I haven’t written about this previously because I haven’t wanted to give this predictable charade the attention Naomi Schaefer Riley so desperately craves, but here she is, boo-hoo-hooing all the way to the bank with her next book deal in the works, I am sure. Fannie and Lance wrote perceptively about this embarassment for the Chronicle of Higher Education last week–read their links if you want more background. So, to summarize:
- Nasty, lazy blogger with an axe to grind insults the ongoing dissertations of a few graduate students on a Chronicle-sponsored blog.
- The mostly academic audience for the Chronicle blogs takes offense not only at the a) racist invective of the original post, but b) at the fact that the writer came to her opinions on the basis of reading just the titles and brief abstracts of the dissertation.
- The Chronicle dismisses the nasty, lazy blogger, after foolishly trying to portray the blogger’s post as an “invitation to debate.” (Since when do we debate the existence of academic fields? Do we debate the existence of the Philosophy or History departments? Does the Chronicle publish blog posts arguing that all biology departments are driven by their political agenda of evolution, instead of producing research based on creationism and intelligent design too?)
- The nasty, lazy blogger writes a screed complaining of her unfair victimization by typical left-wing closed-minded academics.
Here’s something from the nasty, lazy blogger that’s unintentionally funny. She complains that Black or African American Studies hasn’t advanced: “[My post] could have been written 30 years ago. And perhaps that’s the most depressing part of all this.” On that we agree! Lance called his shot last week:
The ironic takeaway is that Schaefer Riley is likely to be better paid for not reading these dissertations. This dustup now becomes a part of her professional paratext. It ensures that when certain people are looking for someone who can speak “the truth” about black studies – and black people – they will turn to her, offering her a bigger speaker’s fee or a book contract. She will get applause for this. All because she didn’t – and would never – read the as-yet-unfinished work of a trio of young scholars who believed, at least up until three days ago, that what they wrote might make a difference.
Shame, again, on the Chronicle. First, you allow a blogger to opine about dissertations she hasn’t read; now, you give her to space to defiantly proclaim that she is proud of her ignorance. What is next?
I’ll tell you what, Lance: as the nasty, lazy blogger points out today, she was a paid blogger, unlike the majority of bloggers at the Chronicle who have academic positions. Now, don’t that beat all? Is there any better argument for remaining in free blogistan after that choice morsel dropped? I think the remaining Chronicle bloggers had better ask for paychecks now, if they aren’t getting them already.