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Around the cornu

Juan Cole’s astonishing serial demolition of Jonah Goldberg is one of the most lopsided, embarrassing exchanges I have ever seen in any medium.  I mean, the most corrupt state gaming commission in the entire sport of boxing would be appalled.  What is there to say about a leading right-wing pundit who’s too stupid even to pretend to have read a book about Iraq, and too stupid to know when to crawl back into his Corner, sniff the smelling salts, and have his trainer toss in the towel?  And remember, this isn’t any old Clownhall wannabe we’re talking about-- this is the editor-at-large-or-extra-large of the joint founded by William F. Buckley Jr., who, for all his many faults, actually read books and could even decline cornu in his younger days.

The rumor is that Jonah is changing the name of his blog from “The Goldberg File” to “Totally Uninformed Comment” as a permanent rebuke to Professor Cole’s out-of-touch liberal-elite insistence that people who declaim about Iraq in American mass media should know something about the subject at hand.  “The thing he challenged or alleged was simply my unworthy stature to have an opinion,” writes Jonah.  “Let me spell it out again: I think Cole is the sort of bullying professor most of us have encountered in one way or another.” No doubt this is quite true, if “most of us” means “wealthy, pampered, entitled right-wing know-nothings who behave in class as if our opinion is as good as anyone else’s because, you know, because everyone has a right to their opinion and shouldn’t be ‘bullied’ by professors with expertise.” And I’m pretty sure Jonah is the sort of student most of us have encountered in one way or another, too.

Meanwhile, over at David Corn’s place, I find that Mark Crispin Miller seems to have passed along to his friends some very strange Internet material alleging that Corn is a mole or a space alien of some kind, and David is justifiably pissed.  Well, you know how it is, David-- you say a few smart, pointed things about some neo-Stalinists here and some 9/11 conspiracy theorists there, and before you know it, you’re being denounced for your “excessive skepticism.” Look on the bright side:  you weren’t accused of deviationism.  Besides, you have to admit that the charges have some merit:  the American hard left was doing just fine until you criticized it, and now they’re in all kinds of trouble, and it’s pretty much your fault.  The only problem, as I see it, is figuring out whether the folks claiming that you’re a mole are themselves moles.  Personally, this sort of thing keeps me up at night, which is why I prefer to distance myself from those who distance themselves from those whose distance themselves from those who claim that those who claim that independent lefties like you and me are moles are moles.

And speaking of the Monty Python wing of the left, this humble blog has nothing useful to say on the subject of Ward Churchill.  The smartest, most thoughtful post on the subject by far is Timothy Burke’s; Digby and Kevin Drum have also weighed in with élan and eloquence.  Having never heard of Churchill until last week (!), I don’t think I bear any responsibility for the man’s writings on September 11.  All I can say is that there really is no question that academic freedom was devised precisely to cover people like this:  they may be horse’s asses, sure, but the capacious blanket of academic freedom covers even the largest horse’s ass when he speaks on matters in his field, and no one disputes that Churchill had staked out this terrain well in advance of September 11.  But don’t take it from me; take it from a distinguished intellectual who abandoned the left in the course of his illustrious career.

The qualified teacher, whose qualifications may be inferred from his acquisition of tenure, has the right honestly to reach, and hold, and proclaim any conclusion in the field of his competence.  In other words, academic freedom carries with it the right to heresy as well as the right to restate and defend the traditional views.  This takes in considerable ground.  If a teacher in honest pursuit of an inquiry or argument comes to a conclusion that appears fascist or communist or racist or what-not in the eyes of others, once he has been certified as professionally competent in the eyes of his peers, then those who believe in academic freedom must defend his right to be wrong--if they consider him wrong--whatever their orthodoxy may be.  (36)

That’s Sidney Hook, from his 1970 book Academic Freedom and Academic Anarchy.  There’s much to admire in this passage– not least the fact that so few right-wingers would second it today.  But what’s truly remarkable about it is that Hook used this rationale, at the time, to defend a young, impolitic Marxist named Eugene Genovese, who had recently made public his support of the Viet Cong– and, as Hook notes, had become immediately infamous for doing so:  because New Jersey’s Democratic governor rightly refused to fire Genovese from Rutgers on the grounds of aiding and abetting the enemy, the Republican gubernatorial candidate “focused his entire campaign on the issue of Genovese’s right to teach” (42).  Perhaps there’s a lesson here for the good people of Colorado.  Yes, I’m sure there is.

So I’m not going to get involved in the Monty Python Left’s latest parsings of Churchill’s self-defense, namely (as Churchill now writes), that he meant the “’little Eichmanns’ characterization” to apply “only to those [World Trade Center workers] described as ‘technicians.’ Thus, it was obviously not directed to the children, janitors, food service workers, firemen and random passers-by.” In other words, the dead working class and the dead kids were all right by us; it’s only the dead who were actively aiding and abetting the project of American Empire who deserve our condemnation.  I’ve read a number of these parsings in the past week, and they tend to run something like this: What about the cheesemakers?  Are they exempt, along with the janitors and firemen? No, the cheesemakers were far from innocent– as were the WTC dairy producers in general.  They may have been “very little Eichmanns” as opposed to “little Eichmanns,” but they were nonetheless comparable on some scale to the technicians of the Holocaust. What about the accounting department on the 82nd floor of the south tower?  Were they guilty? Yes, guilty as sin.  The 82nd floor was an especially imperialist floor, even if the photocopy room could more accurately be described as “quasi-crypto-imperialist” rather than nakedly “neo-imperialist.” But what about the Holocaust analogy?  Were these people really the moral equals of Eichmann? No, Professor Churchill did not say they were “like Eichmann.” Please do not take his words out of context.  He said they were “little Eichmanns,” which is quite another matter, as it implies a difference of scale.  Please see the cheesemakers, above.

All this Churchill-justifying nonsense merely confirms the Faux News view of the left, and threatens to make Ward Churchill into precisely the left icon he never was.  I have another idea.  Let’s defend Churchill’s academic freedom to say morally obnoxious things, dismiss his actual claims about the WTC dead as being too shallow for serious discussion, and then ask the American right what it thinks of National Review editor Rich Lowry’s proposal for how the United States should respond to September 11:

You can’t turn on the TV without hearing some expert say that our enemies in the current conflict are elusive, that finding targets to punish and bomb and raze will be difficult or impossible. Nonsense.

We know the states that harbor our enemies. If only Osama bin Laden and his 50 closest advisers and followers die in the next couple of weeks, President Bush will have failed in a great military and moral challenge of his presidency.

The American response should be closer to something along these lines: identifying the one or two nations most closely associated with our enemies, giving them 24-hours notice to evacuate their capitals (in keeping with our desire to wage war as morally as possible), then systematically destroying every significant piece of military, financial, and political infrastructure in those cities.

Yes, you read that right– this plan is in keeping with our desire to wage war as morally as possible.  And you gotta love that “nonsense” about our enemies being elusive.

OK, folks, over to you.  Posting will be light (once or twice a week) through the end of the month– I’ve got a book to finish, and I’m just this far from done.

Posted by on 02/08 at 09:17 PM
  1. Given the loony conspiracy theories that are freely spun around the Right about the French, the Germans, etc. not to mention the anti-semetic and xenophobic rants of people like Pat Buchanan, Ward Churchill seems like a great rationalist. that is sufficient justification. If universities have tolerated fabulists like John Lott (albeit on foundation money), they can tolerate a Churchill.

    BTW, the Hook quote is particularly appropriate. By then Hook had become a strident anti-Communist and his support of Genovese would not have been considered a given by many of his ideological friends. Hook is occasionally canonized by the neocons and whispered to have been one of their fellow travelers. Obviously, he wasn’t.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  12:23 AM
  2. "to distance myself from those who distance themselves from those whose distance themselves...”

    That reminds me of a certain Defense Secretary, something about known knowns and unknowns that are unknowable.  Oh, that’s your point?

    I just found your blog, thanks to the Koufax award nominations.  I read your work in my early grad school years (interdisc. art history program) and regret that I have not kept up with your work, both in the academic and greater media, until now.

    Wow.  Thanks for this blog.  It’s especially great catharsis for us (unemployed) (correction: willfully unemployed) liberal academic elites. 
    Best wishes on completion of your latest book.  Maybe reading here will remind me that I need to get started on my first. 

    Now, where’s the rating button?  Damn, I’ve gotten too used to dKos.  A 4!

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  12:24 AM
  3. I thought that, in the highbrow spirit of the erudite National Review staff, his little corner of cyberspace was going to change its name to The Goldberg Lacerations.

    P.S. I hope you don’t mind that I screamed past the last three-fourths of your post. I’m sure it was very interesting. Good luck with the book.

    Posted by norbizness  on  02/09  at  12:27 AM
  4. it should probably be “cornus,” or “cornum,” as cornu is the ablative singular form and the latin preposition for around generally takes the accusative, if i remmeber correctly.

    Posted by zsw  on  02/09  at  12:33 AM
  5. Personally, this sort of thing keeps me up at night, which is why I prefer to distance myself from those who distance themselves from those whose distance themselves from those who claim that those who claim that independent lefties like you and me are moles are moles.

    Reading that sentence gave me a bad case of false unconciousness.

    Go easy with that stuff, eh?

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  01:05 AM
  6. Berube is correct—cornu, cornûs, n. horn.

    n. cornu
    g. cornûs
    d. cornui
    acc. cornu
    abl. cornu

    As is the case for all neuters, the nominative and accusative are the same. The identity of the nominative/accusative and the ablative is peculiar to the fourth declension neuters—all nine of them.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  02:06 AM
  7. Kudos for defending David Corn.  He’s the best we have who has access to TV face time, and his “sin” is applying a modicum of journalistic standards to the assertions of of the incoherent Michal Ruppert and the too-flip (though more rigorous) Greg Palast. 

    Mark Crispin Miller should be embarrassed.

    Posted by Emphyrio  on  02/09  at  02:07 AM
  8. You know, my grandmother used to refer to my sisters and I as both “little Hitlers” and “little Churchills” when we were babies, and we never thought ill of her…

    Posted by dave  on  02/09  at  02:25 AM
  9. You remember correctly, zsw:  circum takes the accusative.  But the whole cornu thing is a kind of private fourth-declension joke around here, and you’re clearly thinking second-declension.  Originally, it had to do with some debate about the trashing of the Western canon.  So, repeat after me: cornu (nominative), cornus (genitive), cornu (dative), cornu (accusative), cornu (ablative), cornu (vocative); cornua (nom plural), cornuum (gen plural), cornibus (dat plural), cornua (acc plural), cornibus (abl plural), cornua (voc plural).  Thanks, David X., even though I take exception on the dative singular.

    And don’t challenge this humble blog’s Latin again!

    SneakySnu, thanks for stopping by.  Feel free to invent your own rating system for these posts.  And ask Peter Ramus about the syntax of that “distancing” sentence-- it holds up, I think, but it took me all afternoon to figure out.  Would that I could blog in Latin-- it’s so much easier.  Norbizness, I could hear you screaming, and your banshee-like caterwauls have cost me a precious night’s sleep.  Thanks, pal.  And thanks also to Emphyrio, who has the same sense of journalistic standards I do.  Dave, I await the day that Elvis Costello writes a song about “Two Little Churchills”; his “Two Little Hitlers” is still an underappreciated gem.  And Rich, I owe you for filling in the details on Sidney Hook circa 1970.  He was exceptionally elusive politically, remaining, even in his long slide to the right, willing to endorse (tenured) crazy anti-American Marxists at a point when he considered Communism the single most important evil on the planet.  If we managed to survive Genovese’s support for the Vietcong, we’ll manage to survive Ward Churchill’s remarks about September 11-- for as long as the principle of academic freedom is honored in this fair land.

    I’m holding my breath.  Are you? 

    Posted by Michael  on  02/09  at  02:28 AM
  10. Michael, the links to Burke, Digby, and Drum weren’t working for me.  I’ve tried to add them above, but the Digby link seems only to take you to his homepage, and my insomnia does have its limits.  Scroll down to Sunday.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  04:40 AM
  11. Also, check out the Rude Pundit from the last couple of days.  He’s been hitting it hard on the Ward Churchill thing, taking on Bill O’Reilly’s exploitation of Churchill.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  05:09 AM
  12. I guess Ward Churchill watched Clerks too often.

    Posted by DS  on  02/09  at  05:46 AM
  13. Amidst Ward Churchill’s careless verbiage lies a point that you didn’t address: Whether or not he originally meant to absolve the 9/11 attackers, they stand absolved by the Pentagon’s own targeting policies (plus the notion that “all men are created equal").

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  06:23 AM
  14. Doghouse, sorry about those lynx.  I used the wrong kind of quotation marks, it seems.  (All fixed now.) And thanks for the Rude Pundit tip, Jim-- I can’t believe I missed it (I usually check in there every couple of days).

    And just for the record, I did hit the <irony> command just before typing “crazy anti-American Marxists” in reference to Eugene Genovese </irony>.  I was, of course, thinking of his willingness to smear liberal faculty in the 1990s version of the campus culture wars, after he and his wife had taken up their comfy new positions on the right. 

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  08:14 AM
  15. I thought ‘little Eichmann’ was a penis refernece. Thanks for setting me straight.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  09:17 AM
  16. people who declaim about Iraq in American mass media should know something about the subject at hand.

    Does anyone imagine that Maureen Dowd knows more about the middle east than Jonah Goldberg?  Who do you suppose has more visibility and influence?  Somehow I doubt that Fouad Ajami, Martin Kramer, Kanan Makiya , Bernard Lewis etc. would bother addressing any of her idiotic columns on Iraq.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  10:32 AM
  17. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of the humor that is the left.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  10:37 AM
  18. JRP:
    The next time MoDo decides to bash an established, Arabic-speaking Middle East scholar, based on exactly ZERO research, and then when called on it, tries to argue that she’s being picked on, let us know.

    As usual, on the RW, apples=oranges.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  10:52 AM
  19. wow, i knew cornu was 4th declension, i guess i just forgot how the entire declension worked, which makes me very ashamed.  My latin teacher would kill me.

    Posted by zsw  on  02/09  at  11:16 AM
  20. I’m a bit confused about the glee big time bloggers are exhibiting over Jonah Goldberg.  Sure he’s a twit and much, much more, but it seems like there is a great deal of energy being displayed swatting a mosquito with a 747. 

    Yeah, it’s entertaining, but it makes me feel kinda queasy seeing people of intellect wasting their time this way.

    Posted by Ryan  on  02/09  at  11:20 AM
  21. The parallels between Goldberg and the student who claimed his failing grade on his
    [url="http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/8841"]
    terrible essay [/url]
    was because his professor was anti-American are pretty stark. Yes, all of us who teach have probably run into people who try to get by without doing the reading, the difference between these two and my students is that my students learn their lesson and do the reading the next time. These guys just try to change the topic.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  11:36 AM
  22. Burke’s take on Churchill is ballanced and brilliant. Hook on academic freedom is essential. But as we emphasize the requirements of free speech because of its benefits for the honing and advancement of knowledge, there is a secondary reason to think through. A talk by Churchill on his own campus was cancelled because of threats of violence. In my darker moments, in the privacy of my own head, I think the best way to get rid of stupid opinions is with a big stick. But keeping speech free and open has the effect of thwarting violence as the default setting for dealing with opinions that inspire vituperation. This is why I love politics conceived in spatial terms (as an arena)so much. It may be agonizing, slow, tainted with imperfections like coercion, but collective life organized politically is the best bulwark against violence. Supporting politics is an acceptance of equality that means something like reverence for life.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  11:48 AM
  23. Oops, almost forgot: Best wishes as you finish the book, Michael. Maybe you should send Churchill a letter thanking him for creating an audience interested in what the Liberal Arts are all about.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  11:54 AM
  24. Cap, Goldberg’s comments addressed Cole’s pattern of carping and moving goalposts.  They did not address much less question his knowledge of Arabic or mideast history.  He isn’t bashing Cole’s academic competence, he’s bashing his judgment.

    Goldberg complained that Cole was ‘appalled by media cheerleading.’ Not contested by Cole.  Re: Iranian vs. Iraqi elections , the sterile facts of both elections have been widely reported in the anglophone media, including all the points mentioned by Cole in defense of his own remark.  Goldberg remarks that Cole seems upset that his own advice re: Sistani is being followed by Bush (also accurate, and not addressed by Cole.)

    Cole’s acknowledged expertise (in language and history) and Goldberg’s obvious lack thereof is irrelevant to any of Goldberg’s 3 original comments, even to much of what can be considered punditry.  To the limited extent Cole’s knowledge of Shi’ism bears on the political issues, his advice has for the most part been followed.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  11:58 AM
  25. So, by Rich Lowry’s criteria, the Bush Administration’s anti-terrorism policies to date have been a colossal failure. Good to know.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  12:03 PM
  26. The next time MoDo decides to bash an established, Arabic-speaking Middle East scholar, based on exactly ZERO research...

    A better example is Paul Wolfowitz.  Try to imagine if “Wolfie” came out with an article bashing MoDo for her political ignorance, trumpeting his doctorate and war college credentials, to say nothing of his vast experience in government.  It’s inconceivable.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  12:18 PM
  27. Your discussion of Goldberg’s complaining about the way Cole laid the smackdown on him reminds me of a series of Doonesbury strips from ~1993, where a student in a math class complains about losing points on a test because he said the square root of 144 was 15.

    Good luck with that book!

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  12:27 PM
  28. http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=30&ItemID=7204

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  12:43 PM
  29. "It’s inconceivable.”

    If by inconceivable you mean easy to imagine, then I agree with you.  If Wolfowitz wrote a daily blog about “benovelent global hegemony”, or whatever he’s calling it these days, and MoDo said that he’s a nutcase (in my opinion, a good call) then Wolfowitz would predictably respond in his blog.

    Posted by alt hippo  on  02/09  at  01:28 PM
  30. You remember correctly, zsw:  circum takes the accusative.  But the whole cornu thing is a kind of private fourth-declension joke around here, and you’re clearly thinking second-declension.  Originally, it had to do with some debate about the trashing of the Western canon.  So, repeat after me: cornu (nominative), cornus (genitive), cornu (dative), cornu (accusative), cornu (ablative), cornu (vocative); cornua (nom plural), cornuum (gen plural), cornibus (dat plural), cornua (acc plural), cornibus (abl plural), cornua (voc plural).  Thanks, David X., even though I take exception on the dative singular.

    Of course this reminds me of the time that I asked a linguist if she’d conjugate with me, but she declined </rimshot>.

    Michael,

    I can only bow to the wit and wisdom displayed in that post. An early contender for post of the year in the next Koufax Awards.

    I salute you, sir. I’m not worthy. 

    Posted by Randy Paul  on  02/09  at  01:42 PM
  31. A hearty welcome to our friends on the Right, even if they’re avoiding that nasty Lowry quote!  Just a word or two to people unfamiliar with this humble blog-- JRP, this blog carries no water for MoDo (we think she’s in the bantamweight class), and in your hypothetical Battle of Expertise between Dowd and, say, Kanan Makiya, we’d go with Makiya. But remember, the only reason Cole bothered with Goldberg in the first place is that Goldberg threw the first punch.  Which, like his followups, is really beyond belief.  I think Captain Gota’s got a good sense of what went down here.

    Chris R., I definitely owe a thank you to Ward Churchill-- and, at this point, about a dozen other controversial academics on the left.  Between now and publication, my guess is that we’ll have another five or six of these episodes, and I’d better get my “thank you” stationery ready now.

    And thanks, Randy.  Remember, you can’t have conjugal relations with a linguist unless your adjectives agree.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    Posted by Michael  on  02/09  at  02:37 PM
  32. Goldberg threw the first punch.

    And the first punch did not question, indeed is not concerned with Cole’s expertise in Arab languages and mideast history.  Lowry’s column is offensive whether or not he knows Arabic.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  02:52 PM
  33. I group Goldberg and MoDo together in style (annoying) and substance (minimal.) If you are interested in the reaction of someone closer to Juan Cole’s weight class, head over to Tony Badran’s blog at beirut2bayside.blogspot.com.  He has made something of a hobby out of Cole, but his blog is worth reading for other non-Cole-related reasons.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  02:59 PM
  34. Thanks for both, JRP--

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  03:06 PM
  35. What Jonah’s, Coulter’s and all the rest’s
    purpose is only to provoke you into a debate
    that you cannot win</br>.  Kerry lost the presidency because he focused so much on a band of fuck-heads and got distracted from his strenghs.

    People who call themselves “democrats” or “progressive” need to stop shooting prarie mice and concert their considerable abilities to...<b> defining an agenda</br>.

    It’d be a start..

    Posted by Ryan  on  02/09  at  03:40 PM
  36. As an alumna of Hamilton College, I just received this <a href="http://www.hamilton.edu/news/more_news/display.cfm?ID=9073&section=News, Sports, Events&subsection=Hamilton eNews">thoughtful letter</a> from Joan Hinde Stewart, our current president.  Worth checking out.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  04:47 PM
  37. and i thought cornu was french for a male critter with horns, comme le lezard cornu.  humph.  just goes to show you.  should have known that a right wing publication would avoid french.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  05:13 PM
  38. If we managed to survive Genovese’s support for the Vietcong, we’ll manage to survive Ward Churchill’s remarks about September 11-- for as long as the principle of academic freedom is honored in this fair land.

    Sadly, I expect the Regents at the University of Colorado to knuckle under to the baying of the wolfpack and toss Churchill aside.  Oh, they’ll claim they discovered—and are shocked, shocked I tell you!—that he’s been using his campus phone for personal long distance calls or he’s been leaving his toenail clippings in the faculty lounge, and give him the boot for moral turpitude.  Nobody in this country in the present political climate (nobody on the Left, that is) can get away with calling the Martyrs of 9-11 “little Eichmans”, academic freedom, tenure, First Amendment be damned.

    Meanwhile, several people in the Bush Administration have been performing the same bureaucratic function as Eichman by organizing the roundup by secret military units of troublesome elements identified by the administration as enemies of the state and shipping them off to concentration camps outside the country, where they are tortured, degraded, humiliated, and sometimes killed in a no-man’s land where the law is whatever the bureaucrats say it is.  One of these bureaucrats is now the Attorney General of the United States, another is soon to be the Director of Homeland Security, another is a judge on a United States Court of Appeals, and another is—like Churchill—a tenured professor at a state university, where, instead of being shunned by his colleagues and hounded mercilessly by O’Reilly, Coulter, Hannity, Savage, and the rest of the right wing freak show, he has settled into his comfortable position teaching Constitutional law and writing the occasional op-ed piece in large circulation newspapers defending the legality of the torture regime he helped to put in place.

    For obvious reasons, I’ll resist the temptation to refer to these bureaucrats as “little Eichmans”, but I will wonder at the values of a society that is happy to reward the actions of a John Yoo or Alberto Gonzales while it attempts to destroy Ward Churchill based on his words.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  08:10 PM
  39. The following is a crosspost from Corn’s blog:

    Corn has never to my knowledge conceded that he was overly-- ludicrously-- hard on Cynthia McKinney for an interview she did on Pacifica. He assailed people as conspiracy theorists just for saying that 911 deserved a non-partisan, no-holds-barred investigation, if only to set straight theories of a conspiracy. By November of 2003, though, he was saying that Bush was involved in a cover-up over the presidential daily brief. No apologies to McKinney or other readers.

    When I wrote him to correct a basic error of fact regarding John Pilger’s nationality, he was not gracious enough to respond.

    My sympathy for Corn is diminished by the thought that he may be getting a dose of what he has dished out. He should also understand that whenever a journalist covers an agency, especially an agency for which deception is genetic, readers may wonder whether he has been conned or co-opted by it. Since he is one of the few journalists granted access to the airwaves, people may wonder exactly what he has done that other progressive journalists have not.

    Make better enemies, Mr. Corn.

    I hope you were just having a giggle, Michael. 

    David Corn’s overly sensitive ego and underly sensitive understanding of how his words can also wound is, IMO, the larger story of how he ended up in this public urination match.

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  09:31 PM
  40. Michael, your check is in the mail. And I won’t tell anyone!

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  09:45 PM
  41. I’m with you, Basharov.  Nice final paragraph, that.  And js, I’m well aware that Corn has pissed off people to his left, and that his batting average on this, like mine, is under 1.000.  But for this Mark Crispin Miller circulates a beyond-the-fringe essay alleging that Corn is a mole, under the heading “More on the Alien Corn”?  In what universe does he deserve this kind of nonsense?  Whatever he’s “dished out” in the past, it never looked like this.  We all could stand to make better enemies, but on this one, the advice should go to Miller-- to make better enemies and send better emails.

    And David, thanks as always for the check.  It comes at a good time.  But please write to my secret mole address with next month’s payment, and remember, the condor is about to fly-- the final move is ours.  See you at “the Burrow"--

    Posted by  on  02/09  at  10:11 PM
  42. Well, Michael, I wish you good luck getting that book written, and I’ll be happy to boost its Amazon rank as much as I can.

    And I have to say I’m happy that my employer doesn’t use the “Let’s not become what Fox News says we are” metric, otherwise they’d fire my ass, because I’m an environmental activist who is also a left-wing socialist. Fortunately they judge me on my merits (slight as they may be) rather than on whether I fit some paranoid’s stereotype too closely.

    Thank you for speaking out in favor of Churchill’s academic freedom, which is of course the most important issue here. People of good will can disagree honestly with regard to the merits of what he’s written. I confess I find that though Churchill’s piece was written in a deliberately offensive style - I sure as hell wouldn’t have published it were it submitted to me - he makes a point I think needs to be made far more often.

    That point: people who are uncomfortable with the activities of their government ought to keep the concept of complicity in mind.

    The WTC was the wrong moment to bring it up, I know. But I think the right time started about the time the press was full of official mourning at the death of Mike Spann, the CIA agent killed in the prison riot in Afghanistan.

    FWIW, I read with interest David Corn’s criticism of Gary Webb. I confess I dialed my offense sensors asll the way up to high before I clicked. But Corn’s criticism was thoughtful, supportive and compassionate, and he didn’t deserve the shit he got for it.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/10  at  12:59 AM
  43. If anyone doubted you were in the harried last stages of writing a book, Michael, I think this sentence should drive away those doubts forever:

    And ask Peter Ramus about the syntax of that “distancing” sentence-- it holds up, I think, but it took me all afternoon to figure out.

    Yes: the voyages of the Starship Distraction, whose endless mission is to seek out new worlds just when you need to stay at home. You’re definitely trying to finish a book.

    My advice is to put down the silver polish, if you find it in your hands. And yes, the windows need to be washed, and the room could use some tidying, and the playing cards definitely need to be sorted into their appropriate suites. All that and more.

    Resist, good man, resist!

    For my part I’ve spent a good deal of time this morning trying to decide with little success (and no book to finish) whether your “distancing” sentence is a product of Russian-doll Formalism or Wyndham Lewis-be-damned Vorticism.

    You need not answer. Write your book.

    (To alt hippo up there at comment 29:

    I share your sentiments, although I believe the correct title of Mr. Wolfowitz’s blog is “Informed Conquest.")

    Posted by  on  02/10  at  11:43 AM
  44. Michael, actually what Corn dished out to McKinney looked very much like calling her an “alien mole.”

    McKinney chose her words poorly in asking who had heard warnings ahead of 9/11. In a lengthy radio interview, that happens. Corn chose to pile on, joining right-wingers in condemning McKinney in very intemperate terms.  He’s never, to my knowledge, acknowledged that maybe he went too far. 

    Corn has also assailed-- in equally intemperate terms-- the ever-popular strawman brigade, “Internet conspiracy theorists.” Look, I know exactly how unsubstantiated some people’s ideas on 9/11 are. I’ve corrected plenty of misinformation I see on the ‘Net.

    Consider that the Bush Administration effectively squelched any independent investigation. The one that was done was remarkably good, but Bushco still managed to stall it for over a year, insert their man Zelikow onto staff, limit questioning of Administration officials, and keep the president’s testimony secret.  Of course people are going to be suspicious. Hammering them as “conspiracy theorists” is a cheap shot, and Corn has been as cheap as the cheapest.

    Sure, Mark Miller should take it easy.

    So should Corn.

    So should we all.

    Next?

    Posted by  on  02/10  at  07:03 PM
  45. Is Ward Churchill really that outrageous? This is what I find outrageous:

    “The antiwar left once knew well that its anti-imperialism was in fact a form of patriotism - until it lost its bearings in Kosovo and Kabul, insisting beyond all reason that those military campaigns were imperialist wars for oil or regional power.”

    50 years from now, when scholars are trying to understand the sordid mess of US capitalism, such statements will command their attention rather than what Ward Churchill said.

    The notion that the USA sends its bombers and soldiers and ships overseas for anything except oil or other natural resources and regional power is far more mindboggling than calling people in the WTC little Eichmann’s even though I disagree with that.

    Berube is in no position to look down his nose at Ward Churchill as long as statements like the above are still in the public record.

    Posted by  on  02/11  at  09:06 PM

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