Thursday, March 24, 2005

How Has Ward Churchill Come So Far?

Victor Davis Hanson lays the wood on Ward Churchill and Academia in his excellent column on National Review. In it he posts four rules of how a regular Joe, with below average intelligence, can become a tenured professor without possessing a PHD. You really must read the whole thing, but here a few experts:

Rule 1: Profess to be as far left as possible, understanding that extremism in the service of utopian virtue is no vice.

. . .Most academics are retiring sorts. They enjoy the tranquility of the campus and its isolation from the conundrum of society at large. But like peaceful sheep grazing in green pastures, they are easy prey for rapacious wolves. Professors are especially vulnerable to a bully and showman like Churchill, whose record of both oral and written intimidation leaves most disturbed, frightened, or at least convinced to steer clear of this loose loud popgun when he goes off. ...

Rule 2: Among the nerds and dorks, act a little like a Brando, Che, or James Dean, a wild spirit that gives off a spark of danger, who can at a distance titillate Walter Mitty-like admirers and closer up scare off the more sober censors.

...Victimization is essential to academic man. Under the warped tenets into which affirmative action has devolved and the existing protocols of the blame industry, at first glance this put a pink heterosexual American male like Churchill in a seemingly tough bind. What cover or exemption, after all, is there when his scholarship, teaching, or academic citizenship is found wanting? That dilemma Churchill solved brilliantly when he endowed himself with two new unimpeachable personas: the noble but victimized Native American, and the half-noble but nevertheless traumatized Vietnam veteran. ...

In short, Churchill’s Indian and Vietnam-veteran pseudo-affiliations — replete with long hair, camouflage, and sunglasses getup — were worth at least a Ph.D. from Harvard.

Rule 3: Whenever possible, reinvent yourself as anything but a white, straight American male.

...Recalcitrant, unbending, immobile, a throw-back to a better, more idealistic age — this is the rock-cut image that the perpetual ‘60s professor taps into. And Churchill, with his photo-studio manufactured profile, pageboy locks, occasional fake Indian name, hip street lingo, and sassy banter did it better than any we’ve seen in quite a while — or at least well enough to wow the flabby university committees that allowed him to cash in.

Rule 4. Don’t worry about the anti-capitalist’s embarrassing six-figure salary, plush job, lifelong guaranteed employment, and fondness for jet travel and hotels. Just keep acting like an ageless denizen of the Woodstock nation, professing to be a timeless dagger pointed at the heart of money-grubbing square America.

Read the whole thing.


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