Archive for Graves of Academe

Hangin’ With My Homies

College campuses are reliably leftist, and they don’t come more leftist than Berkeley.

Which is why we’re not surprised:

Effigies of black lynching victims found hanging on a Northern California college campus have sparked debate over whether the images are powerful protest art or just plain tasteless and racist.

The photographic images were found Saturday morning hanging at two prominent spots on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. They were discovered a few hours before a demonstration against police brutality organized by a black student union was to start. Police are investigating, but officials say they still don’t know who hanged the images or the motivation.

“It’s unclear if this is racially motivated effort or an effort at something else,” campus spokeswoman Claire Holmes said.

Do you think if these effigies had been displayed at, say, Bob Jones University, there would have been a question about the “motivation”? Why give the benefit of the doubt to the socialist redoubt in the Bay Area?

Because there is a “motivation”, however “queer”:

Sunday Dec. 14, 5 p.m.: An anonymous artists’ collective has taken responsibility for the effigies strung up in nooses at UC Berkeley on Saturday.

The statement from the collective:

“We are a collective of queer and POC artists responsible for the images of historical lynchings posted to several locations in Berkeley and Oakland,” reads a notice the group found posted on campus Sunday. “These images connect past events to present ones – referencing endemic faultlines of hatred and persecution that are and should be deeply unsettling to the American consciousness. We choose to remain anonymous because this is not about us as artists, but about the growing movement to address these pervasive wrongs.”

“For those who think these images are no longer relevant to the social framework in which black Americans exist everyday – we respectfully disagree. Garner, Brown, and others are victims of systemic racism. For those who think these images depict crimes and attitudes too distasteful to be seen .. we respectfully disagree. Our society must never forget. For those under the mistaken assumption that the images themselves were intended as an act of racism – we vehemently disagree and intended only the confrontation of historical context.”

“We apologize solely and profusely to Black Americans who felt further attacked by this work. We are sorry – your pain is ours, our families’, our history’s. To all, each image represents a true life ended by an unimaginable act of ignorance and human cruelty: Laura Nelson, George Meadows, Michael Donald, Charlie Hale, Garfield Burley, Curtis Brown. We urge you to further research the lives and deaths of these individuals. History must be confronted.”

POC means persons of color, I take it. Not colored persons, but persons of color. Nice of them to apologize, though. Five words out of 230, buried deep within the screed, directed “solely” at 13% of Americans.

Some of whom aren’t buying:

Berkeley Pastor Michael McBride told the Oakland Tribune that he sees no redeeming quality to the display.

“This is racial terror they are experiencing,” said McBride, who is also co-director of Intervarsity’s Black Campus Ministries at UC Berkeley. “I don’t care if it was a white person, a black person, a blue person, if it was an adversary or ally, these images strewed across campus have terrorized my students.”

I followed the suggestion of the “queers” and POCs and looked up every name they listed. All but one were lynched over a century ago. Hanged by the neck until dead by a terrorist mob yes, but none more recent than 1911. Did the queers and the POCs think we didn’t know that happened? And why equate murdered innocents with two people, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, whose actual law-breaking led people to call the cops?

I will give them full credit for re-exposing one lynching we may have wished to forget. That of Michael Donald in 1981.

Berkeley, man. No [bleeping] wonder.

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BTL Going on the Lam

You’ll never take me alive, coppers!

A group of Americans academics issued a call for the US and Europe to impose personal sanctions on Israeli politicians who promote the Israeli annexation of the West Bank and further settlement activity.

Scholars for Israel and Palestine (SIP) published a call, on the website of the anti-BDS organization, The Third Narrative, for punitive measures “on a cluster of Israeli political leaders and public figures who lead efforts to insure [sic] permanent Israeli occupation of the West Bank and to annex all or parts of it unilaterally in violation of international law.”

SIP points to four prominent Israeli figures who fit this description: Economy Minister and head of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett, Minister of Construction and Housing Uri Ariel from Jewish Home, Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, and the head of the settler movement of Gush Emunin “Amana” and former Jewish Underground member, Zeev (Zambish) Hever.

The four are singled out by SIP for pursuing “unjust, unlawful, and destructive policies in their most extreme and dangerous form.”

Those are some bad hombres, all right. A real pack of desperados—among whom I would be proud to count myself.

Our crime?

“Annexationist policies pursued by these four individuals, and others like them… slam the door not only on peacemaking at present but for the foreseeable future. It is not sufficient to reiterate calls for negotiations. It is equally and urgently imperative to oppose the occupation itself, and especially those policies that seek to make it permanent and irreversible. It is necessary for the U S and the EU to go beyond verbal protest… [and] take active measures to penalize lawbreakers,” the call read.

The real crime is in the writing. These guys are academics? That paragraph would get an F in Freshman Comp. “Annexationist”? Call it a word if you like; I call it the hideous spawn of Satan. “Foreseeable future” is a hackneyed phrase (and I know hackneyed phrases). The linking of “not sufficient” and “equally and urgently imperative” is illogical: how can something that is not enough be a rallying cry for action? And can they lose the passive voice—“it is” this and “it is” that? You got something to say, say it. Oh yeah, saying something is “permanent” pretty much covers “irreversible”; and “taking measures” doesn’t need “active” to modify it. I can’t imagine an inactive measure taken.

Who are these nincompoops?

The 20 signatories of the petition include distinguished professors from UCLA, Columbia, Syracuse, Stanford and Princeton. Among the mainly Jewish academics is the renowned political theorist Michael Walzer.

Columbia. Figures.

Now that we’ve discredited these academic jackals, let’s read the lurid crimes of which they accuse Moshe “The Masher” Feiglin et al of committing.

Bennett is cited for continuing to “press strongly for a policy of creeping annexation” and leading the struggle against the 2010 10-month settlement freeze when he was head of the Yesha Council. The freeze was called by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an incentive to the Palestinians to negotiate. It failed.

Ariel is criticized for promoting a one-state solution, also known as a binational state, being a “consistent advocate of accelerated settlement building,” announcing construction tenders at inopportune times and calling for the building of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount.

Feiglin is blasted for his “straightforward and undisguised extremism” and for an “annexationist program [that] goes beyond Bennett’s,” while Hever is described as “one of the most persistent and influential organizers of settlement construction,” and is accused of building homes in outposts even the Israeli government considers illegal.

Our academic friends want to throw us in jail for the crime of housing starts. Which changes this scene from Witness to R-rated, if not X.

That’s me, the third Amish from the left, hiding out from the authorities for pursuing “unjust, unlawful, and destructive policies in their most extreme and dangerous form.” Approach with caution.

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Hey, Whoopi Goldberg, Is This Rape Rape?

Try not to let this story destroy your faith in dumpy exhibitionists with a loose grip on reality:

Breitbart News was (un)able to verify [] Dunham’s story of being raped by a campus Republican named Barry.

On top of the name Barry, which Dunham does not identify as a pseudonym (more on the importance of this below), Dunham drops close to a dozen specific clues about the identity of the man she alleges raped her as a 19-year-old student. Some of the details are personality traits like his being a “poor loser” at poker. Other details are quite specific. For instance, Dunham informs us her rapist sported a flamboyant mustache, worked at the campus library, and even names the radio talk show he hosted.

To be sure we get the point, on three occasions Dunham tells her readers that her attacker is a Republican or a conservative, and a prominent one at that — no less than the “campus’s resident conservative.”

For weeks, and to no avail, using phone and email and online searches, Breitbart News was able to verify just one of these details. Like everyone else interested, we immediately found that there indeed was a prominent Republican named Barry who attended Oberlin at the time in question.

Whatever her motives, Dunham is pointing her powerful finger at this man. But as you will read in the details below, the facts do not point back at him. Not even close. This man is by all accounts (including his own) innocent.

Nonetheless, even though she is aware of the suspicion under which she placed this man, to our knowledge, Dunham has yet to clear his name.

But she does plenty to sully it. In the article (which quotes her bestselling book), she provides gruesome details. I’m sorry, fictional gruesome details.

Anyone with half a brain and access to Google has already discovered that, during Dunham’s time at Oberlin College, there was a prominent Republican named Barry who was politically active and quite well-known.

Breitbart News is not going to name this man. Instead, we will refer to him throughout as “Barry One.”

Last month, Barry One told National Review’s Kevin Williamson that “he has never met Dunham and had no relationship with her.”

Our independent investigation backs that up.

Under scrutiny, Dunham’s rape story didn’t just fall apart; it evaporated into pixie dust and blew away.

You can read for yourself.

I am left as I am often left with Ms. Dunham: sick to my stomach. If she was raped, it was not as she tells it. Maybe her recall is faulty, though she went out of her way to implicate someone who would appear to be innocent of the crime. Why? Was she raped by a different man, but she hung the rap on an innocent Republican? Why? Was she not raped at all, but borrowed the gore from a real victim’s account? Again, why? Did she just make the whole thing up, down to the last lusty pant? If so, one can speculate as to why.

PS: You might think this stellar example of investigative journalism would be congratulated. No, you wouldn’t, not really. And you’d be right:

Slate writer Amanda Marcotte ripped into Breitbart News over an investigative piece published Thursday that calls into question Lena Dunham’s story of being raped as a 19 year-old by a campus Republican named Barry.

Responding to a tweet from Bloomberg Politics’ Dave Weigel that linked the story, Marcotte tweeted back, “It’s really time for people to understand that rape denialism is like Holocaust denialism: Broad refusal to accept reality.”

Wait, I thought global warming deniers were like Holocaust deniers. Godwin’s Law strikes again!

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Race-Based Discrimination Is OK, As Long As We Can All Agree That The Out-Race Isn’t Too Cool

Asians, you’re not cool

Asians, take a lesson from the Ivy League treatment of Jews. This is how it works:

Decades ago, the Ivy League colleges thought they had a problem: too many Jews. These recent immigrants, from a culture that prized education and academic achievement, had an unfortunate characteristic: They worked harder, studied longer and cared more about school. In short, they had all the attributes required for success in the Ivy League.

Problem was, the Ivy League didn’t really want them. Being first-generation students, these applicants didn’t have rich alumni parents who would be likely to donate big bucks. Being from an ethnicity not associated with America’s governing class, they didn’t help the Ivy League with its biggest selling point — that going to college there provides an opportunity to rub shoulders with America’s governing class. And they were seen as boring grinds who studied too hard and weren’t much fun.

The result was a change in admissions criteria to reward “leadership,” and “well-rounded” candidates — a thin disguise for “WASPs” — and, following closely on, actual quotas for Jewish students, so that no matter how many applied, their numbers on campus would stay just about the same. After several decades, this came to be seen as racist and unfair, and the quotas were dropped. (Though by then, conveniently enough, the Ivy League was able to find Jewish applicants with plenty of money, polish and governing-class connections without too much trouble).

I can’t tell you how many Jews I have known over the years whose parents – or they themselves – changed their last name in order to appear to be WASPs on the Harvard application. Or in the political campaign. Or in the general social milieu. Don’t even get me started on nose jobs.

But while the quotas for Jews are gone, the Ivy League now, by all accounts, has quotas for Asian students. They are seen as people who study too hard, boring grinds who aren’t much fun — and, of course, their parents aren’t as rich and connected. And though the numbers of highly qualified Asian applicants have grown dramatically, the number of Asians admitted stays pretty much the same every year.

Now the Asian students are suing. In a lawsuit against Harvard, they are claiming that Harvard demands higher qualifications from Asian students than from others, and that it uses “racial classifications to engage in the same brand of invidious discrimination against Asian Americans that it formerly used to limit the number of Jewish students in its student body.”

These claims are almost certainly correct. Discrimination against Asian students — and not just by Harvard, but throughout higher education — has been an open secret for years. Asian students, we’re told, face a “bamboo ceiling” as a result.

Where today’s discrimination is different from the Ivy League’s old quotas against Jews is that those old quotas were removed as part of efforts to fight racism. The Ivy League’s new quotas, meanwhile, are often defended on the same grounds — or, at least, as a means of attaining “diversity.”

Here’s what the Jews did: Harvard wouldn’t take them, so they went to NYU and MIT and state colleges, etc. And they did just fine. Asians should walk away from the Ivy League in droves, should build up departments in colleges and universities that will value them, and then, as they become affluent, they should contribute to those institutions. And as this generation of Asians grows up and achieves, they should definitely encourage their own kids to avoid the Ivies. Because the Ivies have a way of practicing racism and antisemitism while preaching to the rest of use that racism is bad, that we are all racists, etc. It’s obnoxious. Maybe by losing out on the future endowment that could be provided by those talented Asians, say in about 50-100 years, the Ivies might just begin to learn a lesson.

– Aggie

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Are Social Scientists Biased Against Conservatives?

Duh.

We haven’t given out one of our coveted ‘Ya Think?™ awards in quite some time, so congratulations Professor Jonathan Haidt, you deserve it!!

On January 27, 2011, from a stage in the middle of the San Antonio Convention Center, Jonathan Haidt addressed the participants of the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. The topic was an ambitious one: a vision for social psychology in the year 2020. Haidt began by reviewing the field that he is best known for, moral psychology. Then he threw a curveball. He would, he told the gathering of about a thousand social-psychology professors, students, and post-docs, like some audience participation. By a show of hands, how would those present describe their political orientation? First came the liberals: a “sea of hands,” comprising about eighty per cent of the room, Haidt later recalled. Next, the centrists or moderates. Twenty hands. Next, the libertarians. Twelve hands. And last, the conservatives. Three hands.

Social psychology, Haidt went on, had an obvious problem: a lack of political diversity that was every bit as dangerous as a lack of, say, racial or religious or gender diversity. It discouraged conservative students from joining the field, and it discouraged conservative members from pursuing certain lines of argument. It also introduced bias into research questions, methodology, and, ultimately, publications. The topics that social psychologists chose to study and how they chose to study them, he argued, suffered from homogeneity. The effect was limited, Haidt was quick to point out, to areas that concerned political ideology and politicized notions, like race, gender, stereotyping, and power and inequality. “It’s not like the whole field is undercut, but when it comes to research on controversial topics, the effect is most pronounced,” he later told me. (Haidt has now put his remarks in more formal terms, complete with data, in a paper forthcoming this winter in Behavioral and Brain Sciences.)

The entire article is depressingly familiar, but go to the link to hear about how liberal academics punish conservative thought. Want tenure? Heh, heh, heh. I consider this trend to be an absolute disaster for our country, and we have been way too slow in recognizing it or attempting to correct it. Oh, well. I’m a big believer in You Reap What You Sow. And we have sown incompetence and willful ignorance.

– Aggie

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Big Surprise

Cuban agents recruiting academics in the US

This is from an internal FBI report:

The academic world—primarily defined as schools, colleges, universities, and research institutes— provides a fertile environment in which foreign intelligence services can operate. Consequently, the Cuban intelligence services (CuIS) are known to actively target the US academic world for the purposes of recruiting agents, in order to both obtain useful information and conduct influence activities.

More at the link. And I won’t even bother to rant; do it yourself. But do go to the link to read about how agents are identified, recruited, possibly blackmailed, etc.

– Aggie

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Who Betrayed the Obamabots?

They tweet, they Skype, they text (heck, they even sext)—but they don’t own a home.

Just 36% of Americans under the age of 35 own a home, according to the Census Bureau. That’s down from 42% in 2007 and the lowest level since 1982, when the agency began tracking homeownership by age.

It’s not all their fault.

They want a home, they say, but…

But student loan debt, tight lending standards and stiff competition have made it next to impossible for many of these younger Americans to make the leap.

“When we surveyed Millennials they cited several barriers to homeownership, especially access to financing,” said Steve Deggendorf, a senior director for Fannie Mae.

Many Millennials simply can’t come up with the hefty 20% down payments. Others don’t have good enough credit to qualify for loans.

Student loan debt is one barrier. That sounds like they have themselves to blame (same goes for bad credit). No one forces those loans on you. There are cheaper education options that leave you ready to start your career with little or no debt to drag you down or force you into a job you hate. But no, the allure of a fancy degree that leaves you unemployable and a bad credit risk was too much. That makes for two left-wing institutions—academia and Millennials themselves—responsible for their “homelessness”.

How about the economy, the economy almost five full years into “recovery”? The economy that can’t create well-paying, full-time jobs? The economy that leaves graduates and post-graduates asking if you want your double decaf with cream, milk, low-fat, or skim? The economy from which more people are retiring and going on disability than are finding work? Recovery Summer is a concept so old it’s new again, like sideburns and bell-bottoms. (If only the GDP hadn’t shrunk last quarter.)

The facts of life are conservative, my hipster, metrosexual, pajama-clad friends, just like home-ownership. You can’t expect to live in a tent in an Occupy encampment one week and buy a center-entry Colonial the next. You can’t be the ones you were waiting for and expect anyone to open the door for you when you get there. You can’t build a life or a home on the foundation of Hope and Change.

By the way, the rent is overdue.

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Maybe They Can Replace it With the Pol Pot-au-Feu

What’s the special at the Che Guevara Collective (and why didn’t they call it “The Motorcycle Dairies”?), Bourgeois Bourguignon?

University of California-San Diego students have run the “Che Café Collective” for 34 years, a vegan co-op and concert venue boasting “exorbitantly low” prices and volunteer staffing. But it’s consistently in the red, costing the student body nearly $1 million over the years, and isn’t kept up to fire or safety codes. School officials are threatening to cut off funding, which would shut down the campus fixture, but a band of students is fighting back.

“The venue has been operating for 34 years and it’s the longest-running volunteer space in Southern California, if not in all of California,” café volunteer Rene Vera told FoxNews.com. “And our building is covered in murals that document a lot of that history.”

You say murals, we say graffiti.

In its heyday, the café hosted up-and-coming acts like Nirvana and Green Day. Staffers would feed the band, often with donated food, and the audience got the leftovers. The decidedly un-capitalist business model worked until crowds began to dwindle, extensive repairs were ordered by campus fire marshals and student groups got sick of subsidizing it.

The university’s student-run newspaper, The Guardian, characterized the venue as a “money pit consistently plagued with safety issues” in a recent editorial, urging its principals to start utilizing better fiscal management of nearly $1 million of student fees are used for renovations.

“Many students also don’t realize that the money being spent on the café’s renovation comes directly from student fees; in other words, we are collectively pouring almost one million dollars of our money into repairing a cooperative that the vast majority of us don’t even use.”

“I do not believe Che Cafe closing will be a severe blow to the campus’ overall aesthetic,” soon-to-be graduate Marco Vasquez, a political science major and vice chair of the university’s College Republicans, told FoxNews.com in an e-mail. “The majority of students that I have spoken to do not know what or where the Che Cafe is, given that it is on the edge of campus. Those who do know either visit it regularly or describe it as creepy.”

The perfect descriptor for its namesake.

When I was a kid, I knew a kid burdened with the name Che by his parents. (My parents mixed with that crowd.) I bet he’s going by Ernesto—even Ernest—now.

PS: Does one get the Trotskys after eating at the Che Guevara Collective?

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Left Wing Civility Watch

A few headlines from The Daily Caller:

RNC Spokesman Stands Up To CNN Anchor’s Blatant Bias On Republican ‘Racism’

‘Over The Line': Even The DNC Blasts Liberal Website’s Attempt To Cast RNC Spokesman As Skinhead

UConn Prof. James Boster Harangues People Preaching Christianity: ‘Bull$#|+! Praise Darwin!

At Dartmouth, The Word ‘Fiesta’ Is Now Racist And White People Can’t Use It

How about some from Newsbusters?

UCLA Professor: GOPers Are ‘Sick and Twisted’ Disseminators of ‘Pure Lunacy’

On MSNBC, WashPost’s Capehart Claims Some GOP Officeholders Have Praised ‘Virtues and Beauty of Slavery’

Barely News: Illinois Gov. Quinn Pulls Tweets Comparing Black Republicans to Jewish Nazi Collaborators

Wait, what?

Quinn’s campaign enthusiastically retweeted its support for an outrageous April 17 column by Neil Steinberg at the Chicago Sun-Times. For all practical purposes, Steinberg equated African-Americans who might support Republican Bruce Rauner in November’s gubernatorial election against Quinn to “Jews (who) collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, helping them to round up their own people in the hopes they’d be the last to go.” Quinn’s people quietly deleted the tweets, according to the Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo, “after local Jewish community officials quietly communicated their outrage to the governor.” Given that the time between the tweets and the deletes was apparently a few days, and that the sort-of apologies came almost a week after Steinberg’s column, I’m not detecting a lot of sincerity here.

Yech!

Sorry, I can’t leave it this way on a Saturday evening. Howsabout a little left-on-left crime?

Randi Rhodes Quitting Radio, Slams Ex-Colleagues Maddow, Franken on Way Out

Rhodes spent considerable time on her show this week saying goodbye to listeners and outlining the rationale for her decision. She also couldn’t resist taking swipes at Al Franken and Rachel Maddow, her former colleagues at now-defunct Air America Radio, especially Maddow (audio) —

So when Air America came I said, oh my God, and the opportunity is amazing…

[P]eople were using it for their own reasons. People were using it not to advocate for others but people were using it for their own advancement, to get someplace else.

Some people saw, you know, a chance to be in a Cabinet and other people saw it as a chance to go to the Senate and other people saw it as a chance to national television.

They continued to take a salary from it, they drained it of its resources, it failed, and then some of them went on to do, you know, the self-aggrandizement thing that they wanted to do. Some of the salaries of the people that, that, that actually sucked the life, the resources out of that platform, Air America, some of them are making $7 million a year now!

This is America, baby! Love it or leave it. We all know what Maddow is; you’re just haggling over price.

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Bloodthirstan Book Club! [UPDATED]

Move over, Oprah (sorry, I didn’t mean anything, there’s plenty of room, really). BTL is launching a book club.

Half of you read Hillary’s new book, Chard Choices (I guess it’s a cookbook), and the other half read Elizabeth Warren’s tome, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee—no, sorry, A Fat Chance. Aggie and I will facilitate discussion (w/o reading either one).

We’ll want particularly to examine how each woman faced up to hardship in her life. Like when Lieawatha got called anti-Indian epithets by the white kids or Hillary got a blue dress not her own back from the dry cleaners.

To call these books does a disservice to Hemingway and Flaubert. They’re manifestos (With apologies to Marx and Engels). Most ambitious candidates write one. This was my favorite:

Oops. My mistake. He has better hair.

Btw, if you think Warren isn’t running, you’re as dumb as she thinks you are. She’s got to fly under the Clinton radar as long as possible or draw fire.

UPDATE:

An excellent retelling of Fauxcahantas’ Fable in US News. The trail of tears recounts not only the number of times she casually slipped into and out of her buffalo hides, but how cynical the whole affirmative action game is. Harvard touted her as their first law prof of color. (I wasn’t aware that clear was a color.) In one swing of a tomahawk, her career and the racial diversity shell game are laid bare.

UPPERDATE:

Did Crocagawea plant this question?

MATT LEE, AP: I have a brief question on the QDDR [Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review]. Off the top of your head, can you identify one tangible achievement that the last QDDR resulted in?

JEN PSAKI, State Department spokesperson: Obviously its an extensive expansive process.

LEE: Just one.

PSAKI: The Secretary wants it to be focused on a more narrow range of issues, its always to look at how we can improve things, and we’ll see where we come out in the end.

LEE: So, can you off the top of your head identify one tangible achievement that resulted from the last QDDR?

PSAKI: I am certain that those that were here at the time worked hard on that effort and could point out one.

LEE: Since you’ve come on board that you’ve noticed, that you noticed that you can point to and say wow the first QDDR identified this as a problem and dealt with it.

PSAKI: As you know, I’ve only been here since it was concluded. I’m sure there are a range of things that I’m not even aware of results.

LEE: I won’t hold my breath.

C’mon man, what difference, at this point, does it make?

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A-li! A-li! A-li!

What’s that? Is The Greatest making a comeback? Another “Thrilla in Manilla?”

More like a “Puss-out at Brandeis”. Aggie told you the story yesterday.

This is Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s take [link fixed]:

Yesterday Brandeis University decided to withdraw an honorary degree they were to confer upon me next month during their Commencement exercises. I wish to dissociate myself from the university’s statement, which implies that I was in any way consulted about this decision. On the contrary, I was completely shocked when President Frederick Lawrence called me — just a few hours before issuing a public statement — to say that such a decision had been made.

When Brandeis approached me with the offer of an honorary degree, I accepted partly because of the institution’s distinguished history; it was founded in 1948, in the wake of World War II and the Holocaust, as a co-educational, nonsectarian university at a time when many American universities still imposed rigid admission quotas on Jewish students. I assumed that Brandeis intended to honor me for my work as a defender of the rights of women against abuses that are often religious in origin. For over a decade, I have spoken out against such practices as female genital mutilation, so-called “honor killings,” and applications of Sharia Law that justify such forms of domestic abuse as wife beating or child beating. Part of my work has been to question the role of Islam in legitimizing such abhorrent practices. So I was not surprised when my usual critics, notably the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), protested against my being honored in this way.

What did surprise me was the behavior of Brandeis. Having spent many months planning for me to speak to its students at Commencement, the university yesterday announced that it could not “overlook certain of my past statements,” which it had not previously been aware of. Yet my critics have long specialized in selective quotation — lines from interviews taken out of context — designed to misrepresent me and my work. It is scarcely credible that Brandeis did not know this when they initially offered me the degree.

What was initially intended as an honor has now devolved into a moment of shaming. Yet the slur on my reputation is not the worst aspect of this episode. More deplorable is that an institution set up on the basis of religious freedom should today so deeply betray its own founding principles. The “spirit of free expression” referred to in the Brandeis statement has been stifled here, as my critics have achieved their objective of preventing me from addressing the graduating Class of 2014. Neither Brandeis nor my critics knew or even inquired as to what I might say. They simply wanted me to be silenced. I regret that very much.

Not content with a public disavowal, Brandeis has invited me “to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues.” Sadly, in words and deeds, the university has already spoken its piece. I have no wish to “engage” in such one-sided dialogue. I can only wish the Class of 2014 the best of luck — and hope that they will go forth to be better advocates for free expression and free thought than their alma mater.

I take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me and my work on behalf of oppressed woman and girls everywhere.

A thorough and well-deserved evisceration.

Or, as Mark Steyn puts it:

As for Brandeis president Frederick Lawrence and the others who took this decision, nobody’s asking them to be as brave as Ayaan Hirsi Ali. They will never know what it’s like to have their associates murdered and to be forced into living under armed guard. They will never have to “share the risk” that Ms Hirsi Ali faces every day of her life. All that was required of President Lawrence & Co was that they not be total craven, jelly-spined squishes who fold like a cheap Bedouin tent at the first hint of pressure.

But Lawrence couldn’t even do that. Ayaan Hirsi Ali campaigns against female genital mutilation – that’s to say, the barbarous practice by which Muslim men deny women sexual pleasure by having their clitorises cut off. Lawrence and the other fellows who run Brandeis are in no danger of any equivalent procedure since it seems clear they’ve nothing down there to chop off anyway. The eunuchs of the American academy are the beneficiaries of western liberty, of the spirit of openness and inquiry that is the principal difference between us and the intellectually stagnant Muslim world. But they will not lift a finger to defend that tradition.

Remember when Islam put out a contract on Salman Rushdie? That flea-infested Assatollah Khomeini ordered zombie followers to bring him the head—the actual head—of the author of The Satanic Verses for daring to disparage the religion or the prophet or whatever. There was plenty of spinelessness then too, but I seem to recall people wearing “I Am Salman Rushdie” buttons in solidarity. (Though curiously I can’t find any images on line.)

At Brandeis, they’re wearing buttons that say “Ayaan Hirsi Who?” and “Clitorectomy For Thee, Not For Me”.

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Nice University Ya Got Here

Shame if it burned down.

From all that global warming, I mean:

Six months after announcing that Harvard University would not divest its endowment’s holdings from the fossil fuel industry, its president, Drew Faust, unveiled several new initiatives Monday to strengthen the university’s commitment to environmental sustainability and renewable energy.

Harvard says its endowment will be the first of a US university to sign on to a United Nations-supported organization, Principles for Responsible Investment. The principles do not require Harvard to sell specific funds, but rather provide the university’s fund managers with a method for considering environmental and social factors, from water scarcity to human rights.

“Harvard has a vital leadership role to play in this work,” Faust wrote in a letter to the Harvard community. “As a university, it has a special obligation and accountability to the future, to the long view needed to anticipate and alter the trajectory and impact of climate change.”

Faust is also asking alumni and other donors to raise $20 million for a fund to spur research and innovation addressing climate change.

Twenty mill is chump change in Harvard’s $32.7 billion endowment: six basis points. Who wouldn’t toss the equivalent of a nickel to a bum just to be left alone?

Except the bums aren’t going quietly:

“The Climate Solutions Fund is going to be investing in new forms of energy that aren’t destroying the planet, but we are also investing in energy sources that are destroying the planet,” said Chloe Maxmin, a junior and cofounder of a group called Divest Harvard. “You are funding the very thing that you are trying to offset.”

Somebody needs to educate Ms. Maxmin (her real name?) on the art of the shakedown. You don’t bleed the subject all at once, but slowly, over time. You don’t kill the goose that layed the golden egg just to provide the main course for your Christmas dinner. How could she be smart enough to go to Harvard and not know that? Somebody better wise her up before the $20 million offer is off the table.

Harvard will look for off-campus ways to compensate for its emissions, for example by purchasing carbon offsets — helping to fund projects elsewhere that contribute to the environment.

See, Chloe? Money can’t buy you love, but it can purchase absolution. Don’t pee in the pool.

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