List Me or Else

The following was reportedly retrieved from the bottom of the mailbag of Campus Watch.

Dear Campus Watch,

I am outraged that you are listing professors with whose views you take issue. This is an appalling McCarthyite tactic, which is designed to shut people up and stifle free speech. It is a serious infringement of academic freedom, of the sort academe hasn’t witnessed since the terrible 1950s. You can be sure that I will be urging the American Association of University Professors, the Middle East Studies Association, and any association that includes Joel Beinin, to pass a resolution of condemnation against your despicable website.

Having said that, I notice that my name has been omitted from your list. This causes me considerable angst. For some years now, I have been more Palestinian than the Palestinians in advocating their rights—their right to a state, their right of return, their right to preferential campus parking. And there’s more. I’ve taken the lead on my campus in showing respect for Islam. In my noon class, there is even a prayer break, and the two sections are divided into male and female. And I have invited Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, and Sami Al-Arian to speak, all on the same subject: “America’s War of Aggression against [speaker: please fill in the blank].”

So just what do I have to do to get on your list? I’ll be coming up for tenure in a couple of months, and a listing on Campus Watch would really help me out. I have a patchy publications record, although I’ve signed an impressive number of petitions. (In our department, we have a special section on our c.v.’s for “petitions signed.” It’s got the same weight as a co-publication.) Problem is, ever since Campus Watch appeared, getting listed there trumps everything else. My departmental chair has told me quite bluntly that without an entry at Campus Watch, my file will be borderline. Some of my senior colleagues are also cold-shouldering me. They see my omission as a sign of a certain lack of commitment to the profession.

In short, by leaving me off, you’ve effectively blacklisted me. It’s a notorious McCarthyite tactic, for which I intend to propose that Campus Watch be condemned at the next annual meeting of the American Association of University Professors, the Middle East Studies Association, etc.

Unless, that is, you include me.



John Jones (Abu Courtney)
Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Narratives
Center for Middle Eastern Studies (excluding Israel)
Lower Michigan University
Dar al-Harb

UPDATE: I’m informed that this letter has been posted on at least one other site, on the presumption that it’s authentic. It’s a parody, folks. I’ll let you guess who wrote it.