In a just world Mr. Ward Churchill, the Colorado “scholar,” would be forced to walk around wearing a T-shirt like one of my grandsons wears occasionally — the one that says “I make stuff up.”
We, of course, have not heard the last of “the little Indian that couldn’t.”
There is at least some satisfaction among those who still value intellectual honesty that this bullying phony has been fired from the faculty at the University of Colorado.
But now we must endure his martyrdom.
He and his supporters will employ the courts to portray him as a victim of those who would throttle free speech. But that is not the issue at all.
Nor is the issue the instances of cynical, thumbsucking invention and intellectual thievery detailed in the 124-page “Report of the Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct,” released by the university more than a year ago in the Churchill case.
No, the real issue is the sorry, embarrassing fact that such a flimsily disguised charlatan could have used his menacing charm to such effect for so long.
Academia just rolled over for this guy.
At first he must have laughed to himself at how easy it was to play the “authenticity” card on campus. Dark sunglasses. “Wounded Knee!” Big Medicine.
But finally, as is so often the fate of such men, he started believing his own stuff. He sucked up to himself for so long that he developed intellectual curvature of the spine. But no one in the ivy halls dared remark at what a grotesque spectacle he had made of himself. He was so “authentic.”
Then he went over the top once too often, with his poisonous remarks re the victims of 9/11. It took the flames of public outrage to illuminate the dark reaches of his flimflammery and force a closer look at this academic phenom. And even then it took a long, hand-wringing time to bring Churchill’s Magical Mystery Tour to a halt.
The shameful thing, the embarrassing thing is, how many more Ward Churchills must still be slouching through the Groves of Academe.
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