Come Back Mr. Chips

January17/ 2000

Mr Chips”, Charles Kingsfield,  To Sir, with love”, Beav’s Miss Landers, Mr. Kotter, … … WARD CHURCHILL!  How did “teacher” become such a contemptuous dirty word.  Why does a mainstream public academic institution allow itself to be defined by a radical minority?  BobLee defends the noble profession of teaching. 

   Our previous column on Mr Pope vs The UNC faculty squirrrels set a 2005 record for reader affirmation.  It is a subject of interest to everyone who cares about higher education and The University of North Carolina in particular regardless of which side of the political fence one positions oneself.

   Don’t be fooled.  This debate is not about politics.  It is about the unrestrained contemptuous public behavior of a handful of bloviating misfits defining the public image of an institution larger and more influential than any of its associates.  College campuses will always be a sanctuary for societal misfits hiding in fear of quantitative accountability.  Fine, let’em hide among the ivy and deep in the library carrels, but don’t put them on center stage and give them a live microphone.

 Take a Murphy To Manteo poll of UNC-CH image and, eliminating the venomous ABCers, you will get a lot of basketball-related comments and a lot of “liberal ___“.  “Sports” and “politics” define an academic institution?

  “Sports” defines an academic institution to that sector of the great unwashed who move their lips when they read the phone book. BMOC jocks and “Animal House” debauchery … isn’t that “what college is all about”.  Sigh, sniff, sob.  Where have you gone Mr Chips? … Climb the evolutionary ladder above the “wife-beater t-shirts” sector and find opinions a tad more relevant.

  Commentaries on UNC’s notorious faculty squirrels are like Charles Kuralt videos of puffins and penguins. Always plenty of b-roll footage available.  Like puffins and penguins, faculty squirrels in their natural state can be a hoot to watch.  Many of you don’t share my ability to laugh at this bunch as their mean spirited antics and name calling gets to you in a quite irritating fashion. 


   The increasingly negative image of the entire UNC faculty is as invalid as “the State College farmboy with just a pinch tween his cheek and gum” defining world-class engineers and agri-scientists.  UNC’s image persists due to lack of a controlling adult authority.  All you “hard rights” can scream about how UNC and Chapel Hill is 95% “Democrat”.  So?  A person’s politics is their own business unless they are allowed to bring it into their workplace in the exploitive Hee Haw fashion that UNC’s administration seems to actually encourage.   

  Campus radicals play the “free speech” card but, it’s not their beliefs, it is their behavior that offends so many and reflects so negatively upon the institutions.  Spineless administrators have allowed a highly vocal minority faction to be the public face of the entire institution.  Goggle-eyed loons like Susan Estroff or her equally insipid South Building stooge Jonathan Curtis “get away with” what they are allowed to get away with.  The real losers in this are the dedicated instructors who, regardless of their personal politics, are truly dedicated to igniting and fanning the flame of the learning lamp in their classroom.

  So when, why and how has Mr. Chips morphed into Ward Churchill?  Churchill is the Colorado faculty werewolf who lied about his Native American heritage and declared all the 9/11 victims deserved to die.  He became the poster child for campus radicals and dropped an already punch drunk Univ of Colorado below the Mendoza Line for national respect.   

  “Mr Chips” was the movie’s quintessential “teacher” as retiring headmaster at an English boarding school.  That image of a career spent in the noble teaching profession now finds itself desecrated and redefined by angry pseudo-intellectual misfits .  Remember when meeting “a college professor” was an honor and a bit intimidating because he was “smart”.  Even with the vintage stereotypes of tweed jackets, pipe tobacco, and absent-mindedness the profession was once seen as among society’s most “esteemed”.  When was the last time you thought “esteemed” when you thought of a college instructor?  

  We all have a scary story of that “first day of class” and Professor So & So handing out the syllabus and his doomsday expectations.  Much of those “look to your left, look to your right, two of you will fail this course” stories were apocryphal but still cause night sweats 20 years later.  Those fabled instructors back then were driven by the call of the profession to teach you something in spite of yourself.  

  I maintain that college campuses are still primarily populated with those types of “real college instructors” in the profession for the right reasons, not simply to hide behind tenure and flaunt their radical politics.  Then why do the squeaking wheel radicals get all the attention?  Why indeed.

  The media seeks out sound bite harpies like Estroff.  Liberal Arts campuses attract the Susan Estroffs and Jonathan Curtis’ like picnics attract ants … reciting well-rehearsed “academic freedom” mantras and playing the role of pseudo-intellectual pontificates.  They are nothing more than academic bigots.  That their brand of bigotry comes from the far left is irrelevant and should not cloud the issue.

 “Real Teachers” are to these pathetic shreikmeisters like Tim Duncan is to Latrelle Spreewell.  Who do you want representing your team?  

  I have no problem with political extremists holding their views or even holding tax-supported jobs.  I blame whoever is supposedly in charge.  The scenario is so predictable.  During every  academic year, there will be 3-4 incidents of campus extremists flaunting their radical politics behind “I can say/do whatever I want to because ______ ” shield.  These clowns have the playbook memorized and Chancellor Moeser fall placidly in line.  

(1)     A junior radical insults, demeans, or denies a student’s right to a dissenting opinion thereby earning the prestigious “I’m an academic bigot” merit badge..

(2)     That student goes public with the incident

(3)     The satellite trucks scramble for the limited parking in front of South Building

(4)     Matt Kupec’s Development Office goes “aw sh*t” knowing that a 90 day drop in “giving” follows every one of these incidents

(5)     Moeser mutters some sanctimonious platitude about “we love everyone and welcome all viewpoints but some a whole lot more than others …”.  He sort of promises to make the offending instructor pay some vague form of penance under the “we will handle it internally” smokescreen.  He ends his official statement with an unintended goofy malapropism.

(6)     The radical minority faculty anoints the maligned instructor as a persecuted martyr.

(7)     Moeser rescinds the vague penance and 60-90 days later the next incident takes place.

   The late Micheal Hooker “had a pair”.  One of his first acts as Chancellor in the mid 90s was firing a faculty lothario who was wantonly screwing his merry way through his coed students.  The radical donkeys brayed that Lothario was within his rights to cajole, coerce, and intimidate his way into his students’ pants.  Hooker disagreed.  Lothario was canned.

   What would Meezie do?  Make Lothario write 500 times “I will try not to get caught next time”.  Susan Estroff would staple Meezie’s tie to his desk blotter and declare even that punishment unfair. Meez would upgrade Lothario’s parking sticker as an apology.

   100s of dedicated “Mr. Chips” professors, instructors, and graduate assistants valiantly go about their jobs unheralded, resigned that, outside of Orange County, a UNC faculty member will garner more respect identifying him/herself as a pedophilic Columbian drug lord.  Thanks to UNC’s radical vocal minority and the administration that promotes it.

   The overall political divide within our society is rapidly approaching unrepairable; but, I choose to believe there are still teachers at every level dedicated to helping students learn “how” to think rather than “what” to think.

   The next time, and there certainly will be a next time, you read about “another UNC faculty nut” embarrassing The University and its supporters don’t broad brush every UNC instructor or the teaching profession.  Send a note to a UNC trustee saying you think The University of North Carolina is more than reflective sports glory and a handful of political extremists.  It would be nice if the general public thought so too.   

   Kid Swagger wants to attend UNC in 2006.  She is even further “right” than I am or Mizzus Swagger and finds watching sports frightfully boring.  Go figure … she is going for an education and I am betting she will get one … radical loonies be damned.


BobLee’s Philosophical Needlepoint 

Radicals, Bigots, and just plain Crazy Sumbitches are 

Radical, Bigots and just plain Crazy Sumbitches REGARDLESS

of the political party they disgrace with their presence.


 Swagger’s Stumper

 John Housman played “Charles Kingsfield” 

in what memorable “college movie”?


   “Itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka-dot bikini” … preferably on Danica Patrick and not Susan Estroff.

    Count The Swaggers among the “24” addicts across America.  After months of “you gotta get its” from two well respected amigos, we bought the first season DVD … possibly THE MOST intense TV series EVER.  Of course, BobLee figures out the moles and “bad guys” early on.  Jack Bauer (Keifer Sutherland) kicks butt.  The “real time” format seems impossible but it works.  If you are clever enough to “get” this website, then you will love “24” but you have to see it from the very beginning.

    Heels and Wuffies looking for informative sports websites free of the standard blather and bile?  Heels check out and wuffs should check out … BobLee uses both sites to get good info.  Both sites are run by “partisans” who don’t waste bandwidth on their howler monkey factions … check’em out.     

    If Larry Brown hangs up his whistle, what happens to the Motor City Tar Heel Orphanage?  What’ll happen to Hanners, Sullivan, and Phil.  Heck, maybe Darrell Moody is hiding up there.

    I love The French Open and just saying “Roland Garros” in a faux Antonio Banderas accent.  Saying “Aranxcha Sanchez-Vaccaro at Roland Garros” is almost orgasmic.

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