I watched with pride as President Obama introduced Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his supreme court nominee. Next came the inevitable parade of talking heads commenting on the pick. When Chris Matthews threw to Jonathan Turley, I knew that my morning was about to be dampened. Sure enough, he lived down to my expectations quipping: "We are not talking about appointing a house pet [correction based on commenter] here."
Turley went on to suggest that Sotomayor did not have the "brilliant" legal mind of Diane Wood or Harold Koh. He then told the viewers that many academics like himself would be disappointed in the pick but would be muffled in their criticism of Judge Sotomayor. Presumably, Mr. Turley was already getting ready to make the case that this was an "affirmative action" pick. Sickening but predictable.
I left academia a few years ago because of people like Turley. Those of us who went to graduate school to pursue doctorates and other professional degrees have often been doused with the cold water that is the "Ivory Tower." Those of us who came from NOTHING and sought to bring our experiences to the Ivory Tower have often been marginalized and silenced. We are never quite "good enough" or "brilliant" enough for the likes of Turley and the other WHITE MEN who rule those hallowed halls.
Graduating at the tops of our classes at places like Harvard and Princeton still do not afford us the respect that Turley and his like seek to bestow.
I understood only a year into graduate school that I would be FOREVER separate from most of my peers and from most of the faculty. The topics that I chose to write about and study were not seen as valid ones for inquiry. The perspectives that I brought to bear were not dispassionate enough. Weber, Durkheim, Marx were privileged over E. Franklin Frazier, DuBois, and Fanon. Any interest in truly marrying theory and practice was derided as intellectual laziness. One was accused of a lack of rigor. I stayed and I fought it out. I don't back down from a fight but the experience was alienating. It was lonely.
I was reminded of all of that through Turley's condescension. I was reminded again of the utter irrelavancy of most of academia to the lives of ordinary people across the world. I was reminded of why I absolutely HATED academia.
Jonathan Turley is an embarrassment! Truly!
Here is one of what I am sure will be MANY appearances on MSNBC... I am trying to find his Chris Matthews appearance.