Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I Met a Man Upon the Stair; The MLA Wished He Was Not There

I'm not as up on David Horowitz as I should be. I know that he's a big deal at the University level, that he doesn't think much of academic freedom, and that anyone named in his book probably has a good reason to punch him in the nose. His "war" on academe is long running, reflective of the larger culture wars, and probably quite exemplary of Henry Kissinger's famous quote about the university.

All that said, this article ($) from the Chronicle of Higher Education is absolutely fascinating.

"Are you now proud that you are the only organization to invite Horowitz to speak?" an angry Barbara Foley of Rutgers University at Newark asked. "Did you do your homework" about Mr. Horowitz's blog, FrontPagemag.com? she continued, to audience applause. Grover Furr of Montclair State University and a self-described "victim" of Mr. Horowitz's book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, said he objected to Mr. Horowitz's being invited "not because of his views but because he is a liar." Another audience member complained that out of thousands of MLA members, the organization had picked "two FrontPage columnists" for the panel.

"You have to have a modicum of respect for people," Mr. Horowitz responded. "I was in the civil-rights movement before Barbara Foley was even born."

At one point, a member of the audience could be seen giving Mr. Horowitz the finger. Brian Kennelly of California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, who presided over the event, wrote on The Chronicle's Web site that he observed an audience member repeatedly mouthing an obscenity to Mr. Horowitz — behavior he called "troublesome" and "repugnant."
I have every confidence that Obama will fix this, too.

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