Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ward and Paris: The Unreal Real

Ward Churchill, the University of Colorado at Boulder Professor of Ethnic Studies, has been officially accused of serious academic misconduct by an official panel, including plagiarism, making up facts, and misrepresenting sources. Members of the panel studying his case have recommended unpaid leave or dismissal. Churchill gained infamy after his comments that victims in the World Trade Center were "little Eichmans," who were complicit in the evils of American capitalism, militarism, well, you know the rest. Then people started investigating the man and his words. Then the yogurt hit the fan.

It was transparent early on that Churchill was a full professor and head of his department with a six-figure income only because he was a leftist ideologue at a famous leftist school. He does not hold an earned doctorate and was given tenure without the normal strictures. (As a tenured professor with an earned Ph.D., this more than burns me up.) But even Boulder--ten square miles surrounded by reality--seems to have had enough. The hollow and noisy man has been outed.

So, I have an idea for Ward. If no other academic institution snaps up the pseudo-scholar and faux revolutionary, he could team up with Paris Hilton in a new "reality" TV show. Both Ward and Paris gained notoriety and great success despite possessing no known abilities in their fields. Hilton can neither act, nor sing, nor dance, nor play an instrument, yet she is known as an entertainer (I suppose). At least she is a celebrity, "famous for being famous" as Daniel Borstin put it years ago in "The Image." (Her pornography video does not qualify as acting, by the way. I know this on general principles, not because I have seen it.)

So, the aging and outed Ward meets up with the young and never-to-be-outed Paris (because she never pretended to have any talent--besides mastering the "come hither" look) who counsels him on staging a come back--and, of course, revitalizes his damaged male ego... I don't watch enough TV of any kind to take it further than this--in fact, I don't watch any TV at all--but my gut tells me this is a very promising pairing. Mr. Unreality meets Ms. Unreality on a reality show with much more unreality sure to follow. Jean Baudrilliard would lap it up: simulations all the way down.

1 comment:

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Jedd: You have a more-than-lively imagination. Just how much TV are you not watching?

You have denuded pop culture. Bravo! The devil hates ridicule, as CS Lewis said.