceal, however, are quite interesting indeed.

This paragraph speaks for itself.

NAS president Peter Wood (no relationship to the infamous Duke professor of the same name) noted that Parrish’s screed teaches us at least four things “about the graduate student mind liberated from ‘paternalistic’ reason”:

(1) Snobbery. Mr. Parrish gets started with the modest declaration that, “As an actual graduate student, studying at a university other Americans have actually heard of…” Mr. Parrish is at Duke; Professor Campbell teaches at California State University at Chico. Once we dismiss reason, snobbery is as good an argument as anything else. ‘I attend a better known institution, therefore heed me.’

(2) Ad Hominem invective. This starts with Parrish’s salutation, “Dear Mr. Doug Army Guy,” and gets progressively worse throughout the letter. Who does Mr. Parrish think he is? He thinks he is someone entitled to treat with contempt people he disagrees with.

(3) Uncivil language and abusive assertions. One of the rules of reasoned discussion is that we avoid gratuitous characterizations. Mr. Parrish knows virtually nothing about Professor Campbell, but freed from the restrictions of reason, he invents his own elaborate psycho-sexual fantasy and projects it on to Professor Campbell as “an ancient fear among daddy-worshipping morons concerning the presence of effeminate ‘faggots’, ‘commies’, and women in positions of higher learning.” If we ask, ”How does Mr. Parrish come by this privileged knowledge?” we can find the answer in his first paragraph. These are, he tells us, “insights.”

(4) Just plain nastiness. Reason demands that we try to persuade people. Absent reason, the passions take over, and in this case, irritability seems to be in charge.

It’s worth noting, as regular DIW readers already know, that these four characteristics also have regularly appeared in the Group of 88’s response to their critics.

I twice e-mailed Parrish to ask if he stood behind his comments. He did not reply.


Anonymous said...

"The problem is how the effects of groupthink lead to enormous areas of inquiry simply vanishing from the curriculum.

There is no reason to believe that the average student (who, after all, makes no claim to pedagogical expertise) has any idea what he or she has lost."

For years, I have tracked Duke undergraduates majoring in history. I have looked at their senior transcripts, surveyed their course offerings (including the course descriptions and syllabi), and asked them basic questions about history.

They are depressingly ignorant about history. They can major in history without ever taking a single course in American history (including its founding or any of its wars). They are clueless about the most basic facts about, for example, ancient Greece and Rome, the significant events and living standards of the Dark and Middle Ages, what happened during the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Schisms in the church? Holy wars? Inquisitions? The development of the Industrial Revolution? The rise of collectivism and communism in the 20th century? Political and ideological debates surrounding those events? All are met with a blank stare.

They have no idea that their degree is not worth the paper its written on because they have "no reason to believe" that such knowledge is even important. They (and their parents) have entrusted their education to a "university other Americans have actually heard of" -- and that university has betrayed them.

However, they do "know" a lot about how Jefferson owned slaves, about how the Constitution purportedly oppresses women, and about how Exxon supposedly exploits third-world countries.

I once heard a dean quip (sadly) that he was glad the Political Science department was offering a course on the history of political thought -- because then at least there would be one history course offered that semester.

Duke Prof

QA said...

I really enjoyed your NAS President Peter Wood quotations.

I take it that he is not the Duke Historian, also named Peter Wood, listed in your list of Duke faculty with G88/G89 mentality.

Asheck said...

Duke prof--do you know this kind fellow?

I find it very humorous that Sean doesn't seem to realize that he is, in fact, the young woman in the army story.

I'm a computer science major at Drexel. I have to take one (just one!) English class. The ignorant arguments put forth in that class are by far more than I have heard in all my technical classes together.

No one cares about your opinion unless there is some evidence to support it.

Even then, I don't really care.

So what I'm saying....that young lady who was disagreeing with the professor? Unless she had some serious evidence, she should have kept her mouth shut.

I had a classmate tell everyone how hard her summer job was at an ice cream parlor on the beach.

I hate the humanities because the subject empowers stupid thinking and mob sheep mentality.

Anonymous said...

Your posting and the response of the Duke Prof highlight a problem that is not just restricted to the collegiate and graduate level - one finds it at the secondary level as well (after all, those trained in history who desire to teach do not all find jobs at the collegiate level). Thus, the approach to history (and one might well argue the humanities in general because this can be found there as well). If one doubts your assertions, one has only to look at the list of topics at the conventions of the AHA and the OAH. It is mainly for that reason that The Historical Society was formed - the persons most instrumental in its founding were not conservative, right wingers - it was the noted Marxist historian Eugene Genovese and his wife, Elizabeth Fox.
Historians today graduate with much less of a grounding in what I term basic history (the nuts and bolts of poitical, diplomatic, and economic facts that provide a framework). While social and cultural history are very important (I teach a social/cultural history course on Victorian England in addition to world history), one still needs a framework that politics and economics provides. When students come to college lacking that basic framework how are they able to really engage in fruitful enquiry - how are they able to challenge the professor's assertions?
Teachers and professors need to encourage inquiry whether or not they agree with the political implications of that quiry. Too often that is not the case. I would argue that for college students in the humanities, choosing courses can often be like walking over a War War I battlefield - there is so much hidden ordinance that can go off unexpectedly if you are not careful where you trod. Students are not encouraged to be inquisitive - just the opposite - they are encouraged to spit back the professor or teacher's point of view though gussied up to "show "research" and thus "inquiry" of a sort.
A personal story to illustrate the point. My middle son is stuyding at the LSE. There were several courses listed which he found to take in his field of interest - philosophy. My husband, a philosopher by training and excited that one of his children had selected his area of interest, looked over the course descriptions and looked at the cv's of the professors offering the courses. My husband is very left of center politically. My son is as well - but he will quite often take an opposing view in class in order to be able to see both sides of an issue in order to clarify his thinking on an issue. Knowing that and knowing the writings of the professors, he advised our son that several of the courses that he wished to take would probably not be the wisest selection. One in particular, by a woman who saw men as the source of all that is wrong in the world, my husband opined would not go well for our son as he was the archetype of what she railed against. After much discussion, he decided not to take the course - a wise decision in retrospect as several of his friends who are in the course have found that only one view is tolerated (the professor's) and those with the temerity to speak to a differing view have found their efforts ridiculed and their papers graded accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Let's put the test cited by Professor Johnson to the ... err ... test with the first Duke lacrosse article written by Selena Roberts. Did it contain:

(1) Snobbery.

Selena Roberts displays the ultimate snobbery, which is that of a human for individuals who have "belie[d] their standing as human beings." Moreover, the people who probably don't have standing as human beings are supported by those "roped off from the norms of decent behaviour." With this, the author has become the arbiter of "the norms of decent behavior" and she gets to look down her nose at the sub-humans. Check.

(2) Ad Hominem invective.

Alas, Roberts also indulged in multiple attacks of the Duke student-athletes that had nothing to do with whether or not a rape had occurred. These included:

"a group of privileged players"

"of fine pedigree"

"the intersection of entitlement and enablement"


(3) Uncivil language and abusive assertions.

One of the rules of reasoned discussion is that we avoid gratuitous characterizations. (This is a problem I have noted as well, which is frequently the result of the application of pop psychology.). Roberts exhibited this trait in spades: "Is it heterocentrism, homophobia or homoeroticism? Whatever the root, there is a common thread: a desire for teammates to exploit the vulnerable without conscience." Check.

(4) Just plain nastiness. When judged in toto and as coming from a national journalist in what purports to be a well-respected newspaper, the piece set a world record for nastiness -- especially since Roberts published one week after mere allegations had surfaced. Checkmate! MOO! Gregory

William L. Anderson said...

The irony is that Parrish's little screed is childish and reflects not any kind of thoughtfulness, but rather is nothing but the application of a ham-fisted point of view, complete with all of the usual caricatures. Here is a guy who claims to be "pealing" away the layers of history to reveal the truth, yet what he really is doing is engaging in obfuscation.

This is not unusual in academe anymore. The history and English departments at places like Duke have been reduced to a few real scholars surrounded by a bunch of cliche-lobbing frauds who believe that the dense prose they spew out actually is "scholarly" writing.

Parrish, unfortunately, is the product of this kind of nonsense. No doubt, he will fill a faculty post somewhere, throwing out cliche after cliche, and considering himself to be a "great scholar."

Michael said...

I believe that he was referring to McMaster University in Ontario. I have heard of Cal State Chico but was completely unfamiliar with McMaster.

Wikipedia notes:

The university operates six academic faculties; Science, Health Sciences, Engineering, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Business with an enrollment of 20,600 full-time undergraduate students and 2,901 postgraduate students.[4] The main campus is located on 300 acres (1.2 km2) of land in the residential neighbourhood of Westdale adjacent to Hamilton's Royal Botanical Gardens.

McMaster is the major knowledge generator in the Hamilton region, providing both the human capital and the research output for the regional economy. The university is particularly renown for its strengths in the fields of Health Sciences and Engineering and has been named Canada's most innovative medical-doctoral university 8 times in the past 11 years. The university is ranked highly in national, regional, and worldwide rankings.

Anonymous said...

KC, you could have kindly linked to Peter Wood's take, but "...We Don't Need No Stinkin' Reason" in the sidebar was an easy guess. Anyway, finding that, we learn Mr. Parrish's cloistered life has left him yet ignorant of the First Law of Holes.

Yet Parrish is not alone. The first commenter to Campbell's original article is one "Ron Hirschbein." Campbell had charitably left him anonymous, but Hirschbein proudly outs himself by first-person possessive. Campbell notes "You may judge for yourself Ron’s motive for identifying himself." Since he fails to dispute the actual story, I guess he was proud of his role. I cannot judge Hirschbein's motives, but this speaks of Hirschbein himself.

History started backalong, yet continues right up until, well, now. KC, rhetorically, as a historian yourself, whatever will be written about this after we're all gone? Oh. I guess cks sort of answered my question while I was writing.

-- no, not THAT Glenn

KC Johnson said...

Added the link to the full Wood post--which is definitely worth reading in its entirety.

Gary Packwood said...

cks 5/25/09 6:52 AM...said

...I would argue that for college students in the humanities, choosing courses can often be like walking over a World War I battlefield - there is so much hidden ordinance that can go off unexpectedly if you are not careful where you trod. Students are not encouraged to be inquisitive - just the opposite - they are encouraged to spit back the professor or teacher's point of view though gussied up to "show "research" and thus "inquiry" of a sort.
Great post. The connection to hidden ordinance is superb and as you noted, the syllabus is right there on-line for everyone to examine.

I sometimes wonder if university leaders and their BOT's understand those syllabi can be used as evidence in a proper court of law where the IRS is offering evidence - probable cause - IN FRONT OF A JURY for revoking the tax exempt status of a university!

Tax assessment on university property and the endowment would most assuredly be see by members of a jury as an immediate improvement for the 'human condition' across the entire host community.

Anonymous said...


I do not know what the procedure is at univesities today (though I can hazard a guess) but I do know what those at my school are supposed to include in their syllabi but often do not(and then suffer the consequences). In addition to what will be covered, the sources used in the course, testing, quizzing, grade computation, homework, and extra credit policy, one should (though a number do not) handle classroom procedure, late assignments, make-up work, attendance, and a whole host of things that, as a teacher, one is constantly adding to as situations occur in a previous year that were not covered in that year's syllabus. I regard it as a contract - and to that end, my students sign a statement, date it, and their parents sign it and date it and I keep it on file for the year. I also have the syllabus posted electronically on the class web page so that in case the parents or students have lost the hard copy that I have provided, they can always download a fresh one. I have had parents and students who have complained that something that I did (refuse to take an assignment because it was late - my policy is no paper at the beginning of class, then a zero) they were unaware of - I then highlight that portion of the syllabus and zerox their signature that they had read the syllabus and send it to them. end of discussion. Over the years, I have found that students (and parents) appreciate the fact that they know exactly what the rules are as well as what will be covered. I encourage those who think outside the box and who are willing to challenge (using data to back up their statements rather than the "ah feel, ah believe, ah think" justification) what they have read or what I present in the classroom. How else are students going to be prepared for the world? It can be discouraging (teaching is often that) but there are those who "come alive" as students - sometimes I am able to witness that, more often than not, they come back to see me after they have matriculated in college to let me know what all they learned (often much more than just history) about themselves, about discipline, and about the pursuit of scholarly endeavors.

Debrah said...

Sean Parrish will make a glorious addition to the Gang of 88 club.

They will need to spend little effort and hold few conferences teaching him the ropes.

It's very true what KC said about the opinions of many in the academy mirroring those of Parrish, but they would not want them illuminated for the public outside their "cocoon".

Parrish also exhibits shades of Bonilla-Silva, but I bet he doesn't have an over-the-top Spanish accent with a handy volume button.

It must take much more energy being obnoxious without that special feature.

Alex(andra) said...

A handful of far-right figures—David Horowitz, Bill O’Reilly—have made the “brainwashing” allegation, a line of criticism that strikes me as absurdI think you betray a little of your own bias when you call Bill O'Reilly and David Horowotiz "far-right figures." On the far right are libertarians, hardcore social conservatives, neoconservatives, maybe monarchists and (arguably) fascists. Ron Paul is a far-right figure. Jerry Falwell is a far-right figure. Bill O'Reilly is not. His views represent the mainstream of the Republican party. He is center-right; he even supports civil unions. He's incredibly obnoxious, granted, but he's hardly extreme. O'Reilly is not any more far-right than John Stewart is far-left; he's just not as cute. He's certainly not on the same level of extremity as the soi-disant scholars you profile. Don't move the goalposts.

Having established that O'Reilly is not a fringe figure, it follows logically that the "brainwashing" allegation (erroneous though it may be) is also not a trope exclusive to the far right. Strike up a conversation with any conservative in the Midwest; it's much more common than you think.

Debrah said...

Here we have Mr. Sean Parrish at all his glory.

I don't remember seeing him at the conference back in March, but no doubt he was there.

There were a lot of men hanging around who looked like him.

Michael said...

Thanks for the picture. Perhaps Mr. Parrish could use a little time on the Lacrosse field.

RighteousThug said...

I have a niece going to Univ of Texas now. She's a smart, really sweet girl who keeps the whole family apprised of her courses and progress through regular emails. This past January she sent her course descriptions for the Spring semester, this being one of them (emphasis mine):

America at War:There is a fundamental paradox in American history: that a nation that considers itself peace-loving has gone to war more often than any other nation during the last two centuries. The course will examine why and how American has
gone to war, and whether America's wars have accomplished what Americans expected. Students will investigate all major wars from the Revolutionary War to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They will comment on the readings orally and in writing, and will research at least one war in depth, producing an original paper of some 5000 words.

My partial response to her:

Is that true? France, at least, was mighty warlike during that period; there were something like 13 Napoleonic Wars alone. As late as 1981, the US had only been in 11 wars, according to no less an authority than John Winger ('We're America, we're 10-and-1!').

Be sure to ask about that, and keep us posted on what that (obviously :) commie pinko America-hating prof is teaching you.

'Want Peace? Prepare for War.'

No justice, no peace said...

I suppose for a graduate student at Duke he is approaching $300,000.00 all-in.

I would be very interested in seeing the default rates for student loans among the race/gender/class warfare frauds.

No one can be so stupid to pay that kind of money for that type of "education". Can they?

Anonymous said...

Methinks we give too much credit to Mr. Parrish's attempt at scholarly writing and show too little concern for his mental health. A discourse on either the methodologies for teaching HIstory or the specific historical facts themselves need not elicit the deep seeded anger and hostility that one finds in Mr. Parrish's screed.

And, indeed, it is a good example of a screed.

Dispssionate disagreement is not only reasonable, but, also, expected in the search for truth. However, like his idols in the G88, Mr. Parish believes that he must emotionally implode and spew epithets, vile language and ad mominem attacks to get attention to him and his twisted points of view.

Mr. Parrish's writing is not just an example of poor scholarship. This is a scary example of emotional instability and rank narcissism. perhaps even borderline personality disorder.

I feel sorry for Mr. Parrish. I will feel worse for any students who may be exposed to this ill human being.

It is just so very sad.

inman said...

Just stopped by to check in and ... praise Allah ... it is a pleasure to once again view an object of scorn and ridicule being ... well (and his choice of words --both precious and precocious)... being "pealed," for Mr. Parrish has surely had his bell rung. What brass. What a clapper. Mr. Sean P-diddle-himself most surely yoked and hung, pendulous, awaiting a certain tug of society's bell-pull, his caricature albeit also pealed, tear-eyed onion layers.


Debrah said...

I was skimming a few blogs and found this post.

Some very good advice until I came to the one where you read that this might be a good time for transitioning gender.

I really thought this was added as a joke, but it's for real.

IMO, this transcends the Parrish show.

Anonymous said...

Shame on you for slandering Bill O’Reilly As being "Far-Right."

The Hounds of TASSers'ville said...

Prof Johnson and Co.:

Pardon us for being somewhat off topic here, but we wanted to point your attention to the Hackney Lackey's taciturn fleeing of Durham:

As one commenter on the Chronicle points out it makes us wonder about the ability of Duke' Administration to show any kind of acquiescence to impropriety. We have to agree, it certainly seems suspicious that someone who played such a role in violating civil rights in the case as Moneta should now go off to pursue dubious ventures. We are also surprised that justice officials (for whatever they are worth in Durham) would let him leave.

Perhaps those more legally adroit than we can comment on the ramifications of Moneta and Lubiano's flights. If he must testify during the lawsuits, is there extradition matters involved?

Posted by Hound No. 2

Anonymous said...

I hate to tell you this, but in all likelihood he's being paid to go to grad school at Duke. We in the liberal arts and social sciences would never be able to pay back the cost of a Duke education. Instead they charge us nothing and give us a stipend to live on. But if it makes you feel better, Sean obviously hasn't learned anything in his time here...

Debrah said...

The Sean Parrish issue has been picked up here.

No justice, no peace said...

"The more the Federal Government ha attempted to legislate morality, the more it has actually incited hatreds and violence."

Maybe this should be broader to include all governance. All one needs to do is consider the campus speech codes, the orientation classes, the dorm indoctrinations (U. of Delaware), and the efforts to mandate classes in the name of diversity, and then assess the outcomes to see they don't work. What about the proposed Duke Campus Culture Initiative to "enhance" the undergraduate experience"?

Duke Campus Culture Initiative Recommends Changes in Curriculum, Housing, Other Areas to Enhance Undergraduate Experience".proposed recommendations ranging from enhanced faculty ties with undergraduates to a clearer university policy on underage student drinking. Its report also calls for changes in areas such as dining and residential housing, including an end to the practice of assigning West Campus housing to selective living groups."

They are divisive and not inclusive.

Any guess who said that? It appears the speaker may have had it right all along.

Who was it?

Why it was Barry Goldwater as quoted in Time magazine in September of 1964. Of course this assumes Time got the quote and context correct.

Where did I come across this quote?

"All the Way with LBJ, the 1964 Presidential Election" by Robert David Johnson, 2009, Cambridge University Press.

Of interest...Goldwater probably lost the election because some voters, with LBJ's help, thought he would use the nuclear option. Ironically, the fear that Israel wouldn't hesitate to use the nuclear option is probably why they survive today.

Maybe we should revisit Goldwater's message to reduce government at all levels. Maybe we'd all get along much better.

No justice, no peace said...

This quote from the prior linked article regarding the Duke Campus Culture Initiative gets to one root cause problem. Certainly one that KC consistently speaks to, which is the narrow totalitarian "debate" that goes on in academie.

"The important thing now is to have the conversation the Report is meant to launch,” Brodhead said in a message responding to the report. “None of its recommendations is a ‘done deal.’ Nor should any of its suggestions be off the table. This is a time for vigorous debate, which is a healthy thing in a university.”

Debate in academia today is akin to the entire faculty discussing which of two vegan dishes they'll select for a high-noon luncheon. Any discussion of other menu selections, alternative restaurants, meal time, etc. are never considered.

"Debate", now that would be funny were people not paying $200,000.00 for this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

As any attorney can tell you, judicial decisions are a matter of “applying the law to the facts” of the case. In my experience, the winning attorney is always the one who knows the most facts about the case. The reason for this should be obvious: By knowing more facts, the attorney is able to present a better (more convincing) legal analysis – that is, a better “application of the law to the facts”.

So it is with history. Historical facts are “points of a line” while historical analyses are the lines which, at least purportedly, connect the points. (For example, the Treaty of Versailles of 1920 and the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany in 1932 are two historical facts – “points”. There is a generally accepted view among historians that these points are connected by a line of causation.) Nowadays, however, it seems that many historians, especially in universities, are neglecting the evidentiary foundations of historical analysis.

Even our host has joined this trend. In a recent blog article about conservative opposition to some of Pres. Obama’s nominees, KC Johnson simply compared the number of “no” votes against previous Republican presidents’ nominees with the number of “nays” already voted or expected against Obama’s nominees. I felt obliged to point out in a comment to him that every Obama nominee he named was, in the parlance of today, “ethically-challenged” – most of them known tax cheats*. That should clear up the mystery for him as to why conservatives are voting “no” on the Obama nominees that he named. It also shows the importance of being able to marshal as many historical facts as one can before attempting an historical analysis, because the “line” is only as accurate as the “points” composing it.

This brings me to the recent exchange of views on the NAS website between Prof. Campbell and the Duke graduate student, Sean Parrish. I once worked at a state supreme court where my primary job was to read the argument briefs – often massive tomes – of competing attorneys and to distill the essence of their views into a short memorandum for the court. Reading Campbell’s and Parrish’s lengthy posts, I recalled that experience and I hope, time allowing, to do the same and post the analysis here in the near future.


*I used to wonder how rich Democrats could support higher taxes which they themselves would have to pay. The parade of Obama nominees has cleared up some of my confusion. And it is as though Democrats do agree with conservatives that “Power corrupts” and so in a bid for efficiency they promote already-corrupt people to positions of power in order to skip the transition period.

Anonymous said...

One of the aspects of D-in-W back in the early days was the approach that Dr KC Johnson took to supporting his opinions which was to look for documents and at available court records to show the absurdity and self-serving nature of the actions of the judicial system in Durham whose general MO appeared to be "Sentence first, Verdict afterwards." This mindset seems echo in modern academia where the opinion to be supported is know from the beginning and the course supports this thesis. The article referred to deplores the lack of concern for the basics of historical background. It seems to me that current Phd's are offered in area's where the past has not been plumbed and therefore it is easier to come up with something new in the way of analysis. It would be hard to find any new material about classical history and therefore new race, sex and class based studies are easier to get into.

No justice, no peace said...

Supreme racist?"...I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life”

Why, who would say such a thing?

Someone at Duke?

Someone in Durham?

Well, it comes from our newly nominated Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Who would appoint a racist who thinks like that?

Isn't it richly ironic that her comments about Federal Court of Appeals and policy-making was at a conference at Duke?

The saw is that if you're going into academia, you're going to teach, or as Judge Lucero just said, public interest law, all of the legal defense funds out there, they're looking for people with court of appeals experience, because it is -- court of appeals is where policy is made. And I know -- and I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don't make law, I know. OK, I know. I'm not promoting it, and I'm not advocating it, I'm -- you know. OK. Having said that, the court of appeals is where, before the Supreme Court makes the final decision, the law is percolating -- its interpretation, its application. And Judge Lucero is right. I often explain to people, when you're on the district court, you're looking to do justice in the individual case. So you are looking much more to the facts of the case than you are to the application of the law because the application of the law is non-precedential, so the facts control. On the court of appeals, you are looking to how the law is developing, so that it will then be applied to a broad class of cases. And so you're always thinking about the ramifications of this ruling on the next step in the development of the law. You can make a choice and say, "I don't care about the next step," and sometimes we do. Or sometimes we say, "We'll worry about that when we get to it" -- look at what the Supreme Court just did. But the point is that that's the differences -- the practical differences in the two experiences are the district court is controlled chaos and not so controlled most of the time."

Of course what is missing from the transcript is the attendees laughing when she say, "..and I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don't make law, I know. OK, I know. I'm not promoting it, and I'm not advocating it, I'm -- you know. OK."

"'re looking to do justice in the individual case." Now that is comforting.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:59

The material of the past offers much to historians for analysis - and in fact, each generation of historians has the ability to look at the past from a different perspective. The problem with gender studies in particular is the tendency to "out" people of the past with little if any information and with even less rigorous study of the language, customs, etc of the period in which the "outed" person/persons lived as well as to make wide ranging assumptions that quite honestly are of a dubious nature. The conclusions are more often than not couched in a jargon that makes the reading of such historians tendentious. I sm not saying that all gender studies are of little value, it is jsut that many are over wrought and assume an importance in the overall study of history that is unwarranted.

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for the great American novel or film which describes the academy with the accuracy and laser-like focus employed by Pearl Buck in "The Good Earth" or Pilegge and Scorcese in "Casino." Did you know that in "Casino" the word "money" is mentioned 134 times? It's true, I counted. (That's not including words such as "cash," "dollars" or the like).

I think some variation of the phrase "politically correct" will have to be at least as prominent in my wished-for "fictional" narrative describing the modern university. Here's a voice-over from "Casino":


"... cash. Tons of it. I mean, what do you think we're doing out here in the middle of the desert? It's all this money. This is the end result of all the bright lights and the comped trips, of all the champagne and free hotel suites, and all the broads and all the booze. It's all been arranged just for us to get your money. That's the truth about Las Vegas."

Or, this anticipated novel about PC in academia could focus like Pearl Buck did with her fixation with "land" or "earth":

"He had no articulate thought of anything; there was only this perfect sympathy of movement, of turning this earth of theirs over and over to the sun, this earth which formed their home and fed their bodies and made their gods." (p. 27). And, "Land is one's flesh and blood." (p. 45). And, "If you sell the land, it is the end." (p. 308).

This novel or movie would have to be tautly focused on PC because of how it motivates so many who adhere to, or fear, it. And for how it plays a role in every action or inaction. It really has become a form of currency on campus. MOO! Gregory

No justice, no peace said...

12:39 MOO! Gregory...that was beautiful especially when one considers that policital correctness is actually salting the Earth.

Anonymous said...

A couple comments about the actual topic of Professor Johnson's post:

1. In his response to Campbell's article in NAS, Sean Parrish wrote that he "found much of [the] piece a little hard to believe based on [his] own experiences with some pretty left-wing professors and students." Subsequently, Parrish used 1,955 words (I counted) and 9 very bloated paragraphs to make Campbell's case.

2. Because Mr. Parrish has indicated that he "crave[s] public feedback" about his "creative efforts," I offer the following in the belief that he'll eventually make his way to this board to see what people are writing about him:

A. Spellchecker is not a substitute for re-reading.

B. A 323-word paragraph is not writing, it is cruel and unusual writing. That's especially true when a subsequent paragraph is 301 words long.

C. Logical inconsistencies need to be rooted out during the editing process. For example, Parrish claims "that there are other more meaningful targets to attack if you insist upon exposing society’s many ills." Yet, Parrish used 3,139 words to attack Campbell's 2,607-word article.

D. Using terms like "anti-intellectual" to attack an opponent is fine, but you must make sure you're not the anti-intellectual. Otherwise, you open yourself up to charges of hypocrisy. How can Campbell's chief argument be labeled "anti-intellectual"? Here it is:

"[A] a professor is professionally obligated to present equally well all sides or interpretations of an important issue being discussed in class. My supporting argument was that only by being equally informed of all positions and their supporting rationale can students apply logic and reach their own rational conclusions on important issues and problems."

E. Then, you have the other problems well-elucidated by Professor Johnson and not repeated here.

3. I am amazed by the anti-intellectual argument. There is a belief in some quarters that teaching Intelligent Design might verge on an anti-intellectual pursuit. I can see where such an argument might be made. On the other hand, how can people claim that teaching Shakespeare or European history is anti-intellectual? How can teaching all sides of an issue be anti-intellectual? MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

Is Huston a Communist?

Debrah said...

A local message that was brought to everyone on Memorial Day.

"vilomah"......yes, there was a lot of vilomah in the Spring of 2006, Karla.

Please write a sophomoric and painfully stilted column about that, why don't you?

It's like going feet-first through one of Saddam Hussein's wood chippers to read something like this from one of Duke's Gang leaders.

I think Holloway has rehashed this one about sixty times already.

Anonymous said...

In the 70's professors were encouraging each other to bring in some leftists to add diversity. It was only one or two people. Hardly a reason to worry. Then came the feminists. The Latinos. Pretty soon the majority interested in real diversity had been pushed aside and marginalized. I love seeing how the left returns the favor. "You diagree with me, and you are indeed worthy of only contempt."

cathyf said...

Helpful to this discussion is Max Shulman's Love is a Fallacy.

Wicked funny, too.

Anonymous said...

When will Karla Holloway invent a word to describe the fear and pain that a mother feels when most of a major American city, over a hundred university professors, various church leaders, basically an entire legal system (except for a ccuple of precinct-level police officers, a few defense attorneys and one judge) and almost all of the local media band together to form a frenzied lynch mob in order to send her innocent son to prison for 30 years based, not on evidence, but on prejudice?

If Holloway does invent such a word, do you think she'll tie it in to some holiday that has, at best, a very awkward and ill-conceived connection to that word, such as Earth Day, Easter or Kwanza? MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...


You asked when Ms. Holloway will invent such a word - it is the word victim - but that is not in her vocabulary.

Anonymous said...

To no justice, no peace:

Thanks! That's a nice analogy.


To inman:

Is that you, Inman? The real Inman of days gone by? Hey!


To cks:

Yes! But I do think she can use the word "victim" from the first-person point of view in either the "I" or "We" form. That seems to be a major sticking point in the aftermath of the Hoax. Some people can't make mistakes, while others can't be injured.


To cathyf:

That was a perfectly wonderful, funny and relevant story! I have copied that link to keep it handy. Previously, I'd used a general category to describe fallacies -- "stupid." It also reminded me of my high school days.

Out of the lustness of my heart, I had agreed to tutor a comely lass having major difficulties with geometry. After a semester of rigorous instruction, I screwed up my courage and asked her out, claiming that she would "have the best time of your life." She said,

"You didn't approach me in the proper fashion, and I just feel that we can't be together because we run around in different crowds, and we're so different. Also, I believe your claims of a 'best time of my life' are exaggerated."

I replied out of frustration, "I don't understand."

To which she elaborated, "You didn't choose the right angle; we're two parallel lines that cannot possibly intersect, and, besides, you're a square. Finally, your claims are pure hyperbola."

(Sorry, I had to do it)! MOO! Gregory

No justice, no peace said...

MOO!Gregory, the word may end up being "sotomajor"

"Experience being tested by obstacles and barriers, by hardship and misfortune; experience insisting, persisting, and ultimately overcoming those barriers," Mr. Obama said yesterday in introducing Ms. Sotomayor. "It is experience that can give a person a common touch of compassion; an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live. And that is why it is a necessary ingredient in the kind of Justice we need on the Supreme Court."

So does the experience of being a lying, drug-addled stripper, with a history of false charges trump the truth? Does the law even matter or does experience trump the law?

Who among us would want to go before a judge who is compassionately, or otherwise, assessing their life-experience instead of the facts related to the case? How would a white male lacrosse player fare before Judge Sotomajor if the other side involved a Latina?

Wasn't this THE basis on why the defense thought it impossible for the lacrosse men to secure a fair trial in Durham?


Anonymous said...

He might not have responded to your e-mails, however he does address some of your criticism in the comments of the 'Reason? Reason? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Reason!' article.

First the connection by comparison to the Group of 88:

"Sean Parrish obviously supported a shallow career driven prosecutor in accusing four innocent lacrosse players, etc, etc. Though I do enjoy drinking coffee every morning from my Duke Lacrosse mug (a X-mas present from mommy), I unfortunately was not a student here during all the festivities regarding that event. I watched it unfold on television just like many of you, the difference being that I am not prepared to exploit that event to prove the existence of a nationwide conspiracy of political correctness in contemporary universities."

He also addresses you by name in an additional response further down the comments:

"Obviously older scholars who were not denied tenure for a lack of collegiality (sounds embarrassing K.C.), and with far more experience than I have aren't giving you the attention you deserve. I also have to express my confusion that for men who so rigorously defend the purity of substance in academic debate, you do expend a great deal of energy criticizing the poorly developed rhetorical form of your opponents."

KC Johnson said...

To the 9.20:

It's intriguing that even someone like Mr. Parrish describes the Group of 88 as people who "supported a shallow career driven prosecutor in accusing four innocent lacrosse players."

As to the second paragraph: the last time I looked, I am a tenured full professor. If Mr. Parrish has information that I was 'denied tenure,' perhaps he should share it with CUNY, which has kept sending me paychecks regardless!

Duke 1965 said...

I'm probably in the distinct minority, but I actually feel sorry for Mr. Parrish. His ability to project onto others without any evidence is astounding. I've had a lifelong interest in 20th century politics (anyone remember the vicuna coat?), and I would love to take a course from KC, simply to gain the knowledge and insight from someone who has seriously studied the subject. Now, if I walked into KC's classroom with the preconceived notion that KC was trying to impart his moral values to me in a paternalistic fashion, I could well miss the true value of the course, which would be sad indeed. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes teaching is just teaching, not a subliminal social indoctrination.

QA said...

From KC’s opening post onwards, this threadline is the best ever, IMO.

The technique of following-through on the faulty logic of an assertion until it is reduced to an absurdity, is one of my favorites.

This thread is a pleasure to follow, as a model of Socratic Dialogue - in the guise of a series of apparent Monologues - in writing no less. What you might call bidirectional one-way communications.

A number of posters come across as born teachers, skilled at getting their pupils to see the light - I’ve had a few such teachers in my time, and am comfortable in accepting the unspoken assignment to the role of temporary- pupil-for-the-sake-of-the-argument.

As Rabbi Akiba once said:

“...more than the calf wishes to suck does the cow yearn to suckle”

[and I am not even Jewish [and not anti-semantic, either]]

When I do this Socratic thing myself, I have noticed that not everyone is comfortable in the pupil role. Some people seem to feel they are intentionally being made to look foolish, even though that is not our model-teacher’s intention at all - our model teacher intends only enlightenment.

Unfortunately such calves may retaliate, and if they ever become bulls they may try to get their own back, and make us drink hemlock.

I try to head that off, remembering to be aware of such reactions, and phrase my comments accordingly, but I have still not figured-out a fool-proof method.

Anonymous said...

QA - You are a wise person indeed! - I enjoyed your reference to the words of Rabbi Akiba (and I an nether Jewish or semantic either).

Anonymous said...

"Citing the research of Cass Sunstein, Mark Bauerlein has termed this phenomenon the law of group polarization, which predicts "that when like-minded people deliberate as an organized group, the general opinion shifts toward extreme versions of their common beliefs."

Do you ever wonder if this applies to blogs as well?

Anonymous said...

Duke Law 72
A few years ago I attended a straightforeward real estate closing. My client was the Executor of the estate of the former owner so I didn't bother my client to attend as we had completed our paperwork well in advance. As is too often the case, the lender bank hadn't gotten its act together so the buyer, his atty, the bank's atty and I sat and chatted for quite some time. As things turned out the husband buyer was moving in to teach history in the local high school- particularly American History. Thinking we had a topic of common interest I told him that I has just finally completed Commager's Spirit if 1776. Our budding history teacher not only had never read it he had never heard of it or of Henry Steele Commager either. Think we have a problem?

KC Johnson said...

To the 12.53:

It would apply, in theory, to any entity in which alternative views are excluded or silenced (one reason I am very careful not to discriminate on the basis of content in clearing comments, even if that means clearing comments very critical of me, such as those of the Group apologist, Prof. Zimmerman).

There is, however, an enormous difference between the type of "law of group polarization" that Sunstein and Bauerlein talk about and blogs. In the Sunstein and Bauerlein models, the end result is a decision: the jury trial award in the Sunstein model, a personnel or curricular decision in the type of events of which Bauerlein writes. Blogs, of course, do not end in a decision.

Anonymous said...

Duke Law 72:

Your experience is just the tip of the iceberg, believe me. My department interviewed a young woman seven years ago for the position that I now hold. She was asked how she would approach teaching the Renaissance. She went on and on about the 19th century and the Victorians. Needless to say, she was not hired.
Little history is taught these days - and mostly what is taught, is poorly done.

Anonymous said...

I am a Duke grad and a history major. I graduated nearly 30 years ago.

I was in the History Honors program and did quite well. I had the immense pleasure and opportunity to work with the late Dr. John (Jack) Cell.

And Duke prof's post saddens me, because I know deep down it is accurate.

Back in the day, I was clearly conversant in the basics of Greek and Roman history (having been taught this subject by one member of the Group of 88 in her first year of teaching - and yes, she did a fine job then), the basics of English history as well as American history, and of course post-Renaissance European history, the time period of of my honors thesis. I have an entirely different profession now than that of the study of history, but love history to this day. My hobby is history - with over two thousand history texts in the home. And of course, once having run through Dr. Cell's regimen, graduate school, even the "highly ranked" one I attended (no doubt with Dr. Cell's help), was a day in the park. Dr. Cell (as well as three or four others of the same mold) made sure we all knew the importance of facts, how to think critically, and how to value the truth.

I owe my personal and intellectual development to Dr. Cell. I was a poor kid from a broken single mother home who didn't really belong at Duke - he was not just an important influence on me - he was the influence, period. I wonder to this day how I could be so lucky to be the subject of his taciturn gaze and his guidance. He also taught by example that racism of any kind was unacceptable. This is why I like KC's blog so much - he engages in the same type of critical thinking that Dr. Cell taught us all how to appreciate. KC, I can pay you no higher compliment. Read the British Studies Intelligencer obit from 2002 about Dr. Cell, and one can distill that none of my statements are exaggerated.

To the current crop of Group of 88'ers, I would ask of them if they think their students would say the same kind of thing as I now state about Dr. Cell - I sincerely doubt it. His teachings were enduring, and so was his quest for the truth.

And to the current group of Duke profs - Dr. Cell is someone to emulate, as much as you can. I doubt that you will, however. He was to the core a principled man, a commodity in short supply these days.

Shouting Thomas said...

Sean Phillips did respond to critics at the NAS site. His response is a nasty piece of work.

To the extent that I can understand what he says, it appears that Mr. Phillips doesn't owe any obligation of simple courtesy or even an attempt at reason because he considers the writers and readers at the NAS site to be guilty of something. As far as I can tell from Phillips' rambling piece, the writers at NAS are guilty of wishing to (1) re-enslave blacks, (2) diminish the status of women, and (3) discriminate against gays. He seems to assign this guilt solely because the writers at NAS are white, male and above a certain age. How he knows the identity of the writers at NAS is unexplained.

So, from what I can discern from Mr. Phillips screed, he believe that the writers at NAS are "bigots" and thus not deserving of either courtesy or reason.

Interestingly, I've looked at Mr. Phillips' picture and he is white and male. I'm not sure why this inherited, genetically acquired guilty doesn't attach to him. He doesn't bother to explain this.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you devoted an entire post to the ramblings of some random Duke graduate student. Jesus man, get a life.

KC Johnson said...

To the 8.18:

Thanks for the advice!

I'll now offer my own, in return: advice is usually more effective when given in your own name, rather than anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Given the content of this post, I seriously doubt any advice you receive from comments (anonymous or otherwise) is effective.

Someone who points to the posts of a random Duke grad student as evidence for the future decay of academia isn't exactly processing things with any sense of perspective. I've really no idea what you're trying to accomplish here, other than to venture into wingnutland.

KC Johnson said...

To the 9.13:

Again, thanks for the anonymous comment!

Debrah said...

TO anonymous (8:18PM) and (9:13PM)--

Do you even know anything about NAS?

Do you even know anything about grad students at Duke?

Are you one?

Do you know one?

Are you the fellow in question?

How might we evaluate your ankle-biting talents if we do not know your true expertise?

If you've got one of those lives that you think someone should "get", please tell us all about it.

Specifics, please.

QA said...

Debrah; re Your 5/27/09 11:14 PM

Socrates would be proud of you.

gwallan said...

Oh gee...I feel a bit responsible.

Back when I was at school, circa 70s, I made an art of reproducing teachers' political ideologies at every opportunity. A's were easy pickings. You'll have to trust me when I say I would have done fine in any G88 classroom.

I'm feeling as though I encouraged the bastards now.

Anyway it may interest cks to know that was during my secondary schooling. What really disturbs my sensibilities is that my writing then was better than that of Sean Parrish NOW. Mind you I got to grow up on a diet of Churchill, Kennedy(x2), Menzies, Whitlam, King, Gandhi...

Look at what Sean has had.

Anonymous said...

TO anonymous (8:18PM) and (9:13PM)--

That's almost the same silly logic used by Parrish when he used 3,139 words to attack Campbell's 2,607. Parrish wrote that "there are other more meaningful targets to attack if you insist upon exposing society’s many ills." You have apparently read the long post, probably read Campbell's article and Parrish's response, read at least some of the comments, and posted two comments yourself. Get a life! LOL!!


Additionally, I see Professor Johnson's post as another brick. By itself, it's just a brick, but he's also put together quite a few bricks, and if you ignore those other bricks, you'll never understand what's been made. MOO! Gregory

LarryD said...

Anon @ 5/27/09 12:53 PM

And that is the reason many blogs tolerate (up to a point) comments from the opposite camp even when they're poorly constructed and snide. Well, American conservatives are used to dealing with it, we get it from TV and the press all the time anyhow.

Survey how tolerant of dissenting opinion blogs like Kos's are. Compare the Huffington Post.

becket03 said...

I had a lot of fun reading Parrish's attacks. What a petty little snot he is. And the cojones on the guy to bring up KC's little dust-up at Brooklyn College over "collegiality," when his own verbal diarrhea could win awards for prima donna nastiness and an uncouth lack of collegiality.

And here's the kicker. KC's problems with accusations that he supposedly lacked collegiality where really an argument of last resort by his opponents. They knew his academic credentials easily matched and in most cases far exceeded their own. He was a solid, competent scholar with a stellar record. But he was difficult to herd, difficult to pigeonhole, unreceptive to groupthink bromides, and a fearless and fearsome investigator, as he's proven over and over again in the years following the tenure battle.

It made them uneasy. KC had to be attacked and taken down. Luckily for the academy, the attack failed.

Now consider Parrish. He's swallowed hook, line and sinker the trendy academic fashions of the day. He's been easy to herd, easy to pigeonhole, and highly receptive to groupthink. But despite his evident uncollegiality, proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by his recent postings on NAS, he'll never have to worry that he'll be called on it. His fellow groupthinkers just won't see it.

Which all goes to show that when the academy charges "uncollegiality" it's really saying, "Think as we do, or GO!"


Anonymous said...

"Which all goes to show that when the academy charges "uncollegiality" it's really saying, "Think as we do, or GO!'"

Boy, did you nail that. And the fact is that academia's let's-be-collegial collective are the most unprofessional, petty, and vicious people you'll ever meet -- to wit, some in the G88.

Duke Prof

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your analysis. It is unfortunate that Mr. Parrish seems determined to become Dr. Parrish, and that neither entity will ever understand the beauty of thoughtful, rational analysis and the equal wonder of teaching diverse, that is to say, not like minded students how to reason freely, without dictating outcome. Preconceptions can greatly hinder discovery, bad manners can make all discourse unmanageable but the essential question is why would ill tempered bullies gravitate to this profession in the first place? The disgust and anger in many of these personalities can't happen randomly. Their ability to lecture without daily oversight and reward or punish with grades that only measure a level of capitulation impedes true learning. Maybe as bad teachers become intent on teaching fantasy or fringe history, they console themselves with the provocative while they lose the substantive. I have no knowledge, but would many of these personalities fail traditional personality evaluations? Are our complaints too limited in questioning their motives when what need to be questioned is their capabilities?