Patterico's Pontifications


Some Professor’s Are Dummerer Then They Think They Are

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:24 pm

Sometimes the irony displayed by our cluelessly elitist leftist friends is so rich, you suspect that it has to be a put-on.

In our latest example, the fun starts with a Professor Charles Franklin in Madison, Wisconsin, who claimed that voters were “pretty damn stupid” when they voted for Republicans such as Russ Feingold’s opponent. (The journalist who asked him about it responded: “Thank you, professor… That’s the answer I was looking for.” Well of course it was!)

Ann Althouse wrote a blog post about it, and the good professor sent her an e-mail response. Here’s where the delicious irony starts. Here is a quote from the professor’s e-mail to Althouse:

Voter’s often act on little information and can be astonishingly unaware of things one might consider “facts”. A post-election Pew poll finds less than half (46%) know the GOP won only the House but not the Senate. And at times voters appear to vote for candidates who are likely to take positions at odds with the voter’s interests.

But in the Johnson-Feingold race, I think despite lack of details about Johnson, a majority of Wisconsin voter’s picked the guy they wanted, and for basically the right reason. Dems may be astonished at the rejection of a favorite son, but in making this choice I think voter’s properly expressed their preferences and matched them to the right candidate.

So I wish I had phrased this differently but that’s my bad, no one else’s. But I do not agree with the conclusion that voter’s were “stupid” to pick Johnson over Feingold. In fact I believe a majority got the Senator they wanted, and that is always good for a republic.

(My emphasis.)

One wonders how some professor’s get to be professor’s when their competence at using apostrophe’s is inferior to that of an average class of fifth-grader’s. Dare I suggest that some professor’s might reflect on whether the voter’s are just as smart as (if not smarter than) some of the professor’s who criticize the voter’s as being “pretty damn stupid”?

33 Responses to “Some Professor’s Are Dummerer Then They Think They Are”

  1. Speaking as a college professor, why, I see this pretty often. Regarding the grammar, most people on e-mail aren’t as careful as they might be. Which leads to the lack of reflection before sending an e-mail. Me, too.

    As for the topic at hand, may I recommend:

    “The Dumbest Generation,” by Mark Bauerlein.


    “Just How Stupid Are We?,” by Rick Shenkman.

    Appalling topic, but worth your time.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  2. Gee. He knows how to use apostrophe’s! He probably use’s yah-know alot when he speaks and stuff, you know?

    the friendly grizzly (2f59a6)

  3. sitting your child down and talking to them about apostrophes is just prudent I think, especially if they’re at-risk

    happyfeet (42fd61)

  4. Friendly Grizzly, the new expression that drives me batty is when students say “Yeah, no” in conversation.

    Listen for it. It’s new.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  5. Looks like you’ve got those apostrophes down pretty good, Patterico.

    PatAZ (9d1bb3)

  6. Use of the word dummerer should require attribution.

    JD (306f5d)

  7. Shouldn’t it be dummerer than????(:

    BT (74cbec)

  8. I especially like “grader’s”. Was going to make a snarky nitpick comment.

    roy (f572a6)

  9. BT: Correct. Which is why I wrote it the way I did.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  10. It’s a footnote compared to what you point out but I liked the way Franklin put “facts” in quotes in the first sentence. I’m sure he can be more condescending but it would be difficult.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  11. It would be interesting to be a fly on the faculty lounge wall at U of W – Madison. I can’t believe that Franklin would be happy over Althouse’s (there is that damn apostrophe again) outing him on her blog and through linky-love from the Washington Examiner and now Patterico bringing him national scorn. Give Althouse credit, she went after one of her own.

    BT (74cbec)

  12. It is truly shocking that the ivory tower elite view the unwashed masses with such scorn and contempt.

    JD (6e25b4)

  13. The interesting question is he conservative or liberal? I will assume that he is a liberal professor in any subject which is not “science”, and a Democrat. There are more conservatives than liberals and more Democrats than Republicans. But at the voting booth they are pretty equal. So he is saying there is a stupid group and a smart group of
    voters. Which means the typical Democratic notion that Republicans are stupid. How about all the doctors, lawyers, and sientists,mathematicians, physicists,etc. Many of them are on the stupid side, and lot of them are almost certainly smarter than the Professor. Which means he is both an idiot and arrogant.

    Eric Kiernan (8f1522)

  14. In the professor’s response, which Althouse front-paged, he says about his “stupid” remark:

    “The context was the Senate race and the point I was making, which I’ve made numerous times before, was that voters embraced Ron Johnson before they knew much about him. In a June 26-27 poll by Public Policy Polling, Johnson trailed Feingold by just 2 points, yet in the poll 62% said they had neither a favorable nor an unfavorable opinion of Johnson.”

    Which is all well and good, but he goes on to say in the same paragraph:

    “The race wasn’t about specific details of Johnson vs Feingold, it was a rejection of Democrats more or less regardless of what voters knew about the GOP candidate.”

    What the good professor failed to note about the PPP Poll is that:

    “Wisconsin voters have mixed feelings about Senator Feingold; 42% of Wisconsin voters
    disapprove of Feingold’s job, while 42% of voters support the Senator. Feingold has
    some strength amongst moderates, but not enough to secure a win; 54% of moderates
    give the Senator high marks.”

    So while it may be true in June that the polling was not a reflection of Johnson against Feingold, it does appear the polling may specifically have been against Feingold, unless he wants to make the argument that Feingold had no name recognition among Wisconsin voters.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  15. What gets me is the number of high-income Democrats who rail about lowly working-class folks voting Republican against their class interests.

    Kevin M (298030)

  16. __________________________________________

    It is truly shocking that the ivory tower elite view the unwashed masses with such scorn and contempt.

    Unless, of course, that elite is judging the 90-plus percent of black America or the huge percentage of the Latino community that consistently, routinely, mindlessly gives big hugs to liberals/Democrats.

    “Oh, those unwashed masses are different! Very different!!” proclaims the limousine liberal residing in his or her ivory tower. “Unlike the rest, they deserve our full devotion, respect and attention!

    “Er, uh, what’s that you ask!?? Why do I tend to avoid spending much or any time in the neighborhoods of such people? Why do I choose to not send my children to schools whose student body is predominantly black or Latino, or both?

    “I BLAME the Republicans — including the xenophobic right — for the horrible impact they’ve had on me and society in general!!!”

    Mark (3e3a7c)

  17. To Eric (re: #4)…a similar statement like that is to trail off at the end of a statement with “So….yeah.” It kind of reminds me of that old Victor Borge comedy routine with the verbal punctuation.


    rtrski (033232)

  18. I will put this how it comes to me.this professor is a lot like our politicians. To long in office & turns a deaf ear to everyone but themselves, much like the know it all President is doing.

    ken (1f7e94)

  19. It sounds as if some of your commenter’s, while having a firm grasp of sarcasm, apparently are deprived of the Irony Gene.

    quiznilo (43bb05)

  20. Ehh.

    The abuse of apostrophes is bizarre. Why does he think it should be “voter’s” – four out of five times – but “things”, “facts”, “candidates”, “positions”, “interests”, “details”, “Dems”, and “preferences”? Some odd typing tic.

    However this response is a genuine climbdown and a civil expression of respect for the outcome.

    Rich Rostrom (f7aeae)

  21. I wrote to Althouse as soon as I read the quote. He (Franklin) only does it in the final three paragraphs. Three times he substitutes a singular possessive for a plural and in the first paragraph quoted above he uses the singular possessive in place of the plural possessive. The second voter’s in the first paragraph should be voters’.

    Althouse wrote back that she had copied and pasted directly from the comment he had left in the previous thread. She said it was weird that he did that over and over. Four times in three paragraphs. In the earlier paragraphs the word voters is rendered correctly.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  22. i see the good professor has the same opinion of the voters as the politicans.

    tommy mc donnell (397858)

  23. THANK YOU, Patterico! I edit academic paper’s sometime’s and that get’s big red mark’s!

    I had to force my hand down, like Dr. Strangelove, to stop myself from calling him out at Althouse (just in case he was like Deb Frish or something) on that damnable grammar, LOL.

    Patricia (9b018a)

  24. “Althouse wrote back that she had copied and pasted directly from the comment he had left in the previous thread. She said it was weird that he did that over and over. Four times in three paragraphs. In the earlier paragraphs the word voters is rendered correctly.”

    Perhaps he was drinking and getting progressively more and more drunk as he was typing?

    quiznilo (43bb05)

  25. “…One wonders how some professor’s get to be professor’s when their competence at using apostrophe’s is inferior to that of an average class of fifth-grader’s…”

    Well, there’s being educated, and then there’s being credentialed.
    I’m sure that he has a long list of appellations appended to his name.

    AD-RtR/OS! (1f4eec)

  26. You have to go easy on the college Ivories – when one of their own was elected, many thought now watch and see how its done only to see it spectacularly go up in flames, probably going to be a century before anyone elects a professor again

    As a disclaimer – I have taught at Universities

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  27. not to mention: “…despite lack of details about Johnson.”

    one wonders if the good professor detects the supreme irony of that gem of a statement.

    ShyAsrai (921609)

  28. As a disclaimer to all of EPWJ’s comments, he has taught at universities.

    [With apologies to Professor Blair]

    Icy Texan (51f81a)

  29. Icy,

    Not at any Texas Universities 🙂

    EricPWJohnson (8a4ca7)

  30. Well, it isn’t as if we haven’t noticed any other effects of several generations of dumbed-down education.

    Don Leonard (d5d717)

  31. The cuts coming in academia may not touch Franklin, if, as is likely, he brings in outside cash, but peripheral Humanities profs and programs are doomed.

    If your head is on the block, everyone else is stupid.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  32. “that’s my bad” –GAWD I hate that phrase. He should lose tenure over that as much as anything else.

    But at least he got the apostrophe in the right place on the contraction.

    shipwreckedcrew (436eab)

  33. The guy is a professor because he works at Berkley East. Next question….

    Cheshirecat (0cd6a2)

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