December 07, 2006

Snipers R Us

So I came across this article--well, more like a straight transcription--yesterday in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. Seems that Michael Berube and David Horowitz had lunch.

Were salads flung with great pique? Soup spoons wielded with extreme prejudice?

Not so much. Basically, it was your typical academic conversation, which is to say it took a whole lot of words for Horowitz and Berube to get to the point, which appears to be, um, well, Horowitz called Berube a crazy radical and that apparently made Berube all mad but Horowitz promised to retract that, so yay. Oh, and professors should, you know, teach and not be nuts about it. Your definitions of "teach" and "nuts" may vary according to your political leanings, of course. As do your definitions of pretty much everything else, nowadays. Sigh.

Really the most interesting part of the whole thing was the fact that when face-to-face, the fiery rhetoric and glib insults that are so much a part and parcel of Web life were notably absent. You could argue that decorum won out, but the still, small cynic in me thinks that maybe it's a little harder to be a total asshole in person NOT because humans are bred to politeness, but because humans have been bred to fear a punch in the nose.

Maybe I'll give Don King a call--I bet there'd be a lot of interest in a series of Blog Rumbles.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at December 7, 2006 03:39 PM

It'd be the Bum Fights of the 21st Century.

Posted by: marc at December 7, 2006 03:54 PM

Snappy retorts are harder when they actually have to be snappy.

Without any retorts, civility fills the vacuum.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at December 7, 2006 05:21 PM

Maybe those guys who clay-animated "Celebrity Deathmatch!" would be willing to take on the project, as "Academic Deathmatch!"

You know, I used to feel bad about being a nobody at a small regional school. I don't any more.

Posted by: ricki at December 8, 2006 08:38 AM