Monday, March 28, 2005

Spot the Vulgarity; Win Valuable Cash and Prizes

So as I was reading Front Page Magazine, catching up on the Vast Leninist Conspiracy afflicting my profession, I came across an article comparing the language of the so-called "Academic Bill of Rights" with the language of the American Historical Association's statement on professional conduct. (For background on David Horowitz and friends, see my post and links from a week or so back. And Michael Berube can always be counted on to make Horowitz cry.) In essence, the article claims that the ABOR is not the radical document its critics have claimed it to be, and that the AHA has "proven" this:
In sum, the American Historical Association’s guidelines on professional conduct specifically endorse the key tenets of the Academic Bill of Rights, including the prohibition on persistently introducing irrelevant controversial topics in the classroom and the responsibility of faculty to expose students to a spectrum of scholarly views. Scholars and members of the AHA should welcome the Academic Bill of Rights as an attempt to see that its own statement of policy is actually put into practice.
After reading the article I decided to post the following comment, which read as follows:
The problem with your claim that the AHA or other organizations "endorse" key aspects of the ABOR is as follows: Whereas the ABOR includes statements and observations that are hardly controversial, and which are indeed central to the whole notion of liberal inquiry, it is accompanied and promoted by a group of organizations who — unlike professional bodies — draw systematic conclusions from anecdotal, incomplete, and frequently false information. Universities and professional societies have standards of research and teaching which they are entitled to enforce, using reasonable and fair processes. Because your organization is premised on the existence of a luminous conspiracy that floods every level of higher education, you choose not to accept the conclusions reached by those organizations and societies. Instead, you recommend the interference of state legislatures into those processes and invite disgruntled students to purge their anger and share their "discomfort" online, which you use to develop "cases" against individual faculty. The result is considerably less impressive than you assume.

Initially, my comment was rejected; a window popped up explaining that FPM has new policies regarding "vulgarity" in their comments section, and that my submission did not meet their guidelines. Since I'm prone to swear a lot in these kinds of discussions, I scoured the comment to see if I'd slipped something in, like "you stupid fucks," "you pious dickweeds," "you sanctimonious asshats," or something to that effect. To my surprise, my language was immaculate!

Undeterred, I resubmitted the comment, adding the following (admittedly deceitful) addendum, just to see what happened:
I say this as a conservative who loathes indoctrination and witch hunts with equal degrees of measure.
God knows why, but this time my comment sailed through their filter. Evidently, dissent is permissible only if you announce that you're a conservative. Coulda been a glitch, but in the intellectual spirit of Front Page Magazine, I prefer to see this as a ruthless and ideologically-motivated effort to liquidate opinions that contradict the "politically correct" views of our conservative masters. Have they no sense of decency, at long last? Have they no sense of decency?