KC Johnson: Target of a new website
Few of us make such a large impression -- in academic life, journalism, or blogging -- that we get a whole site devoted to attacking us or our work. I thought that form went out of fashion with the death of SullyWatch 18 months ago, but it's been revived more recently by the anonymous blogger at The Truth about KC Johnson. You have to hope the Anonymous One isn't Duke's"Professor Forthcoming". That's actually a title that Clarence Walker at UC, Davis, bestowed on the late Armistead Robinson of the University of Virginia. Armistead's important and only book was published posthumously. But the title fits other academics who somehow survive tenure review on the promise of unpublished work and, ten years later, it's still, um ... well, it's still"forthcoming".
Professor Forthcomings do find other things to do to fill the time. Creating a site like The Truth about KC Johnson may be one of them. You have to hope that Duke's Professor Forthcoming isn't responsible for this one, though. A Duke faculty member with tenure would surely have the courage to publish these attacks in his or her own name. It's no longer, as KC had it, down-the-rabbit hole with Alice in Wonderland. We're down-the-Yellow Brick Road, now, with Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion. If tenure gives them no courage, nothing will. A Duke faculty member undertaking such a big endeavor would surely know the difference between National Journal, a highly respected publication for which Stuart Taylor writes, and National Review, a respected, if much more partisan, journal. You'd want to think that a Duke faculty member would know the research subject's story well enough to know the difference between appearance and reality. At this late date, there's no excuse for saying that KC was"apparently" almost denied tenure.
And, surely, no Duke faculty member would want to commit libel, by archiving the most vicious e-mail received by Duke faculty members in the Duke lacrosse case (scroll down), on a site bearing KC Johnson's name. Well, that's not actually true. Duke's Bill Chafe accused KC of responsibility for those e-mails in an interview with the Duke Chronicle six months ago, only to back down from the charge when asked to offer evidence. Duke's Charles Piot repeated the libel three months later in"KC's World." Some of the folk at Duke seem to think that if you repeat a libel often enough, it will be accepted everywhere as established fact. But you might not have noticed it in Piot's work, because he topped it out by associating KC with the head of the American Nazi Party. I've reported KC to the Blogmeister Kommandante over at American Nazi Party for disloyalty to the cause of A White, Heterosexual Amerikka! Get a life, Professor Forthcoming. Do something constructive to earn your keep and justify your tenure.
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