22.6.17

THIS DEFIES PARODY.

An adjunct communication professor at Newark, New Jersey's Essex Community College goes on Tucker Carlson's show to participate in a contentious interview.  (How contentious?  I shut it down after about a minute or two of her ranting.)  But now she claims to have been administratively terminated for daring to appear on Fox News and jousting with Tucker Carlson.
The letter does not mention the Tucker Carlson show, but Durden said administration officials made a point of bringing it up that day. In a meeting with Lee and Karen Bridgett, assistant director of Human Resources, Durden said Bridgett told her someone "complained'' that she associated herself to the college during the television show appearance.

Not true, and Durden proved it.

Look at the six-minute clip. It's on the internet. Google Lisa Durden and Tucker Carlson. Next to her name, it says political commentator. During the contentious discussion with Carlson, Durden never identified herself as a professor at the college. Durden said she was representing herself while arguing that Black Lives Matter had a right to have a Memorial Day celebration in a safe space for black people at a time when there's a rise in white nationalism and racism.

Considering her explanation, Durden, and many who support her, want to know what she did wrong. Durden said Bridgett told her the matter is being investigated.
Verdict first, then the trial.

Perhaps, though, her experience will be an instructive moment for protecting the standards of academic discourse.
"For those of us who are involved in advocacy, politics, who may hold opinions which differ from those in different spaces, this kind of thing has a terrible chilling effect,'' Rebecca Williams, an assistant professor, wrote in her letter to the administration.
No, Becky, you just haven't learned how to offer up a contrary point of view in a non-confrontational way. Nor did Ms Durden. If anything, she was done in by the cult of authenticity.
"As this suspension will become public in the world of academia -- and especially in black public intellectual circles --  it will bring more negative publicity to our institution even as we are trying to move forward with our new president.''
Forgive me the impertinence, this is Essex Community College in Newark F***ing New Jersey. Come off it.  It might be more pertinent that all Ms Durden did was shoot her mouth off on a shouting show: she didn't call for muscle or organize an occupation of the Fox studio.  It's another administrative usurpation.  As such, she deserves redress.

Perhaps, though, we're seeing a rediscovery of civic virtue, no matter how artlessly the human resources types protected it.  "Nobody cares what your agenda is when you act like barbarians."  That includes carrying on in something other than a measured way on Fox, no matter how provocative the interviewer is.

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