Truth in the Academy? Even tenured professors don’t tell

Living in Bloomington, Indiana, I am surrounded by Indiana University professors, with their serious mien and usually unnoticed air of elitist entitlement. Many of them seem only half-alive to me, living from the neck up.

For the past ten years, I’ve been an “outsider” in this college town, though often mistaken for a “professor”! That surprises me, since I was only a “professor” for a single year before being fired as “too experimental” from an experimental college. That was back in 1974! in California! — so you can imagine the attitudes I must have held then.

Though I’ve “refined my act” a bit since, I still view my “firing” as my biggest single “credential” now.

prof-james-tracyA college professor, James Tracy of Florida Atlantic University — one with apparently radical ideas who, unlike me, has managed to co-exist within the academy — has joined the fray that continues to surround the events (or non-events?) at Sandy Hook, and his views have gone viral.

Here’s the latest from Tracy, defending his initial blog post: “There may be elements of that event that are synthetic, that are somewhat contrived.”

I was intrigued. So I looked up his and found a Corbett Report interview from just two days prior to Sandy Hook (assuming that time-lines remain stable, that is; and that is another weirdness about Sandy Hook, the perported foreknowledge and foretasting of it). Corbett respects Tracy. I respect Corbett. Ergo . . .

From my notes:

Corbett: How does the academy function as a tool of social critique?

James Tracy; I think that I’m well situated to talk about this since I teach classes in journalism and communication — which you cannot teach without touching on political issues. And yet, even within my peer circle, many will not address things like chem trails or 911. These are taboo. They come with a lot of baggage, like the word “conspiracy,” the use of which into question one’s judgement, rationality. This term stifles serious discussion not just in the public sphere but in the academy.

Censorship is not overt, but subtle. Peer pressure, professional expectations, “political correctness,” another term with a lot of baggage.

Corbett: Yes, in the public sphere too, controls often take the form of political self-censorship, covert rather than overt control.

Then they segue to Noam Chomsky . . .

Tracy: Chomsky often sounds like the State Department. He downplays 911 and the Kennedy assasination, for example. . .

Wow, Chomsky is one of my heroes! Perfect! A chance to puncture another balloon. Must listen/watch this whole video.

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1 Response to Truth in the Academy? Even tenured professors don’t tell

  1. Not only has Professor Tracy’s calm-toned comments gone viral, I think the discipline of Prof. Tracy’s drilled-down instincts to get to the bottom of an issue is unique and found only in a hand-full of news reporters. I respect his ability to maintain a dispassionate voice while covering such chaotic lines of inquiry. Tracy seems to be living up to his title which includes the words “investigative journalist.” My hat goes off also to KPFA who gave Tracy a full hour interview (I believe played nationwide — I could be in error). Click to Play:

    Guns and Butter
    “Sandy Hook: Unanswered Questions” with Professor James F. Tracy. Discrepancies in media coverage; coroner’s press conference; political fallout.

    To my knowledge KPFA is the only station in the US to cover what we are all talking about on alternative media. I hope KPFA is able to remain independent. It’s easy to seduce independent stations and take away their voice and reorient them. Hang in there KPFA.

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