It seemed like a good idea. President Bill Clinton’s deputy White House Counsel, Vincent W. Foster, Jr., was a member of Davidson College’s graduating class of 1967. He is listed among the college’s notable alumni on its Wikipedia page. He died mysteriously, as you may recall, six months to the day after Clinton’s presidential inauguration, his body having been discovered lying behind a berm deep in a Civil War relic, Fort Marcy Park, off the George Washington Parkway across the Potomac River from the capital in Virginia. My article, “Open Letter to Davidson College President Carol Quillen on Corruption” deals primarily with that case.
One would think that the article might be of interest to my fellow graduates of the college. In fact, when I completed it in late November of last year, I had sent it, in addition to its title character, to a 1965 classmate mailing list that I had compiled from our 50th anniversary yearbook and to a selected current Davidson College faculty email list, which includes the entire history faculty, less the one who told me not to send her anything more after I had sent out “Vince Foster’s College Goes Full Woke.” I’m not sure how the more recent article was received, because I don’t recall getting a single response to it, not even a request to be taken off the mailing list.
I’m not sure how long the Fall/Winter 2020 edition of the Davidson Journal, our alumni magazine, had been lying on the end table by our family-room sofa before it finally caught my attention (My wife handles our mail.). When it did, a couple of weeks ago, I did what I usually do, which is to go straight to the class notes for 1965 to see what any classmates might have been up to. I seldom read anything else. At that point, I happened to notice the email address of our class secretary, and a light bulb flashed in my head. There’s an email address beside almost every class secretary’s name. Just like that, a new Davidson College mailing list was born.
What I did not reckon with is the great cultural transformation that has taken place at the college and across American higher education generally—entirely for the worse, I believe—since I was a participant in it. That goes back to 1978 when I left the teaching of economics in college for the practice of it. These days, points of view that challenge those that are prevailing at the moment on the campus seem to be worse than unwelcome; they seem to be almost traumatizing. This is not a healthy state of affairs.
As Exhibit A, I offer this email, which was the last of several that I received after I sent my article out, with no explanation, and then responded to the alumni coordinator (AC), who had received complaints:
Thank you for your interest in “shedding light” to those of us who serve as Class Secretaries for Davidson. Please do not take offense to this, but your original email had all the telltale signs of a cybersecurity risk. Those of us who still work have been taught by the IT departments in every organization for which we have worked, not to access links we do not recognize in an email from an address we do not recognize. Additionally, contacting Class Secretaries with such a suspect email does, in fact, constitute abuse of our personal emails.
Further, your reaction to the warning from the Alumni office demonstrates the inflammatory nature of your original message:
“I had heard something about the “snowflake” problem on college campuses these days, but I could hardly believe it. But now I see you prostrating yourself apologizing for some imagined “inconvenience and distress” that I might have caused by my pedagogical effort, and you have practically rubbed the snowflake problem in my face.”
For your edification, the word “snowflake” has a very negative connotation in political circles, whether you are Republican or Democrat. Given the historic, legal, and necessary 2nd Impeachment of former President Trump for “Inciting Insurrection,” now is the worst time to be using inflammatory messages and language while duly elected President Biden is trying to unify the country.
Again, thank you for your love of Davidson and your desire to “enlighten” us. I would suggest you use other more appropriate means to do so. Perhaps you could write a letter to the editor of the Davidson Journal and request it’s [sic] appropriate publication in an issue.
Please stay safe and I hope you have gotten your COVID vaccination for your safety and that of your family, friends, and neighbors.
Here is the message to the alumni coordinator which I had titled rather provocatively, “Abuse, Inconvenience, and Distress,” to which that person was responding, appended to the bottom of his email:
I am absolutely astonished to read such words as these from an institution of higher education:
“We do not condone this abuse of the class secretary list or any other alumni data; and we will be contacting him.
“Again, I am sorry for any inconvenience and distress David’s letter has caused.”
All I did was to send https://heresycentral.is/dcdave/open-letter-to-davidson-college-president-carol-quillen/ to all the class secretaries whose email addresses I found in my latest Davidson Journal. Where’s the abuse? The article is very educational, I think. It sheds light. Remember Alenda Lux Ubi Orta Libertas?
I had heard something about the “snowflake” problem on college campuses these days, but I could hardly believe it. But now I see you prostrating yourself apologizing for some imagined “inconvenience and distress” that I might have caused by my pedagogical effort, and you have practically rubbed the snowflake problem in my face. If you or anyone to whom I have sent the article finds things in the article with which you would like to take issue, I am more than eager to hear you out. That’s how learning takes place.
You might like to know that I have already received some grateful responses for my having sent the article. What would you have to say to those people?
For the record, I did not receive any warning from the alumni coordinator. Two class secretaries had quickly responded favorably to my email. I think they both took me, from just reading the first couple of paragraphs in the article, as a garden variety conservative critic of President Quillen, of whom I know there are very many, particularly among the older alumni. One of them alerted me to what the coordinator had sent around to the secretaries and, upon my urging, shared it with me. The complainers had really put the alumni coordinator in an awkward position. I don’t know what they thought she could do. Probably with a better feeling than I for the prevailing mentality these days, she wrote something to placate them, postponing the unpleasant task of delivering on her promise that she would scold me. I let her off the hook by beating her to the punch.
My quick response to my critic was as follows:
It is apparent to me that, for personal security reasons, you have carefully refrained from reading the article of mine that I sent and from making any effort to discover who I am and what I stand for.
And isn’t running to complain to authorities rather than addressing the issues raised how a snowflake would behave? When President Quillen sent around her thoroughly objectionable “systemic racism” message to all alumni, it would never have occurred to me, say, to complain to the Board of Trustees. That’s for idea-fearing snowflakes. Rather, I responded, sharing my response with my Class of ‘65 mailing list. She responded to me and I rebutted her response. At that point, she retired from the scene, a clear loser, I believe, in the debate. It’s all laid out in the article, “Vince Foster’s College Goes Full Woke,” linked to in the Open Letter. If you would like to join in that debate, please feel free to have at it.
For your information, I am a liberal of the old school who treasures the free and open exchange of ideas and information rather than fearing them. I dare say that no student spent more time at the student union jousting with or picking the brains of visiting speakers at Davidson than I did.
I am utterly appalled at the growing illiberal attitude that I have seen throughout academia, not least at my dear old alma mater, and now I see among its alumni.
p.s. It’s “Dr. Martin” if you want to use an honorific, but consistent with standard email usage, a “Hi Dave” is fine.
President Quillen had made the same honorific error when responding to my complaint about her “systemic racism” message, even with all the alumni records at her fingertips, but I didn’t bother her with that. There were much worse things in her response to deal with.
A week has now passed, and that last secretary to write me has not responded, so it doesn’t look like he’s going to. He and President Quillen, it would appear, are pretty much peas in a pod, much preferring safety and comfort and the approval of peers to exposure to any sort of disquieting truth.
My sympathy for AC is somewhat reduced when I go back and look at what she sent out to the class secretaries. It’s really quite nasty, certainly not the sort of thing that she thought I would ever see:
Sent: Friday, January 29, 2021 11:39 AM
Subject: Inappropriate Email from Alumnus
Several of you have informed us that you have received an email from David Martin ’65. I apologize for this unsettling intrusion. If you have not yet received or opened the message, I advise you to simply delete it.
David very likely used the class secretary contact list on the website or in the Davidson Journal to gather your email addresses. Your contact information is provided so that your classmates can easily reach you in your role as class secretary. While we rarely have an issue, today proves that it can be an issue. If you would like have [sic] your contact information removed from the list, please let me know and I’ll work with you to ensure classmates can reach you.
We do not condone this abuse of the class secretary list or any other alumni data; and we will be contacting him.
Again, I am sorry for any inconvenience and distress David’s letter has caused. (bolding of words added)
You’d think they’d encountered a naked man in the women’s locker room—although I gather that’s not supposed to be much of a big deal these days. Perhaps we should say her response was as if I had sent around pornography, or some sort of threat. Well, obviously, “several” people did consider my email sufficiently threatening that they were quickly moved to alert the alumni coordinator and cry for action.
Because there was some lapse of time before my informant on the list told me about AC’s red alert, I did not realize how hastily it had been sent out. The time on my email is 10:58. The time on AC’s “high importance” email to the group about the “Inappropriate Email” from yours truly, as you see, was just 41 minutes later. She apparently was so flustered that she addressed the group, “Good afternoon,” when the afternoon was still more than a quarter of an hour away.
DC Dave’s Awful Stink Bomb
Seeing my email described in such an if-you-see-something-say-something fashion, it is incumbent upon me at this point to share this little grenade, just as I sent it:
From: David Martin
Sent: Friday, January 29, 2021 10:58 AM
To: David Martin
Subject: Open Letter to Davidson College President Carol Quillen on Corruption
There it is. Now, I ask you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, are they snowflakes or what?
Well, you might respond, it depends on what’s in that article. It really shouldn’t, but I can assure you that it contains no foul language. But you, as they were, are free to read it for yourself. You will see that I do not suggest that the college or its president is corrupt, that is, in any commonly understood personal sense for the latter. The corruption that the article describes in great detail is of the American history profession. President Quillen’s education is in history and she was a professor of the subject before she moved over into the generally more lucrative side of higher education, administration. But neither she nor any of the members of Davidson’s history faculty nor any of my classmates who belong to that profession took the first exception to the article when I sent it to them back in November of last year.
You really have to wonder what in the world is going on with this fevered response this time. It was so swift that you can be virtually certain that none of the complainers had actually bothered to read the article before reacting, and that most assuredly includes AC, considering the time required for her to compose her red alert and the fact that she would not have seen the article until it was forwarded to her by a complainer. Would not the proper responsible, adult reaction to have been to have a serious look at the article before characterizing it as an “unsettling intrusion” and advising everyone to delete it even before they opened the email?
I’m sorry, but such behavior from an institution of higher learning is utterly foreign to me. And speaking of “distressing,” it is particularly distressing to me that such behavior is coming from my own alma mater.
As for the quick complainers, my guess is that they might have glanced at the article, but didn’t make it past the first four sentences, making up their minds about it, and flipping their lids:
On June 1 of this year, you sent out a message to the Davidson College community in which you said “systemic racism” was a big problem in the country. On June 10, a substantial number of others at Davidson went even further along those lines with their “Faculty Statement of Systemic Racism and Injustice.”
I believe that I have effectively rebutted those claims as laid out in my October 15 article, “Vince Foster’s College Goes Full Woke.” But the recent presidential election has brought to a head a much more serious and demonstrable systemic malady that infects the country, and that is corruption.
It is altogether fitting in this context that the article should have been published on the Heresy Central web site, because, if you read that faculty statement, it is really nothing short of heresy at Davidson these days and, from all indications, at colleges around the country, to take issue with the ridiculous assertion, as I see it, that the United States going into the third decade of the 21st century is a hopelessly systemically racist country.
It’s All about White Racism
An exchange that I had with one of the more recent graduates (“RG”) over my two emails, the one touting my article and my response to AC, which I blind copied to the class secretaries, is illuminating in that regard. He wrote me shortly after AC had sent out her red alert, but before I had responded to her and shared my response with the group:
I’m wondering what your intentions with sending this out were, and what sort of reaction you were anticipating.
It was a rather peculiar response, I thought. Doesn’t the article speak for itself? Remember, I was unaware at that point of the hysteria that it had produced, not having yet seen what AC had sent to the group. He seemed civil enough, though, appearing to want to begin a dialogue, and I responded immediately:
I think you can chalk it up to a very strong urge to scratch my pedagogical itch, with our common connection to Davidson playing an important role. If you use the “Look Inside” feature on the Amazon page for The Murder of Vince Foster: America’s Would-Be Dreyfus Affair, you will find by scrolling a few pages that I was the secretary of the Young Democrats Club my senior year and the sophomore, Vince Foster, was a member. You can see the photographic evidence from Quips and Cranks.
Quips and Cranks is the name of the Davidson yearbook, in which I am identified by either my full name, “Gary David Martin,” or just my first and last names. I began using my middle name for my political writing in the early 1990s and was anointed, “DC Dave,” by Cleveland radio talk show host, Jaz McKay, as explained on my home page.
As you can see, I was trying to draw RG into the pressing subject of my article, as I saw it. So focused was I upon that that I completely overlooked his second question. And I had no idea at that point what a strange hornet’s nest I had stirred up.
Upon reflection, I think RG is too young and lightly educated ever to have even heard of Vince Foster before hearing his name from me. I suppose I would have heard nothing more from him, because he didn’t respond. Three days later, though, I had dredged up an old article of mine that I had invoked, with some effect, I think, with another of the class secretaries who had corresponded with me over my unwelcome communication. I thought I might draw RG out with it:
I think you can understand where I’m coming from a bit better by reading Beth George’s story.
Perhaps I’ve just learned too much for my own good. It was naive of me to believe that actually reading and reflecting upon the validity and import of the article I sent around would be the absolutely last option for quite a few of my fellow would-be educated Davidson graduates.
That did the trick. He responded only a couple of hours later:
I can only imagine your frustration.
I’m sure you’ll agree that as you’ve asked me to do some reading, it’s only fair that I can ask you to do some reading as well. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this full piece:
Looking forward to your reflections,
He had avoided my topic and steered me into his favored one, but at least we had a dialogue going. I quickly offered my reflections, a little less than three hours later, hoping to demonstrate to him that my experience with the race question might be somewhat broader and deeper than he might have formed in his mental picture of me when he saw that I had questioned the “systemic racism” assertion:
There’s very little in the Coates piece that I did not already know. If you haven’t done so, you might want to read All God’s Dangers. One line that stood out to me in the book is Nate Shaw’s observation that he never knew a white landowner who didn’t try to cheat a black man at every opportunity.
My father was the liberal school principal in a farm community where the overall population in the district was probably majority black. He was good friends with the most liberal of the landlords (the landlord-tenant system dominated the society), who only had white tenants and treated them so well that they were virtually middle class. He once told my father that he thought there would be more landlords in hell than any group of people that he knew. It was almost taken as a given that the main reason for having black tenants was so you could take advantage of them. There were a lot of really lowly white families that got screwed over, too, by unscrupulous landlords. Blacks, though, were also intimidated into not voting, which meant that they had no political power and then racial demagogues like Jesse Helms could appeal to white racism to gain political power. Since my parents were from a very different part of the state, we could look at the situation objectively, as I explain in the partly autobiographical piece, “The Carolinas, Jews, and China.”
I don’t know how old you are (I didn’t at the time I wrote the email, ed.), but the racial progress that I have seen in my lifetime has been truly remarkable, and I think that it is something that we should celebrate. I also think I have a broader perspective on the racial issue than the average person. My wife is Korean. The best friend of my three sons was the younger of two sons of the only black family in our generally rootless neighborhood in a Virginia suburb of DC. The kid’s parents were from Florida, the father an engineer and the mother a schoolteacher. Our common Southernness and shared socioeconomic and education level gave us more in common than we had with anyone else in the neighborhood. The kid practically lived in our house. I think his parents would have been pretty roundly offended at the suggestion of the need for reparations. It’s a really patronizing notion.
Most of my professional career was spent working with the government of Puerto Rico. Race relations there are similar to those in Brazil, where there is no color line. It is very similar to the situation in Brazil, as explained in Carl Degler’s Neither Black Nor White: Slavery and Race Relations in Brazil and the United States.
My time spent in the Caribbean has also given me a greater acquaintance with the English-speaking Caribbean than the average person has. Even though their slave history is very similar to that of the United States, blacks there generally don’t have the same racial chip on the shoulder that is so common among American blacks.
At this point, permit me to digress a bit. In the winter of 1967-68 I was the coach of the Eighth Army Support Command basketball team in Korea. As you can imagine, most of my players were black. The only one that I noticed exhibiting that chip-on-the-shoulder attitude was from Detroit. I don’t think that it’s a big leap to conclude that it is much more common among Northern urban blacks like Coates and the Rev. Al Sharpton, although it’s pretty bad among Southern city blacks as well. I had the closest rapport with my point guard, who was from the small town of Rayville, Louisiana, where he was a friend of the slightly younger future NBA great, Elvin Hayes. He had played for Grambling and had a graduate degree from Iowa State. At one point he prevailed upon me to move a white backup into the backcourt beside him instead of the black guy I had there. It proved to be the correct move. The white guy had been a starter at Chico State in California and was actually a friend of mine before the team was formed because we were in the same headquarters company and played pick-up ball against one another. I was starting the black guy ahead of him because the black guy was a better defender, and I am a defense-first minded coach, but the white guy was a better ball-handler, and that was what we were in greater need of at the time we made the switch. At any rate, my rapport with the point guard was based on the fact that the “coach on the floor” and the coach on the bench need to be on the same wavelength, but also upon the fact of our similar Southern background and socioeconomic level. I think he would be offended at the reparations notion, as well, or at least I would be offended for him.
I don’t think rural American blacks, almost all of whom still live in the South, have much of the shoulder-chip problem. Charles Barkley, from Alabama, is a good example. Candace Owens, the author of Blackout, recounts that she was heavily influenced by her grandfather, who grew up on an Eastern North Carolina tobacco farm as a sharecropper. I’d like to hear Coates debate with her or Burgess Owens over reparations.
I think the main reason for the shoulder chip has been ruling-elite exploitation of racial division as a divide-and-conquer strategy. That is something that I get into in considerable detail in “The Charlottesville Operation.” Those who are most vulnerable to the increasingly pernicious NOMA (national opinion-holding apparatus), as I call it, are more likely to have that dangerous shoulder chip, I believe.
As a final note, the article that I sent around actually has virtually nothing to do with American race relations. That’s only the jump-off point. It’s about systemic corruption, and that’s a subject upon which I think I can claim virtually paramount expertise. Check out my latest article, “Kavanaugh Stabbed Supporters, Nation in the Back,” on that problem.
A day went by and I heard nothing more from RG, so I followed up with this, hitting him from his left flank:
I have a little more reflection to offer upon your assignment for me. I notice from his Wikipedia page that the author of that Atlantic piece, Ta-Nehisi Coates, is the son of a Black Panther. If he were motivated as I am, I think he would have written at some time about the outrageous FBI frame-up of California Black Panther leader, Geronimo Pratt. I have scoured the Internet, though, and I can’t find any example of it. I think there’s a very good explanation for that. He knows where his bread is buttered. Rather than promoting his career, it would probably be ruinous to it. As Aristarchus Patrinos explains in “Why the Left Loves Ta-Nehisi Coates,” the man has done very well for himself by sticking to the lane that has been carved out for black intellectuals by what Patrinos calls the Eastern Establishment, but what I think is better termed in corrupt 21st century America our Controlling Criminal Elite.
Now I have reflected upon your reading assignment for me, but other than to say that you understand my frustration you have offered nothing on my original article nor upon my reaction to your assignment. I hope you’re not like those college students that I used to try to teach economics to: Apprentice Careerists.
That shook RG out of his silence, but not with regard to anything of substance:
I’d underestimated the distance between our worldviews and ways of approaching discussion in my last email. I thought there may be some room for exchange but I am no longer convinced that is true. The speed with which you jump to paint me or others with whom you disagree as careerists, corrupt, etc., while you understand yourself as holding an unseen truth, all makes me think that we will not have a productive exchange. Further, while I appreciate that you have spent a great deal of time writing, I am not sure from what I have seen that there is anything there for me to engage with.
I wish you the best, and unless you’re willing to deeply rework how you approach exchange, that you not reach out again.
“With minds made up and closed, they turn from truth exposed.” From “The Lies.” I suppose it’s a “worldview,” of sorts. He’s finally running away, having actually said nothing to that point. I really couldn’t leave what he had said unchallenged, so I responded an hour later with this:
Looks like you’re leaping to an excuse to bail out. I didn’t accuse you of anything, nor leap to any sort of conclusion. Do I detect a bit of psychological projection here? I said that I hoped you were not the “apprentice careerist” sort. I would offer that you don’t seem to have taken anything that I have presented in good faith, because you have not addressed a single point that I have made nor fact that I have presented. You mention your worldview, but you have left me clueless as to what it is. I don’t even know what “deeply rework how you approach exchange” means. And I don’t deal in “unseen truths.” I think that I am about as heavy as it gets on facts and evidence. The fact is that our wonderful FBI sent Geronimo Pratt to prison for 27 years for a crime that they knew full well that he did not commit. I call that corruption.
As Gastonia native, Thomas Sowell, has written about the red marks he used to put on his students’ papers, specify, don’t characterize. If you were just a tiny bit open minded, you might have noticed that I have a great deal of experience and education from which you might gain some benefit. If you bothered to read the article that I described as partly autobiographical, you would see that my views have changed quite a great deal as I have lived and learned, as they say.
At that point, RG finally showed me about all there is to see of RG and turned tail with finality. About an hour and a half later I got this from him, showing that he was thoroughly miffed, and this time there wasn’t even a “Hi Dave” to start it off:
What’s wrong with looking to an excuse to bail out?
To be frank, I take issue with your assumption that just sending others very long works is substantive engagement, and that it is their problem if they don’t want to read it. I had hoped my request for you to read the Coates piece would make clear that issue; it did not, and I regret that way of approaching things. Repeatedly emailing with requests to read things when the person has displayed no interest in talking to you is borderline harassment, and I had hoped my request would make clear to you how absurd that is.
I cannot figure out what the hell is going on in the first open letter you sent us.
I don’t want to read 10 articles every email.
I think it’s ridiculous to argue against the presence of systematic racism at davidson.[sic] Chambers is named after a slave owner. There are still places where slaves lived on campus. Come on.
I am in a literal sense unsure of what you expect to get. I say unseen truth because you seem to be convinced you’ve hit upon some very significant patterns and conspiracies in the world and I simply cannot track them, and I don’t know how to engage with them. I am aware that you think there is evidence for your assertions; but you seem to believe you are the only person who sees the patterns you do.
I am no fan of the FBI, or anything involving the United State government, but a large part of that is because of the racism that institution embodies.
I think a lot of how you speak about black people is objectionable.
Overall, you seem to be appealing to a value of open discussion that is simply incompatible with how I understand it. I highly value free speech, but I am very skeptical that your way of approaching conversation will gel with mine.
As for your projection note – I notice that you constantly come up with explanations and insults to potentially explain why your interlocutor is simply not as interested in pursuing the truth as you are. Maybe that’s not leaping to conclusions, but is unquestionably making assumptions. Pretending those are neutral observations and not moves to tilt the discussion in your favor is ridiculous and about as bad faith as it comes. This is my biggest concern, because I suspect whatever I say or do you will link me to an article or poem that explains why I am one of the many uncultured masses that fail to appreciate your wisdom.
I could have engaged you in better faith. I hope you can forgive me for being wary of an article that I cannot make heads or tails of, which starts with an assertion I disagree with completely unrelated to the rest of the text, emailed to me by a stranger with no context who has harvested my email and responds when people complain about this by calling them snowflakes. None of that, to me, contains an ounce of good faith.
I imagine it is now clear to you why I am “looking for an excuse to bail”; or, more charitably, why I don’t think our engagement will be productive.
If I can offer some words of advice: if you want to engage with other people, you should make them want to talk to you, not harass them into it. Further, you should probably try and be respectful of boundaries and interpret your interlocutors charitably rather than throwing various kinds of explanations for how uninterested in truth they are. I am interested in truth. I simply doubt you have anything worth offering in that department. Your writings have not convinced me otherwise.
I think it’s been a mistake for me to engage with you this much for the reasons above, so again I ask, unless you are willing to approach me differently, please do not contact me again (ignoring that request is a really good example of not respecting boundaries). You can take that as a victory for your worldview and a demonstration of my small mindedness if you want, no skin off my back.
If you respond again and interpret my hesitancy to engage in an uncharitable manner I will block you.
There you have it. Everything is about race, race, race, don’t you know? No, actually, I gather that his “worldview” is that it’s all about white racism toward blacks. Nothing else really matters; he can’t make heads or tails of my initial terse email for that reason. But he speaks of my sending articles that he didn’t “want to read,” which says pretty clearly that he didn’t read even the first one. He saw that it was not going in his favored racial direction, and he just quit at that point. But even when I had accepted his challenge, shifting into his chosen topic and read his assigned article, responding, I believe, thoughtfully, he just punted.
Our exchange would hardly be worth sharing, but if you read that faculty statement or at anything coming from President Quillen these days or have a look at the latest Davidson Journal what you see from RG is apparently what a current Davidson education is designed to produce, indoctrinated young people who are completely incapable of handling facts and opinions that challenge what has been inculcated into them in their four years at the college.
I really would like to think that I am wrong about that, and one short response I got from a female class secretary who graduated from Davidson in this century provides a ray of hope: “Thanks for article. Very interesting. I need to reread it.”
I thanked her profusely for it.
DC Dave, the Horrible
Going back to the overlooked second question in RG’s initial email, that was the reaction that I was hoping for, whether stated or not, because I so seldom get feedback from anything I send out. I can’t say that I anticipated it, but I certainly can’t say that I anticipated the hornet’s nest that I stirred up. Here are some more examples of the latter:
Well, you didn’t ask me, David, before sending your unrequested comments. I’m sure there are people who appreciate conspiracy theories based on tortured logic, unfounded assumptions and blind leaps of faith and who would welcome discussing them with you, but not me. Perhaps you should send it to Donald Trump; I’m pretty sure he could use some cheering up these days.
Please do not contact me again.
How’s that for a hit and run attack? And this comes from an old-timer, a product of the era when Walter Cronkite was the “most trusted man in America,” and the guy apparently hasn’t learned anything since. I would invite him to point out examples of “tortured logic,” “unfounded assumptions” or “blind leaps of faith” in the article that I sent, but he’s already run for cover. Not only has he shown himself to be ignorant and stupid, but a miserable coward, as well. I’ll bet he was also the last child in his cohort to stop believing in Santa Claus.
For what it’s worth, I think you’re being rude and not representing Davidson in a positive light, neither your original email blast with no explanation nor your follow-up to “AC.”
If you want to educate people, that is your right but find other means.
The description of the original message as an “email blast with no explanation” pretty much says it all. The article, as I have explained, is its own explanation, and it is abundantly evident that this person, like the previous one, has resisted reading it.
This one is hardly complimentary, and it was the shortest, but, as you will see, it was not the worst:
I’ll answer for myself. I think you’re a nut.
One reason it was not the worst is that it was not accompanied by the message to the effect, “Please don’t reply to my insult,” giving me the opportunity to reply as follows:
It’s pretty clear, though, that you haven’t given it much thought. I am aware that there are lots of your benighted sort out there, but, fortunately, there are still lots of others.
I’m sure he was among the great majority who never read the article I sent, but I hope he at least clicked on the link at the “Dave.” If not, c’est la guerre.
This one, I think you will agree, is the champion of the lot, combining, as it does, a blizzard of insults, insults that really bear no relationship to my “offense” of sending out an article that demonstrates in meticulous detail the complicity of a pillar of respectability of the American history profession in the cover-up of the murder of a notable Davidson graduate, with an order not to disturb her anymore by defending myself against her insults:
Your email was offensive, deeply disturbing, beyond the pale, and I felt embarrassed for you.
Please do not include me on any of your future emails, thoughts, musings or opinions. They are unsolicited, unwarranted, unwanted and patently ridiculous.
You are a deeply troubled person. I will pray that you find mental stability.
Please find other outlets for your emotional needs.
I will block your email address going forward and hope to never hear from you again.
Snowflakes, indeed! And not one of them ever breathed a word about the subject of my article, the cover-up of the murder of their fellow Davidson graduate, Vincent W. Foster, Jr. ’67, of Hope, Arkansas.
I really didn’t start out to write about race, but seeing the reaction to my education attempt, I can’t help but be reminded of a favorite Mark Twain quote of mine, and it involves his view of Americans of African origin. “There are so few people that are any damned good,” he said, “it would be a shame to rule out a whole group of people on account of their skin color.”
What he observed about people in general applies to the sub-group of the alumni of my alma mater as well, it would seem.