clap clap blog: we have moved

Thursday, March 03, 2005
For some reason, I've been reading old New Yorkers lately. Right now I'm working through the 5/13/02 issue, and the first TOTT piece, by Louis Menand, is called "Silly Ideas" and is about Harris Mirkin, the professor who wrote a pro-pedophilia article that resulted in the Missouri legislature pulling funding from the state university he works for. It also, in addition to being one of the most concise, smart summations of the sensible position on academic-freedom debates I've read (and thus applicable pretty much every time such an issue arises--see especially the first paragraph in regards to the recent blowup about the "little Eichmanns" dude), contains a line that should be tatooed onto every critics' forearm, as far as I'm concerned:

Subversiveness is acceptable as a by-product of scholarly inquiry; but it is unworthy as a goal.
For "scholarly inquiry," I think you can substitute "cultural production" without diminishing the accuracy of the statement.