The Shotgun Blog
Monday, February 28, 2005
College Cancer Ward
For those of you who like university-leftie-prof stories and so are following the Ward Churchill controversy, here's a recent offering from Frontpage, Churchill’s Champions by Jacob Laksin. For those catching up, here's Ward Churchill Exploits Indians by David Yeagley in the same mag. I like this line, "And with scrutiny comes meltdown" that accompanies this, a comparison of one of Ward Churchill's artworks with a sketch by Thomas Mails in National Ledger. Here's a fun little exercise in Human Events: A Tale of Two Churchills: Professor 'Debates' Prime Minister comparing some quotes of the professor's with those of Winston Churchill. Note: Faculty demands end to Churchill investigation. And finally, here's the essay by the Tenured-Prof-without-a-Ph.D. that started it all: Some People Push Back--On the Justice of Roosting Chickens.
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The situation is being deliberately muddied by both Churchill and the left, for they are ignoring his basic fraudulent activities and focusing only on 'freedom of speech'.
His outrageous comments comparing the WTC's victims to 'little Eichmann's' is protected by the First Amendment, and by our society's generous permission that one can be, if one so desires, ignorant and arrogant. Denigration of the victims of 9/11 is not new - there's the whole left, there's Michael Moore; there's Baurdrillard, who wrote, if I recall correctly, that the event was a 'hidden desire' of many. So- what he says about the WTC is irrelevant, and best tossed out with the garbage.
BUT - there are events that are not protected by the First Amendment. One of these is misrepresentation of credentials and identity in employment. Churchill's credentials, both 'genetic' (he's not a native American as he claims) and academic (no PHD) are highly suspect. He was given a position on the basis of false statements about his identity.
Then, there's his plagiarism of T. Mail's artwork - which Churchill copied and claimed as his own. When confronted, he's twisted himself into knots explaining that it was an'original artwork' done by him 'after Thomas Mails'. That's a stunning new definition of the adjective 'original' confining originality only to a mechanical act and ignoring the cognitive process of design. And he then went on to claim that he had permission (denied by the Mails family). So, apparently the Mails family is preparing a lawsuit.
Posted by: ET | 2005-02-28 1:25:38 PM
The above is a website dealing with the Churchill scenario. Many links.
Posted by: ET | 2005-02-28 1:57:08 PM
ET: A couple of comments.....
First, you allude to " our society's generous permission that one can be, if one so desires, ignorant and arrogant". Tell that to Ernst Zundel, whose ignorance and arrogance have definitely NOT been generously permitted.
Second, while you are right about the fraudulent credentials and plagiarism not being protected, in fact not even his "little Eichmanns" comments are protected by law.
The First Amendment prohibits *Congress* from abridging free speech. It makes no mention of what private organizations (or even State governments for that matter) may abridge.
The University is perfectly entitled to turf Churchill for the "Eichmann" comments, simply on the grounds that they constitute an embarrassment to the University which it is not willing to endure.
The University has no power to prevent Churchill from speaking in future and making a spectacle of himself. But it does have the power, and the right, to disavow any association with him, thus ensuring that such future speech is not made "on their dime" so to speak.
Bottom line - speech may be free, but it still has consequences.
Posted by: Doug | 2005-02-28 2:35:15 PM
Ann Coulter's website has 2 columns where she tears into Churchill pretty good.
"In light of the fact that Churchill's entire persona, political activism, curriculum vitae, writings and university positions are based on his claim that he's an Indian, it's rather churlish of him to complain when people ask if he really is one. But whenever he is questioned about his heritage, Churchill rails that inquiries into his ancestry are "absolutely indefensible."
Churchill has gone from claiming he is one-eighth Indian "on a good day" to claiming he is "three-sixteenths Cherokee," to claiming he is one-sixty-fourth Cherokee through a Revolutionary War era ancestor named Joshua Tyner. (At least he's not posing as a phony Indian math professor.)"
Posted by: Lars Ormberg | 2005-03-01 3:23:33 AM
In reply to Doug,
Of course speech has consequences and a basic consequence is questions and requests for factual and logical evidence and so on. That's the point - that IF you make a statement, then, you should be open to critique. Free speech is a 'two-step' action; your statement must be open to reaction. If it's 'one-step', i.e., just a statement that is not open to a request for proof, then, it's not free but closed. It's then propaganda, dogma.
Churchill rejects the second part of Free Speech, i.e., the free speech of the listener, who must verify the first part (Churchill's statements).
I disagree with Zundel's exportation; his free speech should be protected - which means that he is free to make statements and must involve himself in the second part of this act; namely, the free speech (questions) of others. If one's statements are not open to discourse, then, you have moved out of free speech and into dogma. Now- dogma - is not something that I feel should be protected for it declares itself immune to verification of validity.
I disagree that the University is 'perfectly entitled to turf' Churchill, simply on the grounds that his remarks are embarassing. This not only violates free speech but also scientific research. After all, in many cases, new theories are rejected by the Old Guard; a university is supposed to be a site for exploration. This requires new directions in thought. So- the university is not, in my view, entitled to turf Churchill on those grounds.
It can only do so on grounds of his misrepresentation of his credentials - and - if, if- his remarks turn from open speech into dogma.
Posted by: ET | 2005-03-01 6:56:45 AM
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