Thursday, July 09, 2009

Professor Halkides’ Unintentional Self-Parody

Unintentional self -parody is one of my favorite forms of humor.

That’s why, for all its very serious errors and its ad himinems directed at me, when I got to the end of UNC-Wilmington professor Chris Halkides’
"John in Carolina’s post, ‘KC Johnson Now'” post I had to laugh.

In his Concluding Remarks Halkides tells readers:

”In his post ‘KC Johnson Now’ John has given a clinic in how not to blog.”
He goes on to say I’ve made it harder:

“for those of us who want blogging to be held to as high a standard as traditional journalism.”
Now look back at the head of his post where you’ll see:
“(Update 7/8/2009: This post has been edited since it was first uploaded. Three paragraphs have been removed.)”
Helkides says I’ve “given a clinic in how not to blog” and preens that I’ve made it “harder” for those like him “who want blogging to be held to as high a standard as traditional journalism.”

But he begins his post with an “Update“ that doesn’t give his readers even a hint of why he removed three paragraphs from his post.

I'll bet many of you are at least smiling now, if not LOL.

Halkides says:

John and Joan Foster claim to admire Johnson’s contributions to the DL case.
Joan Foster is very capable of speaking for herself, so I’ll respond only for myself.

Halkides seriously distorts and misleads his readers when he tells them I “claim to admire Johnson’s contributions to the DL case.”

I admire some of what KC’s done in the DL case and have said so often.

But I've also questioned publicly since late 2007 some of what he’s done and not done in relation to the case. What's more, I'm disgusted by other things he’s done and not done in relation to it.

Here’s some of what I said in KC Johnson Now:

KC Johnson's made extremely important contributions to the struggle for truth and justice in the Duke lacrosse (DL) case. When the lacrosse players who’d just been declared “innocent” by NC’s attorney general on Apr. 11, 2007 singled KC out for praise, he deserved their tribute.

I owe KC my own thanks. During the first year or so of the case he helped me to understand the DL case much better than I would have without his writings and our phone talks. It’s no exaggeration to say that during that time his DL posts were not only informative, but inspirational. I urged JinC readers to visit KC's Durham-in-Wonderland (DIW) blog daily.

The outstanding work KC’s done will always be to his credit.(bold in original)

But it needs to also be said that KC's ignored very significant matters related to the case which by any reasonable standard he should address. What’s more, he’s written things and offered judgments that are at best highly questionable and, in some instances, absurd.

I want to give you examples of what I’m talking about.

I’ve two reasons for doing so.The first is to inform you. The second is to make clear why I read KC now with a good deal of skepticism, often discounting what he says because it’s biased or factually wrong or petty or some combination of the three. . . .
Can anyone explain why Halkides distorted what I actually said into his unqualified statement that I “claim to admire Johnson’s contributions to the DL case?”

He was at best sloppy with the information that was right there for him in KC Johnson Now. (At this time I’m willing to grant that Halkides’ distortion was not deliberate.)

By being at best sloppy with the information he had, Halkides invites laughter given that he scolded me for making things harder for him and others “who want blogging to be held to as high a standard as traditional journalism.”

I’ll comment in the next few days on some of the much more serious problems with professor Halkides' post.


UPDATE @ 7:15 pm on 7/10: Professor Halkides has now added a second update to his post explaining the deletion of the three paragraphs and apologizing for any confusion he may have caused. I commend him for doing that.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

John,

Glad your feelings weren't hurt.

Halides is just that way.

Sorta like the Diva.

Joan foster said...

John,

Just a clarification to a point some others are making: I don’t care if KC Johnson agrees with me. I care whether he agrees with HIMSELF…with the standards and practices he brays about on his Blog.

Of course he can moderate as he pleases…and so can Lubiano write as she pleases…and Kim Curtis run her classroom as she pleases. All this , if you apply equal largess to all…is none of any of our business. That is...if that is the logic his defenders use.

But, a man who claims the cornerstone of his Blog is the “free marketplace of ideas” does set himself up to be held to a different standard. Or is someone so adept at articulating our arguments…thereby exempt by us from the tiresome effort of actually practicing them?

Every time KC encounters from anyone …oppositional thought…we get to see an example of the Brand he is “selling” in action…there is no better opportunity for him to show all the rest of these agenda-ridden errant academics….”how it’s done.”

And what is that example? Sarcasm, dodging, holding comments, twisting others replies. Can you imagine the Duke faculty watching his Marketplace of Ideas…open for business? He hasn’t the temperament to acknowledge another’s point or the grace to ever admit an error. Do you think this somehow goes….unnoticed?

But, yes, he writes beautifully and articulates the position far better than any others. But how is he perceived when he cannot even conduct himself by his own standards on his own Blog.

There’s the trouble.

sceptical said...

As I commented on the Halkides blog, while he has every right to make his comments, who benefits? Halkides is sowing dissension and making trouble be reopening these wounds which had started to heal.
This only benefits the Nifong enablers, Mangum supporters, and denizens of the batcave.

He has goaded Joan Foster and you to defend yourselves (which is certainly understandable) and he provided another opportunity for KC Johnson to attack.

What is Chris Haldikes up to?

sceptical

One Spook said...

Here is most of a posting I made at Halkides' View from Wilmington Blog. I hope it is useful to readers:

I missed most of this latest "kerfuffle" because I was out of the country for most of May. After reading postings and comments here, I went back and read every bloody word of it.

This dispute reminds me of riding home on the bus from a high school football game where my team had won 56-0, and seeing a fight breakout among my teammates over whether the offense or defense had contributed most to the victory. Our coach broke up the fight and admonished us all to save our energy for the next game.

In blogging about the lacrosse hoax, we all agree that great injustices were done to the young men on Duke's lacrosse team by Duke professors, administrators, and employees; certain employees of the city of Durham; Durham DA’s office; the local and national media; and a local hooker. Illuminating those injustices is vitally important, and each of the principals and Blogs involved in this spat have done some excellent work in that effort.

Please allow me to be the "coach" (referee) and offer my own gentle reprimand.

KC Johnson is not your mother, your college professor, or the Pope of Durham County. He seems to presume that his primary audience is adult readers with at least a college-level education and/or cognitive ability. It is not incumbent upon Johnson to agree with everything his readers believe, nor is it necessary for him to mollycoddle those with whom he disagrees. I’ve disagreed with him probably more than most of his regular readers, but I respect his views and I believe he respects mine.

It is similarly not necessary for readers and other bloggers to receive Johnson’s blessing on every angle or theory they may have about the myriad aspects of the lacrosse hoax.

It seems counter-productive and hopelessly superfluous to me for someone to continually revisit a difference they might have with Johnson again and again, even over years, in hopes that he will change his views. To continue seeking Johnson’s blessing and or approval for your views and then to complain on a blog that Johnson somehow mistreated you strikes me as terribly needy and, forgive me, but I simply do not understand that level of need. I do not understand agoraphobia (literally "fear of the marketplace") either, but someone suffering from it has my sympathy, to be sure.

If someone has a particular view about the lacrosse hoax they wish to espouse, it costs nothing to set up and blog or make comments on an existing blog; indeed many have done so. Go for it; put your views out there and see what happens. No one should presume that the "Marketplace of Ideas" should be a warm and fuzzy place. Offering your views is all you can do, but you should not have any expectation that you’ll become famous, popular, or that everyone reading will always agree with you and/or treat you with great deference.

I have a considerable admiration for all of you who have created and managed blogs, and for most all of you who have been regular commentors, but guess what? You don’t need my approval either, and I’m not seeking yours. As Gregory always aptly says, "These are my opinions only."

One Spook

Anonymous said...

"Halkides seriously distorts and misleads his readers when he tells them I 'claim to admire Johnson’s contributions to the DL case.'”

Did you really write that? Did that just happen? Your best argument is a strawman that also goes beyond nit-picking? Chris Halkides obviously didn't mean you praised "all" of Professor Johnson's contributions to the DL case -- he was responding to posts in which you had just recently CRITICIZED Professor Johnson for a few of his supposed contributions to the case.

Moreover, in your post, you follow up with your own words praising "Johnson's contributions to the DL case":

"KC Johnson's made extremely important contributions to the struggle for truth and justice in the Duke lacrosse (DL) case. When the lacrosse players who’d just been declared “innocent” by NC’s attorney general on Apr. 11, 2007 singled KC out for praise, he deserved their tribute.

I owe KC my own thanks....

The outstanding work KC’s done will always be to his credit...."


Of course, this doesn't include the praise you gave Professor Johnson before your recent attack. (i.e., "Congratulations to Taylor and Johnson for more well-deserved recognition of their outstanding book."). Thus, John in Carolina, what you've written is a strawman that also doesn't even rise to the level of "nit-picking."


By the way, since Joan Foster is here, reading and posting on this blog, perhaps she'd announce for public consumption whether or not she was banned from D-i-W. The fact that she hasn't is quite telling. MOO! Gregory

One Spook said...

"By the way, since Joan Foster is here, reading and posting on this blog, perhaps she'd announce for public consumption whether or not she was banned from D-i-W. The fact that she hasn't is quite telling. MOO! Gregory"

Indeed.

Much like Bill Anderson commented, I have admired Joan's work on this case since the very beginning, and thus I was astonished to see Joan assume a "victim status" in allowing the unsubstantiated rumor of her "banning" to persist.

While Joan easily could have dispelled that rumor, even clarifying that comments were closed, that she did not is at once telling and disappointing.

One Spook

JWM said...

To Anon @ 7:24,

Thanks for your comment.

To Joan,

Most of your comment is OT to what Halkides says about "KC Johnson Now" and my integrity and blogging.

To sceptical,

I will continue to refute and expose Halkides but I don't plan to get into the "why" of what he's doing.

I will post tonight or tomorrow AM responding to you on the main page concerning some of my own "whys."

I've appreciated the way you've engaged in our back-and-forths, especially as you were coming from a position critical of me.

To One Spook @ 10:01 AM,

I concluded your 10:01 comment is directed mostly at Joan.

Am I right about that?

To commenter at 11:06 AM,

Do you prefer to be referred to as Moo! Gregory or just Gregory?

I plan to respond to your comment tomorrow on the main page calling attention to your selective, distorting quoting of what I've actually said as well as a major accusation you made that's demonstrably false.

To One Spook @

Thank you for a very thoughtful comment.

There’s one part of it with which I’d take issue: your winning team metaphor.

I’m an individual blogger who sometimes works in alliance with other bloggers for common goals.

But I don’t sign on to any team and I preserve my independence.

If you read the response to sceptical I plan for tonight or tomorrow, you’ll see I say more about that.

John

halides1 said...

John,

I have added a second update that fills in the information for interested readers without holding anyone else up for gratuitous ridicule.

Chris

JWM said...

This thread is now closed to comments.

John