Monday, May 11, 2009

Watson doesn't talk (or think?) accurately

Publicist Patricia Arnold sent around a "clarification" by Wayne Watson of what he said to the Tribune. In his remarks is the following: "The article quotes me as referring to 'belligerent' students, professors and staff. I would not and did not use the word 'belligerent.' The word I used to describe a small minority of students was 'rude' and I contextualized my statement by referring to the example of the CSU professor who admitted to encouraging students to be rude."

What CSU prof "admitted to encouraging students to be rude." Me? Here is what I wrote about rudeness after the Watson interview: "I was very encouraged today by the participation of students and faculty in the Watson interview. I was particularly happy to see the students take such sharp leadership. One of the most encouraging things was their rudeness to Watson, which, for reasons unknown to me, was much greater than their rudeness to Adams. I am not being facetious; I am completely serious. People in authority tend to make us fearful of asserting ourselves. Part of their control is a deeply ingrained fear of challenging authority. The rudeness is helpful because it takes a step toward overcoming that fear. Of course, it was only for a couple of days, but it give hope for the future." (blog for April 14 "Hooray for students and faculty, particularly students")

I wrote that rudeness is helpful because it is part of a process of overcoming fear of challenging authority; this observation and conviction arise from years of political experience. I believe it is a serious political observation, though many may disagree. What it is not, however, is an admission that I encouraged students to be rude.

In this instance Watson did not speak accurately. Can he think accurately?

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