17 February 2007


Oh dear! There is a commentator who calls me names, curses at me, and asks people to write to my university to "complain" about me.* What is a tenured faculty member to do? Well, I thought perhaps my friend misunderstands the world even more fundamentally than I suspected. So I went to Wikipedia - the sort of resource my literal-minded pal might be able to read - and looked up "tenure." Here is part of what it says:

“Academic tenure is primarily intended to guarantee the right to academic freedom: it protects respected teachers and researchers when they dissent from prevailing opinion, openly disagree with authorities of any sort, or spend time on unfashionable topics. Thus academic tenure is similar to the lifetime tenure that protects some judges from external pressure. Without job security, the scholarly community as a whole might favor "safe" lines of inquiry. Tenure makes original ideas more likely to arise, by giving scholars the intellectual autonomy to investigate the problems and solutions about which they are most passionate, and to report their honest conclusions.”

Tenure, it's a delightful idea. I have it. So, my anonymous (oh, I meant cowardly - sorry) admirer, please feel free to go tell anyone you'd like about anything I have said on this blog - or anywhere else for that matter. I am sure you will be told to stop being a numbskull ... And thanks for affording me so much practice with the delete command!

* (Added a bit later) I forgot to mention that my ethically challenged friend also has felt it necessary to make nasty remarks about my relationship to my one year old son. Now that is real class! So when he whines about my deleting his comments .... well that is tough.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


As I see it "to see Moslems as people" does not mean endorsing or colluding with the thoughts and actions of any people in particular. Instead it means to view and evaluate their behavior and thoughts as you would that of any other people, rather than assuming that they conform with whatever image you may have in advance, whether or not this might apply to some of those you 'criticize'. It means to neither excuse nor condemn people in advance, it is as simple as that.

Your 'critique' is like saying that some husbands beat their wives, therefore the institution of marriage is an evil thing.

There is neither courage nor intelligence in your comment.

Apart from being morally corrupt, your way of looking at the world is also dangerous.

I presently live in a predominantly Moslem country. And, HOW AMAAAZING, even though I hate terrorists and all that - this is generally a pleasant experience. But occasionally I am frightened by the views of some of the people I meet here, even some that I call friends. Those views - most often of a degenerated, decadent and morally bankrupt 'WEST' - are perfect mirrors of the one you bring forth in your post.

The other day, an Islamic teacher - a friend in spirit of yours - explained to me that what he termed 'WESTERN' knowledge was something which made you smart, which is useful in itself, but is somehow WITHOUT WISDOM OF MORALS - which could of course only, or at least mainly, be found in Islam.

This would have been a frustrating experience were it not for that majority of people here who treat me as a person. But reading your post brings out the nausea from that experience. Also, that guy did talk to me in more respectful terms than the ones you use here.

18 February, 2007 08:20  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

trane. Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I think you understand my views and the commentator's quite well. I have little faith that he will "hear you" in a simlarly thoughtful and self-reflective way (I have tried 'reasoning' to no avail). I appreciate your intervention.

18 February, 2007 10:08  
Blogger Ryan Anderson said...

i think that some people comment on blogs in the same way that young children like to throw rocks into water...just to see the effects of their actions. there are people who do that incessantly, from behind the anonymous protection of a computer screen. it's annoying.

i have a feeling that most of them would never actually expression such opinions in person.

and i tend to just ignore them as much as possible. reason doesnt usually do much to affect people who come on the internet to talk trash.

21 February, 2007 01:03  

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