Monday, October 20, 2008

Grounded and centered

An Inside Higher Education piece last week by one Jack Stripling, "In Defense of Ayers," covers in amusingly biased fashion the petition in support of terrorist scum Bill Ayers. Ward Churchill makes a guest appearance:
William Ayers has been trashed [sic] by conservative pundits and labeled “an unrepentant domestic terrorist” by Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee [and apparently by no one else], but the University of Illinois at Chicago professor has garnered the support of a growing number of peers who admire his scholarship and see the attacks on him as an affront to academic freedom.
An affront to academic freedom. Academic freedom is awful wussy these days.
Ayers, who helped found a Vietnam-era protest group that was blamed [sic] for bombing government buildings, has been a faculty member at Illinois-Chicago since 1987. In a statement signed by faculty members across the country, professors have spoken out against “the demonization” of Ayers, whose alleged [sic] ties to the Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama have made headlines.
Naturally, almost everyone Stripling quotes believes that, whatever Ayers might have done in the 60s and 70s, he should be considered now only as the influential educational theorist he's become:
Faculty members interviewed for this article stressed that Ayers has emerged as a prominent scholar in the field of education, and they say Ayers’s past is viewed by his colleagues as irrelevant to his current work.
When, of course, his past couldn't be more relevant to the malignant neo-marxism of "teaching for social justice" that is his current work. Speaking of malignity:
The statement lumps the attacks against Ayers into a broader history of “assaults designed to intimidate free thinking and stifle critical dialogue” in all levels of education. The letter specifically cites events at the University of Colorado at Boulder as part of the problematic pattern.

Ward Churchill, a former professor at Colorado whose writings on 9/11 caused enormous controversy, was fired in 2007 amid charges [sic] of academic misconduct. Churchill’s case has been cited by many as an abridgement of academic freedom, although even some of his early supporters were troubled by the allegations [sic] of plagiarism and other misconduct that surfaced after his writings came under scrutiny.

In an interview Monday, Churchill said he sees parallels with his own case and the way Ayers has been depicted in the news media. Churchill, a fellow Vietnam protester who says he met Ayers “back in the day,” is among those who signed the letter supporting Ayers. . . .
Back in the day, that is, that Ayers conveniently can't remember and Dohrn denied, when Wart (he claimed) taught the Weatherpukes how to make bombs. Guess he's finally consigned that lie to the same bottomless lie-hole that holds "I bring you greetings from the elders of the Keetoowah Band of Cherokee--my people." Anyhow, Chutch's former colleague, the exquisitely stupid Margaret LeCompte, is also quoted:
Margaret LeCompte, an education professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said she anticipates continued criticism of academe to come from people like David Horowitz. Horowitz is a conservative activist whose book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, derides liberal faculty.

“I’m sure that all 3,000 of those [who signed the Ayers letter] could be put on the hit list as more ‘dangerous professors,’ and David Horowitz could have a lot of fun with that,” LeCompte said. “But the people who want to think there’s a conspiracy to put more academics in higher education are going to continue to believe that.”
Tenured. Only one Ayersophobe is quoted, but he's a good one: KC Johnson of the Group of 88-busting Durham in Wonderland blog:
“I agree with . . . Palin that there’s a scandal here – but it’s not that Obama, among his hundreds of other associations with academic figures, was acquainted with, and received support from, Ayers and [Rashid] Khalidi,” Johnson wrote on the History News Network.

“The scandal is the evolution of a groupthink academic environment [that] has allowed figures such as Ayers and Khalidi to flourish.”
Johnson's offhand dismissal of the Obama-Ayers connection (maybe that's why he's quoted) will be ignored in light of past brilliance, but you can't argue with that last graf. Stripling eventually reaches a conclusion of surpassing sickeningness:
Eleni Katsarou, a clinical associate professor of curriculum and instruction at UIC, said she expects Ayers to return to the university and to continue thriving as a teacher and scholar.

“He’ll come back in January,” she said, “[and] I just can’t imagine he would have any problems centering and grounding himself.”
No, of course not.

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