Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why I Got Fired From Teaching American History

Thaddeus Russell-The Huffington Post

"So even though I managed to pull myself out of that background and into and through Columbia for a PhD, then onto a job at an elite college, I was highly uncomfortable moving from the world of weed to the world of tweed. I hated being "Professor." I cursed in class. I talked about sex. I used politically incorrect terms. My students said they had never heard the things I was teaching them in class. They called me "Bad Thad."

I showed them that during the American Revolution drunkards, laggards, prostitutes, and pirates pioneered many of the freedoms and pleasures we now cherish -- including non-marital sex, interracial socializing, dancing, shopping, divorce, and the weekend -- and that the Founding Fathers, in the name of democracy, opposed them. I argued not only that many white Americans envied slaves but also that they did so for good reason, since slave culture offered many liberating alternatives to the highly repressive, work-obsessed, anti-sex culture of the early United States. I demonstrated that prostitutes, not feminists, won virtually all the freedoms that were denied to women but are now taken for granted. By tracing the path of immigrants from arrival as "primitives" to assimilation as "civilized" citizens, I explained that white people lost their rhythm by becoming good Americans. I presented evidence that without organized crime, we might not have jazz, Hollywood, Las Vegas, legal alcohol, birth control, or gay rights, since only gangsters were willing to support those projects when respectable America shunned them."
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  1. There's nothing new about this guy's views of race relations in the USA-His view of the sexualized primitive African goes back to Thomas Jefferson(and earlier) and continues today with people like David Duke. First of all, a lot of black people are not proud or happy to be the focus of repressed white people's fantasies. Also, while it is true that the Puritans left their mark on what is the ideal of American culture, America is about having a good time-and everyone, white and black and other jumps in. The whitest of white people here are sometimes called rednecks-and that label brings to mind drinking and fucking and racing fast cars and shooting guns. Then there are the Irish, Italians, and other groups known for cutting loose and enjoying life. He's using paper thin stereotypes to teach history....and by the way, the division between the reserved pillar of the community and organized crime and other sins is not as sharp as this guy wants to think. A lot of "good" families got their start in organized crime. Also, if he's saying being a prostitute of a slave is liberating-he should get out more.

    He's really full of himself and thinks he's special because his parents used drugs and exposed him to sexual situations as a child. There are a lot of people who were raised that way[the prisons, mental hospitals, and gutters of America are filled with them. Maybe his nostalgic stories of his hippie youth shock his Ivy League students, but it's really a pretty common story.

  2. Thanks for the insight Joe..

  3. Off topic, 

    But you might find this interesting my friend:

  4. By the way, the Jerusalem Fund does a lot of good

  5. Thanks Abu Zuhair..Bookmarked..I'll make a post later on about Khalidi's lecture..I haven't listened to it yet..