Sunday, April 5, 2009

Stanley Fish on Churchill

Ward Churchill Redux by Stanley Fish at the NY Times:

I said earlier that the answer Churchill partisans would give is “politics.” It is also the answer the jury gave. It was the jury’s task to determine whether Churchill’s dismissal would have occurred independently of the adverse political response to his constitutionally protected statements. In the ordinary academic course of things would his writings have been subject to the extended and minute scrutiny that led to the committee’s recommendations? Had the governor not called Hoffman, had state representatives not appeared on TV to call for Churchill’s head, had commentators all over the country not vilified Churchill for his 9/11 views, would any of this have happened.? The answer seems obvious to me and it has now been given authoritative form in the jury’s verdict.

Let me add (I hope it would be unnecessary) that nothing I have said should be taken either as a judgment (positive or negative) on Churchill’s work or as a questioning of the committee’s motives. I am not competent to judge Churchill’s writings and I express no view of them. And I have no doubts at all about the integrity of the committee members. They just got caught up in a circus that should have never come to town.


Go read the whole article. Classic Fish and worth reading every word.

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