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Tuesday, August 01, 2006


NSU alumnus really gets pissed

[Editors note: We do not normally respond to the exercises in intellectual dereliction and scurrility from Sibby and South Dakota Politics. But when someone sends us an item on the utter dereliction of fact, reason, and integrity, we will post it. Walt nails this situation exactly as the academic profession has regarded it for the last 80 years or so.]

Schaff and Blanchard up to necks in denial
In need of lifeboat while Gibson tosses them anchor.

By Roland Walter

I wonder what South Dakota Politics bloggers Jon Schaff and Ken Blanchard think happened when Mel Gibson delivered his Friday-morning drunken slurs and threats against Jews, female deputies and others? It seems to me any reasonable person would conclude that Gibson outed himself as an unhinged, self-righteous, anti-Semitic bigot, hate-monger, bully, and sexist. But it appears Jon thinks otherwise and Ken gets a bit overwrought when someone questions that position.

With that in mind, lets retrace a few things Jon has said about Mel lately as well as some criticism Ken has leveled against Chad Shulte over at the Clean Cut Kid blog site. In a post entitled “Shorter Jon Schaff,” Chad summarized an earlier post by Jon to say: "A drunk Mel Gibson can make all the racial slurs he wants because he made a great movie about Christ." Ken then complained in a subsequent SDP post saying no such quote appeared anywhere in Jon’s post, pretty much called Chad a liar, and also said, “Professor Schaff clearly states that Gibson's career ought to suffer, and hopes that Gibson will be punished in court, exactly the opposite of what Chad implies in his post.”

Indeed he did and had Jon’s comments stopped there, they would simply have been a penetrating glimpse into the obvious and Chad’s post would have been unwarranted. But no, Jon had more to say such as: “There is a temptation to dump on Gibson because of the rather public piety of 'The Passion of the Christ,' ” and “I suppose some annoyed by Gibson's public profession of faith will revel in his fall.”

That leads me to ask, who “dumped” on Gibson for the “public piety of The Passion of the Christ” and who is “annoyed by his public profession of faith”? Maybe someone somewhere did and is, but in general, I suspect Jon is defending him against straw man attacks conjured up by Gibson apologists. I might even conclude he’s trying to detract from the real criticism of Gibson and his movie, which has overwhelmingly been concern about anti-Semitism. And considering his Friday-morning remarks about Jews, is there any real question about the validity of that concern?

I think not and it logically follows then that the movie was not so much a retelling of Christ’s selfless suffering to atone for the sins of man as it was a denunciation of Jew’s for their role in his execution. Moreover, there is little doubt the extreme violence depicted was meant to further malign Jews as unsympathetic sadists. In other words, this movie was premeditated Jew bashing on a grand scale. The only thing I can begin to “revel” in is that the events of Friday morning have worked to discredit the zealous Jew-hater who directed and co-wrote it. And even that is tempered by the fact that, thanks to a lot of well-intentioned moviegoers, Gibson made a few hundred million dollars which he can still use to spread additional vitriol against any person or group he dislikes.

Jon went on to say, “Among Mel Gibson's many sins is the sin of hypocrisy. It is a bad sin, but I know a worse one. To avoid the error of hypocrisy one must believe in nothing. That Gibson is a hypocrite is axiomatic: we are all hypocrites in that we all fail to live up to our own standards. Gibson's sins no more discredit his religious convictions than, say, the likelihood that Martin Luther King was unfaithful to his wife destroys his moral authority (not to compare Mel Gibson to MLK).”

Excuse me, but these comments have no basis in reality. Exactly which of his own “standards” did Gibson fail to live up to? His “religious convictions” have nothing to do with Christian values of compassion and forgiveness. They instead have to do with the hate and self-righteousness embodied in bigotry, which are standards he did live up to. So his sin is not the hypocrisy of failing to live up to his personal standards; it is the hypocrisy of professing Christian ideals and hiding behind them while promoting bigotry. So from where did he ever or should he now derive any “moral authority”? Furthermore, wouldn’t we all be better off if Gibson believed in nothing rather than the antisocial, anti-Semitic and, yes, anti-Christian things he does?

It is nice that Jon tried to refrain from comparing Mel Gibson to MLK—well, kind of, sort of tried. In fact, he does compare their actions so I also must ask, what the hell does Martin Luther King’s alleged or actual infidelity have to do with Gibson’s Jew bashing? But for the efforts of those who sought to discredit him, any affair MLK may have had could affect only those directly involved. He didn’t, after all, publicly promote promiscuity.

Gibson, on the other hand, has purposely and publicly promoted anti-Semitism. To any extent he was successful in driving a wedge between Christian and Jew, Gibson’s hate mongering has hurt millions. So any comparison of his actions to those of MLK, a man who sought to reconcile differences between races, are totally bogus and to even mention his name in conjunction with Gibson is preposterous and defamatory in the extreme.

As for Ken, what did he think “shorter” referred to in Chad’s first post, a change in Jon’s physical stature? Chad didn’t lie, he simply interpreted Jon’s post and summarized it in one simple line. To my mind, he pretty much got it right. Ken may, of course, disagree and he has every right to offer a rebuttal. But going off on a rant about lies, well, not so much.

Continued exchanges between CCK and SDP have sometimes devolved into something akin to a urine-soaked free-for-all. For now, this site remains high and dry and I hope it remains so. But I can’t resist one final note that very well may change that situation.

I’ve noticed Ken and Jon get a bit annoyed when Chad or others question why their employer, Northern State University, lets them express the opinions they do while keeping them on staff. With that, I direct the next few lines directly to the two of them. Yes, you have the right to blog on your own time and to express your own opinions. Yes, you include occasional disclaimers to note your opinions are not endorsed by NSU. But here’s at least one problem. You constantly refer to each other as Professor Schaff and Professor Blanchard, but not all such posts include disclaimers.

The title of professor is reserved for active faculty of an institution of higher learning—in this case NSU. Otherwise, you would simply be Jon and Ken or Dr. S and Dr. B. or whatever. By using the title professor, you knowingly or inadvertently (and since your educated men it certainly should be knowingly) add the weight of your positions at NSU to your comments. That means anything you write under that title should be subjected to the rigors of academic discourse, you know, things like drawing conclusions from well documented fact rather than opinion and being motivated by a desire to find truth rather than promoting political agendas. Few if any of your blog posts do meet or could reasonably be expected to meet these high standards and so long as you refrain from using the professor title, they don’t have to. So as you blog, I simply ask that you at the very least quit calling each other professor. In fact, as an NSU graduate who profoundly disagrees with nearly every political opinion (pronouncement) you post, I take sincere offense and most adamantly insist that you do.

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