Friday, March 31, 2006

And then... blame the victim

More about George Henson, the gay prof who found "FAGGOT" scrawled on his doorway at school the other day. He frequently writes Bush-bashing editorials in the campus paper and implied that he suspected some Republican homophobia at work in the incident. So now a student counters with his own take on the case--notice the blame-the-victim scenario he suggests. Appalling. But not at all surprising. The place just doesn't change.

28 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The place just doesn't change.."
and neither does the hippie, pinko faculty.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Hillary said...

I actually think it's a valid point... why twist around everything and make it political? "That person slipped in the hallway, they must be Republican". I don't think he's blaming the victim but pointing out the haste in assuming it was a Republican... I get very mad reading about people who point fingers at a group instead of an individual. It weakens the truth - it was one hateful person who did it, no matter what their political stance is.
We all know what it's like to hear "Those damned hippies are [fill in the blanks for almost any negative scenario vaguely associated with liberals]"

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love editorials written by 19/20 year olds. Because they know EVERYTHING!!

9:10 PM  
Anonymous JP said...

I think things have been blown out of proportion on both sides of this debate. In Henson's editorial, you'd think there's an underground homophobic society on campus, when in fact it was one person writing one word on one door. And on the other side, in the editorial today, the kid says Henson is "just as guilty" as the person who wrote the nasty word to begin. Obviously that's pretty ludicrous, swinging from one extreme to the other.

So I don't think we need to worry so much about this. As many provocative editorials as Henson has written, he was bound to have SOMEthing written on his door. It's the cost of going public. At least he still has his job, right, Prof?

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What absolute twaddle this man-child writes. He finds it 'counterproductive and irritating' when people are relentless in their criticism? Is criticism somehow more effective when it's rationed out? Does irritating a student hack qualify as a limitation on speech?

And what is this absolute kack on contributing to the polarity of the country? Sure, if everyone agreed, it would be nice, but...WE DON'T! Should Mr Baty abandon his positions, because someone else disagrees very strongly? Mr Baty, I think you're an amazingly smug know-it-all, without even the most tenuous grasp of logical argument. But let's find some common ground, and just agree you're an appaling writer with an overreliance on rhetorical (and pointless) questions. There. We're not 'polarised' any more.

As for his little 'blame the victim' shell game, by his own logic, how do we know that Todd Baty, Boy Journalist, didn't do it? For that matter, to use his own words, 'for all we know' Todd Baty could wander through local farm fields at night, looking for sheep to molest. Of course, I am not suggesting that he does. Hey, this editorialising is easy!

And that final flourish, reminiscent of a schoolboy essay in need of a closing line...ah, America is a victim too. Because someone criticised the president. What? What does that even mean? Explain how America is a victim, or receive no credit on this assignment. And be sure to show your work.

The author is, as far as I can tell, an ass.

11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best part...

For all we know, Mr. Henson could have written “faggot” on his own door to gain publicity for his statements. I am not suggesting that he did, but merely highlighting the fact that neither the police nor Mr. Henson have any idea of the identity of the criminal, let alone his or her political ideology.

-- Ah, occupatio, queen of the rhetorical sleights of hand! Of course, for all we know, Todd Baty could have written the word on Prof. Henson's door knowing all along that the teacher would accuse a Republican of the crime, which in turn would give Baty the perfect topic for a liberal-baiting column in the school's paper! Now, I'm not suggesting that this is what happened, and it is, I'll agree, a little far-fetched -- almost far-fetched enough to be the truth.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Author of the editorial was spot-on. He could not have been more correct. Get over it.

10:44 PM  
Blogger zac said...

Baty makes some very valid points, you have to be really far left not to see them... or not want to see them. I sense jealousy prof... deep down you know you wish you were still there.

12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was Henson's quote: "If this was the work of a Bush supporter who was upset by my criticism of the Bush administration,” Henson said, “It doesn’t surprise me that this would be their response. This is a perfect example of the tactics that Bush and his supporters have always used against their critics.”

"If" makes all the difference. He wasn't accusatory. He was speculating. ..perhaps he's not that far off, given his open criticism of Bush...

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The author of the editorial is obviously a drooling idiot. He makes no good points, unless you want to invent a new logic-less logic. You could only believe the crap he spouts if you're beyond right wing. There. Do these two posts now cancel each other out?

Oh, and a 'get over it' for good measure, whatever the hell that means. Is being a frat-boy prick an argument style these days? One does try to keep up.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The editorial has a very strange warrent: If the victim of a hate crime does not respond in a way that I think is appropriate, the hate crime didn't happen.

Or rather: if the victim of a hate crime does not respond in a way that I think is appropriate, America suffers.

Given the amount of time and effort that conservative politicians have devoted to making minority sexualities a political issue, it is hardly surprising that Henson attributes political motivations behind an incident that does not appear to have direct political motivations. To then insist that Hensen and everyone else ignore the politicization of homosexuality is a luxury only permited to those who don't have to live with being political cannon fodder.

5:05 PM  
Blogger J said...

Don't worry Prof, I took care of him.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a staff member of the publication who printed that editorial, please remember that it represents the writer's opinion, not that of the entire campus.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous lucille said...

I suggest that people leave constructive feedback in the response section below the actual article -- follow the Prof's link and you'll see the area for comments. Keep it free of obscenities and ad hominem attacks, because I'm curious as to whether the staff will actually let the views of more progressive commentators appear. I hope so. They might actually educate Baty a bit. He's only a sophomore, after all, and that why the term "sophomoric" exists.

10:24 AM  
Blogger milowent said...

henson's speculation about it being a bush supporter sounds about right to me. if people disagree with that speculation, fine. but it's all a huge diversion from this unfortunate incident and the SMU dolt who did it.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scrawling an offensive word or insult on a door, while upsetting, is a relatively innocuous slight. Having your head severed from your body; getting assinated for making a movie that some believe insults their belief system; or getting your business burned because of cartons, now that's a real insult.

8:42 PM  
Blogger emHarm said...

"hippie pinko faculty" ??? LOLOLOLOLOL. As a former student of said university (in the art department no less), this description couldn't be further off the mark. Just had to comment, my husband (also a mustang) and I had a HUGE laugh at that one.

Joking aside, still love the blog, love the perspective, keep it up...

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two Mustang grads that can read a blog? Damn, they must've been transfers from Tulane.

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Hilary makes the best point here.

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As one response on the website pointed out, the reason Henson brought up the political opinion was because he thought the vandalism was in response to his article written about the Bush administration in the school’s newspaper. I wish Henson hadn't made the political comment. Not because it wasn't justified but because people on the other end of the political spectrum as he is can now separate themselves from the horrific event and instead waste their time talking about his political statements.

Also, Dear Hilary and anonymous person who claims Hilary has a valid point,

The title of this article is called "Henson is Just as Guilty." Ok. So, Henson makes a very general comment about the right wing and that makes him as guilty as someone who takes a permanent marker to his window and writes Faggot?

Love,
Someone who sees the discrepancy here.

2:05 AM  
Blogger J said...

P.S. That above comment was written by me. I was going to try and be mysterious about it, but well hell. This whole series of events has me too angry to hide behind an "anonymous" moniker.

Phantom Prof...you are the wind beneath my wings. I would have never heard about this atrocity if it weren't for your blog, and I’m sure this is true for many other people as well. Thanks for always raging against the machine...you're my idol...

Jeanette Purvis

2:15 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Important article:
http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/news/story/0,,1746473,00.html

Read it and think.

Although I don't live in the US anymore (and never will again), it still affects those of us who live overseas. Why? Because these are the people who review our journal articles, who employ our graduates, who host conferences.

5:42 AM  
Anonymous lucille said...

"Scrawling an offensive word or insult on a door, while upsetting, is a relatively innocuous slight. Having your head severed from your body; getting assinated for making a movie that some believe insults their belief system; or getting your business burned because of cartons, now that's a real insult."

I presume anonymous meant "cartoons," not "cartons?" But anyway. The problem is that the scrawls, if they are going to make any sense and do their work, call upon a history of the physical violence that anon. says is "different." If I spray-paint "dodo-brain" on an office door, that's an innocuous slight and has no implications for anyone beyond the person I insult. If I spray-paint "faggot," that resonates with everything from schoolyard taunts to Matthew Shepard's broken body tied to a fence in Wyoming to the Nazis marching queers off to concentration camps. It's on a continuum with those acts, and the scrawl is there to intimidate every gay person, not just the person behind the door. I actually don't believe in legislating against "hate speech," but this is an act that deserves strong condemnation from SMU. Anything less is complicity.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Hillary said...

J,
I do realize the sensitivity we all must have towards those being a blamed victim. I admit I overlooked the title of the article and that really does make it weaker. I'm not a fan of the University paper to begin with but at least take two sides of the story.
When people accuse others' actions of being a political nature, who are they trying to convince? The republicans will toss it out thinking it's obviously hatred-oriented while the liberals will say "Yeah! He's right." You haven't moved anywhere. You have liberals who support you and republicans who hate you - wow, a once-again polarized scenario. I think the "Henson is Guilty" could be interpretted with his responsibility as a teacher and role model to be the "stronger of the two" and to not give a directed attack from an anonymous attack. True the writer could have had different agendas than this.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess those liberal homophobes can be forgiven.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have any of you people stopped to think that maybe Henson was deserving of the title that was written on his door?......i.e. there are all types of gays in the world......and some, but not all, are deserving of the Title "Faggot".

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Hillary said...

Faggot is an extremely derogatory word. I doubt writing it on his door was meant to 'classify' Professor Henson into the many genres of homosexuality that you presume to exist. There are all kinds of women in the world but that doesn't mean calling one a bitch would just be an innocent misusage of a thesaurus. God help you... anonymous... if you were not ENTIRELY joking.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Hillary...

Just as you said there are all kinds of women in the world, there are also all kinds of gays in the world. Bitch could be an accurate description of some women too. And no.....I was not joking at all.

10:38 PM  

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