Friday, May 29, 2009

KC Johnson Slimed Prof. Lubiano

Brooklyn College professor Robert KC Johnson, a hero to many for his Duke lacrosse case writings, recently published at his Durham-in-Wonderland blog a post concerning Duke University professor Wahneema Lubiano.

KC began the post:

A reader tracked down for me what Group of 88 leader Wahneema Lubiano lists on her Duke webpage as her most recent scholarly “publication”—an interview in an obscure journal called e3w.

And what is it that passes for “scholarship” among this Group of 88’er?

Information about Lubiano’s drinking habits, among other items: “There are so many half-remembered stories and pieces of stories that they jostle each other in my mind into a kind of rich but incoherent mass that’s hard to untangle—late night discussions at each others’ houses over food and drink.” …
On May 24 I published KC Johnson Now. I made a number of criticisms of KC’s work, including matters I posted on as far back as 2007. (See, as an example, here.)

KC Johnson Now
included this:
I wish KC hadn't made that remark about what he termed Professor Lubiano's “drinking habits.” It wasn't fair to her and reflected very poorly on him.
In his lengthy, off-the-mark response KC said concerning Lubiano: (On comment thread of KC Johnson Now)
The incident was actually described by Prof. Lubiano, who discussed, as a scholarly matter, evenings of "food and drink."

I'll try to keep in mind in the future that JinC might believe that it reflects poorly on me to mention embarrassing events about her personal life described as of scholarly significance in her own writings by Prof. Lubiano.
I’ve just sent KC the following email contained in a link to this post:
Dear KC,

As you know and as anyone who reads the article here will know, professor Lubiano was being interviewed and had been asked if she could recall interesting stories from a time 20 years ago, when she and colleagues would get together to talk about professional matters.

Here’s the entire sentence from the interview:
There are so many half-remembered stories and pieces of stories that they jostle each other in my mind into a kind of rich but incoherent mass that’s hard to untangle—late night discussions at each others’ houses over food and drink, different kinds of formal discussion fora on campus especially during the time of the shantytown, continual considerations over what to call the program until finally we had worn ourselves out over various permutations of what came to be Ethnic and Third World Literature program..
Most adults over 40 have half-remembered memories of evenings of food and drink with friends.

And when any of them say what Lubiano said, we don’t even know whether the drink they're talking about is alcoholic, non-alcoholic, or a mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, do we?

You took an innocent remark by Lubiano and used it to slime her at the outset of your post.

A thoughtful person wouldn’t do such a thing.

A self-aware scholar, having had what you did called in a public way to her or his attention, would’ve quickly retracted and apologized.

You did neither

Instead, you responded by elaborating your original distortion:
I'll try to keep in mind in the future that JinC might believe that it reflects poorly on me to mention embarrassing events about her personal life described as of scholarly significance in her own writings by Prof. Lubiano.
The following is a close paraphrase of something Gordon Allport once said:
When we speak of others, we may or may not be revealing anything about them, but we are always revealing something about ourselves.
You didn’t reveal anything about professor Lubiano’s drinking habits; just some things about yourself.


Sincerely,

John in Carolina

32 comments:

KC Johnson said...

It is best that I not dignify this post with any additional comment. Along with many critics of events in Durham over the past three years, I had admired much of the work done by JinC. I regret that he elected to close out his blog on such a low note.

Anonymous said...

Good for you John.

Between all your depraved
dishonesties and Johnson's
paid shills-- maybe the real
truth can be squeezed out of
the wreckage.

Debrah said...

John--

You're obviously a sick person.

Propping up Lubiano because of your failure to understand language nuance.....

.......and because you have absolutely no balls.

We always did give you far too much credit from the beginning.

You have a problem.

Work on it in private and stop relying on those from other blogs, who have turned on KC because of political reasons, skulk around making feeble excuses for your declasse and petty act.

sceptical said...

I regret that John in Carolina is continuing to attack KC Johnson as John closes out his blog. While John's point about Johnson's sarcasm towards Lubiano may be correct, I have nothing but disdain for Lubiano and I continue to believe John in Carolina is wrong to leave on such a sour note. With all the brilliant analyses in his blog, John in Carolina's valedictory should not be trying to tear down KC Johnson (who in the comments declined to take the bait).

GPrestonian said...

debbie @ 8:39pm:We always did give you far too much credit from the beginning.
How would you know, debbie? You weren't here or at DiW at the beginning.

Vaya con Dios, John!

Anonymous said...

Geez John,

You were doing so good until you gave voice to the mean one, who has become smitten over blather.

Who knew blather could be so sensual?

JWM said...

To skeptical @ 8:58 pm,

You say in part:

“While John's point about Johnson's sarcasm towards Lubiano may be correct, I have nothing but disdain for Lubiano and I continue to believe John in Carolina is wrong to leave on such a sour note.”

Skeptical, I didn’t make a point “about Johnson’s sarcasm towards Lubiano[.]”

I demonstrated how KC took an innocent remark of the kind most adults over 40 make; and distorted it into a slime he used without any evidence to lead off his post telling DIW readers about what he said were Lubiano’s “drinking habits?”

I said KC's doing that told us more about KC than Lubiano.

There's a huge difference between speaking sarcastically about someone or something and creating, as KC did without any evidence, a slime about a person's "drinking habits."

KC published his slime on the Internet no less, where literally millions of people can easily read his slime.

If you don't believe that just Google "Lubiano" and "drinking habits" and see what comes up.

Like you, skeptical, I’ve great disdain for Lubiano.

I’ve criticized her by name and as part of the Group of 88 in numerous posts which I estimate now number at least 200.

Lubiano was an enabler of a vicious frame-up attempt; she continues to this day to be one of those who are sustaining the cover-up of the frame-up attempt.

But for all of that, she’s entitled to fairness and ought not to be subject to slimes.

I don’t say much about myself on this blog but I’ll disclose a few things to you.

I was taught by my parents that fair is fair; and I’m so grateful to them for that.

I’m very proud I served in an Army that held me to a standard requiring every soldier to accord certain rights to people who just minutes before were trying to kill them.

Skeptical, when the N&O “broke” the case, I knew right off Mangum’s story was false.

But that wasn’t the same as knowing, as I later came to realize, that no serious crime of any type had been committed.

In that circumstance, I had no reason to speak out for the students' absolute innocence.

But I could speak out for fair treatment of them as the Raleigh N&O fired off story after story containing slimes of them.

So that's what I started doing on Monday, Mar. 27, 2006 when I called then N&O exec editor for news Melanie Sill and then public editor Ted Vaden to complain about the N&O's biased and racially inflammatory slimes of the players.

And that’s what I did today when I called KC out for his initial slime of Lubiano; and then elaborating on it in his response to "KC Johnson Now."

You say I’m leaving “on such a sour note.”

Some people agree with you.

But I believe I’m leaving on a note representing an effort to hold to the same standards I’ve tried to hold to from day one on this blog, May 20, 2005.

Sceptical, on an earlier thread you criticized me for making criticisms of KC at "the last minute."

I responded to you pointing out that the post you commented on twice linked to a JinC post from Dec. 2007.

That post contained the same criticisms which made up a very large part of the post you were complaining about.

I asked you to let me know that you saw my response.

Did you ever see it?

I plan to post/comment further tomorrow on what you’ve said.

In my first response to you I said something I want to repeat now: in the past you’ve been an articulate, sensible, and IMO effective commenter for right in the Duke lacrosse case.

Best,

John

Sarah said...

So this is really how you wanted to end your blog? After all you have done and written, you chose to leave the stage giving comfort to those who spent three years seeking to hurt the players, whilst stabbing the back one who has exposed lies and injustice from the very start.

This was your priority? this the memory you wished to leave?

If you chose this sad finale as your curtain falls, you are a smaller man than we ever thought you were.

Those we admire let us down so often we should no longer care, but we do. Like many others, I am saddened by what you have done.

Larry said...

I think Debra with an H is really KC in a wonderland.

JWM said...

To Sarah @ 5:26 am,

You say:

“So this is really how you wanted to end your blog? After all you have done and written, you chose to leave the stage giving comfort to those who spent three years seeking to hurt the players, whilst stabbing the back one who has exposed lies and injustice from the very start.”

I’m sorry you feel as you do.

But please understand I didn’t stab KC in the back.

In “KC Johnson Now” I simply said his statement wasn’t fair to Lubiano and demeaned him.

He could have retracted and apologized then. He would have lost nothing thereby; and he’d have received the approval of many.

Instead, he elaborated on it.

He now carries that remark with him; and it does neither him nor those whose cause he embraces any good.

I know many have let you down.

I’m sorry you count me as one of them.

I hope in time you come to believe otherwise.

John

Anonymous said...

You are correct in saying that the phrase “food and drink” does not necessarily indicate alcohol; however, neither does the phrase “drinking habits” (both suggest it). I would not have chosen Prof. Johnson’s exact words. Yet, I am “embarrassed” for Professor Lubiano that, when asked about the beginnings of the Ethnic and Third World Interest Group, she tells us about convivial evenings in preference to answering the question with any real specifics. Of what scholastic or historical value is that? On the basis of what you have documented, you are free to say, “KC Johnson slimed Prof. Lubiano,” just as I am free to say, “No sale.”

Anonymous said...

John,
KC writes, "It is best I do not dignify this post".
What arrogance!
He exposes himself for what he is.

His supposed "light touch" monitoring on his blog is a total scam.

You are the better person.

North of Detroit

JWM said...

To Anon @ 2:57 pm,

Have you ever heard the one about the politician who began his campaign by promising to say nothing "about my opponents drinking habits?"

Does it need any explaining?

KC knew what he was doing in the first instance and he knew what he was doing in the second instance when he elaborated on his initial slime in his response to "KC Johnson Now."

On your rationalization excusing what KC did: “No sale.”

John

JackDanielsBlack said...

John, your KC Johnson remarks indicate to me nothing but sour grapes on your part. KC is not the enemy and you know it. Shame on you!

Melanie said...

This wasn't a very classy way to finish up. Maybe the blog's color should be changed to green, for envy?

JWM said...

To North of Detroit @ 3:15 pm,

I appreciate your commenting but want you to know my criticisms of KC's work have nothing to do with whose the better person.

KC often speaks about the importance of procedures. He points out that -- this is a close paraphrase so no quotation marks - - flawed procedures in the Lax case led to flawed outcomes.

He's right.

Standards are important too.

I've often been sharply critical of Lubiano. In the Lax case she's been untruthful as when she denied the "listening" ad was about the case. She, like the other group of 88 signatories, made an already dangerous situation worse via their publication of the "listening" statement.

In her invited op-ed on May 1, 2006 in the N&O Lubiano distorted what American justice is supposed to be about in order to rationalize Nifong and others' travesties in the frame-up attempt.

But if we are going to insist on fairness for some, we have to be willing to grant it to all. Otherwise what we are doing is engaging in favoritism or worse.

I want fairness for the lacrosse players, so I have to be willing to grant it to Lubiano.

That's a big part of what led me to point out to KC he hadn't been fair to Lubiano. I was also hoping against hope he'd call back the remark instead of elaborating on it.

If he'd have done that it would have been good for him and for a lot of other people at Duke, in Durham and elsewhere.

John

Anonymous said...

John,
Take care.
North of Detroit.

sceptical said...

John,

I did read your comments about your earlier criticism of KC Johnson.

This does not change my opinion that you did not choose wisely the subject of your valedictory post. There were many other possible topics than KC Johnson's demerits.
Whatever the validity of your criticisms of Johnson, and I agree with some of them, the subject was a poor choice to go out with.

What are you trying to prove? That you can criticize both sides? That you are more "fair" than Johnson or other bloggers?

I believe this was a petty choice on your part, when there are so many others still in power who promoted the hoax: Ron Hodge, David Addison, Kammie Michael,Patrick Baker, Bill Bell, Dick Brodhead,Sue Wasiolek,
Theresa Arico, most of the Group of 88, and many others.

Instead of criticizing them, you attack someone who did more to free Reade, Collin, and Dave than anyone in the blogosphere.

I respect the body of your work, but not your last couple of columns.

Best,
sceptical

exiled from LS said...

KC Johnson may have done much to help the Lacrosse players and their families. That does not give him free reign to unfairly attack people for the good of the cause. It also does not excuse his poor handling of the situation with Joan Foster and it does not erase some of the errors (still uncorrected) in several of his recent posts. KC Johnson seems to be a very smart, well educated man, but that does not make him right every time or make his use of questionable tactics justified. I am seeing a lot of this "sad" comment. It would be even sadder to let things that are incorrect and unfair go unchecked and unchallenged, in my opinion.

Panacea said...

John needs to 'fess up. He's done all this lately to soften up wahneema and the 88-ers before going undercover as the "new best friend of the gang" in order to write a book on them.

Makes better sense than what this looks like right now.

Sarah said...

Hi John

You have been a valiant fighter for the victims of the Duke lacrosse travesty, and I respect you a lot for that.

I am also sure you feel you have your reasons for writing what you did.

However I know how these divisions and squabbles are used by those who still seek every possible opportunity to hurt the victims, in order to mock any undermine them and their supporters.

You, KC Johnson and LieStoppers did great things in exposing the hatred, dishonesty and duplicity behind the hoax. By now turning on each other over what amounts to trivia, you are giving weapons and a great deal of comfort to deeply unsavory and twisted people.

To do so in support of someone as vile, dishonest and devoid of humanity as Lubiano, defies comprehension.

You are worth far more than those who are exploiting your words, but you are wrong over this issue.

Written with regret and respect
Sarah

Truth Hurts said...

John, it's been ages since I've commented, but I've read your blog daily for several years, and it's been an honor. I hate to see it end, but I do wish you only the best in all your future endeavors.

In regards to this thread, two comments:

1. I believe if KC had used the phrase "social habits" instead of "drinking habits", this would have been a non-issue. His use of "drinking habits" suggests that Lubiano had a "drinking habit", which is unfair, and unproven. Either way, his point...that she lists this softball blather on her Duke webpage as "scholarly publication"...is valid.
IMO, KC allowed his personal disgust of Lubiano to cloud his sense of fairness.

2. Debrah, although I assume KC deeply appreciates your tireless and rabid defense of anything/everything he writes...he is also embarrassed by your apparent lack of intellect.
Personally, I find your mindless attacks to be highly amusing, if not highly predictable.

JWM said...

To sceptical @ 7:34 pm,

I'm sorry to be slow getting back to you on your comment yesterday here on this thread.

Thanks for letting me know in that comment that you'd seen my comment responding to you.

You say KC did more than anyone in the blogoshpere to free David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

I agree and have often praised that work. It was outstanding and, to me at least, inspirational.

I said so at length at the outset of the post to which you object.

It is not for any of that work that I've criticized KC, but for other actions and inactions, some of which I documented in "KC Johnson Now" with links to posts from Dec. 2007.

You say I made:

"a petty choice ... when there are so many others still in power who promoted the hoax: Ron Hodge, David Addison, Kammie Michael,Patrick Baker, Bill Bell, Dick Brodhead,Sue Wasiolek,
Theresa Arico, most of the Group of 88, and many others."

While you already know I disagree that I made "a petty choice," I think you're right to criticize me for not saying as I was shutting down JinC anything about "those still in power who promoted the hoax."

I should have done that.

I'll post something by Wednesday to correct my mistake.

I'll include your name in the post title so you'll immediately know it's the post I'm talking about here.

The post won't be comprehensive but more like "brush strokes" about each of those you've mentioned and a couple of others.

Sceptical, you ask me:

"What are you trying to prove? That you can criticize both sides? That you are more "fair" than Johnson or other bloggers?"

I'm not trying to prove that I'm "more 'fair' than Johnson or other bloggers[.]"

I'm just trying to be fair.

Best,

John

JWM said...

To exiled from LS @ 8:38 pm,

I agree with you.

John

JWM said...

To Panacea @ 10:14 pm,

You'll see a comment on this thread from Debrah @ 8:39 pm.

About a year ago I barred her from commenting at JinC.

Then and again recently she's attempted to comment here.

I deleted all of them but the one you see here.

I made an exception to the one above because it is less foul then her typical comments I've received; and because it only criticizes me, whereas most of her other comments have often targeted other people, some of whom haven't in any way connected to KC Johnson and DIW.

You comment on this thread is similar to one you recently sent which I declined to publish because it libeled another blogger and a group blog.

Your comment here is without foundation and nothing more than a projection from your mind.

It's only useful purpose is to illustrate to any person who might read here the fact that some people seeming to be on the players' side sometimes make odious and unfounded charges just as people opposing the players' and their families do.

ANY such further comments like the one here and the last one will lead to your being barred from further commenting here.

John

Anonymous said...

I have to admire John for standing on principle when it would have been all too easy for him to overlook something that sticks in his craw. While I haven't reached the same conclusions as John has, I think he's right in stating his beliefs. What disturbs me are the mean-spirited shots being taken by some--including the illustrious KC Johnson himself.
We don't have to be disagreeable to disagree, folks. Moreover, I don't see where John's position should bother anyone but the two people involved--John and KC. We have seen KC's response, and John has restated his case.
It's quite easy to take cheap shots from the vantage point of anonymity.
Tarheel Hawkeye

JWM said...

To Sarah @ 7:19 pm,

I'm sorry to be slow getting back to you.

A reading of your letter leaves no doubt you wrote it "with respect and regret."

Because of time constraints I can't now write the kind of considered and respectful response your letter merits.

But I will write that letter in a few days.

Because we're on the Internet where anyone can read whatever we say, I plan to make your letter and my response the major parts of a main page post so they'll have greater visability and can in the future be more easily accessed.

Before ending this response I want to do 5 things:

1) Disagree with your calling me "valiant."

I worked at considerable cost in time and stress; and at some social and economic cost.

But none of it reached the level of valiance.

Call the players and their families "valiant" and you'll have my agreement.

2) You place me with KC and Liestoppers as bloggers who did "great work."

IMO it's indisputable that during 2006 and 2007 KC and LS did great work.

But I never did.

Back then I posted a number of times telling readers they should visit every day at DIW, LS and The Johnsville News, another blog that did great work.

I added that if they only had time to read about the lacrosse case at a few blogs, they should choose from those three and skip JinC.

I'm proud of JinC because it represents my best, but I never did great blogging.

3) I want to ask you to please read all of the thread here. It's important you have that backgound when you read and judge my letter to you.

4) Later tonight I'll dig out a JinC post from 2006. I'll provide a link and a little backgound in a brief comment here which I'll post by 9 pm.

I ask that you read the post. It will convey to you and other thoughtful readers some explanation for my Duke lacrosse work and what guided it.

5) Please let me know you've seen this comment.

Sincerely,

John

Sarah said...

John

I have read this post, and I will read whatever else you post on the subject.

You may dispute 'valiant', but 'brave' is certainly a fair description, as are principled and honest.

Sarah

sceptical said...

John,
Thank you for your thoughtful reply to my last posting.

I do not disagree with your right to criticize KC Johnson (he is human and make mistakes). I just respectfully suggest that your timing was poor-- it should not have been essentially your final major blog post.

There are so many other people to criticize about their actions in the attempted frame-up that it disturbed me that you chose Prof. Johnson. I don't agree with that decision, but I am pleased to hear that you will address the actions of so many who are still in power who helped cause this disaster.

In my quick list, I left out the initial cause-- Crystal Mangum. She should not get a pass despite her history of mental illness.

I also left out the N&O hierarchy, who you have so rightly criticized, including Linda Williams, Ted Vaden, Melanie Sill, etc. They poured gasoline on a fire and then refused to take responsibility for their mistakes. Furthermore, they reined in Joe Neff after Nifong was ousted, not allowing him to investigate the police misconduct and malfeasance.

You have spent countless hours educating us about the lacrosse case and many other matters. I hope you will end your blog on a more positive note. Thanks.

sceptical

JWM said...

To Sarah @ 6:39 pm,

Thank you for your prompt response.

In this case I'll neither agree nor disagree with your words about me.

I'll just tell you two things:

1) I was surprised and deeply touched.

2) I'll be sure to keep them in mind as a "balancer" whenever I read the Diva's assessments of my genitalia, my mental health and her recommendations for intense therapeutic help she thinks I need.

Thank you.

I'm sorry to be late with this note.

Here's the link to the post I'd like you and others to read before I write you again. The readers note before the post is important because it provides some of the context in which the post was written.

http://johninnorthcarolina.blogspot.com/2009/05/senator-tafts-lesson-for-us-all.html

Best,

John

Anonymous said...

Previously I have referred to John as an "honorable man of principle and conviction". It is posts like these that reinforce that belief. I am certain that this post was NOT an easy one for John to write but I agree with Hawkeye, John was right to state his beliefs, even with the certain knowledge that he was going to take a lot of heat and a lot of cheap shots. The bile from Debrah is pathetic and unexcusable. Steve in New Mexico

JWM said...

To Steve in New Mexico @ 11:37 am,

Thank you very much.

Your comments from the first to this one have shown you to be a smart person who cares about important matters.

For a while now I've counted you a Regular, my highest blog compliment.

There are still a few posts to come because of the fallout from "KC Johnson Now" & the Lubiano post.

I hope you keep checking in.

John