So The Chronicle of Higher Education has seen fit to fire Naomi Schaefer Riley for criticizing the state of what passes for “Black Studies” in American universities. There’s no need to break that down here, Jonathan Last has a telling analysis of what motivated the firing, namely, the Chronicle’s decidedly left-wing readers and staff writers believe criticizing Black Studies is a racist hate crime.
I admit there have been times when I thought the editors at the Chronicle were a few chapters short of a dissertation, if you know what I mean. Not wicked or ideologically blinkered, just a little, well, dull. How else to explain why they keep on a writer who doesn’t have a basic command of English, regularly print another writer whose pseudo-Freudian analysis of the inherent misogyny and bloodlust of conservatives is embarrassingly stupid, and still another writer whose every essay reads like a caricature of academic writing at its worst.
(On that last, consider just this smidgen from her post about Naomi’s offending essay: “Anti-racialism is in direct opposition to anti-racism. Anti-racism confronts the historical and contemporary inequities between black and white Americans, inequities that remain so entrenched that a former New York Times corresponded (sic) recently described race in the U.S. as a caste system.” Forget the manufactured term, a hallmark of those professorial mavens of perpetual grievance and hyper-intellectualized discourse, forget, even, the sloppy writing — where else but in the slow-churning bowels of the Academy can one find an aspiring intellectual who thinks a Times correspondent is the definitive source for anything?)
Whenever I marveled at the capacity of the Chronicle‘s editors to tolerate shoddy writing and poor thinking in service to a moribund worldview, I reminded myself that they had Naomi on staff. She’s a strong writer and an independent thinker. Sure, they publish a few nitwits to keep the aging campus lefties happy, but they also value originality.
It’s a shame and it’s shameful, but it least it makes clear for any discerning reader that for all their pretense to journalistic integrity and brave thinking, the Chronicle‘s editors are fools and cowards, and Naomi shouldn’t cast her pearls before swine.