Monday, April 14, 2003

The most loved professor in America. . .

. . . is not Nicholas De Genova, according to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. De Genova is the now infamous Columbia professor who wished for "a million Mogadishus," a reference to the 1993 battle in Somalia in which 18 U.S. soldiers were killed.

Savor this gem in the Chronicle's interview with De Genova:

Q. Your comment about wishing for "a million Mogadishus" has attracted the most attention. I read your letter in the "Columbia Daily Spectator," which gave some more context, but I have to confess I don't see how the context changes the meaning of that statement.

A. I was referring to what Mogadishu symbolizes politically. The U.S. invasion of Somalia was humiliated in an excruciating way by the Somali people. And Mogadishu was the premier symbol of that. What I was really emphasizing in the larger context of my comments was the question of Vietnam and that historical lesson. ... What I was intent to emphasize was that the importance of Vietnam is that it was a defeat for the U.S. war machine and a victory for the cause of human self-determination.
Communism as a form of self-determination? I'll say the same thing I said to George Washington University philosophy professor Peter Caws when I made the mistake of getting into a debate with him over communism as an undergraduate during his course "Left and Right in Political Philosophy"—it ain't self-determination when the secret police put a bullet in your cranium because you are unwilling to sacrifice your ability to someone else's need.

De Genova gets more credit than he deserves. All that he's done is taken the virulent hatred of America that dominates teaching in the humanities and striped it of its academic language. I wonder how many Ph.D.'s are earned by those saying exactly the same thing as De Genova, but only in the form of a dissertation.

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