Thursday, February 03, 2005

Professor, Pope, and Parents

Richard Cohen, in his Washington Post column, has taken up the issue of the whackadoo Colorado professor who compared 9/11 victims to Nazis (see two previous posts). Not that he agrees with the professor; he just thinks Hamilton College shouldn't have caved in to the right-wing "mob" and cancelled the professor's speech:

Hamilton College...has canceled a speaking engagement for Ward Churchill, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. For more than a week, Hamilton stuck to its guns, insisting that Churchill would speak no matter what -- no matter what being that he is an idiot. For some reason, Hamilton did not know this at first. It soon learned it in spades.

Churchill was supposed to speak about American Indian activism. He is the purported genuine article, an American Indian who, according to press reports, interrupted Denver's Columbus Day parade because Christopher Columbus was a racist enslaver of indigenous peoples. That happens to be true. It is also true that some of those indigenous peoples engaged in cannibalism and the dismemberment of living human beings. No one refers to this period as the Age of Enlightenment. ...

Then Bill O'Reilly struck. The Fox TV commentator went to town on the controversy, finding the usual liberal idiocy at the usual liberal college perpetrated by the usual liberal morons. Having rounded up his usual suspects, O'Reilly ended a segment about Hamilton by providing the name of the college's president, ...her e-mail address, and the school's phone number. ...

After getting about 6,000 e-mails, the school caved...because O'Reilly had, in effect, organized an Internet lynch mob, a collection of cyber-goons -- one of whom threatened to bring a gun -- the school simply junked the program. It chickened out.

Cohen thinks Hamilton College should never have invited the professor to speak, but it was even worse, in his view, to cancel the professor because of the protests of right-wingers. He might benefit from a more careful review of the reporting on this incident. Many people who wanted the speech cancelled weren't conservatives by any measure. From what I can see, the right and the left both agreed that this idiot shouldn't be invited to speak at a respectable college. In this case, the right was right, and so was the left. Except for the dangleberry who threatened to bring a gun.

* * *

An article in the Washington Times today discussed the illness of Pope John Paul II and papal succession. By all accounts the Pope is not in imminent danger of dying, but given his age and physical condition, thinking about the process of selecting the next pope is appropriate. And it's important for everyone, including those who aren't Catholic or even Christian, because of the overwhelming influence of this one man. The article stated:

Most [church observers] are predicting Italian candidates as the front-runners, but one Nigerian cardinal and several Latin American prelates also are being named as men who represent the areas of the world where the Catholic Church is growing the fastest. ...

When the pope dies, the funeral rites will last nine days. The election, which will be conducted in total secrecy, will be in the Sistine Chapel. ...

Most conclaves in the past two centuries have been five days or less, although in 1831, a conclave lasted for 54 days. John Paul II's selection occurred on the third day, after the conclave reached an impasse over two Italian candidates....

Popes are selected by cardinals under the age of 80. Currently, there are 119 cardinals eligible to vote in the selection. In their hands rests a decision of awesome importance. For a brief summary of the traditions and procedures involved, see this article.

Think, for a moment, about the possibility of an African pope. I don't think it will happen; selection of a pope from South America seems more possible. In either case, the implications for the Church and its traditions are significant.

* * *

This is a great Dave Barry column from 1996. Sample:

To an adolescent, there is nothing in the world more embarrassing than a parent. ... Yes, parents: In the ongoing battle between you and your adolescent children, you possess the ultimate weapon -- The Power To Embarrass. Use this power, parents! If your adolescent children are in ANY way displeasing you -- if they are mouthing off or engaging in unacceptable behavior -- do not waste your breath nagging them. Instead, simply...sing. In fact, I think our judicial system should use this power to punish teenage criminal defendants.

You may have to register with the Miami Herald to read the whole column, but it's worth it.

3 Comments:

Blogger RomanWanderer said...

The current Pope was the first non-Italian to be elected afte a period of over 440.
There's also German cardinal as a runner up, as far as I know.

11:59 AM, February 03, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

RW, you may be referring to Cardinal Ratzinger. From what I read, I think they consider him to be too old.

7:10 PM, February 03, 2005  
Blogger ric ottaiano said...

i don't recall anyone complaining that Larry Summers of Harvard's academic freedom was being trampled when he was pilloried for suggesting that there may be genetic differences between men and women that might affect their abilities in higher mathmatics...

3:33 PM, February 04, 2005  

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