August 1, 2006

"The 9/11 commission has its conspiracy theory, and we have ours."

More Kevin Barrett blather, in today's NYT. More from me over on Instapundit, which you can comment on here.


Editor Theorist said...

Mr. Barrett [...]asked. “I go out of my way to bring in diverse interpretations for students to look at.”

[...] Barrett presented a variety of viewpoints [...]

These two quotes, one from Barrett and the other from UW Madison, imply that presenting variety or diversity of viewpoints - no matter how absurd these 'viewpoints' are - is exactly what universities should be doing.

So, garbage is fine - so long as there is a variety of garbage. Do these advocates of 'diverse interpretations' really think that this helps justify the existence of universities and the usefulness of their teaching?

If academics in the arts, humanities and 'soft' social sciences cannot come up with anything better than this argument to explain their teaching objectives, maybe they don't deserve to be included in university curricula.

Dave said...

The professoriate looks none too good with fools like this teaching.

Henry said...

So, garbage is fine - so long as there is a variety of garbage.

Oh my goodness! It sounds like art school!

Danny said...

Sidenote: I love how facebook allows me to look up drunken pictures of people who get quoted in the NY Times.

The Drill SGT said...

My favorite three quotes from the article:

Mr. Barrett, a co-founder of a group called Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth, argued that he had never presented his personal opinions in class and that he was free to offer those opinions on his own time outside the classroom.

“Why is liberal Wisconsin going bananas over an $8,000-a-year lecturer who’s not even teaching his own views in the course?” Mr. Barrett asked. “I go out of my way to bring in diverse interpretations for students to look at.”

The university’s chancellor, John D. Wiley, said that he was baffled by Mr. Barrett’s beliefs but that they were irrelevant in the classroom, where he must stick to a syllabus that has been approved by the department. That syllabus includes a week devoted to the war on terror.

ludicrous. His lunacy is protected as personal outside the class, but inside he'll not teach his lunacy, but instead during the week, teach the lunacy from well recognized groups like he founded? :)

At the University of Colorado, a committee voted in June to fire Ward L. Churchill, an ethnic studies professor who had compared some victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to a Nazi official. Professor Churchill appealed this month to keep his job.

Disingenuous to not mention that a committee had found him guilty of multiple counts of academic fraud. Any one of which could get a student booted.

But Katherine Brown, 20, who had finished a summer course on Islam, questioned the role of such a political discussion in a religion class.

“I just feel like it isn’t relevant because Islam is a religion,” said Ms. Brown, who added that she agreed with her own professor’s decision not to discuss the war on terror. “It’s not about what’s going on currently in politics so much.”

Interesting that Brown just finished the summer school version of LCA 370 by the normal instructor and the War on Terror wasn't in the syllabus? Just in Barrett's version?

PatCA said...

"Diverse" is the magic word in academia. Click your heels together, Dorothy, whisper "diversity" and you will be home free.

Seven Machos said...

Here's my problem with this. Here we have a professor who is heavily subsidized by the State, saying something that is manifestly a lie and teaching it in a class.

A few hundred miles down the road, we have an old, short, once-attractive actor guy who is drunk and saying something that is manifestly a lie to a police officer.

Mel Gibson is an idiot, but what he said was private and unsubsidized. No big whoop. Barrett is an idiot, and what he says is public and subsidized. Which one gets all-consuming attention?

It's weird.

Frank Borger said...

If I were a Physics lecturer and I decided to teach a course in phlogisten theory, (and fervently believed in the theory,) how long would the department of Physics keep me?

Sadly, this kerfuffle will cause many people to ask, "Where did they get this wierdo, and if they can't get anybody better to teach, why am I sending my child there?"