Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Victor Davis Hanson:
Four Rules Learned from Ward Churchill

Professors outside the arts at major research universities are supposed to have Ph.D.s. The phantom Ward Churchill does not. How he was hired, promoted, and tenured without a doctorate is a mystery — the equivalent of a high-school teacher credentialed with an AA degree, or a medical doctor operating without an M.D.

Ward Churchill proclaimed that he is a Native American of various tribal affiliations; he is not. Even his ridiculous costumes, occasional threats, and puerile rants cannot disguise that fact.

He seems to be a pop artist of sorts, but his canvasses are not quite his own either. Those of like political mind have praised his scholarship, but much of what he writes seems derivative, or misrepresents or outright plagiarizes others.
In this article in the National Review, Victor Davis Hanson says there are four rules for all of us to learn from the Ward Churchill affair:

  1. Rule 1: Profess to be as far left as possible, understanding that extremism in the service of utopian virtue is no vice.
  2. Rule 2: Among the nerds and dorks, act a little like a Brando, Che, or James Dean, a wild spirit that gives off a spark of danger, who can at a distance titillate Walter Mitty-like admirers and closer up scare off the more sober censors.
  3. Rule 3: Whenever possible, reinvent yourself as anything but a white, straight American male. [Oops. Does Canadian work?]
  4. Rule 4. Don’t worry about the anti-capitalist’s embarrassing six-figure salary, plush job, lifelong guaranteed employment, and fondness for jet travel and hotels. Just keep acting like an ageless denizen of the Woodstock nation, professing to be a timeless dagger pointed at the heart of money-grubbing square America.

What a sad indictment of university bureaucracy that this guy got as far as he did.

Recalcitrant, unbending, immobile, a throw-back to a better, more idealistic age — this is the rock-cut image that the perpetual ‘60s professor taps into. And Churchill, with his photo-studio manufactured profile, pageboy locks, occasional fake Indian name, hip street lingo, and sassy banter did it better than any we’ve seen in quite a while — or at least well enough to wow the flabby university committees that allowed him to cash in.
[h/t to BenS for the link]
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