Monday, July 03, 2006

Angry Gay Man (Prof. Justice)

In a bizarre case of institutionalized academic liberalism, the head of Reference and Instructional Services at Ohio State University’s Bromfield Library, Scott Savage, was condemned to be investigated for sexual harassment by a 21-0 faculty vote (with nine abstentions). It seems that Assistant Professor Norman Jones and Associate Professor JF Buckley, had become extremely upset over Savage’s recommendation of David Kupelian’s bestseller, “The Marketing of Evil,” to college freshman. The controversy over this book? It includes a chapter that exposes the marketing strategies and tactics of the “gay rights” movement.

Buckley, in a inter-faculty e-mail, stated:
I am taking this conversation (well, it is hardly a conversation, rather light being sucked into a black hole of bias) public because it involves what I once thought was a library for intellectual and philosophical pursuits.

Within the past few hours I have received copies of Norman Jones’s [sic] responses to Scott Savage’s recommendations that we have students in Donna Hight’s wonderful First-Year Reading Experience [sic] read and discuss The Marketing of Evil [sic] by David Kupelian. According to Mr. Savage’s citation of the cover, this book “reveals how much of what Americans once almost universally abhorred has been packaged, perfumed, gift-wrapped and sold to them as though it had great value,” presumably in higher education.

First, I am unable to explain why anyone other than a dogmatic elitist who was not only threatened by, but actually hated, difference would recommend any book by Kupelian. As anyone with a computer can tell, Kupelian’s work is not vetted; that is, it does not acknowledge any perspective other than it s [sic] own, and it claims no responsibility for accurately reporting what others have done.

In fact, David Kupelian . . . [who] bemoans the cultural loss of such television programs as “The Lone Ranger,” [and]“The Mickey Mouse Club,” . . . is a pontificating, phobic, cultural atavism bemoaning the loss of an (Anglo) America that only existed on such shows as “The Lone Ranger.” If he really engaged with the show, he would know that literary and film critics have long ago exposed the show’’s racist treatment of Native Americans. Of course, Kupelian wants an (Anglo)America in which he need not—in fact will not—engage with the diversity and difference that constitutes the country that actually exists—and has always existed—outside his parochialism.

In short, I am shocked that a “librarian,” even someone purporting to be one, would actually recommend a book that preaches and argues against the reasons to engage with otherness. Yet, more importantly, when a scholar of Norman Jones’s [sic] stature and years of research in matters biblical and literary and cultural asks that entering students involved in The First-Year Experience read a book that has “some scholarly merit ,” and not one that, for example, misreads Kinsey, his expertise should be at least considered for what it is—scholarly insight. This is not what happened, however. Scott Savage responded with the following:
“I know that there are always people who think that some books must never be read or discussed, because they are beyond the pale of what can be discussed, beyond polarizing, to the point of being illegitimate.”
No, Scott, Norman said a book should be willing to engage with difference. You are the only one I see that is myopic. In fact, you go on to cite rankings on Amazon to validate Kupelian and Ehrenreich, who supports him. Are we to turn to Amazon for sales figures to validate a book. [sic] Perhaps you better look how well pornography sells before you put your intellectually rotten eggs in the basket of popularity.

JF Buckley
Associate Professor
Department of English
The Ohio State University
After reading this, I e-mailed Buckley the following response:
I recently read your tirade which, although demonstrated your proficient use of the English language and robust vocabulary, did little to establish yourself as an accomplished professor. It did, however, display your lack of professorial temperament. Indeed, you sounded more like an angry gay man than a professor of anything. Your imbecilic rant also proves that free speech among our academic institutions of higher learning is alive and well – that is if it comports with the indoctrination of radical and morally bankrupt views.

I’m curious, your baseless assertion (you know what that is – an opinion unsupported by any facts or reasoned analysis) that “It seems more than odd when those accusing academia of being elitist and insular and dissmissive [sic] are the very ones who actually are elitist and insular,” might you have been “projecting?”

Before you accuse me of being suffering from “unmitigated homophobia and xenophobia . . . [and being] a pontificating, phobic, cultural atavis[t],” I should point out that although I am not gay, I have socialized and worked with gay men since my college days. I lived with a gay fraternity brother, shared an office for several years with a gay colleague and regularly appeared before a gay judge. Although I have since lost touch with my fraternity brother, both my colleague and judge I have become very good friends with and for years now, maintain wonderful friendships with them. Never have they, or any of their friends whom I have met, ever displayed such venom and anger. They are well aware that people may not view them favorably but unlike you, have never resorted to such tactics as screaming harassment by those with whom you disagree. And because some librarian recommended a book that espouses a view you don’t like, you now feel “THREATENED — that such mindless folks are on this great campus?” I thought were joking, but apparently you weren’t because you went to say, “I have seriously challenged you Scott, and anyone who ‘thinks’ as you purport to do. You have made me fearful and uneasy being a gay man on this campus. I am, in fact, notifying the OSU-M campus, and Ohio State University in general, that I no longer feel safe doing my job.” Professor, I have a question. Are you serious?

By the way, I’d give you my full name and tell you where I practice and teach law, but frankly, I’m a little afraid that you’ll accuse me of harassment too. And, as anyone with a computer can tell, there are spell-check features so that now, even professors can avoid embarrassment? But don’t worry, I assure you that your inadvertent misspelling had nothing to do with you completely embarrassing yourself which, so far, you have a constitutional right to do. But next time, please forget to identify yourself as professor. It’s a little embarrassing to the rest of us.
Subsequently, the university sent Savage a letter informing him that the faculty had overstepped their bounds by filing an allegation of discrimination/harassment complaint on behalf Buckley and Jones against him. The university stated that, “based on the statements, interviews and documentary evidence provided into this inquiry, it is determined there is no finding of discrimination/harassment on your part. However well intentioned the actions of Professors Jones and Buckley, the fact remains their claim of discrimination and/or harassment based on your suggestion of a book does not meet established university policy criteria for filing such a claim.” I’m curious. If the complaint violated “established university policy criteria,” then why did the entire faculty vote in favor of the claim? I don’t know, but I’ll bet it had something to do with not wanting to be accused by the rest of the faculty of being homophobes and bigots. They either vote yes (or abstain) or risk being branded haters and Neanderthals. Not exactly a beacon of openness, robust inquiry and free speech. But it could be worse. They could be in Iran.

Strangely, the letter informing Savage the allegations were unfounded, suggested more anti-discrimination and harassment training to “promote frank, open and respectful discussion among faculty and library staff, in particular and among all staff in general.” The hoot was that Norman Jones threw his hat in the ring to serve as a liaison spearhead the program. Oh, that’s great. Jones, who had just falsely accused Savage of sexual harassment, was now being suggested to lead the faculty in “open and respectful discussion” of differences. Now why didn’t I think of that? And if that wasn’t funny enough, the university’s later concluded with a warning to Savage that “retaliation in any form is prohibited.”

Since being released in August, 2005, “The Marketing of Evil” has been widely praised by Dr. Laura, David Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, D. James Kennedy and many others and has captured more than one hundred five-star reader reviews on Indeed, it appears that as a consequence of being “banned” as “hate literature” and “homophobic tripe” by the faculty, “The Marketing of Evil” has become one of the best-selling books in the country. Interestingly, Savage is a Quaker who rides a horse and buggy to work. Well that may explain a lot about why the dogged “mainstream” media, whose self-proclaimed duty it is to get the truth out, didn’t report it.