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DST 06:  Special Sunday update

Here I am in northern New York, not far from this late-breaking vileness, brought to you by the “grownups” in Today’s GOP.

Coincidence?  There are no coincidences on the Dangeral Studies Tour.

For obvious reasons, I can’t tell you where I’m headed next (Virginia?  Montana? back to Mizzou?  gotta keep Karl R. guessing).  But as I board my private (and invisible) plane I want to take a moment to thank Chris Clarke for volunteering for our WAAGNFNP show trial, and to acknowledge the tireless efforts of our Minister of Justice, Oaktown Girl.  Thanks also to everyone who contributed to this highly entertaining thread last week!  Let it never be said that Dangeral Studies attends to politics at the expense of poetics.

_______

What’s Liberal? update, in response to Colin Danby’s question in comment 2, while I’m eating a quesadilla in the Pittsburgh airport:

Would someone who has a copy of wlatla at hand like to check whether the Bauerlein complaint about Michael’s response to the “Analyze the U.S. constitution” essay question is a fair cop?  Commenters here seem to have the impression MB endorses the question, and in particular that

“If students of American political science are not introduced to the contradictions underlying the foundation of a revolutionary democratic nation that practiced slavery and restricted the vote to landowning men, they are being miseducated.”

is *all* wlatla has to say about it.

Thanks for asking, Colin!  And why don’t you have a copy of the book at hand, may I ask?

For the record, since I just happen to have the manuscript on my hard drive:  I discuss the case of

19-year-old Foothill College student Ahmad al-Qloushi, a Kuwaiti-American who claimed that he received a failing grade on a term paper about the U.S. Constitution because it was “pro-American,” and who promptly appeared as a guest on Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes show on February 17, 2005.  Horowitz flogged this case as well; it was picked up by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Washington Times, and bandied about briefly on the Internet, partly for its obvious shock value: anti-American professor harasses Middle Eastern student who loves the United States! But it was bandied about only briefly—because once al-Qloushi’s essay itself became available, the story died an undignified death.  Al-Qloushi’s political science professor, Joseph Woolcock, had posed the following question:

Dye and Zeigler [authors of an American government textbook] contend that the constitution of the United States was not “ordained and established” by “the people” as we have so often been led to believe. They contend instead that it was written by a small educated and wealthy elite in America who [were] representative of powerful economic and political interests.  Analyze the US constitution (original document), and show how its formulation excluded [the] majority of the people living in America at that time, and how it was dominated by America’s elite interest.

Most people who have taken college-level political science courses will know that this is a standard line of inquiry with regard to the founding of the United States: on one hand, the Declaration of Independence insisted that all men were created equal, and on the other hand, the Constitution (the original document) backed away from this radical claim in favor of a far more limited conception of republican citizenship.  Indeed, I can say—from my office across the quad in the English department—that if students of American political science are not introduced to the contradictions underlying the foundation of a revolutionary democratic nation that practiced slavery and restricted the vote to land-owning men, they are being miseducated.

If al-Qloushi had been given an F for arguing that the Constitution represented the best compromise available at the time—a compromise between Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian conceptions of democracy, mediated by a Madisonian insistence on the separation of powers and a realistic assessment of what it would take to get the Southern states to agree to something stronger than the Articles of Confederation—then Horowitz and Fox News might have been justified in pleading his case as an example of liberal bias.  But what al-Qloushi actually wrote was this.

I proceed to quote sections of the essay, and then I remark,

After the essay became available on the Internet, most conservative academics immediately distanced themselves from it; one conservative professor-blogger gave it a low D, and another gave it an F.  The essay has the germ of a plausible thesis—that the Constitution was progressive for its time but required reinterpretation and amendment to adapt to evolving conceptions of human freedoms—but is terribly written and largely tangential to the question at issue.  But one thing is uncontroversial:  it is not a college-level essay. 

Now, stop and contemplate the political dispensation under which an essay like this is submitted as evidence of liberal bias in the university.  Remember, as you wonder at this state of affairs, that American conservatives have been complaining—plausibly enough, in some cases—for the past three decades about the sorry state of undergraduate writing and the prevalence of “feel-good” forms of pedagogy which seek to bolster students’ self-esteem even when the students in question are incapable of composing a decent sentence in English.  And then marvel, if you will, at the phenomenon of a conservative culture of complaint—not a “fringe” or “marginal” culture, but a culture that extends to national media networks like Fox News—that takes an essay like al-Qloushi’s not as evidence of the shoddy quality of undergraduate writing but as evidence of the persecution of conservative students by leftist professors. 

And that’s what What’s Liberal? has to say about that.

Posted by on 11/05 at 10:34 AM
  1. I’m afraid what I find most curious about this is that the wife has apparently renamed herself “Gaia.” Anybody know what’s behind that?

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  12:47 PM
  2. Would someone who has a copy of wlatla at hand like to check whether the Bauerlein complaint about Michael’s response to the “Analyze the U.S. constitution” essay question is a fair cop?  Commenters here
    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2006/11/whats_illiberal.html#comments
    seem to have the impression MB endorses the question, and in particular that

    “If students of American political science are not introduced to the contradictions underlying the foundation of a revolutionary democratic nation that practiced slavery and restricted the vote to landowning men, they are being miseducated.”

    is *all* wlatla has to say about it.

    Discussion’s also picking up at The Valve.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  01:40 PM
  3. The Sweeney story comes the the category “What do I have to do to fail to get re-elected?” Last year, Congressman Sweeney attended a Frat Party (no kidding!) where the frat brothers later reported that he was drunk and obnoxious. How drunk and obnoxious? Drunk and obnoxious enough for frat brothers to notice. Then the whole episode at home where the dispute is not over whether he put his hands around his wife’s neck and squeezed, but whether he blackened one of her eyes too. Despite this, and despite a well-financed campaign by his Democratic challenger, Sweeney is expected to win re-election. The challenger is grasping at straws asking the incumbent to release the reports of his drunk driving arrests when he was in his twenties. My thought is unless you have him on sexual assault charges involving underage boys don’t bother. Foley running with Haggard on a Republican line with no other plank than how well the war in Iraq is going would emerge victorious in this district.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  02:11 PM
  4. Posted by  on  11/05  at  02:55 PM
  5. This Sweeney article goes a step further to confirm my personal theory that almost everyone involved with the Republican party is a messed up substance abuser of some sort.

    Cheney: Drug who shoots friends.

    Bush: Coke head who likes to see people executed.

    Laura Bush: Drunk who kills people while driving them home.

    Haggard: Meth head who lies about personal gay relationships while persecuting other gays. (Roy Cohn award for this guy).

    Sweeney: Drunk who beats wife.

    Foley: Drunk who harrasses and/or entices young men.

    It’s amazing that none of them haven’t blown someone’s head off for ten dollars yet.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  03:47 PM
  6. Thanks Michael.  It does look like Bauerlein jumped over some stuff.  Over to Brad’s to try and tidy up a little. 

    Still, you’re starting to get a slightly better quality of critical review.

    I was going to remark that after a few more of these posts I wouldn’t need to read the damn book, but I did actually break down and order one after checking there was no ghost-head on the cover.  Whenever Amazon gets around to assembling my current order I’m sure it’ll show up.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  04:07 PM
  7. To “Foucault”: Isn’t Kos where that sort of unhinged slanging belongs?  If you’re going to justify a moniker like that you’ll need to come up with subtler arguments.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  05:09 PM
  8. I am questioning the notion that St. Clarke “volunteered” for his trial.  My sense was that it was the forceful efforts of the press gang, to subdue and detain him for his unmitigated use of sprezzaturas to slay troll-dragons.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Whoa!
    For the record, on the Oct.6,2006 ABF Friday at comment #88, Mr. Chris Clarke bravely, voluntarily, and under no duress whatsoever offered himself up for a show trial.
    And I quote:

    I deleted a couple troll messages from that same guy without checking with you first.

    And then was beset by second thoughts about my peremptory and unauthorized action.

    This serves as my public confession and apology. I offer myself for a showtrial at your convenience. (Emphasis mine)

    Then, on that same thread at comment #104, you will notice that I indeed jumped all over that like a pride of lions over a fresh kill. (WAAGNFNP Minister of Justice...gawd I was made for this job!) But, but, BUT before anyone condems me as a merely a bloodthirsty, power-hungry tyrant, you will see it clearly documented that from the VERY BEGINNING, I had only the best interest of the WAAGNFN Party in mind. I offer the following snippet:

    Michael, just because most of us happen to be satisfied with Mr. Clark’s efficient skunk removal service, that doesn’t mean we should simply ignore his most generous offer to be a sacrificial lamb for a show trial.

    A nice long showtrial could be just what is needed to boost the profile of our fledgling WAAGNFN Party. (Emphasis mine).

    And may I assure you all that I continue to work diligently on preparations for the glorious CCST. And it will be most glorious. That, I promise you. And if it is not, and you are not satisfied with my efforts or the outcome, then you do not have to remove me from office, for I shall remove myself.

    spyder - “St. Clarke”? Boy, don’t you dare start going soft on me!

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/05  at  05:20 PM
  9. I for one am sorely disappointed that the verdict in the CCST won’t have been handed down in time for the elections. (And I hope such a sentiment isn’t an affront to the high standards of discourse here at The Valve Le Blogue.)

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  05:30 PM
  10. To “Foucault”: Isn’t Kos where that sort of unhinged slanging belongs?  If you’re going to justify a moniker like that you’ll need to come up with subtler arguments.

    I just call them like I see them, Colin Danby. If more people could wrap their heads around the “unhinged” concept that our country is run by addicts, I think we might make some progress towards removing these sick people from office.

    They are, in fact, sick. Substance abuse is a disease. How can Cheney, a guy who admitted to having a serious alcohol problem in his “youth,” be trusted with the second most powerful position in the White House when he goes on a bender before breakfast and pops his friend?  Sober people fit for office don’t go off on a hunting trip, and get so drunk by 10am that they can’t control their motor functions.

    Serious problem. And with an unstable person like that telling W what to do, it becomes an even more frightening chain of command. Would you trust a power-tripping addict to manage your household budget? I don’t think so…

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  05:39 PM
  11. My guess is that you’ve already seen this Education Life section of the Times, but I thought I’d pass it along just in case. It both says some nice things about you and WLATLA—albeit in a mini-review that also mentions U. Know—and has a feature article about college students with Down Syndrome.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  05:58 PM
  12. OK, Philly airport now!  And why am I flying home via Ogdensburg - Pitt - Philly - State College?  Because I’m trying to do as much damage to Santorum and Swann as I can, that’s why!  Also, USAir no longer flies Pittsburgh - State College.  I hope a Democratic Congress will change that.

    Colin, I think Mark’s review is fair overall.  A better quality of critical review, indeed, and one more chance to kick myself for not saying anything about the curriculum.  And you’re right (in the DeLong thread)—the exam question is tendentious.  I just don’t see that tendentiousness as a legitimate basis for an episode of Hannity & Colmes, that’s all.

    And Ed, I did see that brief and mostly flattering mention in McGrath’s review.  But how, precisely, was I supposed to address the Kevin Barrett case in my book?  McGrath acknowledges earlier in the essay that it made news this past summer, far too late for my publication schedule.  Never mind that, though—the really important item in this issue of Education Life, for me, is the essay on kids with Down syndrome in college courses. 

    Jamie’s really good at math, by the way.  Have I mentioned that yet?

    Posted by Michael  on  11/05  at  06:21 PM
  13. Lest anyone consider agitating against Valiant Comrade Oaktown Girl, be advised that the Eye of Gojira is upon you:

    eye-gojira

    captcha: “bad”

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/05  at  07:55 PM
  14. What with The Valve having kicked off a “symposium” of posts about WLAtLA on other blogs, soon the entire liberal blogosphere will achieve a critical mass of reviews—and we know what that means.  The GNF starts here.

    And if you continue looking at one review every Tuesday, you should be done sometime in 2010.  Although really I notice that only the old media ones tend to make the cut.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  09:40 PM
  15. I contend that Chris Clarke offered himself for an exercise in poetic justice only in a futile attempt to undermine the unshakable nihilism of the WAAGNFNP. His voluntarism is therefore further proof of his wickedness.

    captcha: “power”.
    As in “behold the power of the GNF”.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  10:33 PM
  16. Actually, Rich, for a review to get the Full Metal Bérubé treatment on this blog, it has to be (a) available online and (b) patently unfair.  Merely critical-but-fair reviews like Mark Bauerlein’s, or really lovely ones like Eric Rauchway’s, simply go on the sidebar (which I have to update).

    The real crisis will come when I get a flattering review that’s unfairly positive.  I suppose I’ll have to take it apart piece by piece, but with gratitude.

    In the meantime, I think I promised John Holbo that I’d reply to the GNF in full when Liberalpalooza Month is over.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/05  at  10:35 PM
  17. The real crisis will come when I get a flattering review that’s unfairly positive

    We in Colorado Springs were fortunate enough to be visited by greatness (with a titillating frisson of danger) in the person of Professor Michael Bérubé this past week. Inspired, I rushed out and bought his masterpiece “What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts” and read it straight through in one sitting thanks to <strike>this rad new batch of methedrine I scored</strike> its gripping description of the Habermas - Lyotard impasse. I have struggled mightily with some intractable divides in my life recently, but I can say that since finishing Bérubé’s book I no longer feel the need to participate in drug-fueled homosexual trysts - in fact I will be enrolling ..... oh, wait, let me take this call, ... is that right, completely out ... wow! Don’t even come by the church? ... hmm, well that changes things. OK, kids, honey out of the fricking car. Now! Daddy’s got a date in Denver!! Parrrtayyyy!!!! Intractability Schmability! Thanks Dr. Bérubé, but I’m going to live me some Postmodern Lit before I study it.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  11:49 PM
  18. Following the link in the sidebar from “Pastor Admits he Bought Meth,” I arrived at MSNBC where the top story was “A frenzied effort to get out the vote.”

    Speed-dialing is one thing, but I’d be wary of accepting a ride to the polls from the GOP tomorrow.

    Posted by  on  11/06  at  08:30 AM
  19. I’d be wary too, but at least you know that the driver will be really, really alert.  And you’d get to the polls in record time!

    Posted by  on  11/06  at  08:58 AM
  20. Gojira prepares to enter the internets in anticaption of a glorious Crispy Tuesday:

    crispytuesday

    From the WAAGNFNP MVP collection, The Many Moods of Gojira.

    captcha: “being” and we all know the dialectical opposite of being, don’t we? The signs look good for a WAAGNFNP victory.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/06  at  09:01 AM
  21. Gojira longs for the GNF as we do. Gojira who molted for our sins. Gojira who was born of a virgin sci-fi monster costume designer of unspecific Asian decent. Oh Gojira, ravish me with your holy, yet lavish tongue.

    As it is written, Gojira will return to us with the GNF strapped to his back by sacred Velcro straps. Gojira will not be happy. Gojira will not lord over us with pride. Gojira will not succumb to vanity (despite Velco straps). Gojira will simply stand erect, having fulfilled destiny’s desire in a reptilian sort of way. And thus the GNF will consume us in Gojira’s love.

    captcha: Gojira’s book is the only book one needs have read.

    Posted by Central Content Publisher  on  11/06  at  10:20 AM
  22. Oaktown Girl:  I was merely doing everything in my power to spin this necessary and altogether gianormously important trial towards the prosecution’s perspective.  To allow “teh” Clarke to be seen as someone volunteering for this, casts him in a shroud of victimhood unworthy of these crimes against the party and the GNF.  Who needs facts when we have Fox News at our disposal??  We could have Handwringing, Glibsonny, and O’weally making up more heinous rumors and aspersions about him what with all this meth around here.

    btw: Cheney will be hunting <s>peasants</a> pheasants tomorrow in South Dakota; the election there is extraordinarily close and it could come down to a vote or two. 

    As for the sacred velcro: it is one of the few things in this world in which size does matter.

    Posted by  on  11/06  at  12:46 PM
  23. strike through html tag mindblank recurring syndrome-- what can one expect (captcha)?

    Posted by  on  11/06  at  12:49 PM
  24. Oaktown Girl:  I was merely doing everything in my power to spin this necessary and altogether gianormously important trial towards the prosecution’s perspective.  To allow “teh” Clarke to be seen as someone volunteering for this, casts him in a shroud of victimhood unworthy of these crimes against the party and the GNF.

    OK, spyder. Sorry I missed the subtlety of your point on my first read. And quite right you are about not allowing “teh” Clarke to be seen by the public at large as some sort of victim.

    Which is why I am now accepting bribes applications for the office of WAAGNFNP Media Czar. We need someone who is both a Party Loyalist and a powerhouse of writer who can get our message out there. (Note - the Media Czar will still be able to participate fully in the CCST. There’s no such thing as a “conflict of interest” in a show trial).

    And as christian h said, His voluntarism is therefore further proof of his wickedness.
    I love that word wicked, and am greatly please that christian h will be hurling it at the accused.

    Oh Gojira, ravish me with your holy, yet lavish tongue.

    Oh my. I knew when the GNF came, it was going to be hot. But I didn’t know it was going to be, you know...hot!

    Yes, very cool Gojira images from our MVP.

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice
    WAAGNFNP

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/06  at  02:27 PM

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