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He. Who. Thursday

Hi folks!  I’m off to Chicago to give a pair of talks—one slightly humorous, one not funny at all.  Hope I don’t mix them up by mistake!  And you know what else?  The Chronicle of Higher Education is buying lunch for me and David Horowitz on Friday.  That should be a gas gas gas!  (Why did I agree to this, you ask?  Because I was bored!)

Coincidentally, the Chronicle is running an essay by David Horowitz this week (sub required).  (Hey!  What do I have to do to get my essay in print?  Last I heard, it was “in the pipeline.” Is that one of those Internets slang words?) In this essay, “After the Academic Bill of Rights,” David talks about his success, which, as I’ve noted before on this blog, is something David does no matter what, because it’s on page 18 of the playbook.  “When the sun goes down each night,” the text reads, “claim victory.” In this case, David writes, “no small part of my success can be attributed to my opponents’ tactics.” And since I am one of those opponents, David explains how my tactics have misfired:

My opponents have also consistently aimed their intellectual arrows at the wrong targets, allowing me to proceed with my agenda without any substantive opposition. In a September 17 article in The New York Times, for example, Michael Bérubé, a professor of literature at Pennsylvania State University, expressed concern about a legislative committee that I inspired, the Pennsylvania Committee on Academic Freedom, which held hearings in the state. He noted that during the hearings Penn State “revealed that it had received all of 13 student complaints about political ‘bias’ over the past five yearson a campus with a student population of 40,000.”

My response to that point? If there are just 13 abuses per campus at the top 100 universities, that would add up to 1,300 over five years. A study by the historian Lionel Lewis of academic persecutions during the McCarthy era (which, according to Lewis, lasted nine years) found only 126 faculty members involved in academic-freedom cases at 58 institutions nationally. Those cases led to an estimated 69 terminations, of which 31 were resignations at a single institution after it established a loyalty oath. Yet small as that number may appear among the thousands of universities and hundreds of thousands of professors, the author concluded, “It is apparent that their chilling effect on the expression of all ideas by both faculty and students was significant, although in fact there is no way to measure adequately their full impact.”

I think most people would concur: The chilling effect is the issue, not the absolute number, although each case is cause for concern. The real question is whether universities are set up to deal with such problems through established and well-publicized procedures.

Well, I can see three things wrong with this argument right away, but I’m packing my bags right now and don’t have time to elaborate.  Hey, I’ve got an idea!  Maybe you can explain what’s wrong with this argument for me.  That would be a Fun Game!  [Update: Dang, I really was blogging too fast while packing to leave!  I forgot to throw in the url of the New York Times essay which Horowitz cites here.  There, now check out what I say about those thirteen student complaints!]

Oh, and while we’re talking about Fun Games, is there anything you’d like me to say to David at lunch tomorrow?

Posted by on 11/09 at 07:19 AM
  1. is there anything you’d like me to say to David at lunch tomorrow?

    Why, yes.

    Tell him the We Are All Giant Nuclear Fireball Now Party’s Minister of Justice is watching him very closely, and she is not pleased.

    But as you’ve made quite clear, this “gentleman” is rather dense, so he probably will not understand the gravity of his situation. Therefore I kindly ask that our Minister of Visual Propaganda explain it to him in picture form so that there’s no confusion.

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/09  at  09:06 AM
  2. (and, in the top 200 universities, there’d be 2600 “abuses”!).—well, for one thing, how can he equate “student complaints about political bias” for cryin out loud, with State meddling in academia?

    Posted by mark  on  11/09  at  09:25 AM
  3. Okay. I’ll bite on two obvious points. D’Ho talks about the “100 top universities.” Your numbers aren’t campus-by-campus. Yours are by student population: 40,000 students on campus, 5 years, 13 complaints. Let’s assume that 10,000 students cycle out of that campus each year and 10,000 more come in each year: so, uh, does that get us 120,000 different students? D.Ho might say that the 100 top universities likely have 40,000-student campuses on average, but it strikes me that he’s muddling the water.

    Aren’t the McCarthy cases cases of political interference against professors from the right? In other words, he appears to be decrying exactly what it is he wants: government surveillance to create a “chilling effect on the expression of all ideas by both faculty and students.” The only complaint I can see from D.Ho vis-a-vis McCarthy is that it didn’t go far enough.

    --

    Fun things to say to U. No. at lunch. I dunno. Just gaslight the mofo by calling him “pooper” sotto voce.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  09:44 AM
  4. And, D. Ho is comparing faculty members to student complaints. Complaints aren’t people (sorry: my posthumanism goes only so far). All 13 of those complaints could have come from the same student. We all know OCD types always looking for a fight, e.g., D. Ho.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  09:49 AM
  5. How about: “Would you care for some spinach, David?”

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  09:51 AM
  6. "The real question is whether universities are set up to deal with such problems through established and well-publicized procedures.”

    Alas, it is true: not many universities have the means or inclination to stage highly publicized show trials in effort to combat the “chilling effects” of academic abuses.

    I think academia could take a couple of lessons from the carefully established, scrupulously thought out, and resolvedly even-handed CCST. And we may also have a few tips to offer about how to combat the “chilling effect” described above.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  09:55 AM
  7. ”...is there anything you’d like me to say to David at lunch tomorrow?”

    Given the country’s new direction, I was thinking maybe “So, HA!” would be appropriate.

    Or, if you’re feeling more polite, just inquire whether or not he likes his meal, and more specifically the taste of his dish of crow--served cold, one presumes.

    .

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  10:07 AM
  8. How ‘bout asking Horowitz to explain the difference between academic freedom and First Amendment freedoms?  Frankly, I don’t think he really knows what “academic freedom” is.  Or why it is.

    And ask him how it is that students suddenly (in his eyes) have the same “academic freedom” rights as faculty.  How did that come about?  Did he just make that up on the morning he woke up with visions of ‘Students for Academic Freedom’ before his eyes?

    Tell him “Hi” for me--and that I miss his emails.

    Captcha: “born,” as in “David, you must think we were all born yesterday if you think we’re going to believe that your claim of victory is anything more than an admission of defeat.”

    Posted by Aaron Barlow  on  11/09  at  10:18 AM
  9. How about the fact that comparing complaints about one thing with confirmed cases of another is does not even rise to the level of apples and oranges?

    As for formulating a question for He Who Must Not Be Abbreviated...try as I might, I can’t think of anything I’d want to ask him, or even say to him.  Any way you can convince the Chron to buy for lunch you two in separate places? There are worse things than being bored!

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  10:28 AM
  10. "Socialists, European Leftists and Islamic Fundamentalists All Gloat over U.S. Election Results”—streamer headline over Horowitz’ Front Page magazine this morning.  It puts me in mind of Bertolt Brecht’s mockery of the East German government’s disappointment in the German people following the crushing of a workers’ revolt in Berlin in 1953—he suggested that the government dissolve the people and elect another.  Please ask Horowitz if he would have the Bush administration dissolve the American people, given its disappointing performance November 7th.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  10:45 AM
  11. If your “arrows” (I go for slings, myself) missed their mark, allowing Horowitz to proceed with his crusade “without any substantive opposition,” then why does he spend the next two paragraphs countering you?

    Sticking with the arrow metaphor:  why is Horowitz trying to patch up soldiers who haven’t, according to him, been so much as scratched?

    Posted by Lance  on  11/09  at  10:46 AM
  12. "Excuse me, David, but I think that’s my glass of ice water.”

    Also, that he’s no longer a college student and the 60s and 70s are over.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  10:57 AM
  13. We all know OCD types always looking for a fight

    Just what did you mean by THAT, Karl?

    is there anything you’d like me to say to David at lunch tomorrow?

    In order of preference:
    1. “So, what’s it like to have to be a slave of political fashion to keep getting noticed?”

    2. “If the right was persecuting you in your youth, and the left was persecuting you last week, and the moderates are persecuting you now...maybe it’s you.”

    3. “I’ve compiled this list of 100 easy ways my students can tell the difference between a Senate committee and their biology professor.  I’d like you to look it over, too.”

    Posted by Heo Cwaeth  on  11/09  at  11:01 AM
  14. Or “Please pass the salt.  I’ll need the whole shaker, not just a few grains, thank you very much.”

    I like Maurice’s idea too; ask him if he thinks the country needs a “do over” since we really let him down on Tuesday.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  11:08 AM
  15. Assume 40,000 PSU students sit in 12 classrooms per week, each a bias exposure opportunity. Over the course of 5 years the circumstance for bias complaint presents 86,400,000 times (40,000 students in 12 classrooms for five 36 week academic years). Mr Horowitz rightly observes that 13 is an insufficiently alarming number of complaints, “argues” that if one looked at 8½ billion bias opportunities there would be a lot more complaints.

    Interestingly 86,400,000 is the number of seconds in 100 days. $86.4 million in $100 bills weigh just under a ton. $13 is approximately one-eighth of a single $100 bill which weighs one gram.

    Ask Mr Horowitz if he’s read any good books.

    Posted by black dog barking  on  11/09  at  11:26 AM
  16. Extrapolate downwards to my alma mater, with 1200 students, and we get one complaint every 12 years or so.

    And for this we need a Collegiate Star Chamber?

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  11:38 AM
  17. Suggested things to say to DH:

    What’s Michael Savage really like?

    Is he related to Norbert Weiner?

    Do you think he would make a good Defense Secretary?

    Say, where’d you get that tie?

    Captcha: “nothing,” as in, “I got.”

    Posted by John Protevi  on  11/09  at  11:39 AM
  18. Thanks for all the great suggestions so far!  I was so afraid I wouldn’t find anything to say.  I think I’ll start with the spinach, then ask him about the “academic freedom” of students, and then cap things off with a little happy dance about how We Are All Gloating Socialists, European Leftists and Islamic Fundamentalists Now.  Bwah hah hah hah hah hah hah!

    Oh, and Fiorentina, I’ll be bringing my own salt.  For the obvious reasons, of course.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  12:18 PM
  19. Interestingly 86,400,000 is the number of seconds in 100 days
    actually that would be 1000 days. - not that that matters…

    I think you should spend lunch discussing plans for a joint seminar that you two should present at the the old alma mater:

    How to appeal to backwoods citizens and lawmakers, despite have a degree from Columbia. Two incommensurable aproaches.

    Maybe the New York Observer would agree to sponsor it.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  12:20 PM
  20. "Oh, those guys? Don’t mind them. They’re doing something for YouTube.”

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  12:33 PM
  21. In line w/7, I suggest quoting Nelson Muntz.  But I like #15 too - that’s delicious.

    Posted by Dave M  on  11/09  at  12:43 PM
  22. Questions.  Isn’t the use of “complaints” and “abuses” as synonyms a little presumptive?  Isn’t the fact that complaints are made, and received, almost by definition anti-chilling?  Isn’t it the subjects of the complaints who are most likely chilled, in which case wouldn’t he think it a good thing?  Isn’t the termination of professors for specific left-wing ideological beliefs in highly publicized cases an apple, and infrequent, likely unpublicized allegations of various political biases an orange?  Isn’t picking apart his arguments like shooting fish in a barrel?

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  01:10 PM
  23. 1. He is comparing the chilling effect of the threat of having a professor in one class who is biased against you with the chilling effect of the threat losing your job (and presumably being socially ostracized and ending your academic career), ignoring the differential chillingness of these two threats.

    2. He is assuming that the 13 complaints by students means 13 actual abuses.

    3. He is acting as if professors were consistently showing the same bias against the same set of students, and therefore chilling a specific type of student behavior, when in fact the 13 complaints were about a diverse set of political biases.  McCarthyism, conversely, involved an active campaign against a specific type of professor.

    4. He is using an example of the chilling effect of ideological government meddling in academia to argue for… ideological government meddling in academia.

    Posted by Blar  on  11/09  at  01:36 PM
  24. I think you should tell D’oh that Penn State has an opening in the history department and that he’d make a great candidate for the position.

    Posted by Crazy Little Thing  on  11/09  at  02:00 PM
  25. Ask HeWho exactly where he studied math.

    Posted by Amy  on  11/09  at  02:21 PM
  26. Michael, tell Horowitz not to look down:

    down

    Bill Benzon
    WAAGNFNP Minister of Visual Propaganda

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/09  at  02:57 PM
  27. I think Horowitz is absolutely right here. The “chilling effect” is definitely the issue.

    What’s odd, is his desire to compare university professors with McCarthy rather than to compare himself with McCarthy. It’s as if he thinks professors are scaring, intimidating, and dare we say challenging students far too much. Certainly he isn’t suggesting that faculty shouldn’t have a “chilling effect” on their students. Is he asking for a kinder gentler faculty? One that’s less judgmental? One that’s less Mccarthy-esque?

    This is total Rumsfeldian speak.

    Posted by Central Content Publisher  on  11/09  at  03:44 PM
  28. My (admittedly-heavy-handed) attempt at D Ho’s logic:
    “I found a small number of red M&Ms in the bag today. Now, even though that number is small, a similarly small number of academic persecutions occurred in the McCarthy era. Those persecutions had a chilling effect. Therefore, there is a chilling effect somehow related to red M&Ms. QED”

    It’s not that D Ho’s critics miss the targets, it’s that he moves the targets when possible and ignores all the bulls-eyes.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  03:48 PM
  29. Going along in my merry way today, feeling more optimistic than usual, holding a renewed sense that there are some silver linings around the vessel of hope that had been obscured for so long, and then “wham bam slam” i read about he who deserves no recognition whatsoever??? Aaarrrrrrggg.

    My suggestion is that you find one of his unwitting pwned sickophants to remind him that he is invisible in all light spectrums, and thus easily and appropriately ignorable.

    As for the muck he ladles out, well it is just silly and stupid.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  03:59 PM
  30. If there were 1,500 events of a certain type in 100 universities over five years, then that might seem like a lot.  But then you would would divide by 100, getting 15, and divide by 5, and get 3, and it would turn out that there would be three a year per university, which doesn’t sound like very much.  The bigger number is fairly meaningless, because it attempts to scare you with its sheer size, whereas the meaningful statistic is how likely something is to happen to the average student. 

    Sure, I only lock my keys in my office accidently once a year, but if I multiply that by the number of members of the MLA, then that’s 20,000 sets of keys locked in faculty offices every year! Put in those terms, it sounds like a horrible problem that should be discussed in the delegate assembly next year.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  04:09 PM
  31. Try asking him how a university committee to evaluate student complaints should respond to the “my biology professor failed to ‘teach the conflict’ between evolution and intelligent design” one, or the “Holocaust deniers are not being taught in this history course” one, or the “I refuse to read this novel b/c it offends me” one, or the “this class’s attendance policy is fascist” one.  How would he suggest the committee maintain intellectual and ethical standards at the university?  And if students who bring forward such complaints are embarrassed when the committee’s deliberations are “well-publicized,” would he applaud the committee’s work or try to double count the “abuses” revealed by the procedure?

    Or ask him what he thinks about postmodernism and knowledge.  Does he really believe every truth-claim is legitimately contestable?  If so, maybe you could suggest he test the “theory” of gravity by heading to the roof and....

    Or you could just ask him why he thinks college students today are mindless, gutless, and spineless.

    Posted by The Constructivist  on  11/09  at  04:30 PM
  32. "Hey, David, do you like seafood?”

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  04:50 PM
  33. By the way, I’ve locked my keys in my office about four times already this semester. I do not appreciate having this urgent issue dismissed offhandedly. But thanks for the suggestion of a complaint to the MLA delegate assembly! I’ll begin drafting something immediately.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  04:59 PM
  34. "Mr. Horowitz, how many? How many have to be censored? How many have to die? How many have to be exiled? How many for you to feel safe?”

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  05:07 PM
  35. Jonathan: Man, I hate to defend Horowitz, but… locking your keys in your office really can’t be compared to what Horowitz might describe as brainwashing the children of our great nation (if we, you know, are treating him with a degree of honestly that he’s obviously incapable of). Much like one would say that murder isn’t so bad because way more people lock their keys in their offices.

    I think “brainwashing” is a good description of what Horowitz types are really playing up (aka. parental fears, mind control, etc etc). That’s a serious ethical charge, even if it is a little delusional.

    Posted by Central Content Publisher  on  11/09  at  05:32 PM
  36. “is there anything you’d like me to say to David at lunch tomorrow?

    Yes.  Here’s a message to He. Who. from the Ministry of Justice:”

    dore

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice
    WAAGNFNP

    Bill Benzon
    Minister of Visual Propaganda
    WAAGNGNP

    captcha: “enough” as in Ich habe genug

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/09  at  05:45 PM
  37. Michael’s been busy ”traveling , eh?  Sure, we believe you.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  05:49 PM
  38. 13 undergraduates board a train in State College, PA.  The train has 20 cars and is headed to Chicago at an average speed of 60 miles per hour.

    At the same stop, 126 university faculty members board the train.  (Some of them were targets of academic freedom cases during the McCarthy era.  Some of them are members of humanities departments.  Let the number of faculty members who belong to both groups equal x.)

    The undergraduates all board the first car in the train and work their way back to the dinner car (the 12th car from the front) at a rate of 1 car per 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, the faculty members all board the 18th car (where the bar is located) and then work their way toward the other bar-car (3rd from the front) at a rate of 1 car per 8 minutes.

    In which car will the faculty and the undergraduates meet?  How many abuses of the undergraduates’ academic freedom can we expect will be reported after this encounter?  Please show your work on the back of your luncheon napkin.

    Posted by Dr. Free-Ride  on  11/09  at  06:23 PM
  39. “...is there anything you’d like me to say to David at lunch tomorrow?”

    Claim victory! smile

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  06:54 PM
  40. You know, I bet the one thing Horowitz does not expect from academia is tolerance. Maybe if someone was authentically nice to him, and asked him how he’s been lately and what’s new in his life, he would be a different person?

    I picture him like Oscar the Grouch: mean on the outside, but someone who wants to be part of a community (or at least a conversation) on the inside.

    And maybe bring up Georgia Tech and how two students’ persistent complaints there ended up being settled in a lawsuit in favor of the students. It’s a curious case, but it sort of makes his point (that some students feel silenced and discriminated against), and reveals that actions can be taken by students to challenge what they feel are violations of their rights. It doesn’t take David Horowitz to stick up for the oppressed.

    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/08/16/speech

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  07:11 PM
  41. From the Horowitz article in the Chronicle:

    At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a lecturer whose expertise is African languages and literature is teaching conspiracy theories in an introductory course on Islam about September 11, when a scientific understanding of what happened that day must rely on expertise in metals and fuels.

    Rewrite #1:

    At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a lecturer whose expertise is African languages and literature is teaching conspiracy theories about September 11 in an introductory course on Islam, when such conspiracy theories are not only irresponsible but also irrelevant to the subject of the course.

    Rewrite #2:

    At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a lecturer whose expertise is African languages and literature is teaching conspiracy theories about September 11 in an introductory course on Islam, when conspiracy theories about September 11 must be taught by experts in metals and fuels.

    Rewrite #3:

    At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a lecturer whose expertise is African languages and literature is teaching theories, when theories must be taught by experts in metals and fuels.

    Rewrite #4:

    At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Islam must rely on expertise in metals and fuels.

    Rewrite #5:

    September 11, that day, metals and fuels.

    Rewrite #6:

    At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a lecturer whose expertise is African languages and literature is probably doing his rational best to teach new ways of thinking about September 11 in an introductory course on Islam, when expertise in metals and fuels would have earned him a lot more money.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  07:14 PM
  42. Dear CCP: 

    I could have used any number of examples more grave than locking my keys in my office.  For example, binge-drinking and alcohol poisonings, sexual assaults, suicides, meningitis, etc… My point was about statistics.  Send your kid to college and the kid has a high risk of a lot of things--but being taught by an absent minded professor who locks his keys in his or her office is a lot more probable than being subjected to a “brainwashing” that probably wouldn’t work anyway.  I wouldn’t to keep it light.

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  07:16 PM
  43. Michael:

    Tell him you finally located the Tenured Radical.

    Dr. Radical

    Posted by tenured radical  on  11/09  at  08:00 PM
  44. “Hey, David, do you like seafood?”

    Or whisper to him, all Hailey Joel Osment-like:

    “Hey, David, do you, like, see food?”

    Not only will he never see it coming, he won’t even know what it means.

    captcha: “Hey, David, why do you always argue without evidence?”

    Posted by Scott Eric Kaufman  on  11/09  at  08:05 PM
  45. So, Dave, just how small is your staff anyway?

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  09:06 PM
  46. Ah yes! A comparison to alcohol poisoning is much better. ... I think.

    Posted by Central Content Publisher  on  11/09  at  09:47 PM
  47. Ask him why his prose is so turgid. Your “Times” article, a model of clarity, makes his writing seem, well, pathetic.

    Posted by Hattie  on  11/10  at  03:08 AM
  48. "Maybe if someone was authentically nice to him, and asked him how he’s been lately and what’s new in his life, he would be a different person?”

    I was always nice to Eldridge Cleaver, even when he double-parked in front of my apartment. I don’t think it helped.

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  03:09 AM
  49. Ask D’oH why he thinks someone with a masters in English lit, a background as a socialist-turned-neocon, and a career as a political propagandist is qualified to be taken seriously as an “expert” on the topic of “academic freedom.”

    Why does anyone outside wingnut circles give this guy a forum? Why does his opionion count so much that he gets to give lectures on campuses nationwide, and gets to speak in front of state legislatures?

    Captcha: “friend,” as in “Speak, friend, and enter.”

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  05:13 AM
  50. "Would you like to try some Pelosi with that?”

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  05:56 AM
  51. Well, you probably have a point. It’s hard to compare David Horowitz to Eldridge Cleaver, but sort of fun to try.

    I just learned that in 1975, Cleaver modeled anatomically fitted men’s pants he designed featuring a “Cleaver sleeve” which was a penis sheath that was basically a sock protruding from the front of a pair of pants (see “Eldridge Cleaver Models his hot new pants” in Rolling Stone issue 197 dated October 9, 1975). The sleeve accommodated free movement and size changes of the enclosed male organ.

    Wow!

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  09:36 AM
  52. So, did this special sleeve also contain a built-in microphone, all the more easily to bypass the brain on the way to speech?

    captcha: “thinking,” NOT

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/10  at  10:03 AM
  53. MVP Bill -

    The results are finally in and the rethugs have lost the majority in BOTH houses.

    We patiently await a message from Gojira. Please let us know when he speaks to you next.

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice
    WAAGNFNP

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/10  at  10:24 AM
  54. “Hey, David, do you like seafood?”

    I really feel credit must be given when due. This is honestly very funny. Cheers, Amanda French.

    CAPTCHA: “county”, AKA David H. with a vowel surplus. (Cheap shot? Unapologetically.)

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  11:58 AM
  55. In the immortal words of Simon and Garfunkel, Gojira is feeling groovy, with an edge:

    edgy

    Gojiravision reveals a fractal mixing of the blue and the red:

    intermix

    Bill Benzon
    Minister of Visual Propaganda
    WAAGNFNP

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/10  at  12:12 PM
  56. "Speaker Polosi.”

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  01:26 PM
  57. Horowitz is playing classic if pigs were horses cows would fly logic.  Why should I assume that anything passing between his lips is true?

    The place to start is prove your assumptions.  Once you accept a charlatain’s assumptions you are lost.

    Posted by Eli Rabett  on  11/10  at  01:27 PM
  58. “Hey, David, do you like seafood?”

    I really feel credit must be given when due. This is honestly very funny. Cheers, Amanda French.

    Yes, and so was this:

    Rewrite #6:

    At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a lecturer whose expertise is African languages and literature is probably doing his rational best to teach new ways of thinking about September 11 in an introductory course on Islam, when expertise in metals and fuels would have earned him a lot more money.

    Amanda, I think I have a blog crush on you!

    Posted by Dr. Virago  on  11/10  at  03:49 PM
  59. This is honestly very funny.

    I’ve never met an eight-year-old who didn’t agree!

    Personally, I have a blog crush on Gojira. ("Gojira is patient.") And the triceratops.

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  05:19 PM
  60. Gojira blushes:

    blush

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/11  at  06:57 AM
  61. Quite right you are, Amanda. Gojira is adorable! But I made a typo when I call Gojira “he”. I believe Bill said Gojira is a “she”.  But truly, I believe Gojira transcends both limited designations of male and female. I think that’s how Gojira gets inside the internets and “sees” things and brings us back vital information.

    The Triceratops is definitely a female, and she was referred to my office by our Minister of Visual Propaganda, Bill. Her name is 3Tops. Isn’t she absolutely gorgeous? She works directly under me in the Ministry of Justice on “Special Projects” (#29,30,33,34). She too is quite flattered to be the object of a “crush”!

    By the way, Amanda, 3Tops was just reviewing your file. We did receive your letter declining to act as Mr. Clarke’s defense counselor, and just want to make sure that you know this automatically means you have agreed to be part of the WAAGNFNP Loyal Prosecution.  If you have any question, I encourage you to please go back and read #135 (and #142) of “this highly entertaining thread”. If you have further questions, I can arrange a private meeting between you and 3Tops, which should clarify everything.

    In fact, the Ministry of Justice encourages all of you to go back and read #135 (and #142) of that highly entertaining thread. Thank you.

    CCST Update: Mr. Clarke has defense counselors, and they are Peter Ramus and John Protevi, (and nobody else!). This is, of course, way, way too powerful a defense team for a show trial. Either one of them will have to have a “Come to Jesus” moment and switch over to the Loyal Prosecution, or one or both of them will have to have severe restrictions set upon them during the trial. Creative ideas for “severe restrictions” are being accepted by the MoJ now.  The Minister of Justice will have the final say. (But surely you already knew that).

    Yours In Service.

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice
    WAAGNFNP

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/11  at  09:39 AM
  62. But truly, I believe Gojira transcends both limited designations of male and female. I think that’s how Gojira gets inside the internets and “sees” things and brings us back vital information.

    Gojira says, “Yes.”

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/11  at  10:59 AM
  63. If you haven’t seen the new PeptoBismo commercial for Pepto-Max, you need to.  It came out last night, and is around today. It features the classic GNF Japanese Gojira heroes and villans.  We are everywhere, and the WAAGNFNP is now taking charge of the airwaves.  Long live the party and its faith in the coming rapture of the GNF!!

    Posted by  on  11/11  at  08:14 PM
  64. Foucault above cites a settlement in favor of complaining Georgia Tech students, when that school deleted some clauses from regulations of their dormitories.  Example of a dropped clause from the list of prohibited behaviours:

    “Threatening, intimidating, harassing, or otherwise injurious written/verbal communications (including the use of telephones, emails and computers) directed toward an individual because of their characteristics or beliefs.”

    Poor plaintiffs were deprived of their freedom to threaten, intimidate, harass etc.???

    It is really curious how this “victory” (deleting of the clauses) came about.  Most probably, university lawyers got the idea of deleting redundant clauses prohibiting in dorm code things that were already prohibited to make a fast settlement (the clauses were somewhat repetitive, e.g. if threatening was prohibited, why separatedly prohibit threatening on the basis of personal characteristics).

    It is also curious if this is representative of the complaints (13 students chillingly prohibited from threatening, intimidating, harassing etc.?)

    Dr. Free-Ride: example so flawed that probably written outside USA.  The nearest train station is 30 miles from Penn State main campus.  The train, sadly, is slower than 60 miles per hour.  There is but one bar car.

    Brainwashing: 68% of voters under 30 voted Democratic!  The horses left the barn, Mr. Horowitz!  13 students aware of the fact, versus 40,000 brainwashed leftist Zombies!  You are doomed, Mr. Horowitz, doomed!

    Posted by  on  11/12  at  04:50 AM
  65. Hi Piotr,

    I think it is important to read the comment made by “Anonymous” with respect to the Georgia Tech story:

    “The two women in this case were and are repeatedly harassed and threatened on campus with violence by those who claim to be “tolerant,” including hate-filled speech about their ethnicity and their appearance. What’s more, they are prohibited from exercising the same rights as other groups. The media (excluding IHE) may spin this story all they want, but they don’t know what’s really going on there and what these ladies are facing. I urge readers to find out what is really going on at GT.”

    I do not attend Georgia Tech, but it sounds like there is more going on in this situation than the InsideHigherEd.com article sheds light on. I don’t think the plaintiffs were the ones who were harrassing people or threatening people.

    From what I can glean of the story, I believe the plaintiffs were trying to exercise their free speech by holding various events, like the “Affirmative Action Bake Sale.” This provocative action apparently got under the skin of politically correct populations on campus
    (including administrators), and the students began receiving threats of physical violence and other forms of harrassing messages about their race and ethnicity.

    In the end, I think their “victory” is limited to the types of communication and free speech that takes place in residence halls. I don’t know if this is where the bake sale took place, but apparently people will now have the freedom to say whatever they want to each other in residence halls, and will have to learn to deal with the real world problem of working things out without resorting to physical violence.

    That sounds fair to me: college is as good a time and place to learn to use free speech responsibly as any other context.

    captcha: TRIAL! (No kidding--CCST!)

    Posted by  on  11/12  at  12:58 PM
  66. captcha: TRIAL! (No kidding--CCST!)

    Foucault, you will like this:
    A couple of days ago I got an email from an aquaintance saying that since she and some of her friends had “adopted” me, (they call me their “little sister"), I needed to pick a “demonic name” for some game they play sometimes. Even tho they knew I wasn’t going to be playing, I was told I needed to pick a demonic name anyway.

    Being the carefree, easy going person I am, I said OK and requested a list of available demonic names. From the list, I picked “Astaroth”, without bothering to research it at all.  Turns out the demon Astaroth is the Prince of Accusers and Inquisitors!

    How cool funny is that?

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/13  at  05:39 AM
  67. That’s uncanny, Okatown Girl/Astaroth!

    I’ve actually been thinking about the upcoming trial, and about the role that was assigned to me as one of the Chief Prosecutors. I’ve looked into my heart, and realize that I may lack the moral certitude to prosecute Chris Clarke to the fullest extent of the law. As much as I have tried to see his case in black and white terms, I find I have developed Gojira-vision, and now the world of the trial and his crimes is like a kalaidescope to me.

    I know he is guilty and I know he is demonic. I know he deserves a very stiff penalty for his many misdeeds. But I think that perhaps *you* should prosecute him in your role as Astaroth.

    I might make a better “devil’s advocate,” or perhaps a swing state. I will work for and against the prosecution, and for and against the defense.
    I will be a little like Steve Smith, in the final game between Calgary and Edmonton during the fated Battle of Alberta that would advance Calgary to the Stanley Cup; playing for the Oilers, Smith shot the puck into his own net during overtime.

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  10:29 AM
  68. I’ve actually been thinking about the upcoming trial, and about the role that was assigned to me as one of the Chief Prosecutors.

    Ah...I see Mr. Clarke’s calculated and conniving delaying tactics have succeeded in weakening the will of at least one of my Lead Prosecutors. Curses!

    While I cannot prosecute Mr. Clarke as “Astaroth” (that would defeat the whole purpose of a cathartic healing and ultimate strengthening for the WAAGNFNP), I will allow you to work “both sides of the aisle” on 2 conditions:

    1. You work as hard if not harder for the prosecution.

    2. You come up with some ideas to handle the problem I posed up above in #61 of an overly powerful defense team for a proper show trial.

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice
    WAAGNFNP

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/13  at  10:48 AM
  69. Dear Oaktown Girl,

    Rest assured I will make prosecuting Clarke to a Crisp my first and foremost responsibility. While I have minor twinges of regret about his certain fate (we don’t want to leave orphaned canines scattered throughout the world), I believe I can overcome my sentimental feelings for his dog in order to kick his asp.

    And yes, I will work hard to think up creative ideas for how to handle the overly brawny defense. Perhaps a Tonya Harding manuever would fix a thing or two… but without resorting to violence, I will have some thoughts for you later.

    Onward: you have solidified my resolve to make sure that justice triumphs in this outrageous case.

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  12:33 PM
  70. I dug into the WAAGNFNP archives and found this picture of a previous WAAGNFNP Show Trial:

    showtime

    The defendant is the one in front wearing the red wig. Do not let the apparent light-heartedness of this tableau fool you. A WAAGNGNP Show Trial has no time for fools.

    Of course, the CCST will no doubt sport a different mise en scène. Those with suggestions on this matter should forward them to the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Visual Propaganda.

    Bill Benzon
    Minister of Visual Propaganda
    WAAGNGNP

    captcha: “spirit”

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/13  at  01:13 PM
  71. Nay, we cannot fear a powerful defense team.  They will only make the party stronger in the “eyes of the world.” A monumental show trial requires the presence (well at least the appearance) of an overzealous and marvelously talented team of defense attorneys.  Knowing they must and will be defeated, no matter what avenues of strategic gambols they take, only elevates the final guilty verdict and subsequent punishments.  We shall all be covered* in his shedded blood when it is over.

    *captcha

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  01:39 PM
  72. The defense team will be given a choice of false noses and over sized shoes; one size fits all, and then some. In some cases the noses and the shoes may be interchangeable. They will also be equipped with megaphones so that their voices may be heard even in the uppermost balcony seats.

    During summation they have the option of painting flames shooting out from their eyes, to give them the appearance of extra bad super-special fierceness.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/13  at  02:01 PM
  73. Foucault -

    Welcome back to the warm embrace of Goodness and Light!

    But what’s all this talk of orphaned dogs? Clarke doesn’t get killed or jailed for life! We merely use the power of Our Collective Good, (for truly, we only do this out of deepest compassion), to show Mr. Clarke the error of his ways. We will help him break free of denial and resistance and come to grips with his High Crimes. He will then, upon his own free will, affix his name to the Statement of Guilt. And upon showing appropriate and sincere remorse, he will be welcomed back in good standing to the WAAGNFNP. His journey from ignorance to wisdom will serve as a shining example to all, and the WAAGNFNP will be strengthened because of it.

    I hope that helps remove any lingering “twinges of regret” you or anyone else may have. I can give you a 97% guarantee that CC’s “shedded blood” of which spyder speaks is metaphorical. (Can’t give you a 100% guarantee because, you know, in the heat of the moment anything can happen, and the MoJ needs a little wiggle room here).

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice
    WAAGNFNP

    PS - Foucault - The MoJ is going to desperately need some vacation time after the CCST and cage matches.  Since you seem rather fond of ol’ Astaroth, perhaps as s/he/it can be Acting MoJ while I’m away.

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/13  at  03:01 PM
  74. MVP Bill and spyder -

    You are both correct. We should not fear a powerful defense team, but nor should we fear to..let us not say “disadvantage” them, but rather “augment” them.

    By the way, I forgot to mention in #73 above that there WILL be punishment involved for the guilty one, um, the accused, which shall be determined by the jury. AND in accordance with WAAGNFNP show trial rules, the jury may also rule the defense council must endure that same punishment. It’s an option the jury has, but I’m sure they’ll exercise it for those scoundrels Ramus and Protevi.

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/13  at  03:16 PM
  75. CC’s “shedded blood” of which spyder speaks is metaphorical

    I’m told that corn syrup and food coloring is very convincing in this role. I suggest we augment it with some Louisana Hot Sauce to give it that transgressive auto-da-fé jouissance.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/13  at  03:41 PM
  76. Good idea, Bill.

    But let’s be sure to save that until we’re very certain we won’t be rejoicing in utilizing that 3% chance I mentioned above.

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/13  at  04:23 PM
  77. Dear MoJ,

    I am so glad to be back in the warm embrace of WAAGNFNP! And thanks for reminding me of the benevolent basis on which we prosecute the guilty ones.

    Sometimes I get confused and conflate this show trial with that other show trial, I think.

    Aren’t we forgetting Rich Puchalsky in the formidable (snicker snicker) defense team? He’s got a glock, that one! We’d better be wary of him.

    Finally, I would be honored to act as an interim MoJ in your absence, under the name of “Astaroth,” the Prince of Accusers and Inquisitors. I only hope I can be as fair and balanced as the FOX network in my future role!

    To the metaphorical slaughter we go!!

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  07:47 PM
  78. He’s got a glock . . .

    You mean a glockenspiel? That tinkly percussion instrument beloved of marching bands? How delicate and sensitive of him!

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/13  at  08:20 PM
  79. Now now, we shouldn’t make fun our delicate and sensitive comrades, even if they do tinkle a little as they plead their case.

    At least he doesn’t wear a little red cap when he’s on the attack (that we know of, at least).

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  08:37 PM

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