Blogs > Cliopatria > Don't Quote Me!

Sep 21, 2006 8:21 pm

Don't Quote Me!

Who in a position of authority at Columbia would daft enough to invite Holocaust denier/genocidal maniac/most notorious and powerful anti-Semite of the current age/etc. Ahmadinejad (who, by the way, I saw on t.v. claiming today claiming that the 35,000 people who protested his speech at the U.N. were actually one hundred paid Zionist stooges) to speak?
David Bernstein,"Columbia U. Dean Invites Ahmadinejad to Speak," Volokh Conspiracy, 21 September.

If a high school student wrote such a"sentence" in an essay, would you reject his application for admission to college post haste? Yet, Professor Bernstein not only commits this atrocity to the internet, but it gets quoted and linked to by Professor Reynolds!

Apart from the substance of Bernstein's grievance, which apparently has no merit because the invitation has been revoked, what meltdown of literacy would cause Bernstein to publish a sentence like this and what meltdown of discretion would cause Reynolds to replicate it? If I ever commit such an act of public indecency, please turn your heads and Don't Quote Me!

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Stephan Xavier Reich - 11/25/2006

Yeah, you've done as badly yourself in heated exchanges. And, for the record, the fact that his complaint was heeded and the invitation revoked, does not make his claim "without merit." Obviously.

Ralph E. Luker - 9/22/2006

Actually, I think your satire worked well. There was just more to be satirized than you may have seen at first glance.

Jonathan Dresner - 9/22/2006

As, apparently, was my attempt at satire.

Adam Kotsko - 9/22/2006

Truly, that sentence is a failure on every level.

Ralph E. Luker - 9/22/2006

Did you miss the repetition of "claiming" within the parentheses?

Adam Kotsko - 9/22/2006

He omitted the word "be" between "would" and "daft."

I'm not sure that Ahmadinejad counts as a "genocidal maniac," either -- unless genocide is just a state of mind.

Ralph E. Luker - 9/21/2006

Professor Reich might want to offer evidence, as I did, in place of his assertitudes.

Jonathan Dresner - 9/21/2006

As someone with my own distinct grammatical tics -- the use of offset clauses with dashes being chief among them -- and a tendency towards parenthetical comments (I once nested paragraphs four levels deep in a personal e-mail [but my advisor cured me, mostly, in academic writing, when he gave me the stark choice of saying something, or not saying it, but don't bury it]) and commas and generally qualifying my statements, I'm perhaps not someone to throw too many stylistic stones.

However, as an example/exemplar of the ab/use of the slash, it indeed rivals (pseudo)serious postmodernists.

Ralph E. Luker - 9/21/2006

Upset, surely, but his upset reduces him to sputtering idiocy; and friends don't quote friends' sputtering idiocies. Anger ought to spur powerful prose. This kind of thing is bloggerly impetuosity at its worst.

Jason T. Kuznicki - 9/21/2006

Perhaps he was justifiably upset? Now this is not an excuse for bad writing -- nothing ever is -- but it certainly is an explanation.

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