Distinguished Professor of Racial Demagoguery

An editorial in this month’s New Criterion provides a thorough portrait of the rogues’ gallery responsible for the Duke rape scandal.

Here’s an excerpt on one of my favorite “distinguished” academic demagogues:

One of the central players in the scandal was Houston A. Baker, Jr., a former president of the Modern Language Association [and University of Pennsylvania professor] who has built his career through a carefully orchestrated fabrication of race scandals and juvenile cultural relativism. (Choosing between Shakespeare and Jacqueline Susann, he once wrote, is “no different from choosing between a hoagy and a pizza,” adding that “I am one whose career is dedicated to the day when we have a disappearance of those standards.”) Soon after the lacrosse scandal broke, Professor Baker called for “immediate dismissals of those principally responsible for the horrors of this spring moment at Duke. Coaches of the lacrosse team, the team itself and its players, and any other agents who silenced or lied about the real nature of events.” He joined the other members of the Group of 88 in signing a “thank you” letter to campus radicals who had distributed a “wanted” poster of the lacrosse players and publicly branded them “rapists.” After the more serious charges against the three students were dropped in December, the mother of another member of the team emailed to ask if he would reconsider his comments. Professor Baker’s response is illuminating:

“LIES You are just a provacateur [sic] on a happy New Years [sic] Eve trying to get credit for a scummy bunch of white males! …

I really hope whoever sent this stupid farce of an email rots in… . umhappy [sic] new year to you … and forgive me if your [sic] really are, quite sadly, mother of a “farm animal.”

Houston Baker was the George D. and Susan Fox Beischer Professor of English at Duke (how proud the Beischers must be); he has recently decamped to a distinguished professorship at Vanderbilt University. What does that tell us about the state of American academia?

Thanks to Robert Cherry.

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