Sunday, March 06, 2005

How Is This Man In A Position To Teach Anything?

This interview between Bill Maher and Ward Churchill left me more depressed than angry.

It of course comes as no suprise that Maher is a complete moron, a third-tier comedian who thinks his views have some kind of currency in the public debate. I am bewhildered that he his own television show -- it would make more sense to have Drew Carey discussing economic policy (except that Drew Carey might be more informed on that subject that Maher is on anything). If Bill Maher were someone I met at a party, I would dismiss him as a poorly read, awkwardly grasping fool aping the most recent Daily Kos posting.

But that's television, and I don't expect much from the people who throw this stuff together. For every "Chapelle's Show", there are 10 vanilla reality-forensic-makeover-investigation sit coms.

What really shocked me was Ward Churchill. I read dozens of articles and blog posts about his 9/11 comments, and as outrageous as they are, by now they are not a suprise. But utterly unexpected was how incredibly stupid, inarticulate and, well, uninformed he is. He sounded like a wino at the bus station:

Ward Churchill

Here are some pearls of wisdom courtesy of Ward:

-- the U.S. had it coming because of slavery.

-- the U.S. had it coming because of what happened to the American Indians.

-- the people in the World Trade Center were like Adolph Eichmann, because, like Eichmann, they were bureaucrats.

-- Adolph Eichmann was not a high-ranking Nazi, he was just a bureaucrat "who put together train schedules."

Nobody reading this site really needs me to clarify or correct these claims, because I think you know better already. The perpetrators of 9/11 weren't rebellious slaves or American Indians, nor were the victims slave owners or slave traders or cowboys. Adolph Eichmann was, in fact, an extremely high-ranking Nazi who did a great deal more than compose train schedules:

Adolf Eichmann (March 19, 1906 — June 1, 1962) was a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany, and served as an Obersturmbannführer in the S.S.. He was largely responsible for the logistics of the extermination of millions of people during the Holocaust, in particular Jews, which was called the "final solution" (Endlösung). He organized the identification and transportation of people to the various concentration camps. Therefore, he is often referred to as the 'Chief Executioner' of the Third Reich.

At the start of the Second World War, Eichmann had been promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer and had made a name for himself with his Office for Jewish Emigration. Eichmann had even been sponsored, by the SS Race and Settlement Office, to take a trip to Palestine and study aspects of the Jewish Homeland. Ironically, through this work, Eichmann made several contacts in the Zionist movement which he worked with to speed up Jewish Emigration from the Reich.

Eichmann's office was expanded in late 1939 to cover the entirety of the German Reich and Eichmann was transferred from the SD to the Gestapo in 1940. He was promoted to the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer in late 1940 and, less than a year later, Eichmann had been promoted to Obersturmbannführer. He was assigned as the commander of the Jewish Division of the Gestapo Religions Department in the Reich Central Security Office (RSHA) with the code for Eichmann's position listed as "IV-B4".

In 1942, Eichmann was personally invited by Reinhard Heydrich to attend the Wannsee Conference where Germany's anti-Jewish measures were set down into an official policy of genocide. To this "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" Eichmann was tasked as "Transportation Administrator" which put Eichmann in charge of all the trains which would carry Jews to the Death Camps of Poland. For the next two years, Eichmann performed his duties with incredible zeal, often times bragging that he had personally sent over five million Jews to their deaths by way of his trains.

Eichmann's work had been noticed and, in 1944, he was sent to Hungary after Germany had occupied that country in fear of a Soviet invasion. Eichmann at once went to work deporting Jews and was able to send four hundred thousand Hungarians to their deaths in the Nazi gas chambers.
(from Wikepedia)

Sound like any bond traders you know? Sound like some middle manager in his shirt-sleeves writing up TPS reports, or whatever middle-managers do? Of course not. I doubt Churchill even gave the assertion much thought. Why bother, when all you need do on a crapfest like Bill Maher's show is blindly assert: "[insert infamous historical monster here] wasn't a big deal, he was just like [insert college-educated job holder's title here].

But how depressing that a university professor (with tenure, no less) can go on television and state as fact something that took me 10 seconds to look up online and disprove. How Ward Churchill came to teach anything to anybody is a mystery. Pathetic.

Next week's post: Michael vents about the assholes in the Bill Maher audience who actually cheered.

UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis has a roundup of (mostly right-of-center) reaction to the Churchill appearance on Politically Incorrect. It serves to reinforce just how awful this show was on every conceivable level. There's also a Ward Churchill blog, if anyone's interested.


At 3/06/2005 12:30 PM, Blogger PKD said...


Yesterday. I woke up at noon and drove to campus to go to the gym, but there was a campus-wide event sucking up all of the parking in a one-mile radius.

I slammed on my brakes, jerked the wheel left, and pulled on the e-brake. My front tires bit into the asphalt and were eagerly overtaken by my rears. Flooring it, I reversed my velocity and was off like a dress on prom night. I had to get drunk.

Mind you, I had not yet eaten. I prefer to exercise on an empty stomach - makes me feel less fat. So, drinking at this point was going to hit me harder. I was greatly looking forward to this.

My roommates were sitting on the couch. I cussed sorely at them about not having parking, then downed two shots of Jim Beam. My one roommate joins me (the other gave up l'alcohol for Lent). I have a bowl of miso soup and cleanse my throat with a Sam Adams.

It occurs to me that I'm going to become dehydrated, so I pour a tall glass of Texas Sweet Tea and use it to chase a couple more shots of Beam. I remark to my roommate who is drinking with me that this is a "really good buzz" and that "I can feel the buzz in my legs!"

Some hours passed. I roasted chicken breasts and red potatoes in olive oil, rosemary, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. A broad comes over with a bottle of Lemon Lime, that we may mix our Canadian Mist with something that isn't beer. We rent Infernal Affairs II.

The movie was great.

The broad was cold.

The whiskey was also great.

At 3 am I fell asleep.

At 3/06/2005 12:35 PM, Blogger John said...

Yeah I caught that show. The thing that amused me was how inarticulate Churchill was. Maher kept trying to get him to justify himself, but Churchill just couldn't pull it off.

The guy whose brother died in the WTC seemed pretty forgiving of Churchill, which bugged me.

At 3/23/2005 7:32 AM, Blogger Lee said...

Michael, do you know this Keith kid? Or is it some random dude posting a pre-written comment in order for you to click his name and get hits on his blog? I'm thinking the latter.

While I'm on it, what the fuck is up with all these blogs dedicated to the drinking and partying of their authors. Does the person really think that they are unique in the world with their 'wild behavior' and 'excessive drinking?' Maybe that shit is 'crazy' where they live, but to me it seems like normal college behavior. I have yet to read anything shocking. (Of course that could be a symptom of the decline of our educational institutions, but I digress.)


Post a Comment

<< Home