Saturday, April 28, 2007

Turned, Part 2: The Speakers

First up was Tom Mayer with his standard overview, for which they gave him five minutes and he took at least 15. Hack. He was one of those who expressed disappointment with the turnout, and criticized CU students for not being more hep to the jive. [Update: He did depart from his usual spiel long enough to dismiss the plagiarism charges, as well, as "deeply flawed." I'm not sure, though, if it was him or someone else who brought up the Dam the Dams plagiarism, and excused it using the "we worked so closely together" argument, aka, "we were a collective and nobody owned anything, especially copyright."]

Next, God help us, were the "youth":

Aaron Smith, who had a class with Churchill in 2005, said nothing interesting: "He doesn't brainwash us! He's a great professor. If you had the facts he would agree with you," etc. Was he the guy who used the phrase "one of our most distinguished professors"? He has Ace Ventura hair.

Dave Staub, the student-Churchill gink-security guard who told El Presidente and me to quit recording at the colloquium. He didn't have much either, except at the end when he yelled something like: "And for all you Ballerinas out there, fuck you, and I don't care what you think!" [Update: this drew applause.] (I yelled, "The Drunkablog!")

And finally, Ann-erika White Bird, who, as a "media liaison" at the colloquium, also told us to quit recording. Remarkable how that works. She endorsed Staub's remark, also referring sneeringly to "Ballerinas." (I yelled, "The Drunkablog!" again).

You know what they were doing, of course: insinuating that Jim Paine and every male who reads his blog is gay (NTTAWWT). How PC.

White Bird verged on being interesting, however, when she mentioned being Ward's "legal assistant" during his hearing before the Privilege & Tenure Committee. But all she said about it was that Ward asked for an extension and was cruelly denied. She also said "June, or July, I forget which, June," for the school's decision on Churchill. We knew that.

Oooh! Oooh! I forgot to say! Not long after I first sat down Ben Whitmer came over (I yelled out, "Benny Boy! How's it going!") and asked if I was me. I hesitated, surprised he wasn't sure who I was, then said yes. He said, "I want to shake your hand," or something along those lines, and stuck said appendage out. Naturally I replied: "I don't want to shake your hand," and he turned and walked away, muttering something about "not meaning to scare me."

So that will be the line. I was sweating in my Keds at his approach, too afraid even to shake his hand.

Finally the parade of academics began. First up was CU's own Elisa Facio, who knew all the words ("empire"; "genocide"; "death squads"; "Koo-bah,"), but could barely get them out. Disturbing.

Next was our own Dean Saitta, professor of anthro at the University of Denver and former erratic commenter on the Ballerina's blog. Today he talked of consilience and lonely silos of knowledge and the value of intellectual "outliers" like Ward and all that there, intellectualizing like crazy. He's good at that. He's also a nice guy (we chatted for about 8.5 seconds after he spoke) but, as PB readers know, negligently naive about Ward and his pals.

Last before lunch was Chris Mato Nunpa, "assoc. prof of Dakota and Indigenous Nations Studies, Southwest Minnesota State Univ." (as the flyer says). All I remember about him was his claim that knowledge of Thomas Jefferson's slaveowning is routinely suppressed by historians, and his mention of Jefferson's successor as president: "Who was it? Buchanan?" Be interesting to see if that stays in the DVD.

(more tomorrow, you lucky Drunkablog readers!)

Update: PB asks:

Do you have WCBS [Ward Churchill By Proxy Syndrome]? Check yourself for these Five Early Warning Signs:

1. Extreme gullibility.

2. Advanced degree(s) is any field of study for which a useful purpose has yet to be discovered (examples: Literature, Ethnic Studies, pre-Education, Sociology).

3. Rich fantasy life wherein everything Ward Churchill says is universally accepted as prima fasciae evidence of its veracity.

4. Often find yourself supporting your arguments with "Ward says so, and Chomsky agrees."

5. Own two copies of the "Pacifism As Pathology" CD—one for home, one for the Prius.

Update II: Ben Whitmer has posted his take on the event. I won't link to it, not because it's mostly (and very weirdly) about me but because I almost never link to Try-Works. Go read it, though, and remind yourself as you do that this man teaches college students.

Update III: El Presidente, who definitely would know, says in comments that Muenzinger Auditorium holds 400 people.

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