At Minding the Campus, Wellesley College sociology professor Jonathan Imber comments on the firing of Naomi Shaefer Riley by the Chronicle. Imber writes that “Riley’s observations stung, not because they haven’t been made by many others, some with extensive documentation, but rather because her observations got the attention of the insiders. Such attention is the opium of the asses.”
Right. Her blog post did not make any unprecedented criticism of the field of black studies. Such criticism has been around for a long time, and the insiders have ignored it. They could also have ignored Riley’s blog post, but it got someone all hot and bothered, someone who thought that the appropriate response was to organize a mob and demand her head.
Imber continues that writers like Naomi and Peter Wood and Roger Kimball and others “are genuine critics whose bully pulpits are a constant source of irritation to the legions of insiders capable only of signing petitions but incapable of writing more than several understandable sentences before retreating into their jargons of internal authenticity. It is a sad testament to my colleagues trapped inside their conceptual prisons that their best shots are their signatures that follow tirades of immaturity.”
Read and savor the whole essay.