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Friday, February 04, 2005


Marc Cooper


Robert Fiore

Now, if disparities in intelligence can't be attributed to culture or poverty, isn't genetic superiority/inferiority the only thing that's left? I mean, what else is there, religious affiliation? "I didn't draw a swastika, I just painted the white area all around it . . ."

And isn't a discussion of the political complexion of academia incomplete without the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute?


i will just say that in the not so distant past i had the same type of thoughts as churchill, and i must say that i am ashamed of myself....
that is not to say that i have jumped ship from 'the left' and became any kind of 'conservative'. i have just matured alot (from reading hitchens and cooper(i am not ashamed of reading, and enjoying, hitchens in the least bit))
i have simply jumped ship from 'the left' and relocated to something farther to the left. i guess it would be called anarchist, though i hate the label. and i have been realizing quite alot latley that i find myself irriated with people like churchill etc..who seem to be willing to ally themselves with any cause that is 'anti-imperialist' no matter how vile they are. so..cheers to marc for taking the piss out of churchill...
p.s. i am rather intoxicated, so forgive and misspellings or bad grammar.

too many steves

Ward Churchill is a nobody who arrives at his fifteen minutes of fame as we pause between jury selection and opening arguments in the Michael Jackson trial.

It appears we agree that:

Ward is an ass,

Ward has written and published a thought that many agree is an "execrable piece of shit" (which may be redundant but which conveys just the right amount of nastiness),

Ward had every right to say what he said,

We have every right to ignore or attack what he wrote,

Hamilton College has no obligation to let him speak at their school.

Still open to discussion: Colorado U. can associate with whomever they please, or not, and fire him if they believe that is in their best interest. This does not account for tenure rules, which I must admit don't fully understand.

I really like how this illustrates the elegance of the First Amendment. Our buddy Ward is free to say what he wants and we are free to debate and either accept or kill his idea. It can no longer go on living in some secret pamphlet that becomes soiled and dog-eared over being passed from one accolyte to another. The idea is out there, it is debated, and, rightfully in this case, marginalized and thrown in the trash heap of history. Brilliant!


Jim Rockford just to let you know I think your comments are far too insane, too jam packed with race baiting, false and spurious claims of anti semiticism (against great humanist like edward said, nonetheless) and utter nonsense to take seriously. So i'll direct nothing but silence your way. As for pseudo scholarship as Bell, i thing Josh Legere is way off the mark. You can't have academic freedom for some and not others. Calls to fire intellectual brownshirts and purveyers of pseudo scinece like Murray, were in my view way off mark and can't be defended. They miss the point anyway. As Michael Eric Dyson said the very existence of thtat book on the shelfs of millions of Americans itself spkoe to the powerful resonance of white supremacy and a history of bedasement of people of African origin. To say fire him is just a way out, but to attempt to politically confront the deep sentiment amongst in society which gives people like Murray prominence is much harder, but nonetheless is the real task for us to take on.

As for Marc's bait about who is and isn't easy targets for Bill O'Reilly, I'm not biting. O'Reilly has already declared a fatwa of sorts against "unamerican professors". That presumably includes all of those who speak unpopular truths about US foriegn policy, and beg to dissent against the national mythology that sees our history as solely on of spreading democracy. Dare to affront the police of acceptable thought and you'll probably find yourself in this war like reactionaries crosshairs. Nonsense about who makes it easier for O'Reilly to attack us is pointless.

As for Marc Cooper, I'm not really surprised he avoided my main point. The Daniel Pipes of the world (who by the way openly avocates ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and has recently written a defence of Japanese internment and thinks it should provide a sort of model for treating Arab Americans) are not the ones being hunted down, nor they're jobs being threatened. The attacks on Churchill are, in fact, part of a larger story in which those with power are attempting to impose a system of acceptable thought and a conformist version of patriotism, anyone who speaks outside of this is in the crosshairs. Steve makes a seemingly funny joke about Fox deciding who is and isn't acceptable profs, but that's what the Churchill defence is really about. The other stuff about "cause celebre" or left "hero worship" is complete and utter nonsense, surely Marc knows this


Against my own intuition, i'll engage Jim Rockford briefly, asking solely if he can substanciate a slur and back it up with sources and arguments. This is usually neccesarry when one makes an argument, particularly of the accusatory variety. Anyone who has bothered to read the late Edward Said will know the range of his intellectual interests are wide and his writings on politics, history and culture have been extremelly influnecial. He was also a great spokesman for the Palestinian national aspirations. His advocacy on behalf a a dispersed and belegeared people had nothing to do with "anti semitism" but rather was based on universilistic humanitarian principals and a belief in human rights for all. In a beautiful obituary Hitchens, now loved by Josh Legere types, praised Said as one of the great humanists of our time. He arguments were rooted in resistance to the desturction of a Palestinian identity, a belief in equality and coexistence not antagonism with Jews of Israel. He said this "I have always advocated resistance to Zionist occupation, I have never argued for anything but peaceful coexistence between us and the Jews of Israel once Israel’s military repression and dispossession of Palestinians has stopped." He made a reasoned and morrally sound argument advocating justice for Palesitnians and coexistence, based on equality with Israelis. Its in this vein that i ask Rockford to produce something close to evidence for the following accusations of racism and utter nonsesne that follows.

"The amount of utter double-standard, anti-Semitic trash that flowed through Ed Said's work, and his classroom comments, is simply amazing. That an intelligent person could hold these views (calling Jenin a case of genocide, throwing rocks at Israelis, denying the legitimacy of the Israeli state, and celebrating terrorism against Israel) is simply unbelievable. Edward Said was the man who felt Yasir Arafat was too "soft" on Israel and wanted more terrorism."

Rockford, please substaciate these claims, particularly the part about anti semiticism with some quotes from Said and some arguments. No smears please, rather quote the source Said. If you can't back it up then perhaps you can just shove it. cool?


From http://www.satyamag.com/apr04/churchill.html

" Your recent works detail the documentable history of the consequences of U.S. imperialism. After reading On the Justice of Roosting Chickens and listening to your two CDs, what do you want your audience to walk away with?"

A fundamental understanding of the nature of their obligation to intervene to bring the kind of atrocities that I’ve described to a halt by whatever means are necessary.

I have gotten the impression that that is a position that many who comment on this blog could agree with.


Wow, a food fight! I was working on an entry about Ward Churchill (http://gmroper.com) and put it in draft status looking for a copy of the photo with him in fatigues, beret and the assault weapon. When I came back to finish the work, I found that Marc had beat me to it. Not only did he beat me to it, his posting was from a superior point of view than mine was. Hats off to you Marc.
Having said that, there are a number of fallacious arguments in these comments~ John, many things can account for differences in IQ. First of which we have no idea what intelligence really is, though we can measure parts of it. In addition, there really is no such thing as a totally culture free intelligence test. Even the Ravens Progressive Matrices uses designs that may be foreign to some cultures. I use IQ tests all the time and have learned that it can only estimate intelligence and that other factors, often unknown factors, can interfere with interpretation. In one of the Wechsler tests for example is the question "Where is Chile?" If the person administering the test to a Hispanic individual not thoroughly raised in an Anglo culture, and he pronounces it "Where is Chill-E" he may hear as an answer "In a bowl, on the stove or in a can" which is a wrong answer on the Wechsler, but a correct interpretation of the information. If on the other hand, he asks an Anglo the same question but pronounces it Che-lay, the Anglo may not understand the pronunciation at all. That is just one question. So, in ending are there differences? Probably, can we tell what those differences are and can we discern whether they are of the superior/inferior (in regards to race) or are they measurements of difference only? I suspect difference only.
As to Ahmed's rants regarding Churchill, Sontag and Said, he needs to re-read their writings with an unjuandiced eye.
Steve, you consistently remark that Marc's friends say one thing and here Marc says something different. So? I say lot's of things different from some of my very conservative friends. That is not an argument in and of itself. Do you ever disagree with the things YOUR friends and compadres say? I think probably you do. In addition, steve, you rant and rant often about stereotyping and here you comment; "i see those right wing students just desparate to be historians instead of MBAs or power lawyers...of course, it makes sense, the historians get paid so much better." In fact, a very good friend of mine, a retired Marine Lt.Col. is a History Professor and a damn good one, is conservative, and gets exceptionally good evaluations from his students, and this in the Democratic Stronghold of south Texas. Does that make you a hypocrite?
Josh, good points all amigo!
Now, for my own feeble thoughts. Churchill is an utter ass. Period! However, he damn sure has the right to say anything he wants. If he is fired, the UC folk damn sure better make sure that the firing is because of lies on his application for employment (probably easy to prove - see the AIM statements) or for shoddy scholarship (maybe easy to prove) or some such reason. If they fire the creep because of WHAT he said, I will be one of the first to defend him.
Steve, other than the concept of free speech, can you think of any reason to suppress the speech of Fox News. Don't they have the right to call out anyone they want on their ideas. If there is free speech for anyone, it must be for all. Damning the free speech of one organization in favor of another is hypocritical.
I have no problem with the free speech rights of the leftist press (NYTimes, LATimes, and WashPost etc.) though I reserve the right to call them on their stupidity. I have no problems with the free speech rights of the rightist press (WashTimes, Fox News) etc., though I reserve the right to call them on their stupidities also.
This is turning into a rant, sorry about that. One last point, anyone, left or right that would defend what Churchill has said (not his right to say it)is an idiot and an anti-intellectual. Any one who defends his right to say anything he wants but reserves the right to attack what he said is possibly an idiot and anti-intellectual, but absolutely correct in that position on this subject.
First, Second and Third comment due to the length. On the other hand, maybe I'll hold on to the third comment. ;-)


another steve

I don't think that Ward Churchill's article is any more outrageous than the statements made by a bunch of leftists, including Doug Henwood, calling for war against the Taliban after 9/11, as reported in the NY Observer:

For Doug Henwood, a WBAI radio host who wrote the scathingly anti-capitalist Wall Street, one of the best-selling leftist books of the decade, and who called the Gulf War and the bombing in Kosovo "American imperial manipulations," the question is a no-brainer. "This is an attack on us," he said. "There is a near-certainty that something will be done again soon. Clearly, considerable use of force will have to be used to
capture these motherfuckers."

Ted H.

The problem with dismissing Churchill like this is that his is probably the majority opinion on 9/11 across the globe. I'm certain it's impossible to regard him as more wrong or more wrongheaded than I do, or to be more contemputuous of his faux-incendiary rhetoric. Still, he is making an argument. A bad argument, but an argument that nonetheless does have its attractions for non-Americans (or for self-hating Americans).

The denunciatory strategy that Marc is adopting here is less effective, I think, than the strategy of thanking him for his contribution to the debate, refuting that contribution by calming showing where it is wrong, and moving on.

When you denounce you make it look as if the issue is personal or narrowly political. In fact, the issue is moral and intellectual: This guy is wrong, we can show that he's wrong, and we therefore refuse to listen further till he engages our objections (which of course he never does).


Wow, I am stunned...really...German Right-Wingers and American Right-Wingers, German Nationalist and American Nationalist view liberalism and leftist with the same lens.

And by the way, you right-wing nationalist cannot be against affirmative action and for the biggest act of "reverse racism" in the history of the West...the state of Isreal is the most radical affirmative action policy done by "Liberals".


> When someone gets university tenure
> they don't get intellectual immunity,
> pal.

Bless you for saying that!

I work freelance, and have no patience with tenure... The idea that these tens (hundreds?) of thousands of college professors must be insulated from the rigors of a competitive economy in order to think their big, precious thoughts is offensive on its face. I look over the decades of my life, and it's obvious that the taxpayers haven't received much value in innovation, given the cost of patching the elbows of all those tweed sportscoats.

So in Colorado there's a dickweed sharing his unpopular ideas, and he hopes to be shielded by tenure. But apparently it's not going to work out that way, because the fundamental economics are bogus: People don't like paying the salaries of small-minded weenie-men.

I'm OK with that! Don't whine about what's going to happen NEXT time some academic genius has an unpopular idea... WHERE ARE ALL THE INNOVATIVE IDEAS we've been paying for all these years?

Tenure is fraudulent at the root.


Marc, Your exercise in common sense is first-grade stuff. That's right, first-GRADE, and it's not a criticism. On the contrary, your original instincts was right: to ignore the dufus because there are a thousand jackasses born every minute, and a lot of them have stupid opinions that we should do ourselves the favor of ignoring.

But the fact that this has stirred ANY controversy at all -- not to mention 40 comments of the usual stupefyingly boring length -- is an indication of the moral and intellectual depths to which some of the authors have sunk and where they are pursued by others who should know better than to waste their time. I shudder to think that these strange minds could be representative of the opposition to Bushism. If so, we will have the latter with us for a long time to come.

jim hitchcock

Well, thanks for your two cents, Tim...here's your change.


"As to Ahmed's rants regarding Churchill, Sontag and Said, he needs to re-read their writings with an unjuandiced eye"

GM Roper is it too much too ask that you actually read my posts before responding? I've made zero arguments here about Sontag, and although i've read alot of Said, my point here was to respond to a slur, not advance a particluar interpretation of him. Same goes for Churchill, since the entirety of my comments have been directed towards the discourse and context of the attacks on Ward, on not at all my take on his writing. Anyone can see that, I have no idea how you arrived at a different conclusion. And quit being such an ass, if you disagree with what I'm saying mount your own argument, don't just say i need "an unjuandiced eye" That's just a poor excuse not to engage someeone else in a debate over what they actually wrote. Absolutely pitiful and asinine stuff, fella. But what else would one expect out of a person who once falsely claimed to know for a fact that more then half of all Muslims believe in death for apostacy.

Wagner James Au

> Churchill is an "ass" but remember what
> Voltaire said

But Voltaire's words were not, "I disagree with everything you say, but will defend your right to retain tenure on the taxpayer's dime when you say it." As far as I can tell, Marc, no one here disputes Churchill's right to state his beliefs on a radio station, for a newspaper interview, or in (god help us) a blog. The free speech issue is rather a red herring. On what basis should taxpayers be required to subsidize speech that almost all of them find repugnant?

The counter-argument here is, of course, "If you refuse to subsidize repugnant speech, you cause a chilling of general discourse." The first counter-counter argument to that is this: If a taxpayer revolt against certain repugnant speech hurts the quality of a university as a whole, it creates a market for competing universities who have more open discourse. The second counter-counter argument is this: bad speech tends to drive out the good. So much energy is spent debating the extreme, repugnant points of view, it exerts a tremendous opportunity cost on debating ideas that are far more worthwhile. When extremists are allowed an equal say in a forum, people tend to withdraw from the debate altogether, leaving the ideologues on either side to thrash it out before a steadily decreasing audience.

In Internet terms, Ward Churchill is a troll. As you should know from this very blog, trolls don't improve a conersation, they poison it. We all know that even trolls retain their First Amendment rights, but what possible argument is there for obligating taxpayers to subsidize their trolling?

Green Dem

Kevin Drum gets it right:

"After reading yet another article about University of Colorado nutjob Ward Churchill in the LA Times this morning, I began to wonder. How did this story get so much play? I mean, the guy's an obscure academic in Boulder and the paper that created all the flurry was written three years ago. What gives?

The short answer is twofold: it's the result of both the agenda-setting power of the right wing outrage machine and the agenda-setting power of the New York Times."

Read the whole thing:


The real story here is that there is a large, and powerful right-wing scandal cum outrage mongering machine in this country, with a small army of paid hackish minions perpetually looking to dig up the latest offense by the left - even ones that are three years old. Liberals and leftists have been apologizing profusely for their moonbats, wingnuts, fruitcakes, and losers for at least the last quarter century, and quite frankly we've had enough apologizing.

You reap what you sow, and what the right doesn't understand is that the left is now catching up with them, learning their stock and trade. It was liberal bloggers who deserve most of the credit for bringing down the House of Lott. The movement spawned by the Dean campaign is still in its infancy, but at some point in the next several decade it will dominate the airwaves and the halls of power, and it will be conservatives routinely apologizing for their racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, and their everlasting war on the poor.


That's funny, Wagner, you seem to be doing what you accuse trolls of doing, poisoning the discourse.

I hope you can federalize the rules by which we could discover who is poison in our society.

What is your Final Solution for these pests of the American Spirit and Purity?


Attacking all tenured Profs, because of one is typical right-wing nationalistic BS.


sorry, i see i went over my limit, will stop, now.


I'm against tenure. The unemployment lines are full of people who want to do good work and they come from all walks of life (except professors)--and, these unemployed didn't have tenure.

If someone wants to be a jerk and express outrageous and unacceptable views as though he knows all--then, let him do it on his own time and money and not be subsidized by taxpayers. Churchill can exercise his freedom of speech on his own.

This is just another case of where American education is failing and where liberals still defend it.


> Attacking all tenured Profs, because of one
> is typical right-wing nationalistic BS.

I may be right-wing (though a lifelong Democrat) and may even be typical in my BS. But who you callin' "nationalistic," fella?

We're not attacking the profs, we're attacking tenure. This is fun and easy to do. This guy Churchill's gig is very much in play this week, so apparently tenure isn't the perfectly padded and safe playpen that he'd thought it was... Golly, he might have to grow up a little!

If you find conservative delight in this to be similarly infantile, don't worry. We'll stop sniggering in a week or two.

STEVE WRITES: "Incorrect. You were reading someone else in this thread perhaps?"

"On the other hand, it is rather odd, because if you go back and read the readings of Herbert Marcuse, one of Marc's own political heroes, you can find statements by Marcuse that are not different in tone or content from Churchill's statements." THAT'S ONE.

"However, I agree with Marc's good friend Henwood on this, letters should be sent to the chancellor calling for an end to FOX News determining which professors are politically correct for their tastes." THAT'S TWO FROM THIS THREAD

"all i've ever done is present you with Jerry Lembcke's debunking of the myth of the spat on veterans, a person by the way who has been interviewed favorably not once but twice by Marc Cooper [now, if I'm being disrespectful by supporting Lembcke on a blog comment board, Marc reached a whole lot more people than me I"m afraid giving Lembcke a platform *twice* to a much larger audience]" THAT'S THREE (FROM EARLIER THREADS)

"marc cooper's interviews with jerry lembcke only show that even better.

"Maybe Marc should interview John about the terrible things that happened to the vets, to balance his two interviews with Jerry Lembcke?" THAT'S FIVE, FROM THE SAME THEREAD AS NUMBER 4

"check out the Sasha Liley program btw if you wanna see someone doing something productive on the left in radio as an answer to the problems that Marc sees as so major. Or Henwood's program for that matter" THAT'S SIX.

Steve, I only went back a couple of weeks, so I guess I should have said "Frequently" rather than consistently.

You can argue all you want my friend, but it's there for all to see.


I agree with Marc Cooper, that WC is an ass but shouldn't be fired for it, perhaps for lying about his ethnicity, but plenty of asses have tenure so why single him out.

From what I have read he takes $96,000 per year, with all the attendant benefits, retirement, and job security for life, from the State of Colorado, a subdivision of the Great Satan. How can he pass judgment on others for being tools of the machine?

"Of course the right wing is going to go after professors they dont like." Unfortunatley, yes, they will and they are now, just like the left has done for the past 20 years. At a recent meeting, I heard faculty at my "conservative" university openly mock the Republican chair of a department (behind his back, of course) while other faculty looked on in silence, afraid to stick up for him or show their colors. Let's face it, universities are leftist dominated. I've read theses approved by the committee where the entire study is based on allegations of racism made by anonymous study participants not sourced at all: no first names, dates, nothing, out of racial "sensitivity." This is impartial scholarship??

But this dominance of one POV is coming to an end. The right will fight back and encroach upon the high priestly ranks until they, too, take the tenured positions and the chairs and the perks to eventually abuse their own sinecure. And so it goes.

What I would like to see is true diversity of thought and a competitive marketplace meaning, of course, no tenure, and more participation by the parents and donors in developing an institution deserving of their funding.


Hey Marc,
Just to change the subject and to prevent me from singing my Plastic Jesus song....

I bought your book about Las Vegas and was thrilled to see that it is in memory of Neil Postman. He's one of the reasons I came to the USA. What a great man! I guess I'll have to "blog" about it later!

Am really looking forward to reading your Las Vegas tale.

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