Naked City

Bob Jensen's new best friends

The latest news from the Department of Diverse Opinions: Radical UT professor Bob Jensen awoke recently to find his in-box full of helpful suggestions for how he should spend his day. These included "kill yourself," "join your fellow Islamofascists in Paris," and other vulgarities that even we won't touch but that involved sodomy and Arabs. Why the sudden attention? It seems journalism professor Mike Adams in North Carolina had written a column calling for a "Robert Jensen deportation fund" on the conservative Web site www.townhall.com (a project of the Heritage Foundation) and that some of his readers – 277 of them, all told – wanted to drive the point home with a little shock and awe of their own.

Adams' column was responding to one by Jensen, initially published in the Austin American-Statesman, and later in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where he argued that losing Iraq is a good thing: It makes empire-building seem less like a jolly little romp in the park and more like the deadly undertaking it is. Adams, for his part, wrote that if Jensen wanted the U.S. to lose, he should demonstrate the courage of his convictions by joining the insurgents battling U.S. troops. Ergo the deportation fund: It would pay Jensen's way there.

Lest you think Adams is intolerant of dissent, he makes it clear that Jensen has every right to make radical leftist arguments – the argument that dissenters should leave, he says, is "stupid." But he says that even if Jensen has the right, he should know better than to use that right. "It is such irresponsible speech. It does encourage insurgents, and there's no doubt in my mind that this, or the overblown coverage of Abu Ghraib, does increase casualties," he said. "So these are things people can say, but ought not to."

Adams admits that the logical extension of his argument that Jensen should back up his words with (military) action is that anyone for the war should be willing to fight as well. But sadly, he has vision problems and an unhealed surgery, plus at 40 he's too old, so he simply can't.

For his part, Jensen has been a public radical long enough to be used to being called a commie pinko faggot. He simply files away the choice zingers into an insult file and gets on with the never-ending task of corrupting impressionable journalism students. "People are looking for simple answers, but the questions we have to work through are not simple," he said. "That's something you see on all sides of the political spectrum. I get the same sense from some of the positive/liberal/left mail I get: the idea that, 'How can people who voted for Bush be so dumb?' That doesn't lead to understanding why people take the actions they take."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Robert Jensen, Mike Adams, townhall.com, Heritage Foundation, Iraq

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