My Five Minutes of Infamy





Mr. Berthold is a former professor of history at the University of New Mexico.

Illustration of Richard Berthold by Curtiss Calleo

Prior to 11 September 2001 I was simply a professor of classical history, popular on the campus but essentially unknown beyond the confines of the second-rate university where I have taught for the last thirty years. Then, on that day, while preparing to leave for an eight o'clock Western Civilization class, I watched in amazement as two airplanes flew into buildings in New York City. A bit later in front of perhaps one hundred students I then uttered the remark that brought me my fifteen minutes of fame – or better, infamy:"Anybody who blows up the Pentagon gets my vote."

Why? I have long been suspicious of and more recently very disappointed in the military and civilian leadership of my country, and the remark, which referred to the Pentagon and said nothing about the World Trade Center, was clearly a reflection of my disagreement with much of our foreign policy. Over thirty years of teaching I have on many occasions made such comments about the government, inevitably to the amusement of students, and in fact three current and former Pentagon workers subsequently informed me that they made cracks like that all the time. But in an embarrassing moment of insensitivity and stupidity I made this observation when more than a hundred people had just died at the Pentagon, making those words an exercise in incredible callousness and setting myself up as a lightning rod for all the anger and frustration sweeping the nation.

Let me say right off that I am not, as everyone immediately assumed, some sort of liberal or leftie, and I have in fact for three decades been fighting liberal silliness and threats to free speech on campus. Nor am I, like many who castigated me in the media, an unthinking conservative. Depending upon the issue, I might be to the left or to the right, and I despise those benighted types, many of whom are intelligent enough to know better, who cannot think outside their ideological boxes. Contrary to the belief of so many plainly silly conservatives, it is entirely possible to love this country and be disgusted with its political leadership. It is entirely possible to support out troops and respect our veterans while believing Donald Rumsfeld is a greater danger to this nation than any terrorist. And if one regards the Constitution as one of the greatest political documents ever created, as I do, it is in fact a duty to criticize the Bush administration and its whacko attorney general, John Ashcroft.

Most Americans, however, do not pause to consider such things, especially in a moment of national hysteria, and the hate mail and death threats began to pour in, as the society made the easy assumption that I was a typical pinko, un-American professor. I deleted the ones that began with"go join your raghead friends in Afghanistan, you commie" or some similar sentiment, but I attempted to answer every reasonable criticism of my words. I was astounded, though perhaps not surprised, at how many outraged Americans reminded me how much blood was spilled to defend our freedoms and then in the next sentence denied me one of those freedoms. It is a constant source of wonder to me how frequently Americans speak of the need to defend freedom, often with war, while at the same time being so quick to surrender that freedom in the interests of security, cheap gasoline or whatever. Increasingly sick of being told I should resign, I began replying that I would resign if they promised to quite their jobs the next time they made an offensive or stupid remark. The point was lost on most, I am sure.

As a long-time gadfly at my university, I was accustomed to taking flak from sundry offended persons and groups on campus, but this was different. I had never received death threats before and had no idea whether they should be taken seriously, until some patriot attempted to assault me in front of my house. I also learned that local talk radio hosts were stopping just short of telling their listeners it was all right to beat the hell out of me. And while it is a heady experience to receive requests for interviews from the likes of CNN and Nightline, receiving over a hundred hate emails a day starts to get to you. The one bright side was the support that began to pour in from the almost 20,000 students who have passed through my classes in the last three decades. Especially gratifying were the letters of support from military personnel, particularly those who knew nothing about me, but believed the First Amendment was not just a catch phrase and protected insensitive jerks as well as everyone else. And the week after the remark when I entered my Greek history class, the hundred plus students spontaneously applauded me, probably the finest moment in my teaching career.

In contrast, I received very little support from the approximately fourteen hundred faculty, many of whom jumped on the bandwagon of those demanding termination. The Faculty Senate, a sort of academic Weimar Parliament, finally issued a tepid defense of free speech, at which debate everyone whom I had offended in the last thirty years popped up to proclaim what a jerk I was. Their statement on free speech seemed to exclude me. Most disappointing were the members of my own department, some of whom I had worked with for three decades. Of some two dozen members four said anything to me at all. It is not at all clear to me why successful revolutionaries even bother to shoot the intellectuals.

Meanwhile, an outraged community was demanding that I be fired by the university, and state legislators, rarely a group noted for its deep thinking, were threatening the university’s funding. The university administration never even hinted at termination, not because of any commitment to principle, but because they knew full well it would go to court and they would lose. Presumably because of fear of a lawsuit, the university was very emphatic about the"process" by which I would be judged and punished, causing me to think immediately of Stalin's show trials. I adamantly refused any suggestion that involved my classes or my pay, but the university's position was that I should be suspended for a semester without pay, a serious economic hardship for someone who makes only $45,000 after thirty years of teaching. In order to escape the growing stress I proposed a letter of reprimand, which would have no material effect on me.

I have been led to believe that there was apparently a division within the central administration, with the President, William Gordon, who also wanted this ended, agreeable to a reprimand and the Provost, Brian Foster, with whom I had already clashed over other free speech issues, demanding more serious punishment. I will never know whether it was threats of legal action against the university by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (a group to be cherished by every real academic) or something much more indelicate that resolved the issue in favor of a reprimand, but the university agreed to the reprimand. In my desperation to get out from under this, however, I foolishly allowed them to insert"warnings" about my behavior, thus setting myself up for future harassment, which has now come to pass. The characterizations of my alleged behavior were either completely bogus or laughable; I was, for example, scolded for"threatening the life of a colleague" because I had publicly stated that the dean of libraries was so incompetent that he ought to be shot. The Provost accused me of this with a perfectly straight face.

I am now ashamed that I gave in and did not take the university to court over infringement of my free speech. For thirty years I had been mouthing off about free speech, concerning which I take an extreme position (anything that does not create an immediate physical danger), but when the heat was turned up, I ran away. It is very disappointing to discover that ones character is nowhere near as strong as one had assumed. Perhaps in my younger days I would have fought, but now in my fifties, I just could not take the stress, and my wife was terrified that we would be bankrupted if I went to court. Still, I failed at a crucial moment in my life and ate far more crow than I should have.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education urged me to accept absolutely no punishment and take the university to court, promising that I would never hear the end of it otherwise. They were right.

In the fall of 2002 the chair of my department, Jane Slaughter, a feminist who did not care for me even before my remarks made her life more miserable, issued a negative post-tenure report on me, stating that even my teaching was found wanting. Odd, since I have been drawing into my ancient history courses enrollments typically three to four times greater than my colleagues and had won the university's major teaching award a few years earlier. Student support for me had been overwhelming. I had agreed not to teach Western Civ in the spring (to spare those delicate young minds my offensive words), and she arbitrarily decided that I would not teach it again, though I had successfully taught this course every semester for thirty years.

This semester the harassment from the Provost and my department chair has become steady, as I am accused of sexual harassment and professional misconduct on the basis of arguments the average American would find entirely risible. According to the Provost, for example, my use of vulgar language anytime anywhere in the world constitutes professional misconduct, a gross assault on my free speech.

Well, the drones and the ribbon clerks win. Rather than suing these people in a case that I would almost certainly win, I am retiring at the end of this fall semester. I love being in classes and teaching is part of my identity, but one can only take so much crap, and I am thoroughly sick of benefiting my department with huge enrollments and getting nothing in return but constant harassment and a salary that would be unacceptable to someone right out of graduate school.

But then, my whole experience is hardly atypical, as we all make our way through John Ashcroft's America. The republic is in far more trouble than I have been.


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kim petersen - 1/14/2006

With all due respect, I'm sorry professor Berthold couldn't find the strength to fight the free speech battle for the next person to be targeted.
I wish you greater courage next time. Shane on those colleagues who refused to stand up for you.


Seth Cable Tubman - 3/27/2005

Those bithering idiots on the right don't know "academic freedom" from the hole in their behind. They feel free to be rude, arrogant, disruptive, offensive, and WRONG whenever they damn well feel like it, but show intolerance and utter contempt for people who actually are intelligent, hardworking, and know what's right.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/23/2004

A professor who is punished for what he or she says in class is rather chilling.

Professors should have great latitude in expressing views in the classroom and not be censored for them. If this were a case of suppressing student views, it would be different. It wasn't.


Peter N Kirstein - 11/22/2003

Professor Berthold had every right to make that comment to his classes. AAUP guidelines proscribe persistent intrusion of irrelevant material into a classroom. Certainly commenting on the Sept. 11 events, even in this country, would not be considered an inappropriate comment.

Those who disagreed with him certainly had every right to do so. Yet punishment or banishment due to unpopular speech is a threat to democracy and a prima facie violation of academic freedom. It is chilling to think that a professor's comments to his class, would then be widely disseminated and used against him.

I stand by him, with him and defend him, not for what he said, I am a pacifist, but his right to say it.

That is my view and I will never alter it.

Peter N Kirstein
Professor of History
Saint Xavier University


Annie Nast - 10/22/2003

I explained Professor Berthold's remark to my seven year old and even he was appalled that it sparked so much controversy...his mouth actually hung open as I described what had happened. He hates the terrorists that blew up his favorite buildings, murdered a friend's dad and makes him live in fear but he is still wise enough to respect free speech and opinions.
What is Professor Berthold doing now?


John Trestan - 8/27/2003

Bill Shoebotham's comments are not irrelevant, in fact, they are very telling.

First off, was it Berthold's job to express his political opinion in a classroom? He was being paid to teach history, not blurt out the inane wanderings of a less than stellar mind. Students can get that from watching MTV, they don't need nor should they expect it from a state funded institution.

Secondly, is saying something as callous and myopic as, 'anyone who can blow up the Pentagon has my vote' actually voicing a political opinion? Does Shoebotham think so because Berthold used the word, 'vote' (the root of which is 'vow')? Or, is it because the target of those with which he would make his vow was the Pentagon?

One only needs to substitute the words, 'Edward. R. Morrow building in Oklahoma City' (another federal building that was populated by real, living people) for 'Pentagon' - to see that people like Berthold, Shoebotham and McVeigh are cut from the same cloth.


Bill Shoebotham - 8/6/2003

David Farber's post isn't relevant. Professor Berthold, regardless of his professional standing, shouldn't have been sanctioned by a state funded institution for expressing a political opinion. Any claim that the September 11 remark wasn't the fundamental issue fails to pass the giggle test.


John Bua - 7/15/2003

I had Berthold as a proffesor for many classes, Greek History, Roman History, Greek Culture, Roman Culture, and Ancient Near East History.
I will say that his classes were informative, and I learned an amazing amount in his class. I got A's in every class.
I will also say that after three years of seeing the man twice a week, he never knew my name, and never once was there during office hours.
He had three tests, with the same questions on every test, every semester, and his grad students graded those. He used yellowed old papers for notes and only answered a question if a student pestered him for an answer.

I was amazed at his vast knowledge of the ancient world. I was enthralled by his lectures, but I was apalled by his contempt and work ethics.


Neal - 3/10/2003

As a former student of Richard Berthold, I can easily see how the University of New Mexico will lose. He brought excitement and interest to his teachings and I, as well as many others, enjoyed his honest, straight forward methods of teaching. I will never forget his flavorful style of teaching. I am sorry to see him leave the University.


nick - 2/14/2003

Is this the same Richard Berthold that wrote an article for Avalon HIll's now-defunct magazine The General Volume 28, Issue 2? Thanks!


Peter N. Kirstein - 1/9/2003

Ahh! "He received his one teaching award under highly unusual circumstances." Don't specify; be imprecise; keep those grapes sweet not sour. The reference to winning only "once" is also revealing for the one who uttered it not for the recipient.


David Salmanson - 12/9/2002

Could it be that Berthold uses his provocative statements to prevent his being fired. I sojourned in NM for two years and had frequent business on campus but was neither a student or faculty person. I heard from almost all quarters that Berthold was departmental dead weight; the kind of guy who post-tenure review was designed to get rid of. Now that Berthold has said some controversial things, he can claim that they are firing him for his speech, rather than the fact that he has not met the basic expectations of what it means to be a tenured faculty member. In a situation where the job market is flooded with people who are highly qualified yet cannot find full time work, guys like Berthold use up valuable resources and take up precious space. What a shame that he is too egotistical to recognize that. And $45,000 makes for a comfortable living in Albuquerque for a single individual.


Van L. Hayhow - 12/5/2002

Would you give the name of your state, the university and the peole involved? I think there are too many anonymous comments here.


Sister Mary Elizabeth - 12/1/2002

Mr Berthold seems to have provided friends and foes with a focus for their anger and frustration at the 9/11 attacks. The reactions of the media and the "general public" were to be expected and probably constituted as much punishment as anyone deserves for making a silly remark at an exceedingly inappropriate moment.

What is surprising is the reaction of the university and department. Surely members of the latter must include some who support genuine free speech, meaning speech that you (or I) thoroughly disagree with, consider morally wrong, and/or dangerous, etc. It's the hard cases that make law -- no one has a problem with someone who doesn't make waves. Allowing the opposition the freedoms you would claim for yourself, is the real test, and one far too many seem to fail. My sympathy is with Mr. Berthold.


Scott Jones - 12/1/2002


There is more than one side to any story and the truth generally lies somewhere in the intersection of varying accounts. True to its sensationalistic orientation, HNN leaves it to the audience to judge this one without benefit of outside objective commentary. To a non-insider though, Farber's rendition of this saga makes much more sense than does Berthold's. Even Berthold's own statement strongly suggests that it was his egotistical laziness and crude behavior, not his political beliefs, which led him into trouble, even if "patriotic" correctness played a secondary role in the final chapter of his university career. There is a big difference between "being silenced" and being exposed or criticized.


Virginia Scharff - 12/1/2002

Contrary to Professor Berthold's disingenuous contentions, free speech is alive and well at the University of New Mexico. Indeed, his own speech, far from being repressed, has been amplified, most often by his own efforts. I offer a few historical instances, in the effort to correct a record distorted by his malicious and knowingly false statements:

--On 9/11/01, Berthold made his now notorious remarks, not once, but three times: first, in his early morning class; second, in his office, in front of a group of people including a student video crew (alas, one of the people present asked that the camera be turned off); third, to his second class of the day. Thus his 'Pentagon' quip was not an off-the-cuff effort at wit, but was instead a carefully rehearsed remark, intended to draw attention to himself by shocking and wounding, as if often his intent. In this instance, I suspect he was successful beyond even his own imaginings.

--In the weeks following 9/11, as the reaction to Berthold's statements grew and spread, the angry reactions began to pour in. A state legislator did indeed insist that he be fired, and suggested that if the university did not dismiss him, the legislature should withhold funding for the entire university. Neither came to pass. The hate messages certainly did begin to pour in, by mail, email, and sometimes in the person of irate and occasionally unbalanced visitors to the history department. Some of these messages went to Berthold. Many were routed to the history department, where they were managed by Chair Jane Slaughter and the department staff. They alerted the Campus Police to particularly disturbing material (of which there was an abundance), but dealt with most of the onslaught themselves in a professional and careful manner. Recall that this was the period in which Americans who handled mail were dying of anthrax, and you will understand why we all understood that the staff were at risk as they handled the reaction to Berthold's statement. Every one of the staff found what he had to say disgusting and deplorable, but in the interest of dealing with the crisis in a professional, positive manner, they said nothing. For her part, Professor Slaughter, in her capacity as his supervisor, stalwartly defended his right to speak, as did the University.

Berthold, meanwhile, used the period to craft his role as victim of repression, Poster Boy for the First Amendment. During this period, his class was cancelled for a week (on the advice of the police, who said they could not guarantee his safety on campus, and assigned him a personal escort.) While those of us on campus fielded the criticism, Berthold began to give interviews to local newspapers and television stations, and soon was appearing on NPR and "Nightline" and being quoted in The New York Times. I have a hard time understanding which of those activities constitutes a repression of his right to speak freely.

--In the year and months since 9/11, Berthold has made a point of reviving the controversy at frequent intervals. Every time we in the history department think we've gotten beyond this foolishness, here he is again-- for example, on HNN. Your decision to offer him a platform is but one more example of the ways in which he has successfully amplified his presence, commanding the attention he craves, and leaving to others the job of reacting, responding, setting the record straight.

Richard Berthold is a consummate propagandist. He begins with the Big Lie, employs the stand-up comedian's combination of whining tone and bullying content, and brilliantly executes the role of victim. Perhaps it is fortunate for us that the cause he propagandizes is nothing more grand than himself.


Melissa Bokovoy - 11/30/2002

I wish to thank Professor David Farber, a member of my own department, for pointing out some of the distortions that Associate Professor Richard Berthold wrote in his self serving and fictional account of his trials and tribulations at the University of New Mexico. The Department of History, the Faculty Senate, and the President of the University of New Mexico are all on the public record defending Professor’s Berthold freedom of speech. No one defended Berthold’s freedom of speech more vigorously than our current chair, Professor Jane Slaughter. Her credentials as a defender of faculty rights and freedoms over the last twenty-five years, some as chair of the faculty’s Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee, is beyond reproach. As Professor Farber states, “Professor Slaughter is the real hero of the story.”
As Professor Farber reveals, Berthold’s case is not an example of someone being punished for speaking the “truth” but a case of a tenured professor who retired in a place, at the Associate Professor level, for more than 20 years and who, under the new system of post-tenure review, was revealed to be deficient in two of the three areas that constitute our jobs, research and professional service, and average for the department in the third category, undergraduate and graduate teaching. Berthold was one of four tenured faculty members in history to undergo post-tenure peer review this year.
Berthold’s bitterness toward the university, second-rate according to his assessment, and his own failings drive his agenda. A promising young scholar thirty years ago, Berthold ended up in a place that he believed was beneath him and he retired in place once he received tenure. He has made this fact known to all who are willing to listen, whether it is in the classroom, in his weekly column in the university paper (so much for shutting down his freedom of speech since his column is still published), or in conversations with his new and not so new colleagues.
All of us are familiar with the Bertholds in the profession. Professor Lynn Hunt, President of the American Historical Association, in her recent column in the September issue of the AHA Perspectives describes faculty members like Berthold. She wrote,
“I am sure that you have stories at least as appalling as mine of faculty who never attend departmental meetings, who refuse to teach anything outside their own area of specialization, who neglect to develop a course syllabus before term starts, who cancel classes the first or last week of term with insouciance, who fail to show up for their office hours or even their final examinations, who routinely harass students sexually or otherwise—and never suffer any penalties at all. . . . “
Berthold never suffered any penalties for his conduct or his substandard performance. His decision to retire is based solely on the fact that he doesn’t want to work hard at his job and his colleagues finally called him on this fact. This fact is not as heroic as his self-proclaimed martyrdom, which probably allowed him to negotiate a nice little severance package from the university. We are all the richer for it.

Melissa Bokovoy
Regents' Lecturer
Associate Professor of History
University of New Mexico


rw boyd - 11/30/2002

my name is rw... and i am a jerk. your newly-achieved national name-recognition jerk bonifides alone could sweep your candidacy into almost any public office in america. "if you're a jerk, we can work!" (feel free to use phrase in campaign)


Joe Talan - 11/30/2002

LEAVE FOR ANOTHER PLACE THAT WILL EMBRACE YOUR COCKEYED VIEWS???


David Farber - 11/30/2002

As one of Professor Berthold's colleagues I read with sadness his twisted version of events and his attacks on principled members of the University of New Mexico community. Why didn't you ask someone in his department about his behavior? Professor Berthold is not quite the hero he makes himself out to be. I served on his post-tenure review committee. Over his thirty years at the university the man has made a terrible record. The reason he received almost no support from the 1400 faculty at the university is because he is a professional joke who, since tenure, has published almost nothing, guided no graduate students, done almost no departmental service, participated in almost no professional activities, and who has consistently said and done stupid and embarrassing things. He has offended almost everyone in his department, and over the years has made many sexist or crude and obscene comments about his colleagues. Women in the department recently formally protested his behavior (and their concerns were most definitely not laughable). As for Bethold's teaching record, his undergraduate teaching evaluations are roughly average for the department and others have similar enrollments (requiring very little work helps keep his enrollments up). He received his one teaching award under highly unusual circumstances. Finally, I should note that if Professor Berthold's salary were converted to an hourly rate, he would probably be the highest paid member of the department. His remarks on September 11th--and he made more than one--were, as he himself indicates, typically immature and reckless. On campus, Berthold's behavior raised issues of professional conduct, not freedom of speech.

The department chair, Jane Slaughter, handled the entire affair professionally. She, not Berthold, is the real hero of this story. She publicly defended academic freedom to community members and kept a level head despite Berthold's hysterical personal attacks on her. Freedom of speech is too important an issue to allow Professor Berthold's half-truthful account to stand unanswered.



David Farber

Professor of History

University of New Mexico


Joseph Smith - 11/28/2002

I believe Noam Chomsky once said something like this: "Look, it's not free speech, unless you let the assholes speak." Mr. Berthold's case seems to be a perfect example. Of course his free speech rights need to be preserved. But let's not pretend that what we're protecting in his case are "controversial" or "challenging" ideas. This is a man who refers to the institution he has worked at for years as "second-rate," who seems to think it is a much greater sin to be on the political left ("Silly liberals" and "pinkos") than to be a callous, egocentric, immature and insensitive bastard and who thinks saying a fellow employee should be shot is a funny joke. This man is not an intellectual. Just a jerk. It is a shame that his colleagues at University of New Mexico have to suffer him. I think all of us in academia have encountered insufferable pricks like Berthold. Perhaps folks like Berthold are not the kinds of "assholes" Chomsky had in mind in his defense of free speech. But the first amendment protects this kind of asshole nonetheless.


alan gropman - 11/27/2002

please send this to former new mexico professor sterve kramer at

kramers@ndu.edu

steve: do you know berthold? what do you think of him and his fate?

alan


DCTaylor - 11/27/2002

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty


Bob Greene - 11/27/2002

Dr. Berthold does have the legal right to utter idiotic comments As his post demonstrates, he continues to utter idiotic comments. The first ammendment says the government can not punsih you for what you say. They didn't. People, rightly, regarded his comments as stupid, insensitive, callous, etc. as he freely admits. He is free to say those things but that does not mean he is free of any consequences. People can shun him, hold him in incontempt, call him a jerk or worse and he has no recourse nor should he. Accademic freedom is another issue. He should be free to question government policy even when he is wrong and not be fired. He should be free to question it in stupid, obnoxious ways which obviously he does. But he chose not to defend himself. He discovered some of the administation were spineless cowards who bend to the prevailing winds. DAH , well hello, where has he been for the last thirty years. Colege deans and department heads have always been spineless wimps. So what's new . If Dr. Berthold wished to preserve his rights it was up to him to fight for them. Whom else did he think was going to?


Matthew Moriarty - 11/27/2002

I am sorry that you are leaving the teaching profession. Your point of view, and your colorful way of expressing it, is well taken. I agree with it. But you would agree, I'm sure, that it is not just academia that is insufferably rigid with their insistence on the correctness of group think. There are very few work places that permit any overt expression of independent thinking. Try taking a public position against the President's policy for pre-emptive war, or for that matter his general competence for doing anything other than reading the script from the teleprompter. You will see how fast the furies of conformism descend on you. Your reference to Mr. Ashcroft, or dare I say Mr. Police State, is understood in context. You need not justify it to your silly detractors. We live in a nation where most of our sacred liberties are being subverted and trashed so that we may bring "freedom" to others. Sadly, few American even care or have the developed intellectual conviction to resist the assault on their constitutional rights. Many Americans are comfortable with the notion that in practice no one has the right to be different. We must all be the same. This insistence on sameness has helped, no doubt, to blur the distinction between the two major, but increasingly irrelevant, political parties. Political correctness has all but nullified the first amendment. No one speaks freely today without incurring risk to his person or livelihood. I am glad that you spoke freely and saddened by your despair.


Scooter Lucas - 11/26/2002

Why the swipe at Ashcroft? Because Berthold is an idiot, who can't even keep the players straight. He surely should not have lost his job, but that wasn't Ashcroft's doing. He had the misfortune of yapping off while working in an environment that puts little value on free speech: the American university.


Richard Henry Morgan - 11/26/2002

I couldn't agree more with Mr. Safranski. What I don't get is Prof. Berthold's swipe at Ashcroft. He wasn't done in by Ashcroft, or Bush, or anybody or any institution where Ashcroft holds sway. No, he was done in by academia.


mark safranski - 11/26/2002

The uproar and damage to his reputation were really the only defensible punishments Dr. Berthold ought to have received for his thoughtless remarks. While I agree that a public apology was the appropriate thing to have done, his failure to do so doesn't invalidate Berthold's right to free speech. Still less, does it give petty tyrants, bureaucrats and academic totalitarians a just cause to attack his livelihood by abusing administrative or quasi-judicial process to carry out vendettas.

I live in a state where the flagship public university has a dean of LAS who proudly attacks the concept of freedom of speech and a star law prof who has been the official legal advisor to at least two terrorist groups. Dr. Berthold's remarks were noteworthy only by their timing and quite mild compared to what passes for " academic " discourse today.


Clayton E. Cramer - 11/26/2002

"As we munch our turkey, we can be thankful that Professor Berthold is very ATYPICAL of the historical profession generally, and can sigh in relief at this welcome exit."

He is?


Held To The Same Standards - 11/26/2002

You..100 students...You, an impromptu remark...You, an ended career...

The fascists: broadcast to millions... The fascists: deliberate...The fascists: fame and fortune...

That sounds "Fair And Balanced"(tm)


Thomas Gallatin - 11/25/2002


At a time when academic freedom and civil liberties are under prolonged assault by so-called "conservative" politicians, the last thing defenders of true American constitutional traditions need
is an arrogant windbag in their midst who is incapable of simply apologizing, and goes out blustering and whining to the last. As we munch our turkey, we can be thankful that Professor Berthold is very ATYPICAL of the historical profession generally, and can sigh in relief at this welcome exit.