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Vendredi potpourri

Juan Cole is being pursued by a giant slug. Please send him some love today.  Yes, I know, Professor Cole can take care of himself, and he carries plenty of salt just for occasions like these.  But as he rightly points out:

If it weren’t for this little blog, I wouldn’t even have had a way of challenging Fund’s and the WSJ’s falsehoods. (And, if the media corporations can take “net neutrality” away from us, they’ll remove that avenue of reply, too.)

And while we’re objecting to smear campaigns, Khalil Shikaki is also being targeted for a special Two Minutes Hate.  This humble blog thinks it noteworthy when extremists call for the dismissal of politically moderate Palestinian scholars, and rejects extremists’ delusional claims that objecting to such calls amounts to anti-Semitism.

And while we’re looking into the latest issue of Academe, the journal of the American Association of University Professors, check out general secretary Roger Bowen’s response to the disinformation campaign regarding that controversial (and now cancelled) conference on “academic boycotts.”

And while we’re talking about the AAUP, three cheers to Cary Nelson and Jane Buck for stepping up, getting arrested, and standing in solidarity with the NYU strike.  Three jeers to NYU Minister of Deflection John Beckman for pretending that NYU isn’t the only private university in the nation to have de-recognized a legitimate graduate student union (see the penultimate paragraph of the article).

And while we’re talking about academe and labor, please stop by and sign the petition in support of the janitors’ strike at the University of Miami.  There’s also a new blog about the strike, which you can visit by clicking on the very word “blog.”

And while we’re talking about blogs, you should go to the American Street right away, because one of their surprise guest bloggers has uncovered the GOP’s secret emergency plans for the coming Avian flu epidemic.

Have a great weekend.  And let’s go Sabres!

Posted by on 04/28 at 12:46 PM
  1. Bérubé insane: read all about it

    Transcription from the April 27 edition of Fox News’ Your World:

    CAVUTO: Well, remember Jay Bennish? The geography teacher who compared President Bush to Hitler? Or Ward Churchill, the University of Colorado professor, when he claimed America deserved to be attacked on 9-11? And the Taliban spokesman who made it into Yale while American students were being rejected? So with kids getting ready to pick the college of their choice, should parents be worried that they’re shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for their kids to be brainwashed by radicals? Our next guest says yes. David Horowitz is the author of The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. And, professor, good to see you.

    HOROWITZ: Good to see you, Neil.

    CAVUTO: So we have to be on guard against nuts in the classroom?

    HOROWITZ: Oh absolutely. I just spoke in—at Arizona State, and a student who’s out of state, so her parents are paying $28,000 a year, was in an English class where the English professor assigned a paper. The topic was: “Who is more insane? [Nazi war criminal] Adolf Eichmann or George Bush?” You can imagine what that kind of class is like. I think that parents can protect their youngsters by telling them to choose their courses carefully.

    CAVUTO: But how will you know that the professor you have is insane?

    HOROWITZ: By contacting other students--

    CAVUTO: But what if there’s only a couple of professors who teach the required course that you need, and one of them is a nut?

    HOROWITZ: That is a problem. The left has worked to get its courses required. But you could probably go through college without encountering a real whacko, if you choose --

    CAVUTO: I never did. I don’t know about what college you went to.

    HOROWITZ: Stay away from women’s studies, black studies, cultural studies, whiteness studies, post-colonial studies, all those studies.

    CAVUTO: But they creep into PoliSci 101 --

    HOROWITZ: Stay out of anthropo --

    CAVUTO:—they creep into just general dissertations on economics.

    HOROWITZ: I think this is true.

    need we ever say more

    Posted by  on  04/28  at  02:23 PM
  2. C’mon, spyder, that paper topic really is outrageous.  Everyone knows it should have been “Adolf Eichmann or George Bush:  quien es muy macho?”

    Posted by Michael  on  04/28  at  02:50 PM
  3. Thanks for the Sabres shout out.  Have you given up on the Rangers?

    Posted by  on  04/28  at  03:14 PM
  4. The Rangers are still in the playoffs?

    Posted by Michael  on  04/28  at  03:15 PM
  5. hey, what ya got against giant slugs, buddy? Some of my favorite department chairs are giant slugs.

    Posted by  on  04/28  at  03:45 PM
  6. "Thanks for the Sabres shout out.  Have you given up on the Rangers? “

    As a Flyers fan, I too thank Michael for laying the Kiss of Death upon the Sabres.

    Posted by  on  04/28  at  04:37 PM
  7. I’m floored.  I thought it was apocryphal, but The Bérubé Hex™ really works!

    Keep those Sabres chants coming!

    Posted by Matt  on  04/28  at  10:28 PM
  8. Yes, I see that the powers of this blog are fearsome powers indeed.  Would you like me to have the Sabres hit the post a few more times in game five, or should I try to mess with the West for a bit?  Because those Mighty Ducks are a plucky bunch of strivers, you know.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/28  at  10:33 PM
  9. Oh please oh please redact those Sabres comments and spread your plague upon the West!!!

    Hockey doesn’t belong in Anaheim anyway!

    Posted by  on  04/29  at  09:13 AM
  10. Hey, I’m thinking Flyers-Ducks would make a helluva final.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/29  at  11:06 AM
  11. Hey! Stay away from the Sabres!  They can break our hearts without your help!

    Posted by  on  04/29  at  07:49 PM
  12. Well-noted, the Khalil Shikaki smear campaigns.  Thanks, humble blog

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  07:11 AM
  13. "And while we’re looking into the latest issue of Academe, the journal of the American Association of University Professors, check out general secretary Roger Bowen’s response to the disinformation campaign regarding that controversial (and now cancelled) conference on ‘academic boycotts.’”

    Well, I did check it out, and the piece, as a whole, seemed pretty squirmy to me, lacking, as it did, any detailed rationale for the way the prospective conference was conceived and organized.  It was, let’s face it, a very strange conference as planned, resembling nothing so much as the conclave of the Central Committee of some political organization that is generally unified as to doctrine but divided as to tactics.

    The topic at issue was obviously one of general interest, about which many academics have rather strong feelings.  One would think that a “conference” on this issue would be a rather large-scale public event with all invited to attend and a large range of speakers garnered by a well-publicized call for papers.  Instead, Joan Wallach Scott and some close friends seem to have put together this secretive little retreat in an Italian villa, no less, whose agenda was obscure and whose tiny roster of invitees was assembled for some purpose never made clear.  Why were a third of these invitees prominnent sponsors of the British “boycott Israel” resolution?  The best guess I can come up with, based on some of Scott’s statements, it that the basic idea was to spank these hotheads for their overly provocative tactics while supporting their overall political analysis.  In other words, I gravely doubt that this gathering would have considered the question of boycotts and their unadvisability in any broad context or from the point of view of general ethical principles.  Whether this impression is right or wrong, Bowen did little to dispel it.  Moreover, he left the curious affair of the neo-Nazi article and its inclusion in the conference reading packet as mysterious as ever.  Inadvertence doesn’t seem to be a very credible explanation; one hears the faint rustle of something being swept under the rug.

    Personally, I was not very eager to see the conference cancelled.  It seemed to me that it was likely to bring some rather bizarre life-forms out of the woodwork, but that it posed little direct danger to anyone.  Let the damn foundations piss their money away on such stuff, if that’s what they choose to do.  But I would like to see a more probing, candid, and detailed account of the fiasco than Bowen was willing to provide.

    NL

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  08:17 AM
  14. "Moreover, he left the curious affair of the neo-Nazi article and its inclusion in the conference reading packet as mysterious as ever.  Inadvertence doesn’t seem to be a very credible explanation; one hears the faint rustle of something being swept under the rug.”

    The specter of <style.html">Hofstadter</a> is haunting America.  For what credible reason would this inclusion have been advertant?  Once inevitably discovered (as it was sure to be, unless all attendees did not look at their conference materials, and all agreed with it) it was sure to cause the result that it did cause: scandal, apology, probable cancellation of the conference.

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  09:10 AM
  15. Why were a third of these invitees prominnent sponsors of the British “boycott Israel” resolution?  The best guess I can come up with, based on some of Scott’s statements, it that the basic idea was to spank these hotheads for their overly provocative tactics while supporting their overall political analysis.

    If that’s your best guess, then the obvious conclusion beckons, namely, that you’re not really very bright.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/30  at  09:39 AM
  16. The specter of Hofstadter is haunting America.  For what credible reason would this inclusion have been advertant?  Once inevitably discovered (as it was sure to be, unless all attendees did not look at their conference materials, and all agreed with it) it was sure to cause the result that it did cause: scandal, apology, probable cancellation of the conference.

    Posted by Rich Puchalsky

    Hypothesis: JW Scott (or whoever) had a staff of some kind assigned the donkey-work of putting together a conference packet, but one of them turned out to be a little nuts, or at least, given to indiscretion.  But this remains unprovable and the mystery remains.  What’s hard to envision, though, is somebody more or less unconsciously downloading the thing and going through all the motions of printing it up and putting it in the packet.  That takes us into Rosemary Woods territory.

    NL

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  10:07 AM
  17. "Why were a third of these invitees prominnent sponsors of the British “boycott Israel” resolution?  The best guess I can come up with, based on some of Scott’s statements, it that the basic idea was to spank these hotheads for their overly provocative tactics while supporting their overall political analysis.”

    If that’s your best guess, then the obvious conclusion beckons, namely, that you’re not really very bright.

    Posted by Michael

    OK, genius.  Enlighten me.  Why is this a plausible and sensible way of putting together a meeting on the general principle of academic openness and the inadvisability of selective boycotts?  The focus of the conference, as planned, would inevitably have been the wisdom and prudence of the British proposal to boycott a couple of Israeli universities, with the proponents of this boycott having fully as much to say as the opponents.  It’s hard to believe the conference would have got much beyond the particulars of this one case.  And, given the roster of invitees, it’s difficult not to believe that the debate, in tone and substance, would have reduced to the following

    “The Israeli occupation of Palestine is a monstrous evil”

    (a) “but an academic boycott is a bad tactic.”

    (b) “so an academic boycott is a good tactic.”

    [Choice of (a) or (b)]

    But perhaps, as an insider, you know better, Michael.  If so, let’s hear your take.

    NL

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  10:20 AM
  18. Don’t waste your time, Norman.

    Closet anti-semites abound on this blog.

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  10:57 AM
  19. Oh go slay some vampires Buffy.  This sort of adolescent name-calling, attempting to stigmatize and stereotype, all critical views under a dysphemic label, hoping against hope that defaming is sufficient, now simply compounds the problems. 

    If perchance you wish to take issue with the idea that there are those here who view the expansionist policies of the Israeli government, pursued through the use of violence, then please say so.  If you wish to defend these practices and propose reasoned support for the need to continue them, then do that.  If you wish to smear over all criticism, then you contribute nothing (except to provide fodder for humor regarding the embedded phobic tendencies in your comment).

    There are better “ways” to open discourse.

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  12:19 PM
  20. Okay Spyder,

    I apologize and will rephrase my remark. I was simply referring to the disparaging way that NL seems to be treated (by various people here) each time he posts.

    I don’t approve of the expansionist policies of the Israeli gov’t, and don’t see any need to continue those policies. But there is also no need to question the intelligence of someone who seems to be asking a fairly legitimate question.

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  12:45 PM
  21. Recently Professor Norman Levitt misspelled “Grisha” Perelmans’s name in a comment on this very blog (comment #49).

    Hypothesis: Professor Levitt (or whoever) had a finger assigned the donkey-work of typing up Perelman’s name, but one of them turned out to be a little nuts, or at least, given to indiscretion.  But this remains unprovable and the mystery remains.  What’s hard to envision, though, is somebody more or less unconsciously posting the thing and thus inadvertently hobbling all the motions of intellectual self-puffery contained in that comment. This takes us into Stephen Colbert territory.

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  01:06 PM
  22. "Personally, I was not very eager to see the conference cancelled.  It seemed to me that it was likely to bring some rather bizarre life-forms out of the woodwork,”

    “Oh, come to the church in the wildwood
    Come to the church in the vale”

    Papa Schimmelhorn (testing professor levitt’s knowledge of classic speculative fiction stories)

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  01:18 PM
  23. Why were a third of these invitees prominnent sponsors of the British “boycott Israel” resolution?  The best guess I can come up with, based on some of Scott’s statements, it that the basic idea was to spank these hotheads for their overly provocative tactics while supporting their overall political analysis.

    Actually, Buffy, this isn’t a legitimate question.  It verges on being the kind of conspiracy-theory thing one finds in the Protocols of the Elders of Palestine.  I’ve booted anti-Semitic remarks from these comments before, but I let Norm and his reference to the “goddamn Palestinians” stay.  So far.

    And for the record, the reason you invite misguided supporters of academic boycotts to a discussion of academic boycotts is to have a discussion of academic boycotts.  The alternative, of course, is to boycott those academics who propose boycotts.  Which is pretty much what Stormin’ Norman proposes here. 

    Posted by Michael  on  04/30  at  01:29 PM
  24. Well, that would not be the first conspiracy theory ever to rear its head here, would it?

    “Oh, come to the church in the wildwood
    Come to the church in the vale”

    This sounds like Thomas Hardy! Could it be The Fiddler In the Reels?

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  01:57 PM
  25. Buffy schrieben:

    “Could it be The Fiddler In the Reels?”

    Perhaps you a transcription of such tune for the gnurrpfeife have?

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  02:11 PM
  26. Hypothesis: Professor Levitt (or whoever) had a finger assigned the donkey-work of typing up Perelman’s name, but one of them turned out to be a little nuts, or at least, given to indiscretion.  But this remains unprovable and the mystery remains.  What’s hard to envision, though, is somebody more or less unconsciously posting the thing and thus inadvertently hobbling all the motions of intellectual self-puffery contained in that comment. This takes us into Stephen Colbert territory.

    Posted by peter ramus
    -------------------
    “Oh, come to the church in the wildwood
    Come to the church in the vale”

    Papa Schimmelhorn (testing professor levitt’s knowledge of classic speculative fiction stories)

    Posted by Papa Schimmelhorn
    ---------------------------

    Actually, Buffy, this isn’t a legitimate question.  It verges on being the kind of conspiracy-theory thing one finds in the Protocols of the Elders of Palestine.  I’ve booted anti-Semitic remarks from these comments before, but I let Norm and his reference to the “goddamn Palestinians” stay.  So far.

    And for the record, the reason you invite misguided supporters of academic boycotts to a discussion of academic boycotts is to have a discussion of academic boycotts.  The alternative, of course, is to boycott those academics who propose boycotts.  Which is pretty much what Stormin’ Norman proposes here. 
    ----------------------

    The first two sallies posted above obviously say nothing to the point, but perhaps the hollow jocosity indicates the writers’ discomfort in thinking about it.  Our host, on the other hand, tries to offer something in extenuation of the conference planners, but it doesn’t really hold water.  If the intent was to spur some kind of lively debate between proponents of the British boycott and their various opponents, one would have expected comparable numbers of British boycott opponents and Israeli representatives of the target universities to have been invited, among others.  No such luck!

    If the intent was to spend some time exploring the general questions of boycotts and institutional embargos through a study of this one “case history,” then one or two proponents would have sufficed (again, along with a few opponents).  Nothing doing!

    So the question remains: what were JW Scott & pals thinking?  I advance a hypothesis:  Scott, given her chairmanship of Committe A, had to say something about the boycotts.  But she is also committed strongly to a certain view of the Palestine/Israel situation which does not differ very much, if at all, from that of the boycott organizers.  Her solution was, I suggest, to convene a conference that, pro forma, took a stand against boycotts but which would clearly champion the underlying views of the boycotters and herself about “occupation”.

    If this is so, then the conference would have constituted a hijacking of AAUP credentials.  If folks want to hold a conference denouncing the Israelis, they have every right to do so, and the Ford Foundation has every right to fund it, if that’s what they want to do.  But, so far as I know, AAUP has no institutional commitment to that view, nor to its opposite.  It presumably has views on the undesirability of academic boycotts, but those are much more general and categorical.

    Michael wants to claim that I’m all wet on this point, but does he offer any evidence?  Not that I can see.  He stubbornly refuses, like Bowen, to come to terms with the fact that the configuraton of the proposed conference was rather bizarre, under even the most charitable view.  Perhaps there’s an innocuous explanation, but if so, let’s have it.  For what it’s worth, the folks on this list who’ve chipped in their $.02 in defense of the conference seem largely to be motivated by their own strong pro-Palestinian views.

    NL

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  02:25 PM
  27. Oh sure, Papa. Just for you, I’ll provide a plot summary. Fiddler in the Reels is a short story by Thomas Hardy.

    Hardy, like many nice British lads of his era, wrote fiction that exposed the anxieties of his age. And of course, today’s writers often expose their own anxieties in the ways they respond to those who don’t share their sociopolitical, economic, and moral beliefs:

    Hardy’s reminiscing narrator begins, as it were, in the present and in medias res, since “Talking of Exhibitions” seems to refer to the 1889 Exhibition in Paris, memorialized by La Tour Eiffel. Hardy’s story-telling persona, an “old gentleman,” reverts to a time four decades previous, taking us back to the 1840s and the Wessex of Hardy’s youth. The narrator (quite properly, since the tale’s title is “The Fiddler of the Reels") begins with the dubious character of the swarthy, gypsyish, and markedly “un-English” (597) Mop Ollamoor and a description of “his power over unsophisticated maidenhood, a power which seemed sometimes to have a touch of the weird and wizardly in it” (597), to which the illustrator has added a mesmerizing influence of children. Although Hardy invokes the textual authority of Under the Greenwood Tree when he has his narrator quote Theophilus ("Lover of God") Dewey, one of the Mellstock church musicians, to deride Mop’s repertoire as “devil’s tunes” (598), Hardy arranges matters so that Mop exercises his peculiar, other-worldly fascination

    by simply fiddling one of the old dance-tunes he almost entirely affected—country jigs , reels, and “Favorite Quick Steps” of the last century—some mutilated remains of which even now [forty years later] reappear as nameless phantoms in new quadrilles [adapted from the French Cotilion and introduced in 1816 to England] and gallops [introduced in 1829] (598)

    that are heretical departures from the musical traditions of old Wessex. Once again, Hardy’s bias against modernism asserts itself in his discussion of the dance and its music, which in their original possessed an almost atavistic force now much diluted in derivative modes and works. Like Margery, Car’line viscerally falls under the spell of the old dance music, but her “infatuation” with it is so great that it induces in her an “attack” which Hardy’s narrator describes as “a species of epileptic fit” (599) in which the victim temporarily loses all control of mind and body. Intoxicated by the fiddle-music, she rides a dangerous whirlwind which releases her elemental self in a riotous celebration of the Dionysian which takes the celebrants outside themselves and violates the normative bounds od day and night. Thus, Mop’s dance music seems to be a palpable link with the pre-Christian and pagan fertility traditions of Wessex: Mop “had never, in all likelihood, entered a church at all.” The music appeals to some deep, sexual instinct in Car’line which compels her to abandon momentarily her social roles as wife and mother; and, as in so many Hardy stories, the heroine’s succumbing to instinct results in catastrophe.

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  02:26 PM
  28. Schimmelhorn:

    “Perhaps you a transcription of such tune for the gnurrpfeife have?”

    Buffy:

    “Hardy, like many nice British lads of his era, wrote fiction that exposed the anxieties of his age. And of course, today’s writers often expose their own anxieties in the ways they respond to those who don’t share their sociopolitical, economic, and moral beliefs:

    Hardy’s reminiscing narrator begins, as it were, in the present and in medias res, since “Talking of Exhibitions” seems to refer to the 1889 Exhibition in Paris, memorialized by La Tour Eiffel. Hardy’s story-telling persona, an “old gentleman,” reverts to a time four decades previous, taking us back to the 1840s and the Wessex of Hardy’s youth. The narrator (quite properly, since the tale’s title is “The Fiddler of the Reels") begins with the dubious character of the swarthy, gypsyish, and markedly “un-English” (597) Mop Ollamoor and a description of “his power over unsophisticated maidenhood, a power which seemed sometimes to have a touch of the weird and wizardly in it” (597), to which the illustrator has added a mesmerizing influence of children. Although Hardy invokes the textual authority of Under the Greenwood Tree when he has his narrator quote Theophilus ("Lover of God") Dewey, one of the Mellstock church musicians, to deride Mop’s repertoire as “devil’s tunes” (598), Hardy arranges matters so that Mop exercises his peculiar, other-worldly fascination

    by simply fiddling one of the old dance-tunes he almost entirely affected—country jigs , reels, and “Favorite Quick Steps” of the last century—some mutilated remains of which even now [forty years later] reappear as nameless phantoms in new quadrilles [adapted from the French Cotilion and introduced in 1816 to England] and gallops [introduced in 1829] (598)

    that are heretical departures from the musical traditions of old Wessex. Once again, Hardy’s bias against modernism asserts itself in his discussion of the dance and its music, which in their original possessed an almost atavistic force now much diluted in derivative modes and works. Like Margery, Car’line viscerally falls under the spell of the old dance music, but her “infatuation” with it is so great that it induces in her an “attack” which Hardy’s narrator describes as “a species of epileptic fit” (599) in which the victim temporarily loses all control of mind and body. Intoxicated by the fiddle-music, she rides a dangerous whirlwind which releases her elemental self in a riotous celebration of the Dionysian which takes the celebrants outside themselves and violates the normative bounds od day and night. Thus, Mop’s dance music seems to be a palpable link with the pre-Christian and pagan fertility traditions of Wessex: Mop “had never, in all likelihood, entered a church at all.” The music appeals to some deep, sexual instinct in Car’line which compels her to abandon momentarily her social roles as wife and mother; and, as in so many Hardy stories, the heroine’s succumbing to instinct results in catastrophe.”

    And this is in what key played?

    Schimmelhorn, inventor of the gnurrpfiefe.

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  03:04 PM
  29. Well, now it’s pretty clear that Norm didn’t really read Bowen’s article.  So I’ll reproduce a bit of it here:

    If we could manage the global academy, the AAUP would issue an edict disallowing “academic boycotts.” No scholars anywhere would then be ostracized because of their own writings or their national government’s policies or be prevented from working in whatever nation they wish, with whomever they wish. The AAUP would enshrine the principle of the free flow of ideas, scholarship, and scholars across all borders.

    Is that clear enough? Not, I fear, to some well-organized individuals who asked, or demanded, that the AAUP postpone a conference that had been scheduled for February in Bellagio, Italy, where our intent was to discuss an AAUP policy statement on academic boycotts, a statement that is unambiguously opposed to this noxious and blunt instrument that stifles academic freedom. . . .

    Perhaps it is a peculiarly American kind of liberalism that assumes good arguments cannot be undermined, but the AAUP believes that the principles we espouse are ones worth defending against their detractors. After all, a strong statement about the damage to academic freedom by academic boycotts will, whether we invite it or not, be subjected to criticism, and we want to know what our critics think. Only by engaging our critics in conversation, if only in print, can we fully appreciate the cogency of our own views.

    This is what you’re opposing, Norm:  liberalism in the defense of the principle of academic freedom.  I won’t address your little fantasies about Joan Scott’s desires and the likely outcome of the conference, but I will say it’s odd to see such a stalwart champion of reason and science devote himself to this kind of crystals-and-tea-leaves kind of thing.  Especially since the AAUP announced at the outset that the conference would not, repeat not, lead the organization to rethink its position on boycotts.

    For what it’s worth, the folks on this list who’ve chipped in their $.02 in defense of the conference seem largely to be motivated by their own strong pro-Palestinian views.

    You wouldn’t, of course, be talking about the almost infinitely patient host of this humble blog, who (in between his contributions to Tikkun) authored the Internets petition denouncing ANSWER’s refusal to allow Michael Lerner to speak at the San Francisco antiwar rally of February 2003, and who repeatedly criticized the so-called (and self-appointed) “leadership” of those antiwar rallies for alienating liberal and progressive Jews from the antiwar movement.  Because that would make you look even more foolish and extremist than you already do.  And you don’t want that!

    Posted by Michael  on  04/30  at  03:35 PM
  30. Try “Mixed in Key” and use their Camelot Notation

    http://www.protonradio.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4324947&

    I prefer a harmonic mix of E major and D-Flat minor, but you may wish to select another combination.

    If Fiddler in the Reels proves too traumatic for your repertoire, then “Music for Airports” may be another nice choice. Have fun on your vacation to the Matterhorn!!

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  03:47 PM
  31. "Well, now it’s pretty clear that Norm didn’t really read Bowen’s article.  So I’ll reproduce a bit of it here: [etc.]
    Michael

    Well, by gosh, I certainly did read it.  I’m sure Ken Lay’s attorney will eagerly tell you how much his client wishes that he could restore all those pensions to all those ex-employees of Enron!

    The point of course is obvious.  Bowen is now functioning in a damage-control mode.  It’s a reasonable surmise, more than reasonable in fact, that what he has to say right now on the boycott issue, per se, differs markedly, in tone, substance, and context, from what JW Scott intended to come up with.  I’m not casting doubt on Bowen’s sincerity, but I insist that his piece is a poor source of information on what the now-cancelled conference would have been all about.  In that sense, Bowen is stonewalling.

    NL

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  04:08 PM
  32. Normann Levitt: “Hypothesis: JW Scott (or whoever) had a staff of some kind assigned the donkey-work of putting together a conference packet, but one of them turned out to be a little nuts, or at least, given to indiscretion.  But this remains unprovable and the mystery remains.”

    That is the definition of “inadvertant”, as in, the conference organizer did not intend for the materials to be included, but they inadvertantly were.

    Why would it matter whether the mode of inadvertance was carelessness, malice, or ideology on the part of whatever staff person was doing the donkey-work?  In the (highly unlikely) case that the staffer put the materials in on purpose, whether out of ideology or to sabotage their boss, I’m sure that they are in the process of being fired.  The vastly more likely case is that some bored intern cut-and-pasted the wrong document.  What does it matter to you what exactly happened, if these are the range of options?

    This appears to be a textbook case of the paranoid style in American politics, frankly.  Anyone can find a “mystery” in why more information was not provided, since there always will be more information than is provided; these “mysteries” then can be made to add up to a general air of mysteriousness, coupled with allegations of who knows what ethnically linked hidden hand.  But if the original mysteries are not so mysterious—like, there is no reason to public pillory the staffer, which might make them unfireable even if they were at fault—then the whole thing collapses, leaving only information about the person who came up with it in the first place.

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  04:51 PM
  33. I have it on good authority that the AAUP was, in fact, secretly planning to undermine the AAUP’s stance on academic boycotts.  The fact that Roger Bowen’s essay denies this, paradoxically, confirms it.

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  05:34 PM
  34. Well, despite the horrible person and troll that I am sometimes am, I just wanted to say that I am in no way responsible for the vulgarity posted above.

    Even by my lowly standards, Casper is a mean-spirited creep.

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  07:11 PM
  35. Why would it matter whether the mode of inadvertance was carelessness, malice, or ideology on the part of whatever staff person was doing the donkey-work?  In the (highly unlikely) case that the staffer put the materials in on purpose, whether out of ideology or to sabotage their boss, I’m sure that they are in the process of being fired.  The vastly more likely case is that some bored intern cut-and-pasted the wrong document.  What does it matter to you what exactly happened, if these are the range of options?
    Rich Puchalsky

    Note that “malice” and “ideology” disallow “inadvertance”.  But aside from such nitpicking, I might well agree with you that whoever was directly responsible for the fuck-up got canned (though nobody tells us who it is, do they?) without agreeing that the incident reveals nothing of interest about what was on the minds of the organizers.  How the hell does anyone blunder onto on a neo-Nazi page if he’s searching for pieces about intellectual freedom, circulation of ideas, and so forth?  Not likely!  But if he’s trolling for some Israel-bashing stuff via pro-Palestinian websites and their links, that’s the sort of thing that can easily happen.  And that’s what probably did happen.

    In other words, I posit that JW Scott and friends were, indeed, trying to get an Israel-bashing piece or two or three into the mix.  One way or another, the neo-Nazi stuff got downloaded by someone who, whether merely muddled or loony outright, thought it filled the bill.

    And, to say it again for the folks out there who seem a little slow on the uptake, I surmise that Scott’s agenda was not to encourage boycotts, per se, but rather to portray her British pals (e.g., Hilary Rose) in the best light possible, that is, motivated by a correct and compassionate grasp of Mideast politics, given that, in the name of the AAUP, she had to reject their tactics.

    By the way, recent adventures in googleland suggest to me that the requested linkage of “Come to the Church in the Wildwood” with a speculative fiction novel is to be found in Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Read it long ago, but didn’t remember the passage.  I think I prefer Tom Paxton’s reference in “Take Me When I Go to Forest Lawn.”

    NL

    NL

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  07:14 PM
  36. That’s OK, Buffy/Sometime with the ersatz email address.  Casper’s been here before with his forty thousand proxy addresses, and has been thrown out every time.  I have thirty-nine thousand and something of his proxies to go, I believe.

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  07:30 PM
  37. Norman Levitt: “How the hell does anyone blunder onto on a neo-Nazi page if he’s searching for pieces about intellectual freedom, circulation of ideas, and so forth?  Not likely!  But if he’s trolling for some Israel-bashing stuff via pro-Palestinian websites and their links, that’s the sort of thing that can easily happen.  And that’s what probably did happen.”

    I just did a Google search with the following terms: “Norman Levitt Palestine boycott Israel” (with the phrase not in quotes within the Google search box).  The eighth hit in the search results is a tract by the Adelaide Institute (which I am not going to link to), which appears to be a Holocaust denial hate group.

    Believe what you want to believe.  But do not be surprised if no one else does.

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  08:13 PM
  38. And just try Googling “David Horowitz” and “McCarthy” (Joe, Jenny, Gene, or Charlie).  That’s always a laff riot.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/30  at  08:46 PM
  39. Himmel! Prof. Levitt does not the classic Reginald Bretnor story “The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork out” know?

    When you “The Church in the Wildwood” on the gnurrpfeife play, the gnurrs come from the voodvork out.

    The “Gnurrpfeife” was one of Papa Schimmelhorn’s many inventions. I am relieved that it is spelled the same in Esperanto, which is the language the story is translated into here:

    http://donh.best.vwh.net/Esperanto/Literaturo/Noveloj/Gnuroj.html

    Posted by  on  04/30  at  09:44 PM
  40. Hello everyone. Always be nice to those younger than you, because they are the ones who will be writing about you.
    I am from Seychelles and learning to read in English, please tell me right I wrote the following sentence: “Ragepank is the seo blog of harvey kane, new zealand seo consultant web developer.Just found a funny but useful robot online.”

    Thank you very much :D. Kegan.

    Posted by Seoclick  on  05/17  at  03:01 PM

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