Sunday, September 7, 2014

How Can Someone So Wrong Be UC Berkeley's Chancellor?

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks opens his trap, and Mario Savio rolls in his
grave. But it is protected speech because Dirks says it so nice.

We've seen this kind of nonsense before, but it's easy to miss its implications. Thank goodness Atrios flags it and Ken White lays it down.

In short, UC Berkeley Nicholas Dirks uses the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement to issue an email to Berkeley faculty, staff, and students, in which he attempts to place bogus limits on free speech, claiming to favor civility, balance, and responsibility, and in the process shows the he is either ignorant, willfully obtuse, or dangerously malevolent in his desire to psyche out the Berkeley community into creating a false set of limitations on free speech. Knowing the history of UC Berkeley, I can only wish the chancellor good luck with that.

He's not the first chancellor at a UC campus to rightfully incur the wrath of a skeptical population. But thanks to Atrios and most especially Ken White for his spot-on deconstruction of Dirks' wretched statement, this latest one might get the dose of disrespect he so obviously craves. Here's to hopes of "Fuck You, Dirks" T-sheets populating the Berkeley campus, especially in Sproul Hall and Plaza. Up yours, Chancellor.

I'm so uncivil. This is how civil the cops are with non-violent civil disobedience in the UC system (these are UC Davis police):

The pepper-spraying cop, Lt. John Pike, was eventually removed from his job after eight months of paid administrative leave. He later sued UC for pain and suffering and was awarded $38,000 and his pension credits for his time at UC Davis.

The violent reaction to UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi later that day:

The Chancellor remains in her position today.

By the way, these champions of free speech make upwards of a half a million dollars a year, including salaries and benefits that include chauffeured cars and free mansions. They make more than double the salary for governors of California and its U.S. senators.

Note. I'll answer my question of why such people run our top institutions. It's because what they do and say appear so reasonable, especially to the Very Serious People of our era. Why, Nicholas Dirks sounds just like David Brooks, who has more than mastered the art of sounding reasonable while being mind-numbingly wrong. I'd love to see Ken White deconstruct one of Brooks' overly moralistic tomes. OMG, his blog partner, oddly named Patrick Non-White, has done so (read the linked article). It's good to find a fellow human who reacts to Brooksian rational non-sense in very much the same way I do.

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