Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Phillip Kurian II

Here is Phillip Kurian's follow-up piece.

If you think you hate him, please read it. This incident has really caused him a lot of pain and sleepless nights. And if you think, "Good!", then that's okay too. Just do me a favor and read it.

An interesting response, with its own compendium of responses, to the earlier essay by Philip.

My own view? People are right to be mad at Duke, and other "elite" universities, in this sense: we aren't teaching our students the standards of argument. Philip was making a claim, which might in principle be true or false. (I happen to believe it is false, if that matters). But he larded up the claim with a bunch of gratuitously insulting stereotypes and simple non sequiturs.

Would people would have been just as angry at him if he had NOT included all the personal attacks? If he had just argued his main point, which is that organized Jewish political groups wield influence disproportionate to their numbers? We'll never know. And that is in large measure Duke's fault, for patting him on the head when he made unsupported claims like this, in class or in some professor's office. There is no other explanation for why he was surprised (and he was surprised) at the reaction.

I think he should sue, for nonperformance of the educational contract. More and more, faculty on the left just want students to have the "correct" conclusions, like a memorized catechism, instead of making sure the students can defend those conclusions in a debate. And students on the left are the ones who pay the price.


Anonymous said...

Well said about the leftist faculty petting liberal students on the head...

Hope the Killer realizes that if there were enough rightists interested in persuing a Ph.D. (they constitute less than 10% of humanities graduate students), we'd have the exact same problem on the opposite end of the spectrum.

TtwbC (immigration status pending, hopefully soon)

Anonymous said...

He still hasn't learned to express himself well. It was a pretty lame column.

Mungowitz said...

Well, I disagree with you there (for what THAT is worth). Seems to me that the second column was excellent.

Anonymous said...

You state that:

"More and more, faculty on the left just want students to have the "correct" conclusions, like a memorized catechism, instead of making sure the students can defend those conclusions in a debate".

Well, yes, but that goes for faculty on the right, too.

Your view on what is wrong with undergraduate education is way too simplistic.

Do you really think things would be that different if most professors were right-leaning as opposed to left-leaning?

The problem is that of faculty rewarding students for reaching the 'correct' (substantive) conclusions, as opposed to rewarding students for careful thought, logical argument, honest use of data, etc.

Students simply reflect the problem with academics of the right and of the left: strong convictions, shaky logic.

Terminus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

This has go to be my favorite response to Baldwin's article:
If anything, I think the reaction (especially the overreaction and even more specifically the overreaction by many Duke Jewish students, Alumni, parents of students) has turned me away from the side of Israel. The speech they use against Kurian is acidic at best. At worst, it's undescribably virulent, disgusting, loathsome, and pathetic. Words truly have no way to describe how sickened I am by such an outpouring of hate the Jews that responded (on the sight linked as well as others) gave Kurian, those that supported his right to free speech, and those that tried to moderate or explain the situation to those too ignorant to get past their knee jerk reaction.

If anything, it goes to prove some of the ridiculous things Kurian said in the first place. I'm glad Kurian got his word out. Otherwise, people would never have this chance to view Jews as people and not victims.

The Dread Pirate Gryphon said...

"...I can’t help but think to myself, for the first time, how it is the U.S. dollar that looks weird, and not this foreign currency I once considered fit for Monopoly. Maybe my country isn’t the normal one, after all."

What the hell does this have to do with Kurian stepping on his own...foot? I'm a pretty smart boy, but I don't even know what this (entire second paragraph) means. Is he trying to establish his bona fides as a multicultural milksop, so maybe those overprivileged Jews will stop picking on him?

Prof. Mike Munger (and no hiding behind your alter ego this time - you have to own this untoward support of a pitiful little latter-day Goebbels): I suspect you're right that Duke still owes him an education, but that's entirely beside the point.

This piece of trash didn't learn his phrasing and timing at Duke. It beggars belief that his foul ravings are coincidentally philosophically and linguistically indistinguishable from the disgusting rantings one might find on or in any random White Power tract. No, he's been schooled. He's been carefully taught. Self-taught, perhaps, but no thinking person could have spewed out his vomitous bilge ex machina, as it were.

And yes, I daresay people would still have been horrified to find the following little construction in a respected university's publication (student-run or not, this was published under Duke's aegis:)

"Only the California Institute of Technology has an undergraduate Jewish population below 10 percent, and four schools have particularly stark Jewish advantages—Harvard (30 percent), Yale (23 percent), UPenn (31 percent) and Columbia (25 percent). Keep in mind that, at best estimate, no more than 3 percent of all Americans are Jewish."

No personal attacks there, but a pristine example of what this dripping, drooling, slavering trash-mouthed worm has going on in his head. Fact after fact listed to prove his central point - that Jews are overprivileged. Let's see what facts he can muster to prove we complain too much:

"In his slim volume The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (2000), Jewish-American historian Norman Finkelstein argues that American interest in Judaism is “a tribute not to Jewish suffering but to Jewish aggrandizement.” The holocaust label, he says, arose from the real suffering of European Jews during the 1930s and 1940s, in turn giving rise to the Holocaust ideology, distinguished in its capitalization. He documents economic exploitation by this “Holocaust Industry,” which he calls an “outright extortion racket.”"

Aha - KURIAN didn't say this - an actual REAL LIVE JEW said it! It MUST be true, because, you see, Finkelstein is a JEW! Well, no personal attacks here - just a JEW showing his own people up for what they are - whiners and complainers. He must be a GOOD Jew!

Come on, Professor. As if his first foray into public humiliation wasn't enough, we now get:

"I don’t understand why we can’t discuss these issues..." Awwww. Can't we all just get along?

We can't discuss these issues because these issues are manufactured by hateful little pr**ks like him. Can we discuss why so many African-Americans dance so well and love fried chicken and how happy they must have been down on de plantation? (By the way, this latter assertion actually appears in a book published by the heir of the McIlhenny family (of Tabasco fame) in the Twenties. He fancied himself a musicologist and had taken down some of the "slave tunes" he learned as a child at his mammy's knee. Maybe Kurian can bring out a book of his essays combined with a reprint of McIlhenny's book to prove his ecumenicism.)

Let's continue.

"Intentions cannot always be discerned through the mask of language." Saying it doesn't make it so. Yes, they can, if the writer doesn't know when to shut the f*** up. His intentions were crystal clear precisely BECAUSE of the kind of language he used over and over in his first "essay."

"Am I an anti-Semite?" Quod erat demonstratum. "A champion of free speech?" Not for Jews, obviously. "A victim?" He'd like that, wouldn't he? "A fool?" "Fool" is too kind. "I cannot see or be seen behind the mask of anger, and as the tears stream down I reach out, offering my hand in support to the Jewish community as I taste the salt of pride, hoping that one day it will fade through our mutual understanding." Oh, please. Aside from the tortured phrasing and inept metaphor - "the salt of pride"??? What, he's crying because he's sorry that his pride led to his bitch-smacking by his entire community? - this is simply inadequate. It's not up to the Jewish community to "dialogue" with this creep. Let's hear him tell the truth, and maybe I'll spit on him if he's on fire someday. But this "Please like me!" crap is too much.

Augggh. I've had enough. I can't bring myself to spend any more time fouling my brain with his ordure. I'm gonna go post this as a response to his second essay, too.

Mungowitz said...

"ordure"? excellent.

"hiding"? blow me, The. I've made no effort to hide. And I'm certainly not afraid of YOU.

as for white supremacists: a fair point. Check this out...Post #8 on this web site.
A bad sign when the REAL white supremacists quote a REAL black guy because he has the REAL correct views of Israel. I wonder if the STORMFRONTGRUPPENTROOPERS know that Phil is black? Irony on irony....

Anonymous said...

The Dread Pirate Gryphon said...


I truly did not intend to suggest that you don't have the courage of your convictions, or that you are, as far as I know, anything but the very picture of probity and integrity and I apologize for insulting you.

It was, in Jewish liturgical terms, a "cheyt" ("ch" as in German "ach!" but with a harder gutteral.) On Yom Kippur, Jews recite a litany of transgressions which we may or may not have committed against G-d and our fellows. The word is commonly translated as "sin" - "For the sin (cheyt) we have committed by passing judgment," for example. But "sin" is an inexact translation. The word in Hebrew is based on a term drawn from archery, and it suggests that we have missed the mark. There's a whole mishegoss about exactly what that means in term of repentance and forgiveness, but my point here is that I missed the mark in trying to make light of you and the odd relationship you have with Professor Munger.

See? Now THAT was an example of the "mask of language" (dreadful construction though it is) preventing understanding. But if I had written six paragraphs about it, I think we both know how much worth this apology would have had.