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Congressional declaration: Armenian Genocide in the early 20th century October 10, 2007

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“We all deeply regret the tragic suffering of the Armenian people that began in 1915. This resolution is not the right response to those historic mass killings,” Bush said at the White House.  CNN article here.  What is the right response?  Why do we need a Congressional declaration concerning an event that happend almost a century ago?

If anyone knows why we need to offically label this, please let me know.  Whether or not is was genocide ( I don’t know the facts of what happend but I’m assuming it qualifies), why does it matter whether or not Congress officially defines it?

 I find it appropriate that this gets passed two days after Columbus Day.  Weird Al needs to do a rendition on McCartney’s “Ebony and Ivory” called….Irony and Hypocrisy?  That sounds nice.

Later this evening I plan to hold a meeting to officially determine whether or not my neighbor is a jackass and officially define him as such.

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Cornel West: Academic Heretic October 10, 2007

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An unlikely chain of thougts lead to a Wiki article on Cornel West.  One of the External Links leads to this article by John McWhorter.  In the article, McWhorter, a self-proclaimed “serious academic”, criticizes West for his level of attention to his serious academic duties.

What exactly is the duty of an academic?

West is not a traditional academic.  I don’t understand the value of applying a normative analysis to someone for something they neither aspire nor profess to be.  The more important question is: what should the role of an academic be?

It seems that a traditional academic’s job is to conduct journal-bound research, often esoteric, while feeding inquiring minds less than stimulating material.  Had I been given the opportunity to take classes from more radical, non-traditional heretics, I can guarantee that my attendence would have consisted of more classes attended than skipped.  As opposed to my personal experience of the exact opposite under the traditional academic paradigm.

The most interesting and effective educators that I have encountered were those that were willing to interact in a “less than traditional” manner.  Long live non-traditional academics and passionate adjuncts!