Thursday, May 08, 2008

Law prof to certain Duke faculty: "stop digging"

A few weeks back I published Duke faculty hoax-believers are rewriting their history and Duke’s hoax-believers and “Sokal’s Hoax.” I also linked to KC Johnson's post: A Lubiano “Publication.”

Today, at The Volakh Conspiracy Northwestern University Law Professor Jim Lindgren posts extracts from KC's post and adds some comments of his own.

What follows are Lindgren's introduction, some extracts he used from KC's post here in italics; and them Lindgren's comments in plain.

Now portions of Lindgren's post - - -

KC Johnson has a long post taking apart a recent scholarly article on the Duke Rape Hoax by three faculty members — Wahneema Lubiano, Michael Hardt, and Robyn Weigman -- the first two of whom were involved in stirring up hatred against the Lacrosse players.

Apparently, some of the Social Text article is unintentionally funny:

. . . Lubiano, Weigman, and Hardt had little difficulty in identifying the true victims of 2006-2007 events in Durham—themselves, and their fellow members of the Group of 88.

Although the Lubiano Trio’s article does contain footnotes, the Group members elected to supply not even one citation for any of these outlandish claims. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to figure out why.

What does the inclusion of these unsourced ramblings say about the editorial policies of the Duke University Press journal Social Text? . . .

Here is what the scholars wrote in Social Text regarding the Group of 88:

[They] would become the objects not simply of hostility, on campus and off, but also of enormous faux-juridical speculation that sets forth the “legal” case against them and establishes the terms of the judgment they “owe” to make amends. (Typically we should resign, work as maids for the players’ families, return to the slave quarters, apologize, or simply hide in shame. At the very least, as Joseph W. Bellacosa has argued in a Newsday opinion piece, “Duke Faculty Should Be Shunned by Students.”). . . . In the language of the blogs, we were not just communists but traitors, and the fields of study we occupied were not areas of scholarly inquiry but pathological hothouses in the service of anti-American sentiment and reverse racism.
Here is the confusingly written footnote supporting the last quoted sentence:
A number of blogs have focused on discrediting the scholarly projects of specific members of the so-called 88 as a means of casting suspicion on their possible standing in the Communist Party and their complicity with terrorism and anti-Israeli sentiment. They have also been found guilty of numerous crimes, including treason, sedition, and tax evasion.
First, I strongly doubt that suggestions that the offending professors should "work as maids" or "return to the slave quarters" were "Typically" offered by their critics.

Indeed, in a very quick Google search, I couldn't find any instances of these two suggestions. Such disgusting insults must have been relatively rarely made by their editorial and blogger critics, if made by them at all.

Second, the way that the footnote's comment about being a communist is presented makes it appear that such a claim is unwarranted. But according to a mainstream news magazine review of Johnson's book, Michael Hardt is a "self-described 'joyful communist.'"

Is Hardt now implying that he was misquoted, or is he objecting to people describing him in the same terms that he describes himself? Certainly, there is nothing sleazy about calling a self-described communist a communist, just as it would be fair to call a self-described fascist a fascist.

Third, as KC Johnson notes, it was bad form for the professors not to have supported their claims about the blogs with actual citations to the offending posts. Assuming that the professors are not engaged in their own little hoax, I wonder whether their complaints about blogs aren't mostly about commenters to the blogs, rather than the posts of actual bloggers.

Given the three professors' documented sloppiness with the truth and their unusual claims in their new article, the editors of Social Text should have required citations before allowing them to make such questionable claims in a scholarly article. (Indeed, it's not too late for the editors to publish an errata online giving citations for each claim I quoted and indicating which of them were actually made by bloggers themselves.)

Last, why do these Duke professors bother to write about the Duke lacrosse hoax if they are not going to deal with their own actions honestly?

If they can't simply face the truth, they should put down their shovels and stop digging.

Lindgren's entire post "KC Johnson on New Duke Hoax Scholarship" is here.

Hat tip: Instapundit


Anonymous said...

Duke Law 72

I for one wouldn't trust any of them to clean my house.

Anonymous said...

Some really excellent advice for these jokers. These "scholars" are a disgrace and why they insist and continue to expose their stupidity is way beyond me and just confirms, again, that they are - well -- stupid. Steve in New Mexico

Anonymous said...

Heads-Up for Duke? It is about time to look into these endowment funds.

Boston Globe, Lawmakers target $1b endowments

LIBERAL HYPOCRISY AT ITS FINEST: Massachusetts lawmakers have proposed a plan to tax the huge endowments of private colleges and universities. In a fit of economic conservatism, Harvard responds by saying "you'd be taxing success!"

“…certain colleges have amassed so much wealth that they no longer deserve to be tax-exempt.”

Anonymous said...

I live in Blacksburg, VA, the home of Virginia Tech. As everyone knows, 32 students and professors were shot to death here a year ago.
I think that Tech is in much better shape now than Duke is. People are still in great pain, but there is little discord and a great deal of mutual respect among faculty, students and administration.
I'm very glad I'm here and not at Duke.

Anonymous said...

Some people are so stupid,it takes a little longer for them to discover they're stupid