May 23, 2006

Jean Sara Rohe—An Insult to Folk Music

As you can tell from our title, we are hopping mad at the subject of today’s excoriation. “An insult to folk music”? Given that we think folk music is itself an insult to folk music, clearly this Jean Sara Rohe garners none of our esteem.

Who, you may be asking yourself, is Jean Sara Rohe? Well, she was the student speaker at the recent graduation of the New School who took it upon herself to offer an angry, moronic diatribe at Senator John McCain’s expense.

Mr. McCain had been chosen as the school’s graduation speaker, and Ms. Rohe didn’t like it one bit. Like many students and faculty members in attendance, she found his opinions too odious to be respectful human beings. As such, in the course of her pathetic, cliché-ridden rant, Ms. Rohe claimed that Mr. McCain’s ideas don’t reflect the values upon which the New School was founded.

As if this weren’t sufficiently awful, she began her screed with a rendition of a folk tune. Frankly, we would have cut off her microphone at the first warbled note. If you ask us, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” is a weapon of mass destruction.

We wrote all about this brouhaha in our most recent Sunday essay for Wizbang, highlighting the event as an example of left-wing intolerance. After all, Ms. Rohe’s ill-mannered diatribe was merely the most infamous example of an organized campaign to get Senator McCain banished from then New School campus. The brats at the New School had endured four years of left-wing indoctrination, and they didn’t want to sully it with an opposing view.

Humorously, a dimwitted “commenter” on our Wizbang “post” took us to task for linking the intolerance demonstrated by many at the New School to intolerance for conservative positions at our nation’s universities more generally. According to him, the push to remove a conservative speaker from the New School had nothing to do with a problem with intellectual tolerance.

Sounds like an uphill battle? Well, just take a gander at the fellow’s “comment”:

Why is smugness so often a feature of so-called conservative commentary? Try some honesty instead. Like, for example, the "translation" of a simple declarative sentence, "The senator does not reflect the ideals upon which this university was founded," to "Anyone who deviates from my core political views should not be allowed at the New School." If you're considering a career move to translator or metaphor-interpreter, keep your day job. What Rohe said is perfectly plain: that there are certain tenets on which the university was founded, and that the speaker doesn't hew to them. It does NOT ask that he be banned, or be denied the opportunity to speak. To take a remark from Chomsky, can you at least *pretend* to be serious?

Ah, we get it now: Ms. Rohe’s claim that McCain does not reflect the values upon which the New School was founded—combined with the organized effort to remove him as graduation speaker—has nothing to do with opposing his presence on campus. How dare we link an example of left-wing intolerance to left-wing intolerance! Does an argument get any more foolish?

(Well, we suppose it does: Taking Noam Chomsky’s advice to “be serious” is even more laughable: He’s serious about cozying up to various dictators, terrorist groups, and Holocaust-deniers. If that’s “serious,” we think everyone could use a sense of humor.)

But perhaps this pathetic effort pales in comparison to that put forth by Jim Rohe, the lame folk-singing father of the aforementioned folk-singing, ill-mannered dipstick. Mr. Rohe was strolling around Al Gore’s Internet and came upon the report of her daughter’s speech at The New York Observer political “weblog.”

Apparently, he didn’t much care for the “comments” of some of the readers. Why, they were actually critical of his little daughter! How dare they! His response is so delicious it merits reprinting:

I attended the event and strongly disagree with my daughter's speech being characterized as rude. It was nothing of the sort. You've misled your readers to feed their animosity towards those who respectfully disagree. TO NOLA- you've called the speaker an airhead. This is a young person whose intellect has propelled her to the top of her class. Please think before you make irresponsible comments like that.

Okay, so his daughter is free to rip into Senator McCain whilst he sits politely beside her, and no one ought to criticize her at all. Even more obtusely, Mr. Rohe characterizes his daughter’s vituperation as polite. Yeah: We hope that he’s treated as politely every day of his life.

So let’s get this all straight: To our liberal friends, a largely unrepentant spokesman for the Taliban makes for a hunky dory Yale student, but a distinguished American senator is beyond the pale. Does anyone else find this crazy?

Not to mince words, we’ll get right to our point: Jean Sara Rohe is a mal-educated ignoramus. If your college selects a graduation speaker you don’t like, you should still be respectful. Write an angry letter to him; compose a thoughtful response to his arguments for your campus newspaper. But don’t demonstrate your intolerance and your idiocy like Jean Sara Rohe.

If Mr. Rohe finds our thoughts nasty, we can do him one better. With the characteristic class of her daughter, we’ll agree to compose a nasty personal excoriation of her, which we’ll be delighted to deliver at Mr. Rohe’s dinner table, complete with an audience of rowdy conservatives. Let’s see if she can take a bit of her own medicine.

Posted at May 23, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack