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Warning: Hazardous To The Ignorant

Biohazard SymbolOkay, so people don’t get it. Academia is not a nice place: it is survival of the fittest and filled with some really talented street fighters.

For those of you who have never ventured into the battle zone of a faculty office building, I can assure you that “peer review” is not much different than climbing into a cage with rabid pit bulls. Resources and positions are limited, egos are huge, and no quarter is asked or given. Wit is the weapon and words are the ammunition, but the destruction is real. When you challenge someone at the top of the food chain, you had better have your facts squared away and your logic honed to a razor’s edge or you will be another pathetic stain on the carpet in the faculty lounge.

Fools who wander into the fighting pit of academic challenges and call out a heavy hitter like Juan Cole are not on the fast track of evolution.

Professor Cole’s dismemberment of Jonah Goldberg was properly immortalized by James Wolcott.

Then John Fund decided he would attempt to block a job offer to Professor Cole, in a move that could end up in court, as Mr. Fund did not verify his facts.

And Christopher Hitchens has violated “netiquette” by posting edited comments from a private forum. Initially Cole offered Hitchens the excuse of inebriation, but a “friend” has said “His cups” was miraculously sober when he hacked the list.

Don’t attack an academic’s credibility and expect to walk away unbloodied. These attacks are the process by which academics gain their standing. They are required to defend themselves when they present papers for advancement. The people attacking are their “betters”, experts in the field. You must prevail to move up to the next level. What chance do dilettantes have against such veterans?


1 Mustang Bobby { 05.04.06 at 10:30 am }

The fact that Mr. Goldberg has a passing acquaintance with reality or the facts certainly never stopped him — or any pundit, for that matter — from shooting off his bazoo. The fact that Juan Cole calls him on it is the proper course of action (I love a good bitch slap fest) and that James Woolcott is cheering it on makes it even more appropriate.

Jonah’s only claim to fame is that he is the spawn of someone who is notorious. By those rights, Al Capone Jr. should have had his own talk show.

2 Karen { 05.04.06 at 11:29 am }

Yikes – I have SOOooo much reading-up to do in Bloggotopia. That’s what happens when ya has to do other duties (in the Real World [TM]) but I’ll get caught up soon.


And thanks for the kind words…everyone is on the Mend!

3 Bryan { 05.04.06 at 12:01 pm }

Bobby, there are a lot of things that Chomsky says that I don’t agree with, and IMHO Linus Pauling went around the bend in several areas, but I would never be so stupid as to challenge them in their areas.

These guys would need a team of translators to keep up with Cole’s daily reading, and can never replicate his on scene experience. Claiming that he is in error on the Middle East would require months of research and preparation. You can’t just decide you don’t like his conclusions and then claim he has made factual errors.

Opine all you want, but don’t try to attack him on the facts – he’ll bury you.

Glad to hear things are looking up, Karen.