A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy

[For the journal (guidelines, focus, etc.), go to www.theamericandissident.org ].
Encouraged censorship and self-censorship seem to have become popular in America today. Those who censor others, not just self, tend to favor the term "moderate," as opposed to "censor" and "moderation" to "censorship." But that doesn't change what they do. They still act as Little Caesars or Big Brother protectors of the thin-skinned. Democracy, however, demands a tough populace, not so easily offended. On this blog, and to buck the trend of censorship, banning, and ostracizing, comments are NEVER "moderated." Rarely (almost NEVER) do the targets of these blog entries respond in an effort to defend themselves with cogent counter-argumentation. This blog is testimony to how little academics, poets, critics, newspaper editors, cartoonists, political hacks, cultural council apparatchiks, librarians et al appreciate VIGOROUS DEBATE, cornerstone of democracy. Clearly, far too many of them could likely prosper just fine in places like communist China and Cuba or Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Russia.

More P. Maudit cartoons (and essays) at Global Free Press: http://www.globalfreepress.org

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Provosts... of Business as Usual

This brief comment was written as a response to Idaho State University Provost Gary A. Olson’s article appearing in The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/article/The-Academic-Job-Search-and/64861/?sid=wb&utm_source=wb&utm_medium=en) this week. In vain, I attempted to post it. Thus, I sent it and the cartoon to Olson. Will he respond? Of course not! As for the cartoon it was drawn a while ago, instigated by a different article penned by Olson.
Rather than business-as-usual passive acceptance of a dubious policy, why not actually question and challenge the policy? Professional references, as they’re called, act as certificates of safety and conformity. Is that what the nation needs in academe of all places? In other words, those three letters of recommendation certify a candidate to be apt not to question and challenge the academic machine. They certify him or her to be apt to turn a blind eye in the face of institutional corruption. They certify him or her to be a team player (black-gowned herd member) not apt to question the team and not apt to “go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways” (Emerson). Those three letters assure business as usual in the one place where business as usual ought to be shirked: academe, the nation’s intellectual core!

What ought to be done is eliminate the three letters and replace them with a simple police-background check. Or why not three letters that stress a candidate’s courage and critical nature, as opposed to his or her likelihood of being sheep-like?

It really does perturb me to read this provost’s article because it really does underscore how hopelessly bad it’s become in the ivory tower. Wall Street has not only taken over the government, it’s taken over the nation’s colleges and universities too.

“Whether the candidate had any skeletons in the closet that would come back to haunt the university [or rather university’s image]” becomes the sole concern for persons like Olson. But screw the damn university! Bring back truth and democracy! Get rid of PR and the deans and students of PR! We need to get rid of business-minded and trained provosts and replace them with truth and courage-minded provosts.

Oh my, what if we hired a man or woman apt to go against our comfortable grain, buck the system that’s been feeding us so nicely, and otherwise question the Faustian pact that’s enabled us to have such nice homes?!

The problem is that "people who engage in this kind of amateur detective work” (i.e., seeking damaging info against someone on the Internet) really don’t end up shooting themselves in the foot. They end up climbing the academic ladder yet another rung or two!


念強 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Spencer Troxell said...

I like the police background check idea. A no sex-offender policy would be good for universities too, although that would mean that every award that has ever been given to Allen Ginsberg would have to be posthumously rescinded.

G. Tod Slone said...

Good point on Ginsberg! I'd put much more up on this blog, but can't seem to attract more than one or two persons to it. The established-order doors are hermetically shut to my type of criticism. The poets detest it.

Spencer Troxell said...

Regarding your blog traffic, it could be much worse.

I'll be checking in from time to time now that I know you're here. And of course, you seem pretty good at attracting spammers like the one above my first comment.

Academics hate you, but spambots love you. How do you interpret that? Or do you not differentiate between the two?

宜佩政霖齊潔 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
伯怡建銘君臻 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
G. Tod Slone said...

Okay, Spencer. Glad to have your comments and curiosity. One academic does not hate me. He invites me to his classes every semester to speak to his students. Thus, I cannot make the generality that all academics hate me. What so many of them do hate, however, is being criticized. They're not used to it, having played the game, turned the blind eye, etc. I'll get rid of our Chinese spammer. Negative comments, I refuse to delete. However, spam comments will be deleted. Thanks again.