Friday, October 22, 2004

O Daniel boy, the Pipes, the Pipes

A question: How come Duke (and my department in particular) is getting blasted for supporting the Palestinian Solidarity Movement?

In the same week, we also co-sponsored Daniel Pipes, Students Against Terror, and Gary Bauer.

If there is a bias there, it is TOWARD a pretty extreme pro-Israeli perspective (both Pipes and Bauer), or at least leaning that way (since SAT was the group organizing counter-protests to PSM). Then, just for fun, we sponsored Barney Frank. (HEY! AIN'T WE GOT FUN!??)

Several people (including the estimable, and reportedly cute, Dread Pirate Gryphon) have asked why I didn't advertise that we also supported Pipes, et al when I was "crowing" about free speech. (I have to admit, I am warming to the Dread Pi. He makes actual arguments, and the Princess Bride riff is very nice. Plus, he's a gun nut, and what's sexier than a Southern transplant living in New York, packin' heat?)

LOOK! The whole point is that I am not trying to give equal time, or organize debates, or control issues. My job in sponsoring speakers is simply to support discourse on the Duke campus. I will sponsor ANY group that (in my considered judgment) does not overtly advocate violence, and is invited by a legit Duke student group. I have gotten about 12 gagillion flames (though admittedly not from the Dread Pi) saying that refusing to renounce violence (what PSM did) is the same as advocating violence (what PSM didn't do). It's not. It's just not the same.

My advice? Learn to make better arguments, using actual logic, and then still don't send me any more emails. Pull the wings off flies, or something constructive like that.


Anonymous said...

I think Killer Grease is cute but I'm only a wannabe Canadian

It's great that we sponsored Barney Frank, but it would have been nice if the professionally gay centre (see, my spelling is going Canadian!) would have also sponsored a representative from the Log Cabin Republicans, which, no doubt, the sexy Killer would have sponsored. Balance tends to be artificially weighted in one direction when administrators and useless student affairs bureaucrats actively promote the speech of a non-academic "centre" because a group has a claim to minority status.

Chris Lawrence said...

Remind me never to become a department chair.

Of course, if I stay where I am now, I probably will be in for a stint as chair the day I get tenure. The joys of a department you can fit in the back seat of a Mini Cooper.

Anonymous said...

Why are you running a picture of David Copperfield along with this entry????????

The Dread Pirate Gryphon said...

I never made a claim to cuteness, but I guess it just naturally shone through...

So if I'm so cute, how can you resist answering the other perfectly reasonable and expertly phrased questions I posed on Ed's blog, e.g.:

Do you really not know of the ISM and its links to PSM?

So how did your meeting with the estimable PK go? Did you ask him my question? Did you get any on you?

Mungowitz said...

I was so excited about my little ISM line that it didn't occur to me that you were serious. I thought it was just a typo, and you MEANT PSM. So, yet ANOTHER win for the seafaring bandit. Doesn't it get boring?

As for the meeting: always less interesting when things actually happen. My wedding night: same thing. (Perhaps that is not the metaphor I was looking for. Hmmmm...)

The Dread Pirate Gryphon said...

"...yet ANOTHER win for the seafaring bandit. Doesn't it get boring?"

Have ye not surmised, matey, that the Dread Pirate lives for the sweet taste of rhetorical victory? And you're still avoiding me question, arrrrrr!

"As for the meeting: always less interesting when things actually happen. My wedding night: same thing. (Perhaps that is not the metaphor I was looking for. Hmmmm...)"

Aside from the monstrously unavoidable image engendered by this classic example of Too Much Information, I'm still waiting for SOMEONE at Duke to respond to the question I (and others) have asked repeatedly: would the Chronicle have published a piece whose title was "The Blacks" or "The Muslims" and had contained the same kind of paranoid racism evinced by Kurian?