It’s the students who should be fired, not the professor they want cancelledComment Of The Day
Following on from Friday’s exclusive report on the furore at the University of Michigan, where a mob of students want to have composer Bright Sheng sacked for showing a blackface Othello video, here’s a salient reader’s comment:
The author Sammy Sussmann, for all his protestations of being “shocked,” “horrified,” and “saddened” by the showing of the video and the admin’s response, makes clear his real agenda midway through the “article.” As is always the case with individuals who wish to use incidents like this to destroy careers, there’s some axe grinding going on that has nothing to do with the matter at hand.
After rehearsing the alleged shock and anguish caused by seeing Olivier’s version of Othello, the writer gets to the crux of his piece: Sheng is apparently rude to his colleagues and students, having the temerity to watching videos on his phone during meetings. Worst of all, he left the writer’s UM entrance interview mid-stream, an unforgivable sin. How dare he have tenure, preventing Sammy Sussman from exacting his revenge?
It is becoming more and more nauseating to witness the temper tantrums of these mini-Madame Defarges, these hypocrites who claim to have a higher purpose in mind (the purification of academia and the world achieved by driving out the alleged racists, sexists, homophobes, and transphobes), but who in reality just want to hurt those who have bruised their fragile egos, or worse, harm people who think differently than them.
I find Olivier’s performance in “Othello” to be cartoonish; it’s certainly his weakest Shakespearian performance on film. Would I show it to a class? No, because it’s a rotten rendition of a role that has been done much better by others. Does Sheng have a right to show it to his classes if he thinks it’s a good performance that demonstrates his points when discussing the Shakespeare? According to what is now apparently an antiquated notion of free inquiry in a university setting, yes, he does. If the students don’t like it, they can drop the class, or write their thoughts on Sheng’s teacher evaluations.
If Sammy Sussman doesn’t like the fact that tenure exists, then he should attend a school like Liberty University or Bob Jones University, neither of which offer faculty any protection from arbitrary firing. If he and his ilk can’t see that they are joining hands with the extremists on the other side of the political divide, then they deserve what they will eventually get: the total destruction of the university system at the hands of left and right-wing fanatics.
Composer Bright Sheng