Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fear factor

Well, the nation survived Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the United States. He didn't set off a nuclear bomb in downtown Manhattan, he didn't release a toxin into the air that, like, KILLED US ALL, he didn't do anything, really, except blather, blather, blather. Duh. That's all the power he has, under the Iranian Constitution, which reserves all real power in Iran to Ayatollah Khamenei. What, Ahmadinejad is going to kill us with his breath or somethin'?

Now, some folks have questioned the manners of Columbia University President Lou Bollinger, whose 15 minute introduction of Ahmadinejad was, well pretty harsh. There's some folks who say that saying bad things about your guest to his face is, well, rude. But those people simply don't get the point. The emotion I saw most on Lou Bollinger's face was not hatred, or disgust, or anything like that. What I saw most was fear. He feared that, if he did not demonize Ahmedinejad in exactly the same way as the media-spread orthodoxy, he would be hounded from his position as doctrinally unsound, and relegated to some ghetto of American existence wherein lie the "kooks" and "cranks", eventually to be found shuffling the streets in a shabby bathrobe occasionally muttering, "brother, spare some change?" to their imaginary friends. Soviet America enforces doctrinal orthodoxy via a variety of ways, the most common of which is to destroy those who dare ask questions that threaten the doctrinal orthodoxy. Just ask Juan Cole if he's ever going to get another university teaching position or ever get a promotion at his current one. Ain't happening, because he refuses to spout the Party line as enforced via our media, talk show hosts, etc.

Reminds me of a day 50 years ago, when if you said hello to one of the black students who were just forcibly integrated into your all-white school, you were shunned as a "nigger-lover" and treated the same as the black students (i.e. like shit). It's the same sociological principle at work, except at a far, far larger scale. Free speech, it appears, is something that happens elsewhere. This is America. If you are in a position of importance or speaking to one of importance (as vs. a random penguin blathering to fellow odd fowl) and speak freely here in Soviet America, you will be demonized, ostracized, or tasered. Compliance with the Party orthodoxy is required, not optional, in Soviet America once you get past the point of being a random penguin on the street blathering to fellow odd fowl.

-- Badtux the Random Penguin


  1. OTOH, if you are a failed scholar of no repute who allegedly engages in "intellectual borrowing" and get recognized by the party apparatchiks as a target, you might get support and fame that you do not deserve.

    Yes, in America, if your family is connected you can become President, although you aren't qualified to handle the drive-thru at a McDonalds. Or, if discovered and attacked, you could become a hero of the fringe, like Ward Churchill.

  2. Ward Churchill is one of those who have been relegated to the "kooks and flakes" bin. Now that his tenure has been revoked and he has been fired, you will find him wandering the streets in a bathrobe muttering "brother, can you spare some change?" with the rest of the folks who say things that the Party don't want said. The Party had no interest in him when he was a nobody talking to other nobodies. Once they selected him as their Official Representative Of The Deranged Left strawman they then had to destroy him as a lesson to others who might want to make similar statements. He was deliberately chosen as the Official Representative Of The Deranged Left because he was already controversial within the field of Native American studies, with some already having noted that he appeared to have invented his Native American heritage out of thin air (much as Dear Leader invented his down-home Texan heritage out of thin air, despite being a Connecticut aristocrat). The "intellectual borrowing" accusations were just icing on that cake.

    I am not sure I would call Ward a "failed scholar of no repute", BTW. While his reputation was rather modest, within his narrow field of Native American Studies he did have some repute. While 27 papers published in refereed journals is not a lot considering his longevity as an instructor at CU, it is still better than a lot of tenured professors who are still plugging away in the trenches.

    Not that it matters in the end. If you see Ward on the street, toss him a dime for me, okay?

    - Badtux the Soviet Penguin

  3. I admit I have a problem with people who "discover" they are members of a tribe, right after the tribe opens a casino. There is a lot of that going on down here. [To the best of my knowledge and research, I'm 100% northern European.]

    I'm very hard-core on "intellectual borrowing." I've been ripped off by borrowers and didn't have the funds or "voice" to do anything about it other than send letters.


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