Two Colorado congressmen demanded Thursday that a University of Colorado professor apologize for comparing victims of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack to Nazis.
But professor Ward Churchill, chairman of the ethnic studies department at CU- Boulder, said he wouldn't back off his statement that the victims were "little Eichmanns."
His comparison of the victims to Adolph Eichmann, who managed the Nazi plan to exterminate Jews, has split New York's Hamilton College, where Churchill is scheduled to speak on a panel next week.
Okay, so this nut, Ward Churchill, who actually chairs the ethnic studies department at MY alma mater wrote an outrageous, intellectually absurd essay which has come to light, particularly amongst students and faculty at Hamilton College in New York where this (I'll say it again) nut has been invited to sit on a panel to discuss his views as represented in his essay. That's not what he was originally invited to the little Hamilton College (1,800 students) campus to do. But, now, the exposure of his stupidity via his essay, has dictated the subject of the panel discussion.
American -- surely Dubya's democratic ideal for American -- colleges and universities is -- I think I can safely say -- that they be bastions of freedom; marketplaces of ideas; repositories of intellect and honest free discourse amongst reasonable free people. (Didn't Dubya use the words free and freedom like a gazillion times in his inaugural speech!) But, whoops, I forgot about Bob Jones University where even interracial dating is frowned upon, much less honest and open discourse about, oh, say civil unions for gays and lesbians or even gay marriage.
So, this nut, Ward Churchill, and his nutty intellectually sterile, disgusting proposition that victims of 9/11 were not victims at all but -- relying upon some bizarre, convoluted, non-sequiturs -- "...little Eichmanns..." and deserving of what they got, set Peter Boyles (Denver's KHOW -- Clear Channel -- early morning talk show host) off on a dizzyingly offended tizzy for at least two days.
Now, as I've said before, radio talk show hosts are the most prolific whores on the face of the earth. They will hump any bullshit, half-assed, idiotic issue to its grave if given half a chance. And, of course, Peter Boyles -- God Bless him! -- has become the all-time, undisputed world champion mongerer of this particular on-air verbal hump-de-dump-de-dump-de-hump-de-hump during his three (four?) hour on-air daily stint.
Okay, so that's what radio talk show hosts are supposed to do. I agree. But, aren't there a few other things going on in the world that might, just might have given Boyles pause? (You all know what those other things are, so I'll move along here.)
This morning's Rocky Mountain News provided this follow-up of the issue which read, in part:
Churchill, chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department at CU and also prominent in the American Indian Movement of Colorado, wrote those words in 2001. His language hasn't cooled.
In a 2004 interview, he made the remark, "One of the things I've suggested is that it may be that more 9/11s are necessary" for Americans to realize the long-term ramifications of some of the country's policies and practices.
A little history.
When I was attending the University of Colorado -- a hundred years ago -- I was (God, how I hate to admit this!) somewhat, um, conservative during an era when everyone, I mean everyone under twenty-one was in the streets espousing a very militant radicalism related to getting the fuck out of that nasty little police action called Viet Nam (how many actually remember or actually knew that Viet Name was not officially a war?) and getting the black prince of the Republican Party, Richard Milhouse Nixon out of the White House. I guess I'll mention also that during the period I was in college my father was Chief of the Denver Police Department. I was, then, indeed, my father's son.
Being somewhat open-minded, I signed up for a general sociology course taught by the then Director of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ... a tall, imposing, articulate black man named Jim Reynolds.
Well, it didn't take long for Jim and I to tangle.
The Black Panthers, at the time, were at their height of visibility, daily espousing the killing of policemen and the burning of American cities in order to -- once again through some convoluted non-sequiturs and deadly radical philosophical motivation-- make life better for the black man; for all minorities, in fact. The white man and the white man's system was the demon, the devil and the only possible solution was the eradication of this evil from the earth. Incidentally, many, many colleges and universities around the country welcomed Black Panthers onto their campuses, their lyceums, their auditoriums to urge the offing of the pigs and the destruction of American society as it was constituted at the time.
Suffice it to say, any time I would object to the favorable light within which the Panthers were depicted during sociology class, ol' Jim Reynolds' consistent retort would be, "The Panthers feed hungry children." And, yes, the Panthers at that time in Denver, had a program (probably funded by a federal program called Model Cities) that provided breakfast to inner-city children.
"But," I would argue,"while they're feeding hungry children they're distributing comic books which show black men killing cops depicted as pigs."
"The Panthers feed hungry children," would again be the retort. How was I going to argue with that?
Funny, now that I think about it, that my life has kind of been lived in reverse of the course most people's lives take: liberal when you're young, gradually more conservative the older you get. Not me. I'm just the opposite. Go figure!
Anyway, Ward Churchill is still a nut and the world of Academe apparently, obviously hasn't changed a whole lot since I sat there in that front row of desks in that sociology class (a big room with probably two-hundred students) where my puny arguments pitted me against the image of precious black children eating free breakfasts. God, I still have the scars from those deadly stares from 98% of those -- mostly white, certainly radically liberal students -- who sat behind me wondering what planet I had stepped from.
No, Peter (Boyles) I don't think Ward Churchill should be fired. He needs his bully pulpit to continue to make a fool of himself. Indeed, some good, relevant words come to mind:
"I thought I had seen everything -- I hoped I had -- in the student world of unreason. But the all-time champion effrontery was as yet uncommitted. It was left to a seventeen-year-old Negro boy called Rickey Ivie whose Black Student Union has touched off disorders in a Los Angeles high school in a demonstration against 'racist training.' An example of that training is the inclusion in the curriculum of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He is described by Master Ivie as 'that old, dead punk.' 'In the world of music,' he explains, 'the schools keep imposing middle-class values in teaching us about Bach.'
"The remarkable thing about young Ivie isn't, one supposes, that he doesn't like Bach -- probably he has never let himself listen to Bach. It is that as author of such a remark as he made about Bach, he hasn't become the laughingstock of his fellow students. Eccentricity is one thing (the late publisher of the New York Times specified that no Mozart should be played at his funeral). To call the greatest genius who ever lived an, 'old, dead punk,' the least of whose cantatas will do more to elevate the human spirit than all the black student unions born and unborn, is not so much contemptible as pitiable: conducive of that kind of separation one feels from animals, rather than from other human beings."
William F. Buckley, Jr., "Middle Class Values," written in March, 1969.
The more things change...