The bizarre views of Group of 88 member Kathy Rudy have received national attention, thanks to the efforts of James Taranto’s opinionjournal blog. He first turned his attention to Rudy after this so-called “animal rights” activist could bring herself to describe Michael Vick as doing nothing beyond treating his dogs “very cruelly.” (Of course, Vick actually admitted to executing them in a barbaric fashion.) Rudy’s rationalization? Vick is black.
Here’s Taranto’s latest, from Friday:
Kathy Rudy, who studies women at Duke University, is turning out to provide a rich vein of material. Our item yesterday brought lots of interesting comments from readers. One called our attention to the Dec. 15, 2000, issue of Duke’s Faculty Forum newsletter, in which Rudy, who had just received the university’s $5,000 Alumni Teaching Award, describes the undergraduate class that “was most formative in my academic training.” It turns out to be one in which her teacher went AWOL:
"The setting was the mid-70’s, a small Catholic college in Upstate NY, and rather unwittingly I signed up for a class in something called “Organizing 101.” I was a pretty organized person and therefore thought that maybe I would get a good grade in the class. We started by reading the works of labor, political, and community organizers--people like Si Kahn, Saul Alinsky, Lenin, etc. . . .
"Almost half-way through the semester, the teacher just stopped coming to class. No explanations, no excuses . . . I remember as if it were yesterday the day that one of our classmates came up with the idea that maybe we should use the very techniques we had learned in the first weeks of class! We could organize ourselves, he suggested, and make demands that would get our needs met. Immediately, the class divided, about 2/3 thinking that this was a great way to give the teacher a taste of his own medicine, and 1/3 (the obedient Catholics) believing that we should just continue to show up and wait patiently. . . . Over the next few weeks, we talked the good Catholics into joining us, refused to bargain accept [sic] as a whole, demanded that all of us be given A’s, and asked for double course credit to compensate for the time and energy we spent dealing with this situation."
They got their A’s, though the credit was for only a single course. Her professors who did show up, though, must have been really bad if they were all outshone by the one who flew the coop.
Lots of readers, meanwhile, laughed at Rudy’s statement that “complexifying this equation to include race meant identifying ourselves as white oppressors.” Reader Eugene Dillenberg writes:
"I teach at a major Midwestern university where most students, and large sections of the faculty, generally laugh off the kind of racist/sexist nonsense Kathy Rudy spouts. We are preparing our students to take their places in the world, and we have little time for this kind of childishness.
"But one word caught me up short. “Complexifying”? This is a college-educated person? This is a college professor? My undergraduates know better than to make up words like this. If they try, they get their essay returned to them, with the offending text circled and the grade lowered accordingly.
"If someone knows this little about language, we must wonder what else she knows little about."
Paul Clark adds: “‘Complexifying’?!! Rudy isn’t an English professor, is she? In undergrad, I had an English professor who was not satisfied with the word ‘epiphany.’ He converted it to ‘epiphanic moment.’”
Brian McBrearty finds it hard to take Rudy seriously: "As a white male oppressor let me say that dominating women is easier when they sound like Foghorn Leghorn when trying to sound erudite. She was trying to be serious, but I could not stop my oppressive testosterone-fueled laughter long enough to read the end of her whiny complaint."
Christopher Scalia quips that “‘Complexifying’ is the new ‘strategery,’” and Gregory Taggert asks, “Complexifying? Is that the feminist version of complicating?”
Of course not.
Everyone knows that the actual word is “complexificationalizing.”
It’s worth reviewing the remarkable N&O video of the procession to the detention facility by Mike Nifong and his entourage.
That the convicted ex-DA could feel comfortable being escorted to jail by those who still proclaimed his innocence suggested a man who remains convinced that he did nothing wrong.
Upon Nifong’s departure from jail, the entourage was present to greet him again. Former Nifong citizens’ committee co-chair Victoria Peterson summed up for the group: “We love you here in Durham. The people love you. We support you, and we still support you, and we feel that you are innocent.”
The Chronicle reports that the Arts & Sciences faculty had its first meeting of the 2007-2008 academic year. The gathering had an Orwellian tinge.
[Dean George] McLendon, according to the paper, “advocated mutual trust and respect to rebuild positive relations between faculty, students and the Durham community.”
If a professor uses class time to announce the results of his “research”—that an “ejaculation had occurred” at 610 N. Buchanan (as occurred in March 2006 in one History class)—is such behavior conducive to fostering “mutual trust and respect”? Presumably not—yet such behavior never was addressed by the administration.
Continued the Chronicle,
Steve Nowicki, who was appointed as dean of undergraduate education in June, said he values the pluralism of ideas(!) and values within the Duke community and he plans to utilize them in defining his new position . . . Nowicki said the Duke administration cannot only look to other universities for new ideas because Duke needs to embrace the organic qualities of its own institution. “Diversity is a differential advantage [at Duke],” he said. “We need to celebrate differences while having common values.”
If professors publish op-eds accusing Duke students of “secret racism” for having the temerity to vote in Durham—as occurred last October—is such behavior reflective of a “need to celebrate differences while having common values”? Presumably not—yet such behavior never has been addressed by the administration.
The Brodhead administration has consciously chosen an ostrich-like policy—refusing to address the dubious behavior by fringe faculty in spring 2006. (From the same administration that appointed five committees to explore behavior related to the lacrosse team, this approach could be termed hypocritical.) Unfortunately, the policy of having swept such behavior under the rug renders ridiculous statements such as those of McLendon and Nowicki.
“Spoiler Steve” Monks was back in the news last week, criticizing the City Council for appointing the Whichard Committee. “To go out front,” remarked he, “and say we’re going to have this investigation prior to resolving the civil matter was, in my opinion, potentially financially foolhardy.”
Of course, this is the same “Spoiler Steve” who did everything he could last fall to ensure that the DPD’s corruption would have a chance to send three innocent people to jail. Running as a write-in candidate for DA, Monks focused his campaign entirely on areas where Lewis Cheek was strong, with the obvious goal of splitting the anti-Nifong vote. The Monks effort also produced one of the most bizarre episodes of the campaign, when the Spoiler called a press conference to announce that polling data (which showed him receiving 2 percent of the vote in the N&O’s public poll) indicated that he was the only candidate who could defeat Mike Nifong.
During the campaign, Monks said his goal was to ensure justice for the three falsely accused players. But right after Election Day, he appeared to lose interest in the issue, avoiding any and all public commentary about the case.
Faced with the choice between “Spoiler Steve” and someone like incumbent Diane (“Something Happened”) Catotti, I’d be hard pressed not to favor Catotti. At least she was up-front in her efforts prop up the prosecution and then, after it collapsed, ensure that no one be held accountable for misconduct.
This week’s hypocrisy award goes to sports columnist Mike Wise of the Washington Post, who, in a blog Q&A, recently opined,
I guess I don’t subscribe to the notion that I should bash someone for bashing’s sake. Too many people in my business are into yanking someone’s chain instead of having convictions about anything. Real fans and readers see through that. You can’t slam a person or team non-stop unless they really deserve to be smacked upside the head. If readers feel they already know your destination they won’t take the journey with you.
Yes, that’s the same Mike Wise who used the Duke men’s lacrosse team’s run to the championship game to repeatedly “bash” them—even as this journalist didn’t even take the time to interview any of the players or their coach, who were nearby (Baltimore) for the lacrosse Final Four.
The AP’s Aaron Beard had his latest nicely done article, examining the atmosphere surrounding Nifong’s one-day jail sentence. He obtained an especially perceptive quote from Jim Cooney, who noted, “I keep reflecting back to where we were a year ago when we were begging him to look at the truth and look at the facts, and he seemed committed to doing exactly what he pleased. He probably feels like he’s in a lake of fire right now. But if he does, he needs to come to the realization that he set that fire.”
In the N&O, Matt Dees and Joe Neff had a comprehensive summary of the settlement talks. Beyond monetary damages, they note,
The settlement also would require the City Council to pass resolutions urging the state legislature to pass criminal justice reform laws, including mandatory videotaping of identification procedures, recording of grand jury proceedings and creating a state ombudsman position to review complaints against prosecutors and intervene as necessary. And the city would be required to form an independent commission to review residents’ complaints about police . . .
Lawyers who have followed the case closely say the city has three main areas of vulnerability:
* The April 4, 2006, photo-identification procedure, conducted in violation of city policies, that led to indictments in the case. Accuser Crystal Gail Mangum was shown only photos of 46 white Duke lacrosse players.
* Discrepancies between hand-written notes taken by police Investigator Benjamin Himan and typewritten notes submitted months later by Sgt. Mark Gottlieb. Gottlieb wrote in July 2006 that Mangum on March 16 had described three people that fit the characteristics of the three accused players. Himan’s notes, written the day of the March meeting with Mangum, offer three very different descriptions.
* A CrimeStoppers poster released by police shortly after the initial rape allegations. It said a woman “was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community.”
The folks at BlueNC, which describes itself as “a community-driven website that promotes progressive values and policies in North Carolina,” might want to take a look at the Dees/Neff article before again writing about the case. As it stands now, the blog’s approach to Durham matters suggests that we may soon be seeing a new organization, “Progressives for Police & Prosecutorial-Misconduct (PP&P).”
In a post that seethed with prejudice, one BlueNC blogger lamented the fate of Mike Nifong, who “has a symbolic 24 hours behind bars—more time that Scooter Libby will ever do for a crime for which Alberto Gonzales should be charged but won’t because Democratic Congressmen are not as vindictive as the parents of rich white jocks.” [So, because Scooter Libby’s sentence was commuted, Nifong should go unpunished for lying to the court?] The blogger complained about the prospects of a civil suit, fuming, “As a Durham citizen, I don’t want to see my taxes poured down a rathole for the actions of a now disbarred DA, which is after all a state office.” [BlueNC appears to be conveniently overlooking the actions of the DPD. By the way, I wonder for whom the Durham backers of BlueNC voted last November?]
Bloger PartieLion continued,
What has bothered me most about the Nifong case is how quickly the defense lawyers brought all of the power of the national media to bear on the case so that it never got sorted out by twelve folks from Durham. [Yes, it was the defense attorneys that “brought all the power of the national media to bear” on events in Durham. In a PP&P exclusive, it appears that Joe Cheshire was impersonating Mike Nifong in the DA’s 50-70 ethically improper statements.] Now it is the vindictiveness of the civil case and its derailing of an investigation that is striking me.
There is something more than Nifong’s action rotten with this case. And that is the determination of the parents not to have the merits of the case, whatever few there might have been, brought out either in a trial or in an investigation of the actions of the Durham Police. [So much, apparently, for the comprehensive investigation by the AG’s office and the State Bureau of Investigation.]
Could it be that the point is not to get justice but to ensure that rich white jocks at prestigious colleges get legal immunity?
So, the PP&P platform appears to be:
1.) Victims of prosecutorial misconduct should stay away from talented defense attorneys, or from filing motions that lay out the improper actions of the prosecutor.
2.) We need to repeal the legislation that allows victims of police or prosecutorial misconduct to sue in federal court, for violation of civil rights.
3.) As another BlueNC blogger noted, the case needed to go to trial, since, “Shouldn’t we wait until the frickin’ trial takes place before we take down the district attorney?”
Perhaps Wahneema Lubiano could be persuaded to serve as honorary president of the organization. And if PP&P activists were really lucky, they could persuade Houston Baker to return from Nashville to advise them. This is the man, after all, who on March 29, 2006 demanded the immediate expulsion from Duke of every member of the lacrosse team. This sort of approach would seem to fit right in line with the civil liberties philosophy of the “progressives” at BlueNC.
Interim DA David Saacks got off to a highly unfortunate start. Asked to reflect on the lessons of the lacrosse case in his first day on the job, he incredibly asserted, “In some respects, couldn’t you even say the lacrosse case showed that our system works? They [the three defendants] never went to trial. The mistakes were pointed out early in the process and were corrected. But the system did work, even if in a roundabout way.”
If what we’ve witnessed over the past 18 months constituted the “system” working, imagine what a broken-down system in Durham would look like?
The unwillingness of otherwise intelligent people to state the obvious in this case never ceases to amaze. Such remarks only increase the need for an airtight civil suit settlement against Durham.