Avital Ronell and #MeToo and the Storm in an Academic Teapot

To my chagrin I’ve watched high level academics degenerate into an irrelevant power struggle, one where careerism has replaced learning and education.  I wasn’t really aware of Post-Modernism until the dawn of the Internet age and my reading of Camille Paglia’s Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders: Academe in the Hour of the Wolf.

I grew up in a world where word have meanings, my philosophers were people like Camus, Sartre and de Beauvoir.  One becomes by doing not by imagining even when thought or imagining precedes being. Post Modernism struck me as a world where word have no meaning and actions are constantly open to interpretation.

This brings us to Avital Ronell.  I don’t move in the incestuous world of academia.  I’ve never heard of her and when charges of sexual harassment were first brought against her I was inclined to disregard them based on the way the reports were worded.

See: Battle Over Alleged Harassment Escalates as Former Graduate Student Sues Professor and NYU

Okay a cat fight in the halls of high level academia where the well paid get published in journals and paid vacations to conferences where they gather for ritual purposes.  Mean while Adjuncts teach classes, travel long miles between teaching those classes in various school.  Often times these Adjuncts are so poorly paid they are eligible for welfare benefits including Food Stamps (SNAP) and housing for low income assistance.

Further many of us in the trans-community as well as other minority communities are well aware of a level of amorality or even down right immortality within high level academia.  Too often we have been the subjects of highly questionably motivated studies which use methods that are questionable at best.  (ROGD is but the latest)

Then Judith Butler entered the fray.  I’ve never gotten why Judith Butler has rated the worshipers she has, but a number of my friends seem to think of her as some sort of academic goddess.  On the other hand I tend to call bullshit on arguments based in jargon and coined words with shifting meanings.  But that is me, refer back to the aforementioned Paglia essay.

See: Judith Butler Explains Letter in Support of Avital Ronell

Ahaa, Avital Ronell has a bunch of high end academics lining up behind her including personal friends.  And I know men’s rights activists etc have been known to attack powerful women.  This is sort of interesting…

Got any chips or popcorn.  An academic battle where cuts are deep and nasty, possibly lethal (career wise) but bloodless at least in modern times.

Then too I’m faced with the advice that I should believe women.

But then the drama takes a turn and a woman named  joins the battle.  See: I Worked With Avital Ronell. I Believe Her Accuser.

This is followed with: Judith Butler Must Step Down as President-Elect of the MLA.

So I was wondering whether or not I should dump all these items that were browser tabs.  I bunch of Ph.Ds engaging in a cat fight of he say/she say and she say/she say. Cloistered in halls with ivy covered walls. (figuratively speaking)

Then today Salon ran this column: A witch hunt or a quest for justice: An insider’s perspective on disgraced academic Avital Ronell.

At this point all I want is closure, I don’t usually watch this type of Reality TV Show and I’m afraid this one is head for syndication complete with a cast that includes friends of mine cast in supporting roles


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