September 29, 2005

The September Academic of the

The September Academic of the Month

Surely one of the most popular features here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” is our Academic of the Month, which appears, as you may very well have guessed, monthly. By means of this months-old program, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have done the hard work of lauding numerous examples of tenured radicalism.

In this, our September installment of our Academic of the Month, we aim to do something a bit special. Previously, we have expended a great deal of energy lambasting fairly obvious targets—a species of morons so offensive that darn near anyone outside of academe would head for the hills at the mere mention of their names. We’ve taken to task a rogue’s gallery of professorial chuckleheads: A Marxist communications expert; a paleo-feminist sociologist; a radical English teacher without any grasp of grammar.

This month’s Academic of the Month isn’t quite as irksome. In fact, you may want to think of him as something of a Stealth Moron—the kind of fellow who seems humdrum on the surface, and only seems offensive upon careful review.

Who, you may well be asking yourself, is this Stealth Moron? Who is our September Academic of the Month?

Well, we’re glad you asked. It’s one William E. Connolly, who holds the lofty title of Krieger-Eisenhower Professor in the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University.

To the untrained eye, Mr. Connolly is a beacon of academic respectability. A whilom faculty member at the University of Massachusetts, Mr. Connolly headed to Baltimore in the 1980s, to experience that fine city’s exciting cultural life and omnipresent gunfire.

In his rise up the totem pole of American higher education, Mr. Connolly appears to have contributed an assortment of inoffensive, if mildly soporific, books and articles. Political Theory and Modernity, Legitimacy and the State, “Democracy and Territoriality”—these are the ho-hum products of Mr. Connolly’s scholarly lucubrations.

To be sure, Mr. Connolly is a leftist: He’s penned a few pieces here and there for such chi-chi outlets as Raritan and Dissent. All the same, he appears to be a fairly reasonable character, the kind of fellow who may be sufficiently retardataire to forgo political proselytizing in the classroom.

So, what precisely is so offensive about Mr. Connolly? Why does he merit our attention?

Well, one need look no further than a recent piece he penned for The Baltimore Sun, which is entitled “Why Do So Many Americans Remain Quiet About This Disaster in Iraq?” The essay was sufficiently down-to-earth and reasonable to warrant its republication on the Arab News “website”—a sure sign of moderation and carefulness.

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” found Mr. Connolly’s “thought piece” so rebarbative that its author most assuredly deserves this month’s Academic of the Month crown. If this is the kind of thing that passes for deep thought at Hopkins, you’d be better off sending your kids to Yale—they may have to dodge bullets there, but at least they won’t have to dodge William Connolly.

In essence, the piece asks the specious and rhetorical question “Why aren’t people really, really fuming about the Iraq War like I am?” Naturally, it offers all the typical clichés of this sordid sub-genre: The dubious Vietnam parallel; the willfully obtuse pass offered to Cindy Sheehan; the anti-Bush vitriol; &c.

Yet the article has something special. Take, for example, these wretched sentences:

I am not speaking about that percentage of the populace who defend the hubris of the Bush administration no matter its cost in lives, safety, money and noble American values. I am talking about people who now see that it was a horrible mistake, for which we and others will pay for generations.

Well, gee: It’s nice to know about whom Mr. Connolly is purportedly speaking. From our cursory stroll through these feculent sentences, we get the distinct impression that Mr. Connolly divides the world into two groups:

1) People who are mindless partisans of the Bush administration and will defend its evils
2) People like William Connolly

Notice, dear reader, the fact that the esteemed Mr. Connolly divides the population into two groups, and two groups only: Those who would defend Bush if he started eating babies, and those who feel the exact same way about the Iraq War that William Connolly does. Gee, can’t there be some kind of third group?

We’d love to report that this is a particularly low point—if not the very nadir—of the essay. But we’d be lying. The whole thing is a locus classicus of cant. For instance, Mr. Connolly prattles on and on about the ways in which those who disagree with him supposedly question his patriotism. And he offers the following mind-boggling solution to the “quagmire” of Iraq: “…the United States could admit its mistake, beg forgiveness from the world, ask the United Nations to create a peacekeeping force and pledge a few hundred billion dollars to help fund that effort.” Well, that ought to work! Call in the UN! What have they ever screwed up? We can’t think of a thing.

But surely the end of this pathetic piece offers the most upsetting line: “…we must initiate cross-country citizen dialogues with people of the Muslim faith who find both the state terrorism of the Bush administration and the nonstate terrorism of Al-Qaeda to be abhorrent.”

So, the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Political Science sees nary a difference between George W. Bush’s foreign policy and the machinations of Osama bin Laden, save the fact that the former is a “state actor” and the latter is not. May we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” humbly suggest that this is a tad morally obtuse, if not morally repugnant? And to think people question his patriotism!

As a result of this steaming heap of garbage, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quartelry,” are pleased as punch to name William E. Connolly our official Academic of the Month.

If you know of a professor who deserves our plaudits, feel free to send us a tip by clicking on the “Contact Us” “link” at the top right-hand corner of your computer screen. There are so many tenured radicals, and so little time.

Posted at September 29, 2005 12:01 AM | TrackBack