March 2, 2007

"A Word Too Far."

This is the fifth and last of my NYT columns. (TimesSelect link.) It discusses this incident at Duke University Law School along with the incident at my law school which I wrote about earlier today. Excerpt:
Ironically, you have to care enough about engaging energetically with issues of race to run into this sort of trouble. It’s so much easier to skip the subject altogether, to embrace a theory of colorblindness or to scoop out gobs of politically correct pabulum. It’s only when you challenge the students and confront them with something that can be experienced as ugly — even if you’re only trying to highlight your law firm’s illustrious fight against racism — that you create the risk that someone may take offense.

ADDED: Here's a free permalink.

37 comments:

reality check said...

Ann Coulter calls John Edwards a faggot. Are you going to energetically engage with that issue?

Or will you skip the subject altogether?

Will you encourage your groupies to take a stand and call their representatives and ensure that Coulter is never again at a Republican event?

Or are you only going to highlight your bonafides in the fight against gay bashing, and the fight against nasty personal attacks?

Are you going to the lead the fight against IOKIYAR?

MadisonMan said...

All these words that cause people grief on Campus. Thank Goodness that they'll go into the real world and not have to hear them!

Seriously, why shouldn't training at a University include helping students know when something is really important to take umbrage about, and when you'll just sound like a crying wimpy tattletale? There was no perfidious intent in either of the two cases. Why are they treated as if there were?

reality: Please recognize that Ann Coulter is at the Say Anything to be heard! stage of her career.

Bruce Hayden said...

RC is asking for censuring. When he doesn't like what someone says, he apparently thinks it should be suppressed.

Both of the examples Ann gave were of censuring speech. And both are pretty juvenile on the part of those outraged. And neither appears to have been aimed at offending anyone.

I found the Duke one quite egregious. Back in the 1920s, Leon Jaworski, one of the founders of Fulbright & Jaworski, defended an African-American in Waco, Texas. In trying to point out the racial climate there at the time (and thus pointing at the firm's long record at fighting racism), the F&J partner quoted the judge calling the defendant a N****.

And a lot of the Duke law school student body apparently got up in arms about this insensitive use of that word, and F&J is in full grovel mode.

The problem with this whole thing is that no other word would have made the point that the F&J partner was trying to make - that the judge was so racist that he would use that word to describe a defendant from the bench.

Personally, at this point, if I had a chance to hire F&J right now, I wouldn't, and hope that some of their clients see the same thing. A law firm that can't stand up for what is right, is unlikely to be able to represent you adequately.

Of course, Duke didn't need this - apparently both applications and donations are significantly down due to their handling of the alleged rape by some of its LAX players.

Gahrie said...

Originally posted at Captain's Quarters:

How civil is the average Lefty? Take Marcotte just to name one in the news off the top of my head. She was considered mainstream enough to be given a prominent campaign position.

One of the reasons Coulter is the way she is, is because she refuses to disarm in the conflict between the Left and Right. For the past several decades, the response of the Right to people like Franken, Rhodes, Marcotte et al has been to tut tut and call for civility. And we have been ignored.

This unilateral disarmament happens again and again, and some people get tired of lying down. Take Supreme Court nominations as an example. The Left savages Republican nominations like Bork and Thomas, (which causes timidity, and nominations like Breyer and Kennedy) but the Right allows Democratic nominations like Bader-Ginsburg to sail through. Do we get comity in return? No, we get shrill, partisan attacks against Roberts and Alito.

Bruce Hayden said...

I agree with MadisonMan here. What are these law students learning in law school? They should be developing thicker skins, not thinner ones. What are they going to do when they actually try to practice law in the real world? Go whining to the judge that the other attorneys were mean to them? I can guarantee that most judges don't look kindly wasting their time on that sort of thing.

Internet Ronin said...

Who cares what Ann Coulter does or says? In the big scheme of things, and even in the small scheme of things, Ann Coulter is irrelevant. Like you, reality check, she's a good bomb thrower and knows how to draw attention to herself. Unlike you, she is making tens of thousands of dollars doing it.

Whenever you bring her name up, Ann Coulter makes money. You've made her a fortune. I'm sure she appreciates your efforts very much and wants you to keep doing the good work.

Aplomb said...

Ann, your analysis is entirely superficial. If I understand your point, it is that these controversial statements should not be condemned unless you put them in context, and you should let the speaker explain themselves.

But, you weren't there to hear the controversial speech. And, the speakers declined to show up to defend themselves or try to put the controversy in context in public meetings called to publicly air those controversial statements.

How are you in a position to say that those who condemn the contested bits of speech because they lack context are out of line for doing so, when you don't know the context yourself? The people who initially complained were there and saw the context. You weren't.

In the F&J partner at Duke issue, you say that the "recruiter was quoting a Waco, Tex., prosecutor in a 1920s murder case in which Leon Jaworski, one of the firm’s founding partners, represented a black defendant." But the Texlaw article you cite says the F&J partner "used the 'n-word' when vividly recounting the prosecutor’s remarks about Jaworski’s client during that trial." And that article contains an internal e-mail where the firm's spokesperson explained "that the attorney used a racial term that characterized what the district attorney in the case said about the defendant."

I don't see anyone saying the attorney was quoting the racist 1920s Waco prosecutor, as you wrote. I would especially expect the F&J e-mail to say he "merely quoted" the offensive term, rather than he "characterized" what the racist said, which implies the F&J attorney used his own terms.

What the F&J partner said could have been innocent and honorable in context, like "despite the worst sort of prejudice, calling on the hate and fears of that community at the time, even to the point of calling him a [n-word], Jaworski fought against that injustice and convinced the jury of the truth." Honestly, if it went down that way, do you think the law students of Duke would object?

Or maybe, the F&J partner said "when he was still a young lawyer even the Waco DA was impressed by Jaworski after he got a jury to find a [n-word] innocent of murder." In which case the Duke law students would have reason to object.

I don't know what he said, between or beside those examples, but the important thing is, you don't either. Yet your whole point in the NYT column is that the controversial speech was taken out of context.

What I know of the context is, F&J went into full crisis mode and sent four partners to Duke to condemn what was said and to smooth the outrage. Significantly, the partner causing the uproar DID NOT SHOW UP to explain himself.

That suggests to me the F&J partner didn't just use the word in a context that showed contempt and disgust for the way the 1920's Waco prosecutor used it, and how Jaworski rose above the hate and used justice to defeat it. If he did so, the Duke law students would nod and agree and share his disgust. Instead, he said something that students found objectionable, making the papers and putting F&J into damage mode, so that they issue an extended apology for the racially insensitive comments of someone they declined to present to provide a plausible excuse based on context. This to me suggests, without knowing more, the Duke students just may have had a point. Law students are smart enough to distinguish between historical examples of racist speech and contemporary examples.

In the Wisconsin event, I don't know the context, but then again neither do you. The professor at issue said some things concerning the Hmong that upset some students. Was it "here is the litany of prejudices the Hmong have had to face in America: [list of derogatory things]", or was it "the Hmong have done quite well in America despite being [list of derogatory things]?" I don't know, and if you do, you don't explain it.

Once again, the speaker at issue doesn't show up to explain himself, to put it in context.

If you think of all the thousands of classes taught and speeches to students given every day, and the hundreds of thousands of classes and speeches given every year, if there was an epidemic of oversensitive students you would hear about this stuff alot more often.

I'm guessing the Texas lawyer used the n-word in a way that didn't illuminate the prejudices Leon Jaworski faced in the 1920s but in a way that reasonably sophisticated Duke law students thought showed the insensitivity of the lawyer himself. (But, I don't know the context, but, neither do you.)

I'm also guessing the Wisconsin prof didn't just list some idiotic prejudiced conceptions that the Hmong have had to overcome, but did so in a way that implied they were factual.

These types of flare-ups are pretty rare, if you consider how many classes are taught. And they are often tamped down if the speaker comes out to explain things and put them in context. Neither speaker here did so.

Why are you giving them the benefit of the doubt, explaining it away as a failure to put things in context, when they themselves are afraid to show up and put it in context, and you yourself don't know the context?

XWL said...

Congratulations on your run of NYT Op-Eds.

Still not enough to get me to subscribe to that rag, but kudos anyway.

TimesSelect is still a disaster, and The Grey Lady continues to bleed money.

Get yourself onto WaPo's Op-Ed page so we can link you more easily (assuming you enjoy doing these, they might be more trouble than they're worth on a regualr basis).

As far as campus speech codes, they are a joke, a really, really bad joke.

As far as Coulter, given that a search of the Althouse blog shows a handful of posts, and not exactly flattering of Coulter, it seems far-fetched for Prof. Althouse to care or to bother at upbraiding the obviously confrontational and stupid language from an obvious and confrontational pundit (or whatever the hell Coulter is, she's a one-note act from somebody with something to sell)

I have yet to see a single Republican/Conservative/Libertarian say anything but negative things about Coulter's latest schtick at CPAC.

(Ed Morrisey, Glenn Reynolds, Michelle Malkin, Dean Barnett)

She says vile, stupid, bigoted stuff, for which there's no excuse, and which should cause her to never again be invited to anything like this, but looking at the commenters at Think Progress with regards to her statements, her rhetorical style and theirs, not so different (let's count the tranny references, shall we?).

Daryl Herbert said...

internet ronin: Who cares what Ann Coulter does or says?

Unfortunately, she was invited to CPAC, which a bunch of Republican candidates felt was something they should attend as well. If people are going to invite her to speak, they have to take some responsibility for her words.

fealty check: Ann Coulter calls John Edwards a faggot. Are you going to energetically engage with that issue?

How can you possibly compare these? Coulter's speech was at CPAC, whereas the events Ann is discussing occurred at law schools. Coulter was deliberately trying to offend and get attention, whereas the speakers Ann is discussing had good intentions and were set upon by creepy left-wing ideological victim cultists (the most offended of whom weren't even present)

Eric said...

must ... resist ... Althouse ... vortex

Daryl Herbert said...

Ann, your analysis is entirely superficial.

No, your analysis is superficial.

If I understand your point, it is that these controversial statements should not be condemned unless you put them in context, and you should let the speaker explain themselves.

No, it's that they should not be condemned at all. They must be put in context before you can begin to understand them, let alone decide whether to condemn. Any analysis of what was said that deliberately avoids context is deliberately superficial.

But, you weren't there to hear the controversial speech. And, the speakers declined to show up to defend themselves or try to put the controversy in context in public meetings called to publicly air those controversial statements. How are you in a position to say that those who condemn the contested bits of speech because they lack context are out of line for doing so, when you don't know the context yourself?

Simple, if nobody knows the context, everybody should STFU. Because you shouldn't run your mouth if you don't know the context. Which is an entirely consistent position. Only a completely superficial analysis could miss that.

The people who initially complained were there and saw the context. You weren't.

No, the one who sent the emails out wasn't there. The ones who were aren't as offended.

The grievance-mongers who were there felt no need to describe the context.

It's notable that the other students who have described the goings-on say there was nothing offensive or wrongful that was said.

In the F&J partner at Duke issue, you say that the "recruiter was quoting a Waco, Tex., prosecutor in a 1920s murder case in which Leon Jaworski, one of the firm’s founding partners, represented a black defendant." But the Texlaw article you cite says the F&J partner "used the 'n-word' when vividly recounting the prosecutor’s remarks about Jaworski’s client during that trial." And that article contains an internal e-mail where the firm's spokesperson explained "that the attorney used a racial term that characterized what the district attorney in the case said about the defendant. I don't see anyone saying the attorney was quoting the racist 1920s Waco prosecutor, as you wrote.

You don't see anyone? Perhaps that's because you haven't looked. Ann didn't write a law review article with four hundred footnotes. Look it up yourself if you care so damn much about this issue.

I would especially expect the F&J e-mail to say he "merely quoted" the offensive term, rather than he "characterized" what the racist said, which implies the F&J attorney used his own terms.

You would expect it? That's your big proof that Ann is wrong? Your expectations don't match reality?

Your expectations are stupid, anyway. Using the term "merely" would only further piss off the grievance-mongers by minimizing the extreme hardship and indignity they suffered.

Lawyers know what to say to crazy people. You are a crazy person.

What the F&J partner said could have been innocent and honorable in context, like "despite the worst sort of prejudice, calling on the hate and fears of that community at the time, even to the point of calling him a [n-word], Jaworski fought against that injustice and convinced the jury of the truth." Honestly, if it went down that way, do you think the law students of Duke would object?

Now you're suggesting it couldn't have happened the way it did because that doesn't make sense for people to act that way. Your damn right it doesn't make sense--that's why it's outrageous conduct. If this shit made sense, we wouldn't be complaining about it!

Or maybe, the F&J partner said "when he was still a young lawyer even the Waco DA was impressed by Jaworski after he got a jury to find a [n-word] innocent of murder." In which case the Duke law students would have reason to object.

Or maybe you're just making shit up.

I don't know what he said, between or beside those examples, but the important thing is, you don't either. Yet your whole point in the NYT column is that the controversial speech was taken out of context.

There is a presumption of innocence extended towards colleagues--friends--at Ann's school. If she doesn't know the context, she isn't going to assume the worst. It's the accuser's duty to come forward with the context in a case like this (or else their accusations are unsupported, and only assholes make unsupported accusations like this)

What I know of the context is, F&J went into full crisis mode and sent four partners to Duke to condemn what was said and to smooth the outrage. Significantly, the partner causing the uproar DID NOT SHOW UP to explain himself.

Perfectly innocent behavior--engaging in damage control instead of making angry denials and impugning the accusers' credibility--is used as evidence of guilt? That strikes me as somewhat (say it with me now) superficial. Get a grip, man. No law firm wants to get into a shouting match with some dumb, impressionable, vulnerable law students.

That suggests to me the F&J partner didn't just use the word in a context that showed contempt and disgust for the way the 1920's Waco prosecutor used it, and how Jaworski rose above the hate and used justice to defeat it. If he did so, the Duke law students would nod and agree and share his disgust. Instead, he said something that students found objectionable, making the papers and putting F&J into damage mode, so that they issue an extended apology for the racially insensitive comments of someone they declined to present to provide a plausible excuse based on context. This to me suggests, without knowing more, the Duke students just may have had a point. Law students are smart enough to distinguish between historical examples of racist speech and contemporary examples.

Let me suggest to you a job opening in Durham, they're going to need a new prosecutor. Your train of thought here is pure Nifongery.

If you think of all the thousands of classes taught and speeches to students given every day, and the hundreds of thousands of classes and speeches given every year, if there was an epidemic of oversensitive students you would hear about this stuff alot more often.

http://www.thefire.org

I'm guessing the Texas lawyer used the n-word in a way that didn't illuminate the prejudices Leon Jaworski faced in the 1920s but in a way that reasonably sophisticated Duke law students thought showed the insensitivity of the lawyer himself. (But, I don't know the context, but, neither do you.)

You're guessing. You're perfectly comfortable doing so, and you think you're on equal footing to say "I'm guessing" while Ann counsels to withhold judgment, because you both don't know the context. Guessing without knowing the context is foolhardy and obnoxious; withholding judgment is proper. That's the difference.

And it's people like you who protect and encourage phony accusers, like in these cases, because of your unconditional willingness to throw yourself behind any accusation on the strength of your feelings.

I would love to see nothing more than for the prof & lawyer in these cases to issue a Vicious Rant and an Important Action Alert and make their accusers look like total jerks. But for some reason, lawyers get sentimental about law students. And I suppose that's no way to run a law school.

And for the love of god, man, if you're going to write a long piece, edit yourself. Stream of consciousness just doesn't cut it. You only repeated yourself about three times on every point.

MadisonMan said...

Unfortunately, she was invited to CPAC, which a bunch of Republican candidates felt was something they should attend as well. If people are going to invite her to speak, they have to take some responsibility for her words.

Yes, it's time like this that I wish I was a journalist interviewing a candidate. Roll tape of Coulter, then ask the candidate what their silence that day is supposed to tell voters? That they like free speech? And if Coulter had said nigger? Or kike? Or wetback? Or investment banker and ambulance chaser? Would they have also remained silent then?

However, you know the mainstream media will not send its reporters out to cover this, for the same reason that Obama gets blasted for using the w-word re: Iraq but McCain doesn't.

Peter said...

Would Ms. Althouse have written a different article if the professor had quoted someone who had used "the 'C' word" to describe a female rather than someone who (I presume) used "the 'N' word" to describe a person of color?

We all have different things that offend us. It is not for the speaker to dictate how the listener should listen, especially in the context of diversity.

If one wishes to truly practice inclusion, then one MUST consider the experience of those whom one is intending to "include." As a law professor, you MUST be aware of your power and your unconscious assumptions about race/ethnicity if you wish to truly include people who belong to other identity groups. You cannot decide for someone else what is offensive.

Is it such hell to be aware of our impact on others? Is self-awareness such a burden for us that we must minimize the experience of others to avoid it? Are we so steeped in our worldviews that we cannot see that even our efforts to include others demand that those others see things through our worldview rather than their own?

GB Henderson said...

Go Althouse! I can not help but globalize your comments to cover more than an ancient judicial transgression in a Texas court, or an incident recently that exhumed it. Of course, to cleanse the language - especially in a classroom - so that images and feelings that are remotely kin to historical events that were more than just polite discussion, would be to render the language itself impotent. Whops! Was that a bad choice too?

Are we moving toward a sanitized and homogenized language that can not offend even the most pathologically sensitive person among us?

steambadger said...

Ann, your analysis is entirely superficial.

No, your analysis is superficial.


Russian Ambassador: You seek hegemony.

Chinese Ambassador: No, you seek hegemony.

reality check said...

Ann's a big time NYTimes Op Ed writer, appears on NPR, and is one of the respected Moderate Conservative Diva Bloggers.

Ann's favorite Presidential Candidate, the Gay Friendly, 3 time married Rudolph Giuliani appeared at CPAC, along with Romney (who Ann has defended) along with Gay Friendly Cheney.

None of these stalwarts has said anything about Coulter's hate speech.

The NY Times hasn't discussed Coulter's use of faggot, though they did discuss her presence, and even thought the reporter is an out gay man

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney failed to mention the crack about Edwards, in observing tonight: "The conference drew thousands of attendees, many of whom waited in a long line out the door for a late-afternoon appearance by Ann Coulter, the conservative author and commentator."

The Washington Post covered the conference but did not mention Coulter at all in its news report. Neither did the Associated Press, which also attended. UPI did mention the "faggot" quote in its report.

The Post's Dana Milbank, in a column for the Saturday paper, observed: "Ann Coulter used an anti-gay slur to describe John Edwards (the line drew applause) and asked: 'Did Al Gore actually swallow Michael Moore?' When a questioner asked Coulter why she praises marriage but broke off so many engagements, she responded by calling the questioner ugly."


Ann can use her contacts and use her tenure and ask why this hasn't been mentioned at the Times.

She can mention it on her blog.

She can energetically engage it constructively.

Wasn't it just yesterday Ann complained about wussy tenured professors?

Or she can remain silent and condone this sort of behavior.

Until you do Professor, please don't bother to tell us about how liberals hate America or use bad words or how you are somehow some sort of liberal or how the New York Times is some sort of liberal and Democratic controlled press.

Fen said...

Until you do Professor, please don't bother to tell us about how liberals hate America or use bad words or how you are somehow some sort of liberal or how the New York Times is some sort of liberal and Democratic controlled press.

Sure, because all those things are justified by Ann Coulter...

The quote from Captian's Quarters nails it:

One of the reasons Coulter is the way she is, is because she refuses to disarm in the conflict between the Left and Right. For the past several decades, the response of the Right to people like Franken, Rhodes, Marcotte et al has been to tut tut and call for civility. And we have been ignored.

This unilateral disarmament happens again and again, and some people get tired of lying down. Take Supreme Court nominations as an example. The Left savages Republican nominations like Bork and Thomas, (which causes timidity, and nominations like Breyer and Kennedy) but the Right allows Democratic nominations like Bader-Ginsburg to sail through. Do we get comity in return? No, we get shrill, partisan attacks against Roberts and Alito.


Ann is a bomb-thrower. She deliberately engages the Left with their own weapons. So its amusing to hear them whine about it. She pushes the envelope, pushes out and gives other conservative pundits manuever space to express themselves without being shouted down. If not for her, Malkin would be tagged as the wicked witch of the West, if not Malkin, then the next conservative pundit to her left, and so on.

I don't approve of what Coulter said and agree with Reynolds that she should not be invited back to CPAC - but you guys created her, so either dial down the hyperbole and Godwin or deal with it. She is your mirror.

CB said...

Peter, your comments are offensive.

Ann, your analysis is entirely superficial.

No, your analysis is superficial.

Russian Ambassador: You seek hegemony.

Chinese Ambassador: No, you seek hegemony.


You're a towel.

No, you're a towel!

/uh oh, comment spam

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann Coulter calls John Edwards a faggot. Are you going to energetically engage with that issue?"

Reality Check, you're an idiot. When have I ever promoted Coulter here? When have I ever been anything but supportive of gay people and gay rights? Why on earth should I be suckered into Coulter's latest attention-getting stunt? And what the hell does your comment have to do with this post?

reality check said...

It has to do with the overall gestalt of Chez Althouse, where you excoriate tenured profs that act as wussies, come off how enlightened you are and how the rest of us are partisan snots, tell us all how gay friendly you are, claim you are the last remaining honest liberal, accrue power and contacts at an organization you simultaneously love and hate, write op-eds for that organization behind a subscription wall that you mock, laugh at people that dislike you and say we are jealous of your power and success, and when someone asks you to use that power and success to better the organizations and the communication, you decide that it's time for another blog post on Reality Runway.

The keywords words for that behavior are cowardly, hypocritical, arrogant, unaware.

Other than that, it's a nice day here, and I hope where you are too.

Step up to the plate Ann.

reality check said...

Let's also not forget all of your posts, as recently as yesterday telling us all how mean and nasty liberal discourse is.

Yet watch as the Fens and Haydens here, et. al., come out to rationalize the Raghead Faggot Traitor talk from Coulter.

Ann Althouse said...

Aplomb: "And, the speakers declined to show up to defend themselves or try to put the controversy in context in public meetings called to publicly air those controversial statements."

The event was set up as an educational session, with an expert who was supposed to teach about the Hmong experience, not as an examination of what happened in the class. The offended students were to be given time to state that they were offended but were not going to go into the story of why they were offended. That was made ABUNDANTLY clear to me before the meeting. To blame Kaplan for not showing up and CHANGING THE PLANNED SUBJECT is absurd. Get YOUR facts straight. You want things in context. THAT's the context. Now, care to reframe what you've said?

Peter said..."Would Ms. Althouse have written a different article if the professor had quoted someone who had used "the 'C' word" to describe a female rather than someone who (I presume) used "the 'N' word" to describe a person of color?"

I have sat through any number of presentations by feminists who use that sort of language. It was standard practice in the 80s. It's is the stock in trade of "The Vagina Monologues." So get real. The idea that I only care about grievances of groups I belong to is ridiculous and refuted by many, many of the 8000+ posts on this blog.

Fen said...

rationalize the Raghead Faggot Traitor talk from Coulter

I didn't rationalize it, I even said I don't approve of it. BTW, here is the actual quote you failed to provide:

“I was going to talk about the other Democratic candidate John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word “Faggot.”

Your problem with the overall gestalt of Chez Althouse is that she doesn't always discuss what you want, so you seek to browbeat her into it. So typical of the Left - you're too weak/stupid/lazy to create your own blog, so you try to regulate someone elses.

reality check said...

You rationalized it by claiming the left somehow created her. That's BS, that's more of the bogus the lefy uses nasty lanugage and they are traitors crap.

You love her Fen.

Fen said...

You rationalized it by claiming the left somehow created her

Thats not a rationalization, its merely fact.

And I think Althouse has been incredibly tolerant of lefty trolls like you who disrupt or hijack every thread they disagree with.

Get your own blog.

reality check said...

It's fact? Than document it or retract.

Crying that I am a troll that deserves banninnation? I accept your concession that your argument has no merit. Try "losing with grace" next time.

Gahrie said...

Just to be clear:

My original post quoting from Captain's Quarters is me quoting myself. It in no way represents that bloggers views. In fact, he has soundly condemned Coulter's remarks.

Ann Althouse said...

"Step up to the plate Ann."

I can't hear you from down in that vortex.

Ann Althouse said...

Okay, much as I hate to do it, there's a post up saying why I'm under no obligation to disassociate myself from Coulter. Go there if you want to engage in any more discussion of that topic. This thread is for discussion of the NYT column. I should have deleted the first comment on this post, which hijacked the thread.

Peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Ah, yes, the "safe" environment, in which mental weaklings need never feel challenged or opposed, because such opposition makes them "uncomfortable."

I am not responsible for your feelings. Never.

The essence of the problem is that American academia has become a place in which -- outside the hard sciences and business -- most professors and nearly all students want to stay in the hot tub, while avoiding the weight room.

It all leads to flaccid minds, identity politics, and an illiberal "liberalism" based almost entirely on feelings.

It used to be that the 'age of reason' was considered to be 7. For present-day products of the American educational and academic establishment we're now fortunate if reason arrives by age twenty-seven.

But at least they feel "safe."

MikeinSC said...

Yes, it's time like this that I wish I was a journalist interviewing a candidate. Roll tape of Coulter, then ask the candidate what their silence that day is supposed to tell voters? That they like free speech? And if Coulter had said nigger? Or kike? Or wetback? Or investment banker and ambulance chaser? Would they have also remained silent then?

Shall we do the same of Dems about the bloggers or reporters who champion them?

Heck, shall we ask why Ted Haggard having a male prostitute was a huge news story while the head of the VA ACLU having pedophile rape videos was not?

Can we use what Dem Senators say about virtually ANY conservative judicial candidate to go against Dems? Can I say that the opposition to Estrada because he's Hispanic means that Dems hate Hispanics?

Ann Coulter is noteworthy because she IS the exception (and, if you don't mind me asking, when the heck did Althouse ever become a Republican?). Marcotte WAS fairly mainstream and what she said can easily be found on other mainstream lefty blogs.
-=Mike

Peter said...

Anne writes:

Peter said..."Would Ms. Althouse have written a different article if the professor had quoted someone who had used "the 'C' word" to describe a female rather than someone who (I presume) used "the 'N' word" to describe a person of color?"

I have sat through any number of presentations by feminists who use that sort of language. It was standard practice in the 80s. It's is the stock in trade of "The Vagina Monologues." So get real. The idea that I only care about grievances of groups I belong to is ridiculous and refuted by many, many of the 8000+ posts on this blog.

Peter Responds:
That is an inapt comparison. The Vagina Monologues and a feminist presentation are situations that you place yourself within which are devoid of institutional power. You are not graded at the Vagina Monologues or a feminist presentation by the people who are using that language. Your future does not rest, at least in some measure, on the good will and acceptance of the actress in the play or the woman making the presentation. In law school, professors wield a lot of power over students. THAT is the difference.

Just because I have failed to hit on a word that offends you does not make my argument less valid. By your logic, it is acceptable for tenured professors in law schools to use “the ‘C’ word.”

Regardless of the specifics of the example I use, you have failed to address the more central part of my argument. You want people to be diverse on YOUR terms. You want them to be different in a way that YOU want them to be different, not in a way that is personally meaningful to them. You are not supporting diversity. You are advocating that the powerful shouldn’t be inconvenienced at the expense of those with whom you disagree. Your issue is that an organization has to apologize for a professor using “the ‘N’ word.” Is apologizing that terrible a thing in our society? Are we so uncivil?

PatCA said...

"It has to do with the overall gestalt of Chez Althouse..."

Actually, it's a vortex, and you are drowning in it. The dreaded vortex seems to have a tinge of green (due to envy) today, as well. Conservatives who were actually present have already denounced Coulter's speech.

Great questions, MikeinSC! Could you also ask why the Dem Congress has not revoked "don't ask don't tell" yet? That would knock Ann Coulter down a peg.

MadisonMan said...

I should have deleted the first comment on this post, which hijacked the thread.

My opinion is that you should delete comments that exceed some crisp word limit too.

mikeinsc: I'm all for exposing hypocrisy from either side of the aisle, live and on TV. I love to see sweat roll down the side of the faces of politicians ready to curse their handlers for putting them in the hot seat!

MikeinSC said...

Heck, I fully acknowledge the Republicans who (sadly) are the party most capable of agreeing with my views, ave violated WAY too many tenets of the political philosophy they claim to adhere to. Signing CFR is a sin against the Constitution that I have a really hard time forgiving Bush for. The Medicare drug benefit is horrendous and the border policy is insepid.

And while I think Delay got a raw deal in his prosecution, Cunningham and Ney are thankfully in jail where they belong. And while nothing Foley did was technically criminal, it was undeniably sleazy.

No party is perfect and to pretend that one party holds the monopoly on anything is laughable.
-=Mike

TMink said...

Hate speech is STILL free speech. And speech is just words. Call me a name and I will yawn, punch me in the nose and you have got a fight.

Trey