March 18, 2005

Move over, Ward Churchill

After reading portions of Churchill's interview comments at CNN, I have one reaction: move over, poster boy, and let us professionals do the heavy lifting to defend academe. An example:

Look, man, I riveted the entire nation on—what did I rivet the entire nation's attention on? It's just boilerplate now ... there's no analysis of the content of what I said.

My gut instinct is that this statement shows either a blithe ability to ignore the world of academic criticism or blithe disingenuousness. There has been analysis of Ward's writings on the subject, my current favorite being Mark Grimsley's (part I ,part II, part III, part IV, part V, part VI, and his broader comments on l'affaire Churchill). If he had wanted to talk about the value of his writings, he could point to other writings with some self-deprecation and express some delight that at least the controversy has led to a reexamination of the basic ideas in the hands of academics with diverse views. But, no—at least as reported by CNN, he may be glorifying in the academic-freedom martyr role. That may be just an illusion crafted by the editing, but I wouldn't be surprised, either.

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Posted in Academic freedom on March 18, 2005 7:40 PM |