Max and me

March 27, 2009

Well, sonofabitch. Earlier this morning, Dr. Maximilian Forte posted almost the exact same thoughts as I just did. The only difference being that his is post, like, thorough, well written, and smart.  Go check it out.

While I am not prepared to predict the outcome of Ward Churchill’s wrongful termination lawsuit against the University of Colorado (CU) as it nears the finish, one feature that struck me as particularly salient is the extent to which his critics have tended to prove his points for him. If anyone else was struck, as I have been, by the plainly weak defense mounted by CU, it is not due to its legal team, but rather to the quality of its expert testimonials, who all too frequently helped to make Churchill’s case for him. Even the images and video of their testimonies evince either defensive smugness or signs of a critter caught in the headlights. Perhaps some of them never felt that they too could be called to account, and found, in public, to be very wanting. The weakness of the defense is rooted in the simple fact that CU never had anything like a “strong case” against Churchill, merely strong opinions, and strong attitudes of outrage, armed with a few suspicious footnotes. It seems that, in the final analysis, the most cogent point made by his critics, the first and the last point, can be summed up as: “He offended me.” As if one’s personal feelings, one’s emotions, are meant to tower over and regulate all actual and potential expressions of opinion, as if not being offended was the highest value to be guarded, as if every speaker is meant to not just speak but first attend to the emotional homework of those spoken to. “This is offensive,” said the Good Americans as they reacted, ever more viciously, as if in a competition to see who could make the most insane, most insulting charge possible, in response to Churchill’s excellent essay on 9/11. However, in the process, the reactions furnish themselves as mountains of valuable empirical evidence that support Churchill’s contentions, rendering his positions even more convincing.


3 Responses to “Max and me”

  1. I was so busy writing it, and the lost Internet access, that when I resumed I didn’t have a chance to check what the recent posts were for this morning. I agree, definitely the same line of thinking, but yours has the advantage of some added detail and logic — so I will work in a link to make sure others read it as well.

    Thanks very much!

  2. Ben Says:

    You’re too kind, Dr. Forte. Thanks for your piece.

  3. […] One is Benjamin Whitmer’s piece, “And you’ll excuse me this moment of excess,” for 03 April 2009, from which I copy the following for so perfectly summing up a number of my sentiments and observations (I recommend that the reader view the original post, it has a much better grand finale). The added significance of the piece is that it comes from someone who has had a front row view of events in Colorado and the persecution of Ward Churchill, someone whom I respect for his tenacity in persistently devoting time to directly going to counter some of the vicious smears. I am thankful for his comments on this blog, and for his posts about my blog as well (here and here): […]

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