Our pal John Shelton Reed “hits a homer” with his latest analysis of The Great Unpleasantness – Scandal Reveals Two Cultures at UNC. Even behind the ivy-covered walls of academe, perspectives can be as varied as Kipling’s blind men analyzing that elephant. BE WARNED: JSR uses some esoteric phrases i.e, “big words”. Some in both warring camps may get confused.
BLSays regulars should recognize his name – Retired UNC Kenan Professor Emeritus of Sociology John Shelton Reed a/k/a “JSR”. His crocker sack-full of awesome academic credentials even includes being “a Guggenheim Fellow” !!! JSR has the sort of weighty academic CV that would “choke a Provost”. LINK.
What’s a Guggenheim Fellow? No clue, but I’m pretty sure Kennel is not one.
JSR is also an esteemed researcher of Southern Barbecue and a certified, card-carrying BobLee Buddy. Take THAT Guggenheim! He is a longtime avid consumer of this website. Is this guy a really really cool dude or WHAT!
I could also reveal JSR’s ideological leanings but he’s already ostracized himself enough from the Franklin Street lock-step lemming. A hint might be…..
JSR’s most recent commentary first appeared on May 1 on the website of The John William Pope Center For Higher Education Policy. Uh Oh! “John William” was the daddy of “Eeeevil Art” Pope. Despite donating mega-millions of dollars to The Flagship, the Pope Family is despised to a fare-thee-well by the average Franklin Street faux-intellectual fop. Only the name “Krzyzewski” comes close to inducing the bile flow of “Pope” among the Birkenstock cult.
It should be noted that JSR’s current piece has also been reposted on NCSpin which is a political aggregator funded by The Triangle’s #1 Limo Liberal Jim Goodmon. Proving that fascination for The Great Unpleasantness transcends traditional political battle lines.
Oh… oh…. oh…. one other resume highlight of note for JSR. Back in the mid 80s, Professor Reed was on the UNC Special Admissions Review Committee. That committee reviewed prospective student applications that fell short of minimum standards for acceptance to UNC in GPA, class rank, and/or SAT score or all of the above.
One particular “all of the above” was a certain young man championed by a certain legendary basketball coach. JSR perused that applicant’s academic profile and exclaimed (I’m paraphrasing very generously) “NO WAY”. JSR was summarily overruled by his fellow committee members who invoked the “Coach Smith really wants him” Rule.
To this day, JSR regrets he did not (1) do a Patrick Henry…. or at least (2) be Paul Revere and warn the naïve villagers that situational ethics had indeed become the order of the day.
I will respect that questionable applicant’s FERPA privacy but he is often mentioned by ABCers of the Lupine persuasion when TruBlues go after Chris “475” Washburn.
While an admitted longtime “fan” of the Tar Heels as far as “the thrill of victory & agony of defeat” aspect of sports, JSR has never consumed copious amounts of undiluted Karolina Kool-Aid which has allowed him to maintain an objectivity far in excess of 95% of both “the lower level gang” and “the Wal-Mart bandwagoneers”. He did NOT contribute to the “war chest”.
I encourage you to take the time to read this insightful piece on UNC’s Two Cultures. It is NOT simply the umpteenth regurgitation of “who knew what when” (or in Dickie’s case “never knew and still doesn’t”). As a career academic, JSR reveals the difference between “left brain” and “right brain” academicians….. i.e. The Sciences folks think differently from the Humanities folks. Who Knew ??
Usually stereotyped as simply a spider’s nest of tree-hugging, navel-gazing, sexually ambivalent, narcissistic wannabee anarchists; UNC-CH actually has more than a few departments that wear lab coats, stare into microscopes, treat diseases and afflictions, and actually “do stuff” to benefit society. In addition, of course, to those tree-hugging, navel-gazing, sexually ambivalent, narcissistic wannabee anarchists wearing Che Guevarra berets and comparing one another’s “nuances”. OK, I’m being rather simplistic. That’s how I roll here.
Obviously I really like this guy – Professor John Shelton Reed. As I am too on-record “really liking” Bonnie & Clyde – “Whistleblower” Mary Willingham and “Faculty Dissident” Jay Smith. Which brings us to a very significant point.
I’ve deleted more than a few Facebook friends and received my share of “HOW DARE YOU” emails since Marvin hit Send five years ago. I staked out my position on TGU very early on. I lost my “fan virginity” a very very very long time ago. Nothing that has crawled out from under rocks or Wainstein Reports or tell-all best-sellers has surprised me an iota. What might yet percolate will not surprise me. But I don’t live and shop and walk-about TGU’s Ground Zero. It’s a different story for John and Mary and Jay “over yonder”.
John Shelton Reed, Mary Willingham and Jay Smith all live, with their families in “the belly of the beast” – Chapel Hill. I don’t. Most of you don’t, whether you are a Kool-Aid slurping TruBlue, a disheartened seen-the-light UNC alum, or a pitchfork-waving ABC mob member. For John, Mary and Jay to call out “the naked emperor” parading down Franklin Street is different than for me or Dan Kane or SI or whoever to do so.
In 1692, Salem vilified, then burned, those in their midst that held views contrary to the mainstream. As certifiably cock-eyed wacky as Chapel Hill is (and proudly brags it is!), there have not been any significant reprisals yet.
Destiny taps YOU on the shoulder and says choose: “speak out” or “remain silent”? Would YOU risk alienating your neighbors and co-workers (and your families’ acquaintances)? Not a decision to be made in haste.
This odious mess has become Chapel Hill’s own “paper mill”.
The western NC towns of Enka and Canton used to have industrial plants (paper and nylon) of dubious odors. It was the town’s #1 employer…. and the plants emitted constant vile odors that made a visitor’s eyes water. But Enka and Canton residents became used to it and just went about their business. Has Chapel Hill simply become “used to” TGU and can’t remember when it did not have “the odious cloud of scandal” hanging over it? Will JSR’s latest piece invoke any reaction from the locals?
IF, and it’s a significant “if”, there is ever a punitive NCAA decision on all this; will that stir up the locals or…..? Are “the locals” now resigned to the smell of its “civic odor” simply being a part of it’s civic identity….. FOREVER?