Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Reason, Journalism, and Kurian-ism

A terrific post from Dan Riehl.

He published an overtly anti-semitic letter in the student newspaper he edited, in the early 1980s. Got vilified by the academic left. Journalism professors burning newspapers. Very nice. Very leftist, in favor of protecting all speech they agree with. ATSRTWT.

This is why, IMHO, the Duke Chronicle did the right thing publishing the Kurian letter. In spite of what WEEKLY STANDARD said. Because, in fact, there are LOTS of faculty (not just students, I'm sayin'; FACULTY) on the left now that do believe, in more nuanced and camouflaged terms, exactly what young Phillip spurted.

Here's the thing: Everyone is acting like Duke U is the only place this is true. Here's what Protein Wisdom had to say about what he calls "this little pleasantry from Duke (the University, not the former Klan leader—though, is there really a difference these days? You decide):"

This is the point where the WEEKLY STANDARD loses the thread, and wanders off into the blackberry bushes. "Assuming Karen Hauptman is correct about this--that some significant body of Duke opinion shares Philip Kurian's disapproval of the "exorbitant Jewish privilege in the United States"--isn't that kind of a problem?" Well, yes, Mr. Scrapbook, that would be a problem. How would the problem have been solved by preventing this scabrous view from being expressed, and scrutinized? Now the FUCKING RIGHT is committing the sin of the left, and only allowing views they agree with? I expected better from you.

Wake up, you dolts! Brown, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Chicago, Stanford: lots of faculty at all those places belive that Israel has no firm right to exist, and that oppression of the Palestinians is a new Holocaust, with the Israelis ("The Jews") playing the role of Hitler.

What the editor of the Chronicle, Karen Hauptman, said is this: In retrospect, perhaps she should have taken time to "edit some of [Kurian's] language" or use "an alternate headline." Overall, she said, "I believe we were right in printing the column," Hauptman concludes. " To not print the column because the opinion presented is offensive would be to ignore a debate that is present around us. . . . [E]ven if the Chronicle had rejected the column, the ideas Kurian expressed would still exist."

Don't blame Duke. The issue is out here in Durham, because of the Chronicle, and people who hold the views Kurian expressed so clearly now have to decide if they are really going to believe this crap, or change their minds.

At all those other universities, the boil hasn't been lanced yet. But it's festering, and swelling, under the brittle skin of forced, censored civility.

Karen Hauptman, Duke Chronicle Editor: K. Grease says--Good on ya!


Anonymous said...

I don't think I'm a dolt. And, having taught at a university myself, I certainly don't think Duke is alone in promoting anti-semitic thought under the guise of (most often) cultural studies, or post-colonial criticism.

And I never said The Chronicle shouldn't have printed the piece, either. I just find it shameful that they give fellowships and the like to idiots like Kurian, then defend -- not so much his right to say what he said -- but him, and under the guise of academic equanimity. Well, I called bullshit. Just as I've called it before on Harvard and U Penn, etc., on my site. This story just happened to revolve around a Duke incident.

Jeff at protein wisdom

The Dread Pirate Gryphon said...

Nor have I ever suggested that the Chronicle was wrong to publish Kurian's filth. But I'm withholding judgment on that count until someone from Duke can answer my simple little question:

Would the Chronicle have published an article entitled "The Blacks" that railed against their unfair over-representation in jazz music and professional sports? (And a corollary - would Prof. Munger have defended its publication on the same grounds?)

If the answer (to the main question, not the corollary) is yes, then I have no quarrel with Hauptman's decision.

"Brown, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Chicago, Stanford..."

Gosh, I must have missed the screeds written by Kurian's ilk being published by those institutions' house organs. To bring up the fact that their faculties hold these kinds of views is a red herring that distracts from the central point of this brouhaha - that Duke has had a very rough month when it comes to showing even-handedness to Jews and Israel. We can move on to Stanford et al when they host terrorist sympathizers and publish anti-Semitic articles.

Still think I'm cute? Arrrrrrr!