CUNY Promotes an Anti-Christian Hatemonger
By: Lisa Makson
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, June 01, 2005
In another sign of the continuing erosion of academic standards nationwide, an anarchist academic who continually lobs rhetorical Molotov cocktails at the Christian religion, capitalism, and the Bush administration, has just been promoted to Chair of Brooklyn College's Sociology Department.
Associate Professor Timothy Shortell, who graduated from Washington State University with a BS in Psychology and from Boston College with a Ph.D. in Social Psychology and has only a handful of published articles, fits in well with the Commies at CUNY because of his radical leftist politics.
On his website, the moonbat's musings are directly in line with the "antiwar" Left's talking points. In his cyberforum, Shortell rails against "the lunacy of the current imperialist war." Under "Stalinists in Washington," he writes, "This is certainly the most fanatically ideological administration in U.S. history." He decries the "burden of the war machine," and despite the fact that soldiers are not being conscripted, writes: "Just as any fascist state, the megalomania of the ruling elite is paid for in working class blood." Referring to the Bush (a.k.a. the "war-criminal-in-chief") administration's decision to run with Bill Clinton's plan to privatize Social Security, Shortell asks for someone "to do a comparative study of this administration and the propaganda techniques of Nazi Germany." He added, "Karl Rove owes a lot to Joseph Goebbels." But just when Shortell was ready to "start packing" his bags "and looking for a job in Canada," he came to the joyful realization that "old people die," so "the right wing revolution will come to an end four years from now."
The "übermensch" began his teaching career in the radical anti-American enclave of Smith College. While in Northampton, MA, he mingled with fellow leftist radicals down the road at UMass-Amherst. As a result of this confraternity, the Anti-Naturals—a group of artists who are the "vanguard" of a new movement that wishes to reclaim "the value of a rational objectivity, grounded in aesthetic judgment" by embracing "rational environmentalism" and rejecting "consumer capitalism, Judeo-Christian morality and the positivist science of the mind"—was born. (See the "Manifesto of the Anti-Naturals.")
In the group's e-magazine "fifteen credibility street," a "journal of art and theory for use in the creation of an alternative culture" that critiques "the corporate fascist order, and facilitates the construction of progressive, antiChristian discourses," Shortell writes about the "logical impossibility" of "religion without fanaticism." In his essay, "Religion & Morality: A Contradiction Explained," Shortell opines that "humanity would be better off without religion," which he characterizes as "social poison," because believers are "susceptible to extreme forms of hatred and violence." He also calls religious believers "moral retards" and says they are "incapable of moral action."
He writes: "American Christians like to think that religious violence is a problem only for other faiths. In the heart of every Christian, though, is a tiny voice preaching self-righteousness, paranoia and hatred. Christians claim that theirs is a faith based on love, but they'll just as soon kill you. For your own good, of course." Shortell then belittles religious believers "whose devotion is moderate," saying they "are only cowardly fanatics," not brave enough to "foment their own kind of holy war."
After the New York Sun wrote an item about this, Shortell responded in “Becoming the Übermensch," saying his "unkind language" was par for the course in "political rhetoric."
He writes: "Many people took offense. It is terribly sad to realize that so many people believe that others don't have the right to say anything that they find offensive. In order to be protected from the harsh light of rational argument, the faithful want to make religion a taboo subject. Just like in totalitarian regimes, where criticism of the state is a capital offense, the faithful would like to enforce a gag-order so that the barbarity of their practices goes unchallenged...more and more people are demanding that unpopular ideas be repressed. Speaking freely is now an invitation to serious trouble."
Shortell goes on to diss nationalism and says: "Those of us who want something better will not be deterred by character assassination. We laugh at our critics. We know we have struck a nerve. They will become even more desperate in their amateur rhetorical tricks. We will behold with joy their silly tantrums. We are becoming Übermenschen."
In addition to his writing contributions to the Anti-Natural's website, Shortell also has contributed artwork, poetry and movies to the site. Following is his poem, "Brownshirts":
I have seen the next generation
They are aroused by the smell
of blood in the air
intoxicated by the power of intimidation.
Old fascists lead them around by the noses
feeding them worms and lies.
They do not frighten me.
Their marching around is clownish
but these parades grow tiresome.
Many onlookers have gone home
abandoning the public square
leaving only ugliness.
Back in the world of academia, Shortell has not been so prolific. Although he has devised a novel computer program (it scans articles for key words and later uses the results to defend his leftist theories about American society according to the number of times those key words appear.), since Shortell's arrival at Brooklyn College in 1998, his scholarly publications have been rather scant. Since obtaining his Ph.D. nearly 15 years ago, he has not yet published any books and has merely a handful of articles to his name, most of which were published last year.
In one of Shortell's few scholarly publications, "The Decline of the Public Sphere: A Semiotic Analysis of the Rhetoric of Race in New York City," which was presented at the annual conferences of both the Eastern Sociological Society and the Social Science History Association, he tackles the topic of racism in America.
Shortell argues that there has been a "decline of a discursive space for public discussion of collective interests as resulting from the emergence of consumer culture in post-industrial capitalism" and "power is unequally distributed in the community" because blacks now don't "have equivalent opportunities of expression." Translation: Racism and civil rights are not being talked about as much now as they were during the antebellum period because of capitalism; therefore, America is more racist today than during slavery.
Shortell comes to this conclusion by comparing the discussion of race between two black abolitionist newspapers published in New York City between 1837 and 1841 to the New York Times from 1998. Shortell, however, was not roundly criticized for this shocking display of shoddy scholarship and research bias because such leftist bias now passes for serious inquiry in academic circles these days. And, even worse, Shortell tells his students not to worry if there is evidence that proves your interpretation of the data false, as long as you "give an intellectually honest argument."
Shortell brazenly closes the article by saying his research is highly deserving of funding because he's discovered a whole new field of academic inquiry that can end racism by "contribut[ing] to the re-establishment of critical engagement with the meaning of race in contemporary society." Translation: He's going to show urban students how they have been blinded to the reality of rampant racism in American society.
This proponent of multiculturalism and supporter of the Institute for Anarchist Studies uses his bully-pulpit to teach students to see inequality everywhere in American society. In the classroom, the main "thread that ties together the various topics" of his classes is inequality, according to a roundtable discussion at last year's annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA). Shortell opens students' eyes to the prevalence of inequality in American society. For example, in his "Inequality in Contemporary American Society" class, Shortell blames capitalism for inequality in America and talks of the growth of "corporate power" and its "enormous influence over public policy." In his "People, Power & Politics" class, students must "select some salient characteristic of their neighborhood" and "call attention to some aspect of urban life that represents a form of inequality." Shortell told his ASA colleagues that this is sometimes hard because many students are inured to the inequalities in their own neighborhoods.
New York State taxpayers might want to voice their displeasure with CUNY-Brooklyn College's decision to promote a political ideologue and academic-lightweight who finds religious, centrist, or conservative beliefs repugnant. Now that Shortell is ensconced for a three-year term as department chair, there may likely be more tenure denial cases to those who do not follow the expected leftist Party line, much like that of History Professor Robert David "KC" Johnson, who was denied tenure and promotion at Brooklyn College because of his conservative beliefs. (He was eventually granted tenure after a long inquest a former department chair termed a "campaign of harassment." His is one of the few such stories with a happy ending.)
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