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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Gasbag of the Midway

Googling "Gasbag of the Midway" correctly retrieved Mitch Berg's blog.

Now King Banaian reports on another uninformed rant by the Gasbag of the Midway.

Now, I could hardly care less about the goings-on on the nation's campuses, personally, although since my children are approaching college age, I'm certainly paying attention. Personally, I took a look at the graduate-school paper chase when I was still in college, laughed, and scratched it off my to-do list; I figured life would be more productive running on a Habitrail wheel. Other conservatives see it differently, no doubt.

But I don't see life from the academic's perspective. So someone tell me - why is it a problem to academics if a private group reviews professors' political biases for non-commercial, copyright-law-compliant, critical use?

I mean, doesn't the First Amendment apply to students and other consumers of the education system?

King Banaian puts Mitch in his place:

I commented to Mitch that what UCLAProfs does not appear to be a "non-commercial, copyright-law-compliant, critical use." My lectures are a creative act, paid for by the university. The university may claim rights to that act, or may let me retain rights. The battle over intellectual property on campuses -- particularly for research funded by outside grants -- is replete with stories like this. First, Jones raised money in return for "getting the goods," making the enterprise a form of commerce. Second, he was careful to tell students that they needed to ask permission of the faculty, but it may be that UCLA doesn't give faculty transferable rights. I may be able to give my (paying) student permission to view or even record my lecture for her individual use, but the university may not give me the right to tape it myself and sell it off-campus, and it may not allow students to do likewise.

As does commenter PB:

Leave it to Mitch, he sees "Thought Police" and reacts with "GREAT!, now I won't have to think any more!"

Gee Mitch, you REALLY see no problem paying people to inform on teachers for speaking out against the administration.. I'm SURE it wouldn't have a chilling effect on free exchange of ideas. And, just an aside here and all, since when did identity politics become a hiring requirement? If you seriously want to suggest that colleges ALREADY use a liberal identity requirement, go PROVE that sometime, or are you merely about making unprovable allegations? If college campuses are bastions of intellectual analysis and consequently questions about stupid and unsound policies, it is the POLICIES that make them so, not the individuals. Apparently though, to you, the right thing to do is to blame the students and the teachers, for thinking.

Wow.. you're an amazing wit, perhaps next you'll tell us how the TIPS program, in the hands of this collosally screwed up administration, would be just peachy. I mean, they certainly aren't secretive, increadibly political, and, Joe Wilson wasn't retaliated against, we don't have secret wiretap programs collecting data on citizen to citizen contact INSIDE the United States without judicial assent, and certainly with Karl Rove at the helm, we'd NEVER see any sort of misuse of this kind of data...

You are a joke, and frankly, no longer worth the time to read.

Posted by: pb at January 24, 2006 11:36 AM

Predictably Blogger Berg had a meltdown in response. Clearly the gasbag hasn't seen PZ Myers' modest proposal:

I'm liberal, a partisan Democrat, and I'm also outspoken as a flaming godless atheist—a perfect target for their partisan hackwork.

I'd like to turn myself in. I'd be happy to surrender copies of my lecture notes and make tape recordings of every class for that $100 bounty. The money would come in handy (I'm sitting in the orthodontist's office waiting for my daughter's appointment to end…boy, would $100 help.)

Jones said he has lined up one student who, for $100 a class session, has agreed to provide tapes, detailed lecture notes and materials with what the group considers inappropriate opinion. He would not name the student or the professor whose class will be monitored. Jones characterized the work as non-commercial news gathering and advocacy that does not violate university policy.

Holy crap! It isn't per term—it's per class hour! I'm in class for 7 hours and 45 minutes per week, for 15 weeks per term. That would be $23,250 a year! Feeding the persecution fantasies of the wingers could be a rather lucrative occupation.

Unfortunately it sounds like this money making opportunity has dried up.