[star]The American Mind[star]

February 11, 2005

Churchill's Coming to Whitewater

UW-Whitewater chancellor Jack Miller is a strange man who's written a strange statement for why he's allowing anti-American Ward Churchill to speak on campus next month.

First, he says, "I find the decision to be repugnant because of the offensive nature of his [Churchill's] remarks." Yet he's still allowing Churchill to soil his campus.

Second, Miller mentions Churchill's problems with his academic and ethnic crediblity as having "his scholarship is being questioned and is now under review by his employer," yet "that does not negate his status as a frequent speaker on Native American issues." So, I guess questions of academic fraud dealing with the subject he is suppose to speak doesn't disqualify him. Theoretically does that mean I could make up a bunch of stuff about economics, claim I was an economist, use other's work as my own, and still speak at UW-Whitewater as an "economics expert?" In one of Miller's stipulations he acknowledges that the University of Colorado's investigation of Churchill could change his mind.

Third, Miller admits the university is "under no obligation to extend him an invitation" yet he sides with "First Amendment principles." I'm confused. If Churchill doesn't have a First Amendment right to speak at the campus then what principle is Miller siding with?

What's most odd about Miller's decision is he will personally make a contribution to fund a speaker he finds repugnant and offensive.

Miller wrote a letter to Churchill asking him to clarify his "little Eichmans" remark and "provide a more direct and personal response to those who were deeply hurt by your remarks."

Churchill's undignified response was full of bravado and spite. The arrogant professor encloses a response essay and declares it to be his "final clarification." In the letter there's no hint of sympathy toward the victims of Sep. 11, and no acknowledgement that he hurt many people with his words. Churchill the snidely writes,

While you do, one assumes, hold the prerogative to cancel the event on bona fide security grounds, your right to do so because of disagreements 'your own or othersí -- with certain political conclusions Iíve drawn is dubious at best.

Please be advised that should you opt to cancel the contracted event for any reason whatsoever, your institution will be obliged to pay me the full amount of my honorarium at the appointed time (i.e., the date scheduled for my lecture).

Please be further advised that these monies will be used, at least in part, to underwrite my coming to Whitewater at the earliest opportunity for purposes of meeting at some appropriate location, either off campus or on, with the students who originally desired to hear what I have to say with regard to Indian Affairs.

This disgusting, egotistical man wants his money and his moment of fame. He intends to come to Whitewater, whether the speech is cancelled or not, and grab as much attention as he can.

"Churchill Gets OK to Speak at UW-Whitewater"

UPDATE: Seamus Heffernan looks at Ward Churchill's attack on capitalism and living a comfortable life:

The truly insufferable aspect of Churchill's piece is his callous dismissal of the people in those building, who, while talking on their phones and planning lunch, were doing what most of us have to do every day: work.

The WTC was targeted as a symbol of American success and global capitalism, but the majority of people inside were just ordinary people. They had kids and mortgages and real lives that may seem mundane and even stupid to people like Churchill. After all, what right do these people have to chase their little slice of normal life when there's untold suffering going on, somewhere, sometime? In the whole big picture, it's not like Timmy's soccer game is all that important, and it's not like you should have the right to get excited about a pitcher of beer and chicken wings with your friends on a Friday.

As 99% of us feel, these things are important - and it doesn't put blood on our hands. Churchill is not just defending terrorists, he is attacking the basic principle of capitalist life: get up and go to work. In that sense, these people were part of the vast globalization conspiracy the Churchills, Moores and Chomskys continuously warn us about. They wanted to make a living and provide for themselves.

Professor Churchill is not merely anti-American, he sneers at the reality most of us face as we fight for a seat on the Tube, or when we have to stay late at the office. In Ward Churchill's eyes, we shouldn't be so wrapped up in our narrow, pathetic little consumerist lives. Certainly, we should stop and appreciate what we have worked for occasionally - and remember that not all of us have it so easy as to get tenure. But it is the work of ordinary people living the sort of lives that Ward Churchill despises that has helped create the prosperity that America enjoys.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:38 AM | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (4)
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