But it hasn't happened. On August 2, the always straight and true Try-Works alibied that
Due to technical difficulties, Ward Churchill’s afore-promised complaint of plagiarism in the vaunted “Report of the Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct at the University of Colorado at Boulder concerning Allegations of Academic Misconduct against Professor Ward Churchill” shall be slightly delayed.
But only slightly.
In the meantime . . .
In the meantime it's now late on August 7th and Churchill's complaint still hasn't materialized.
But the "conversation," whether it's really with Churchill or some masturbatory phantasm of the writer's (once again, I think it's Churchill) is hilarious for its display of the extremely novelistic (uh, bad-novelistic) tendencies of your average anarcho-romantic. It's also interesting because, besides making the (unspecified) accusations of plagiarism, Churchill, if indeed it is he, discusses strategery and threatens another suit against a certain CU law professor. I'll comment here and there in brackets:
We should have known that something was up when, towards what we thought was an hour-long chat . . . Churchill brought out a bottle of Old Overholt and poured about six fingers each for all assembled. [The fake bo-hos always gotta mention the booze and cigs].
But, alas, we missed his sly smile. [This guy really likes Ward, by the way.]
About two fingers in, just as we’d begun to fully savor what we believed was merely the mellow afterglow of a rather enjoyable interchange [see?], he suddenly popped the question. Something like, “Hey, guys, you wanna see something really cute?” [!]
Attention grabbed once again, we allowed as how [man of the people!] we did.
Thereupon, he opened his copy of the vaunted “Report of the Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct at the University of Colorado at Boulder concerning Allegations of Academic Misconduct against Professor Ward Churchill” to a page tabbed by a blue Post-It™ (there various tabs on numerous pages in assorted pages, the purpose of which we can at this point only guess) [sic].
Pointing to a particular paragraph, he asked that we read it. When we were finished, he asked us to point to a footnote number anywhere in the paragraph. We responded that there was none. Nodding [sagely!], he opened a book he’d fetched while we were reading, again to a tabbed page. There was paragraph we’d just read in the Investigative Report, virtually word-for-word, but absent either quote marks or attribution to the original.
That's plagiarism all right!
“I think maybe that’s what’s called a ‘textbook example of plagiarism’,” he smiled [he smiled that? If I smile that sentence what I hear is Ahhinkayeeat'sut'scawdaahebooehamhooff-tlairisung"], turning to another paragraph in the Report. “But do feel free to check it out in the AHA’s Statement of Professional Standards.”Damn, where's the scary music? Okay, (almost) no more comments, just the rest of it so you don't have to go over to the Try-Works' site:
Churchill repeated the procedure twice more, then said, “That’s enough. There’s a lot of other stuff in there involving distortion of sources and such, but you get the drift. And I’m still finding things.” At that point, we couldn’t resist posing the obvious query concerning what he planned to do with what he’s come up [sic].
His amusement grew. "Ho, little one!" he cried with a mighty cry as of an eagle or a magpie! "The tarantula waits patiently for the iguana, and always compliments the iguana's shoes. Let these old lips tell the story!" [Sorry, I made that quote up to see if you were still awake. Here's Try-Works again]
“Well, I’m fixin’ [two men of the people!] to file a formal complaint with the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct,” Churchill said. We asked when, and he responded that August 1 sounds like a pretty good date [guess it warn't--hey, I'm a man of the people too!].
At that point, we turned on our trusty tape-recorder.
The matter of who, specifically, would be named in the complaint is self-explanatory, he said. “All five members of the investigating committee signed off as coauthors of the entire report, without any dissent or distinction as to who wrote what, so all five of them will be named. Mimi Wesson, who chaired the committee, will be listed as the primary offender, however, since her name appears first on the report, signifying lead authorship.”
This raised the question of whether Churchill figures the SCRM will actually do something with the complaint, so we put that one to him as well. “Sure,” he replied. “First they’ll sit on it for a while, or try to, which provides an interesting contrast to the speed with which they processed my case, doncha think?”
That was when Churchill announced that he’d “saved the best for last.”
Feeling smug in the certainty that he was at this point having us on, we extended our glass to accept his offer of another hefty measure of Mr. Overholt’s finest rye whiskey, abruptly waving it off as we heard him utter what might well have been the only two words capable of evoking such a reaction on our part.
Sure as we were that he’d spoken in jest, we were in the end perhaps not so sure, and, besides, even we are sometimes—not often, mind you, but sometimes—wrong in such matters.
In any event, we wanted our wits about us when whatever it was that was coming next finally came . . .
(As in, not wanting to seem too much the fool when the punchline arrived, especially if the joke were, as it were, on us.)
“Say what?” we gaped, the scent of Coulter-musk seeping, despite our best efforts to repress the sensation, ever more deeply into our olfactory recesses.
Churchill copped a coy little smirk, took a leisurely sip of rye, and lit up a Pall Mall straight, taking his time.
He knew he had us.
If we were a girl, we’d have been literally moistening our cushion in anticipation. As it was, we were starting to pull a woody, ferchrissake [sic, sic, sic].
What if Churchill did have something on Malkin, apart from the facts that her last name is really Maglalang, or that—despite the ferocity of her insistence that she menstruates only in the very purest of redwhiteanblue tonalities—she’s a citizen of the Philippines? (O-m’god! Isn’t Abu Sayyaf from the Philippines???) [O-m'god?]
This could turn out to be more of a frolic than robbing a backwater bank and making a high-speed getaway along the cat roads of Oklahoma during the summer of ’33. [He'll squirm with embarrassment next time he reads that line. What a poser.]
T’was beyond all reasonable expectation that there might yet be more. Reason, however, appears to play absolutely no role in any of this. None at all.
And so, of course, there was more. Rather a lot, in fact.
“And eventually they’ll come up with some pretext to claim that there’s no basis for them to conduct an investigation, even though my allegations may be entirely accurate,” he continued. “They’ve already run that little song and dance on me once, so it’s kind of predictable.”
The last sentence clearly demanded a nudge, which we gladly provided. “Several months ago, I filed a complaint on Paul Campos for publishing those columns in the Rocky Mountain News where, among other things, he stated that John LaVelle had accused me of plagiarism, when in fact LaVelle had said exactly the opposite,” Churchill explained.
“That provoked a long silence. Like several weeks worth. Then I got a letter from Joe Rosse, the chair of SCRM, informing me that the committee had decided that—irrespective of whether Campos had distorted his sources to the point of engaging outright fabrication, and even though Campos lists his columns as a presumably ‘scholarly’ activity in the professional vita posted on his CU website—op-eds are not ‘appropriate’ for investigation on grounds of research misconduct.”
“You might want to note that this is a bit different than the approach taken in my case,” he observed. “After all, my ‘Little Eichmanns Essay’ was basically an op-ed. And, unlike Campos, I never included it in my CV, either directly or indirectly—didn’t need to, because, also unlike Campos, I’ve published a few things besides op-eds over the past decade—and, again unlike Campos, I was never accused of misquoting or otherwise misrepresenting my sources in it.”
“So you can expect the SCRM will try and wriggle off the hook on this one, too, claiming that the investigative committee’s report isn’t ‘really’ a scholarly publication, or whatever,” he went on, “maybe because it was published only on a university website. Well, here’s a hot news flash, kids: My piece was published on a website, too.”
“The bottom line here,” Churchill wrapped up, “is that they can do whatever they want. It works to my advantage any way they play it. If they carry the complaint forward for a full-bore investigation—as they have to, if they’re going to appear in any sense consistent with the positions they’ve taken with regard to me—great! It makes my point. And if they attempt another slither, even better. I can think of nothing that would better illustrate the extent to which this whole fucking process has been a sham.”
We’d just started to ask whether we’d be able to post a copy of the complaint, once it’s been submitted, when Churchill mentioned that he has a second misconduct complaint in the works against a member of the CU law faculty.
This one should be filed about a week after the first, he says, and names a “a picture-perfect kind of liberal-left professor” who is “very senior, quite prominent, and whose work overlaps to a considerable extent with my own, although we tend arrive at very different conclusions.”
Although Churchill declined to name the individual in question at the point, saying he’d “like it to be a surprise,” he did indicate that the substance of the complaint concerns a recent book in which Professor X, among other things, “grossly distorts his cited sources, fabricates a set of historical incidents in a manner that tarnishes the reputation of the United States Army, and seriously misrepresents the nature of at least one important legal proceeding. Sound familiar?”
As to whether Try-Works would be allowed to post the complaints, there was not the least equivocation: “I intend to adhere to exactly the same rules of confidentiality with regard to these complaints that the university has observed with regard to my own case since the beginning of February 2005, to wit, none at all. Which is to say, yes, absolutely, you can post them. It’s all going to be quite public.”
“Actually,” he says, “if I were to decide to follow the procedure routinely employed by university officials in my case over the past year-and-a-half or so, you’d receive the complaints in plenty of time to have them posted before those named even heard about them. ‘Notification by media,’ I think it’s called. It’s a very interesting experience, from which every one of these folks would undoubtedly benefit.”
“But, hey, much as I think they deserve it, it’s just too slimy a thing to do. I don’t take my cues from moral maggots like Phil DiStefano. So here’s the deal: When I turn in a complaint, it’ll be by 10 in the morning. Your copies will at 6 PM. That leaves the SCRM-suckers eight solid hours—actually more like nine by the time anything shows up on the blog—to notify those concerned before Pirate Ballerina and the Rocky start having to quote Try-Works. Agreed?”
To which, it was our turn to say absolutely.
And that we can hardly wait.
And that it ain't happened yet. [Update 3/19/07: And never did.]
Update: Pirate Ballerina:
Just released: In an extraordinarily well-reasoned and well-documented paper (pdf, 30 pages) for the refereed online journal Plagiary, Professor Thomas Brown (Sociology, Lamar University) thoroughly eviscerates Ward Churchill's claims (themselves often contradictory over the years) of US genocide in the Mandan smallpox epidemic of 1837. Professor Brown takes each "fact" Churchill marshals in his Mandan genocide argument and exposes the fraud beneath, from the US Army's supposed distribution of infected blankets to Churchill's repeated assertions that ample supplies of smallpox vaccine existed at Fort Clark but were intentionally withheld from the Indians.PB has his own favorite quote, but mine is, "Every aspect of Churchill's tale is fabricated. Between 1994 and 2003 Churchill published at least six different versions of this accusation against the U.S. Army." Just a bald statement. None of the "we believe in the validity of many truths" soppiness of the SCRM report.