I get it that most college faculty pretty much follow the herd when it comes to forming their political views. Possessing conventional views is essential not simply for tenure, but for securing an academic appointment in the first place. Don’t expect to be part of a group if you don’t sign on for its group-think. For many faculty this ethical compromise is a no-brainer, especially if it means you get–and keep–your job.
And so it must be for one Dr. Chris Swindell, as he is known to his broadcast journalism students at Marshall University, or Christopher Swindell, professor of journalism, if you please, as he bills himself when writing hard-hitting op-eds for The Charleston [WV] Gazette. Dr. Swindell’s latest think-piece–about gun control–caught my eye because it’s a great example, intentional or not, of the lengths an academic will go to establish his bona fides as a member of the herd. I am also fascinated by the insight it gave me into the teaching of journalism.
Watching the celebration at the NRA convention over the defeat of background checks was the most nauseating experience of the day.
I am not a New York gun control liberal, either. I support a shotgun for home defense, a handgun for limited conceal/carry, and an assortment of hunting rifles to balance West Virginia’s exploding deer population (as evidenced by hourly collisions with cars). So, I am hardly out of the mainstream.
Maybe not out of the mainstream of the general population, but the academic herd? Not so much. Gotta do something about that, and fast:
But, the gun safety debate is B.S. This foaming at the mouth, Obamar is coming for the guns, Nanny Bloomberg is a bad billionaire, and most despicable of all, those survivors and victims are pawns in the liberal agenda is knuckle-dragging Cretan talk….
….Here it is. The NRA advocates armed rebellion against the duly elected government of the United States of America. That’s treason, and it’s worthy of the firing squad. The B.S. needs a serious gut check. We are not a tin pot banana republic where machine gun toting rebel groups storm the palace and depose the dictator.
Phew! There’s enough heavy-handed sarcasm and wild-eyed hyperbole in those two paragraphs to dispel any suspicions that Professor Swindell might dare think for himself. We get it, Dr. Chris. Obama voters: good! NRA: bad!
But some of us are really, really puzzled by the professor’s unwarranted attack on the Greeks. What do the simple folk of Crete have to do with issues of gun safety in the United States? Last time I checked, the Cretans didn’t have a Minotaur in this fight.
It’s sad to think that journalism students at Marshall are being fed such awful ideas about natives of the Greek Isles. Why anyone would refer to them as “knuckle-dragg[ers]”? This seems to me to be the basest form of stereotyping. In fact, I think it’s downright cretinous.