Friday, January 20, 2006

COUNTERPOINT EXTRA: BOUNTIES FOR "RADICAL" TEACHERS

Apologies for this being slightly off topic, but given Mark Hyman's continual harrangues about "radicals" in academia, I thought it worth noting that an organization of UCLA alumni have taken the chilling step (one, I'm afraid, that will be encouraged more broadly by right wingers) of paying UCLA students to record lectures by faculty that are too left wing for their taste.

Students will be paid $100 if they record a teacher's lecture and turn the recording and other class materials over to the alumni group. They get only $50 if they supply notes and printed materials, but no recording.

Tellingly, the website of the UCLA alumni group respnsible for putting prices on the heads of faculty only lists faculty with left-leaning political affiliations as among the "worst of the worst."

Anybody want to start a pool on when Hyman will dedicate a "Point" editorial to applauding this tactic?

You can find a Reuters piece on this here.

tjr

3 Comments:

At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I read that article last night over at the TruthOut.Org website. It's enough to turn your stomach, disgusting. I don't suppose there's anyone offing a bounty for reports on right-wing, Neo-Fascist enabling profs, spouting government-sponsered propaganda. It's a sad, sad situation we find ourselves in. They know that resistance from the students and faculty of the higher-learning institutions led to their demise the last time they tried to turn America into a Fascist state during the Vietnam war, and they are trying avoid the same outcome this time.

 
At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way Ted, you should add a link to TruthOut.Org on your list of links. It is a great souce of current news articles and op-eds and a great discussion forum.
Thanks

 
At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Bradley said...

I somehow get the impression that this "organization" is little more than the one guy-- Andrew Jones (not to be confused with the Atlanta Brave). I know he must have some supporters in order to offer the students money, but if you look at the group's website, it becomes pretty obvious that this is an amateurish operation. The list of the "Dirty Thirty" is poorly written and argued-- relying on ad hominem attacks and epithets like "self-hating Jew" rather than, say, evidence of improper classroom conduct. Compare and contrast this to the Students for Academic Freedom [sic] who-- despite their sinister, anti-intellectual agenda-- have put together a nice-looking website with well-written articles; their presentations at least looks professional and reasonable, and they usually avoid the name-calling and other angry rhetoric that the UCLA groups employs. Of course, the fact that-- according to a Chronicle of Higher Education article-- David Horowitz fired Andrew Jones for his lack of scruples should speak volumes, I think.

Also interesting is that the first name on the "Dirty Thirty" list is Peter McLaren. McLaren's biggest crime, it seems, is working in a tradition made famous by Paulo Friere in his book PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED. Friere's arguments are a little too substantial to relate here, but one important point can be gleaned from the title-- Friere advoctated teaching the poor, the working-class, the people who suffer. You know, the oppressed. Friere believed-- rightly so, I think-- that even the illiterate worker was capable of complex, critical thinking, and that engaging that teacher these less-priviliged people would improve their lot in life.

Hard to imagine anyone being against that, I know. But here's Andrew Jones. Oddly enough, though, Friere predicted that the liberation of oppressed peoples would cause their oppressors-- who have lived so well off the labor of others for so many generations-- to claim that they are now being oppressed themselves. To an oppressor, the inability to oppress is viewed as an affliction.

All this is to say that, years ago, Friere predicted the type of right-wing righteous indignation that we see in the likes of Mark Hyman, Bill O'Reilly, David Horowitz, and now Andrew Jones. So, in a sense, perhaps this new organization can be viewed in a positive light-- the fact that the oppressors are now claiming to be victims must mean that they no longer feel free to stomp on the unfortunate, which means that liberation is happening. The forces of progress and justice for all are winning.

 

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