From the “Any More Such Victories and We Are Doomed” Department


shutterstock_27568873The Modern Language Association is the latest academic group attempting to pass a resolution condemning Israel for things that it doesn’t like. This is being done because the organization has an interest in pretending that it is good, righteous, and filled with God’s noblest creatures, and it feels that the best way to pursue this particular interest is to take a publicly anti-Zionist stance. Readers will, of course, wonder why the MLA doesn’t try to demonstrate its uprightness by adopting resolutions condemning the actions of the governments of China, Russia, Iran, and various other nation-states where repression and inhumanity are woven into the fabric of public policy. Don’t hold your breath.

The Modern Language Association has utterly bizarre voting rules that allow for the adoption of resolutions with the approval of a mere 10 percent of the association’s active population. When the resolution was put to a vote, however, it only garnered 6.5 percent approval, with 4.4 percent voting against it. As anti-Zionist showings go, this one is rather pathetic. You would think that it would be easy to find enough people within academia to speak out against Israeli policies with a vehemence not found in the condemnations of any other country (assuming that an effort is even made to condemn anyone else. But the MLA couldn’t even find 10 percent. Wow.

So, this was a pretty cataclysmic defeat for supporters of the resolution, right? Well, amazingly enough (or not, given this particular group’s lack of attachment to reality), that’s not how they see it:

“I think it’s a moral victory and maybe a practical one,” said Bruce Robbins, a Columbia literature professor and an author of the resolution. “I think of this as a successful exercise in getting people informed.”

Pyrrhus chuckles. As do the rest of us.

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  1. tabula rasa Inactive
    tabula rasa

    The MLA has been a joke for years.  How big of a joke?  This is an edited version of a paragraph from Margaret W. Ferguson’s essay introducing the 2015 Presidential Theme entitled “Negotiating Sites of Memory’:

    The phrase sites of memory has many possible meanings. Like individual and collective memories expressed in verbal and other semiotic forms, the phrase is not fully translatable: it does, however, represent and misrepresent something from the past with implications for various presents and imagined futures. The theme remembers . . . Pierre Nora’s provocative conception of lieux de mémoire as “meaningful entities,” both real and imagined (monuments, holidays, flags, and school textbooks are among his many examples . . .). But this theme exceeds and challenges Nora’s argument . . . As a feminist scholar who has spent most of her career studying and teaching artifacts that were initially produced in times and places retrospectively (and still debatably) named medieval, Renaissance, and early modern, I hope this theme will foster conversations among those who define and value that which is not modern according to various chronological schemes and theoretical paradigms.

    Got that? Congratulations to California Ricocheti.  You’re paying her salary at UC-Davis.

    • #1
  2. MarciN Member

    Those who can’t teach or write run the Modern Language Association.

    • #2
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