Letter: Reentering the arena of discourse

Reentering the arena of discourse

Bravely, this “intellectual lightweight” (Jan. 21, The Aspen Times, commentary) re-enters the arena of discourse with the implicitly self-styled intellectual giant, sociology professor Sean Elias of Utah State (if Google is correct). I do so to humbly apologize for overlooking Elias’ extensive writings. It wasn’t my fault. The Google search for Elias I did before I wrote my letter revealed none of the ponderously titled papers he so modestly cites. Perhaps his academic output was masked by Google’s “right to be forgotten” policy: the policy of expunging references to elements of a person’s history that might embarrass him.

Judging from his latest diatribe against caucasians, Americans and Jews, Utah State must pay Elias by the word, not the content. Crisp writing doesn’t seem to be valued there. (In fact, with all that anti-semitic invective, torturous writing and evasion of the point of my letter, Elias was bound to get tenure somewhere.) Though painful, I did parse Elias’ turgid letter for any indication that his writings ever critiqued the likes of the Islamic State, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Russia, the Castros or any of the other perpetrators of atrocities mentioned in my letter. Alas! There I found only lame excuses for his admitted focus on the crimes of caucasians, Europeans, Americans and Jews. Another apology to Elias. I said he is obsessed with hating Jews. Actually, he seems obsessed with hating any group that doesn’t routinely engage in atrocities. More solid reasons he got tenure somewhere.

An argument is best resolved in your favor when the other side argues your case for you. Thinking he is rebutting my accusation that his outrage is limited to those who least deserve it, Elias’ own words actually confirm my accusation. And while committing this clumsy rhetorical fumble, he claims intellectual superiority. Another “you can’t make this up” moment. Beware of Utah State.

Case closed.

Maurice Emmer