17 thoughts on “Follow McGinn on Twitter

  1. “Obviously you are a stupid bitch. Sorry, I mean obviously I am not really Prof. Colin McGinn. I am a parody of him.”

    “I have not been fired. There are no charges or findings. It was just one email. Also, the bitch done took my money. ”

    These are pretty great.

  2. Is it impractical to suggest that no one give mcginn’s blog ANY TRAFFIC AT ALL? I mean Philospot. Cuz he’s enjoying every click.

  3. Perhaps when he’s become bored with “philosophical arguments” in defense of sexual harassment, he could philosophically argue on behalf of fart jokes. No matter how much anyone tries to dress up the sophomoric, manipulative, abuse of power that professors hitting on students is; it’s always the same simple-minded, trite and disingenuous dreck— which makes twitter mockery a perfect response.

  4. I know we’re all having a good laugh about this crazy creepy old man but it’s worth thinking about McGinn’s behavior in context of violence against women.

    I’m not saying he is physically or sexually violent. I’m saying we should recognize the ways in which actions like his (retaliatory [quasi-]identification, public humiliation, insult, inability to recognize or admit wrongdoing, shifting blame onto victims, using high social/professional status to isolate and intimidate — all this social psychological stuff in addition to the harassment itself) are part of a pattern of behavior men traditionally use to silence, intimidate, control, harm and re-victimize women close to them. It’s systemic, it’s well-documented, and it’s effective.

    We need to recognize and reflect on what we’re seeing this week as enacting and embodying practices of gender violence. This isn’t just some delusional ego-ridden old man. Men who do these things are not oblivious, or bad at reading social signals, or whatever. They are strategic and agentive and pathological.

  5. @Rachel:

    I think much of the ‘fun’ is really pressure valve response. This is a deeply disturbing, ‘creepy’ as Jon Cogburn has said, business. I agree that we should think about this in the context of broader and more dangerous sexism.

    One thing I have seen pointed out is how much of his conduct/attitude suggests the classic ‘grooming’ of potential victims by seasoned abusers.

  6. @Rachel, i totally agree with you. what’s so disturbing about it is how formulaic it is. but i also think that responding by mocking him publicly–in a ridiculous way that gives no respect to his words–is the perfect reply. he is clearly intent on defaming this woman and making her look a vindictive fool. i love it that the tables are (apparently) being turned on him. let the victimiser be publicly humiliated, for once.

  7. I agree, Rachel, and think that explicit and implicit violence is not only behind every kind of sexual harassment women experience, but also often behind women’s desire to live with a man or have a boyfriend— for protection.

    Women are supposed to be flattered by this attention; if not, then women should be glad they weren’t raped. If they were raped, then they really weren’t. Every single thing about rape culture and the sexual harassment that is its fellow is for men at the expense of women. It’s socially, mentally, emotionally, and physically violent even when a particular man, in a particular situation wasn’t overtly violent. He doesn’t have to be; he has the full weight of patriarchy and rape culture behind him.

    Because he demonstrates that he likes to violate women’s boundaries, he is worthy of the concern that he’s a physical threat on top of the detrimental effect he’s having on a woman’s career, autonomy, social comfort, etc.

    It’s good to fight it and purge it from our programming in every way we can to fortify our spirits and to help us deal with it. Sometimes, laughing at the mockery of men like McGinn with his pathetic “academic” defense is vindicating. Intellect-ually, rape culture is a moron. When it tries to look intelligent it has that monkey trying to use the field phone effect.

  8. His continual clueless “replies” beg ridicule. To wit:

    Why I’m Right and You’re Wrong and I’m Taking My Genius Toys and Going Home
    1. The rules of the university allow the insufferably dim President to overrule the findings of the idiots on the Faculty Senate Committee that investigates cases of alleged genius mentoring, and I believed this was very likely in my case.
    2. I had no desire to remain in a place I had come to hate because it did not appreciate my luminous intellect.
    3. I did not want to keep paying my lawyer at exorbitant rates for several more months because it might-just might-place me in SLAC net income territory. How embarrassing would THAT be?
    4. I was concerned about the effects on my wife’s physical and mental wellbeing (but not enough to actually act as if I cared about that in my day-to-day life; note that I made this #4).
    5. I wanted to spend more time with my son and grandchildren in the Motherland (hey-doesn’t that sound as if I am a regular guy? Like your grandpa?).
    6. I have been a professor for forty-or is it fifty?-nah, must be sixty-years and wouldn’t mind spending the rest of my self-absorbed life reading the books I want to and playing more tennis. Now bow before me mistresses of non sequitur!
    7. I didn’t know whether my old enthusiasm for teaching would survive my disenchantment with graduate students, and in particular one who wouldn’t play with the hand she was dealt.
    8. I was sick and tired of the whole thing and just wanted not to have think about it anymore or waste my time on it, just as anyone who really gets OJ understands.
    9. I had books to write that I wanted to get on with, and believe it or not, there may be soft porn content.
    10. I felt insufficiently intellectually stimulated in Miami anyway, because geniuses really need places like Einstein lived in-like maybe pretty close to Snooki.
    The downside was that I wouldn’t “get my day in The People’s Court”, but I made a point of writing a long obfuscation of the accusations against me and giving it to the university. So there.

  9. I just saw Ip’s @#8 and WW’s @#9 posted somewhere as evidence of the terrible witch-hunt against poor, unconvicted McGinn.

    It is true, he has not been convicted of anything – nor could be for sexual harassment as contrasted with assault – but I find it hard to believe that anyone seriously doubts he is guilty of some form of harassment/creepiness worthy of resigning. Philosophers do love to mine for every possible counter-consideration, but I wonder if there are not context in which we ought to be humans first and philosophers second.

  10. @ChrisTS,

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if people were citing this stuff as evidence of a “witch-hunt.” Most people who toss around the term “witch-hunt” are people who get upset every time action is taken by people who aren’t the “proper authorities.” Let them whine. I love it.

    But as far as I can tell, the twitter accounts and the very democratic, public outrage are the best things that have come from the McGinn case. I’m much more comfortable with the twitter account than I am by anything said by Donna Shalala, who holds a position (university presidency) that probably shouldn’t even exist.

  11. “… n particular one who wouldn’t play with the hand she was dealt.”

    I see what you did there and it made me laugh.

  12. And the beat goes on:

    Maxim: if you can be misunderstood you will be. Which makes indeterminacy of translation a minimum sub-issue, and thus puts that “problem” permanently to rest, and allows me to place another notch in the grip of my awesome critical hand-gun. My talk of “the genius project” was (of course) tongue-in-cheek. I am not a genius, though I would note that my Maxim (tongue-in-cheek: the men’s magazine?) might apply. I am not sure the concept makes much sense in philosophy, though I have tried my damnedest to make it do so. Nor was I trying to make the student into a genius (Maxim—remember? Just recall that “can” here was carefully used instead of a locution involving “may”, by which of course I meant—or did I?—that the ability (or inability) of misunderstanding stands with my readers/hearers and not with me). The idea was to try to encourage intellectual quality and originality. Irony, remember (and with the Maxim in force, well. . .). I conceived the “genius project” as an experiment: try out various ideas and see what works—so IF I mean that then my conception was the genius of trial and error. A mundane part of it was to reserve a part of each day, preferably the early morning, for thinking through one’s own ideas without reliance on texts of any kind, like clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee, and. . . Another part was insistently asking the question: “Is this really true?” about some contemporary canard, like–manipulation of underlings. I see nothing sinister or weird in this. But Maxim, remember?

  13. Who can keep up?

    I wonder if anyone thought through the consequences of my case for the future of the philosophy department in Miami-Vice U. Aside from my own departure, which of course for any department would be crippling, there is bitter dissension within the department about whether I am just a Cretan or merely self-absorbed genius (like duh—no genius can be really self-absorbed). There will surely be problems of both retention and recruitment of faculty—thanks entirely to the departure of my Awesomeness. What potential graduate student with any choice will want to enter a program so riven and even more so deprived of my Awesomeness? I may be wrong but my guess is that the graduate program will be more or less defunct in about three years, barring some miracle that they rehire me at double salary—or maybe get Kripke as a second choice. And all because a student tried to get herself out of a jam by spinning a colorful yarn—which means of course that I am completely innocent of anything like inappropriate behavior in any sense whatever. Does anyone think any of this is good (of course I mean for me)?

  14. Alan, I think you have a missed career opportunity as a satirist! (Although come to think of it, Philosophy may just be good training for satire.)

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