Several weeks ago, a university professor was fired. Ward Churchill, who taught for more than twenty years at the University of Colorado at Boulder, was dismissed for an essay he wrote, shortly after 9/11, which expressed controversial views about 9/11. . . . But, the larger issue here is not academic freedom; the larger issue is censorship, and the insidious practice of this government to outlaw ideas, and convert communication into contraband.But quickly moves on to other pet peeves, like banned books:
If it were up to some conservative Christian groups in California, New York, Minnesota, and Michigan, Harry Potter would be banned, and removed from classrooms, and school libraries on the grounds that the books promote interest in "the occult." (NCAC) Some other titles that made the top ten 2006 banned books list include The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, for its sexual content, And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson, for homosexuality, The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier, for sexual content, and Scary Stories, by Alvin Schwartz, for the occult, and satanism.Okay, maybe not banned, exactly. Year after year, decade after decade, heavily covered and intensely mocked attempts at banning are evoked as evidence of imminent fascism.
When they fire academics for essays they write which espouse contrarian, and unorthodox views, university chancellors demonstrate the same mindset that prohibits modern classics from being read by students in our public schools. This is a disgrace just as it is a disgrace that we have so-called "free speech zones" in which demonstrators may protest this president, and citizens being arrested for wearing anti-Bush teeshirts.The jackboots! Here's a fine non sequitur:
Arguably, an even bigger disgrace is the fact that Paris Hilton got more coverage than the controversy over Harry Potter, or Ward Churchill. This administration has managed to put a silencer on the press.George Bush forced ordinary American citizens to watch Paris Hilton! And corporations are helping him out by silencing some of our most important thinkers:
Last weekend, when Pearl Jam performed one of its songs, AT & T chose to turn the volume down when lead singer, Eddie Vedder's lyrics included some disparaging statements about President Bush. . . .And nobody said a word. Nobody. They're all scared of Dick Cheney and his ice pick.
As always, though, the biggest problem is just how plain dumb everybody but HuffPo-reading liberals is:
It is flat out unacceptable for any lyric to be muted out during a concert because it is derogatory just as it is flat out unacceptable that a college educator face expulsion for expressing dissenting views of a national tragedy, however repugnant those views are.
At stake here is a complacent, and apathetic public that is allowing itself to be railroaded, and manipulated by a top-heavy, power-hungry, radical right, neo-conservative Christian government which has had phenomenal success in regulating what we see, hear, as well as discuss in our college, and public school, classrooms. And, by extension, in our movie theatres, bookstores, and T.V.s too.Not our TVs! Please!
That's right. Stahl thinks Wart's firing should have received more coverage than those six trapped miners (it doesn't look good) or the Minneapolis bridge collapse.
The fact that a professor was fired without much fanfare, or the kind of media focus given to six men trapped in a midwest mine, or the collapse of a bridge, speaks to the values, and lack of perspective, which enables the same kind of Salem Bay mentality which led to previous witchhunts, and cries of heresy.
Finally Stahl gets around to accusing anti-Wardites of McCarthyism, managing, at least, to muster an original take:
Yes, but would Washington feel perfectly at home with him? Peroration:
Had Cryonics existed at the time of Senator Joe McCarthy's demise, and had he requested to be defrosted in Washington, D.C., in the year 2007, rest assured that he would feel perfectly at home there.
There is a cancer in the body politic that has metastasized, and has now spread to our classrooms, book shelves, television screens, newspapers, and public libraries. As with racism, it is not the overt display of prejudice that poses the gravest threat, but the more subtle, and subliminal, often unseen, forms of prejudice.Um . . .
That we can live side by side with space travel, and instant communications with those who live 9,000 miles away and, at the same time, countenance the kind of mind policing that results in silencing dissenting writings as heretical, and occult smacks of ethical leprosy [great sentence!]. How can we not be impacted by what we are not allowed to say, or see, as well as what we stop ourselves from saying, and seeing.
Passivity, and acceptance, will prove to be our undoing. In the words of great Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, we must not "go gentle into that night," but "rage, rage, against the dying of the light."Do these people ever listen to what they're saying, or do they just string random words and ideas together?
Update: PB has more comments from Ward Churchill supporters! They're really dumb!
Update II: Ward gives an interview to Boulder Weekly and, as PB notes (same linkie), does what comes naturally: tells lies.
Update III: Greg Gutfeld:
But I do think we need independent voices like Vedder. And, thank God he continues to raise the issue of censorship! Because it really is a growing problem. People are getting censored everywhere. Like, for example.....I can't think of a single one. Let me get back to you on that.