‘Asking why academic freedom is important is like asking why love is important, or why it’s important to eat when you’re hungry.’ Wendy Kaminer is momentarily stumped. For her, the need for free thinking and free speech in universities, both on campus and inside the classroom, is so obvious, such a no-brainer, that: ‘You know what? I’m having trouble articulating a defence of it!’ …[ ]
‘Okay, why is academic freedom important? Because in order to think, in order to exercise your freedom, you need to be educated – and in order for people to be educated they need to have the freedom to consider a very wide range of ideas, to have their own preconceptions questioned, and questioned vigorously’, says Kaminer. ‘They have to learn how to tolerate ideas that are really abhorrent to them. They need to learn the difference between ideas and actions. They need to learn that people can have very different ideas, and they can debate them without coming to blows.
‘You know, in our world today, one way you can stop people from coming to blows about their conflicting ideas is by teaching them how to argue, and teaching them not to be afraid of argument. There’s an important difference between being embarrassed or feeling intellectually or emotionally wounded because you’re at the losing end of an argument, and actually being physically assaulted. I think it’s incredibly important for students to learn how to argue, and to learn how to appreciate and even enjoy argument.’
The Right and the Left takes a few hits in this article and while to different degrees they both deserve it. I can’t find the exact quote right now, but to paraphrase, you’re sword is only as sharp as your opponents ax.
I have had daydreams for years that I would come across an old masters painting for a few bucks and make a fortune, Truckie’s $5 canvas could be a Pollock
RETIRED female truck driver Teri Horton paid $US5 for a paint-splattered canvas at a Californian junk shop in 1991 for a joke. But the joke may be on the art world.
A fingerprint found on the painting has raised the possibility that the artwork is a masterpiece by Jackson Pollock.
If accepted as authentic, the junk-shop picture would be worth up to $US50 million. Pollock’s No5, 1948 sold last month for $US140 million, a world record.
Ms Horton, 74, of Newport Beach, had never heard of Pollock. When told her painting might be by the abstract expressionist, she asked: “Who the f… is Jackson Pollock?”
Ms Horton bought the 120cm by 165cm picture in San Bernardino. She and a friend had a good laugh over it. “We were going to throw darts at it, but we sat there and drank beer and never did get around to it.”
Months later, to clear out her clutter, she offered it for sale to friends.
An art professor told her she might have a painting by Pollock, who died in 1956.
The non-profit International Foundation for Art Research rejects the idea that the painting is a Pollock. Thomas Hoving, the former director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum, who investigated the claim for the documentary, believes it was done as a lark. “I think somebody had a house in some sunny part of the world, Palm Beach or something like that, and wanted an abstract painting, maybe like a Pollock, in colours that would have fit the room.”
But Peter Paul Biro, a Montreal art restorer, says he has matched a fingerprint on the painting to a fingerprint on a paint can in Pollock’s studio in East Hampton, New York.
“Since Pollock was known to work alone and had no assistants or pupils, the probability of the fingerprint on the blue paint can being Pollock’s is very high,” he said.
I used to have a philosophy professor that liked the Simpsons, but didn’t like Pollock. Did I stand up and throw a book at him? No, its not that I think the Simpsons suck as much as I think that a hundred years from now most people will still think that while Pollock in his personal life was an asshat, he was a brilliant painter and no one will know what the hell you’re talking about if you bring up the Simpsons.