Friday, December 05, 2003
Facts? We don't need no stinkin' facts! Vanderbilt University has gotten the Jayson Blair treatment from The New York Times. Reporter Alex Abramovich, instead of reporting what actually happened and what he actually saw, instead decided to "report" on the stereotypes he holds for those racist, ignorant southerners.
The whole episode sent the Vandy vice chancellor on a letter-writing mission to the Times. His missive went this way:
"Alex Abramovich attended a very different Tony Kushner lecture at a very different Vanderbilt University than did I and several hundred other people--young, old, black, white, students, faculty, community members--who crowded into the chapel of one of the great nondenominational divinity schools in the country to participate in an provocative discussion with a distinguished guest speaker. Mr. Abramovich painted a picture of Vanderbilt University as an alien and vaguely sinister place, where 'Confederate flags hang proudly in dormitory windows' (they don't) and the natives aren't smart enough to recognize when they are being challenged. Aside from being untrue, such stereotypes are offensive and condescending. But that was the point, right?"
According to Schoenfeld, a Times editor has told him that the writer of the story still says he saw Confederate flags. As to whether his letter will ever run, Schoenfeld says the editor told him that it probably would--if there's room.
Hey, the Times is just trying to keep them uppity southerners in their place. After all, it's not like Vanderbilt is an Ivy League school.