Saturday, February 19, 2005

Why Ward Churchill Doesn't Matter...
I know I'm late chiming on this, but I really wouldn't even have given this any more thought, but Bill O'Reilly is obsessing over it.

We can all agree that University of Colorado Professor of "Ethnic Studies" Ward Churchill is an imbecile. He's a college professor, after all. We can all agree that Ward Churchill is a rabble-rouser that didn't have the talent for a real job. You only need to hear the Marxist rhetoric and take a look at the hypocrisy that enables him to rail against capitalism while maintaining a comfortable income from one of it's cornerstones, the university.

The clues are everywhere: the hippie hairdo, the ever-present-but-feigned anger and angst, the seeming belief that he 60's never ended, the adoption of the identity of an oppressed minority, i.e. Cherokee Indian.

It's all an affectation. It's all a costume that Churchill wears because his target audience (i.e. dopey college kids pretending to be revolutionaries on Mommy and Daddy's dime) expect him to wear. I've seen his type too many times in the more upscale cafes and coffee houses of New York City to have any illusions as to what the man is all about. It's acting, it's ignorance, it's pretense, all wrapped up in one easy-to-open package. Engage Mr. Churchhill's type in anything resembling logical conversation and what you get is a lot of raw emotion dressed up with words like "trans-gendered", "jingoism" and "revolutionary". Mr. Churchill is like the croutons in your salad: it just might be stale bread, but hell, it sure does make the salad look fancier.

Now about a week ago or so in this space, I did in fact write that I found Mr. Churchill offensive and retarded, but I've changed my mind. I still don't agree with anything he has to say, but he does have a right to say it. After all, there is no law against being an idiot or having poor taste. But the media frenzy that has been whipped up over that "little Eichmann" phrase is way over the top.

Churchill, and others of his ilk, say such things not because they truly believe them; they say them because otherwise no one would pay attention to them. Churchill can write 9,000 books for all I care, and not more than a few thousand in the country will ever read them. Churchill and his cronies can run the country down all they want, but in the end, no one will follow them over the ramparts and engage in a serious plot to overthrow the government and the capitalist system. Churchill has no power, except to preach to the choir.

That choir, incidentally, will grow out of the phase that they're in ,in which socialist revolution is an appealing and romantic prospect. All his rabid little college students who live in the fantasy world that he creates for them will eventually run smack-dab into reality once the vacation of college ends, and they'll have to find a way to support themselves. Captialism will look pretty good to them them. In fact, I'll lay down money that says 99% of the do-gooder-socially-conscious crowd in his classroom eventually becomes the "little Eichmanns" he so hates. It's just that right now, the more attention he gets, the more he loves it. The more we try to convince his "legions" the more they will rebel and engage in further idiocy. Only the cold sting of reality in the world outside academia can ever cure the mild disease they suffer from. They'll fight anyone who tries to administer the dose of reality in the same way your child fights a dose of cough syrup-- it's a defect built into teenagers to be contrary for the sake of it.

So, we can stop worrying about all the "Little Churchhills" out there becasue in the end, they don't matter. They never reach a wide audience and the ones they do get to would have been predisposed to join the Manson Family anyway.

The First Amendment has been twisted into pretzel-like forms over the last 40 years, but three things about it are still recognizable:

1. You have the right to be stupid.
2. You have the right to shout your stupidity from the rooftops.
3. The rest of us have the right to tune you out.

And those are the reasons why Churchill doesn't matter; he's a lone voice, baying in the wilderness of stupidity, and getting very little response. Little, that is, until someone who bloviates just as much, manages to latch onto his story and stir up a hurricane where once there was nothing but a puff of hot air.

Ward Churchill is not the harbinger of doom. He is not the messiah of Leninist-Marxist thought (contradiction in terms, I know) that will lead a revolution. He's a jerk, plain and simple, given the rare advantage of a public forum. In that reagrd, Churchill is no better than the Senate or the House of Representatives, only the latter have the distinction of having been elected.

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