Showing posts with label Within the Whirlwind. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Within the Whirlwind. Show all posts

Thursday, July 16, 2020

UWV police chief apologizes for displaying a "Thin Blue Line" flag in his home office: American universities are beginning to resemble Stalinist Russia

Go see Within the Whirlwind, a movie about Evgenia Ginzburg, a literature professor in Stalinist Russia, who is falsely accused of anti-Russian agitation. She gets sentenced to 10 years in a Siberian work camp.

 But you don't need to see Within the Whirlwind to get a feel for what Stalinist Russia was like. Just read the news about what is going on in our universities.  You say or do one wrong thing in those lunatic asylums, and you can lose your job.

Case in point. W.P. Chedester, West Virginia University's police chief,  recently sent a letter to the campus community, inviting people to attend a Campus Conversation about racism and injustice. Meshea Poore, the university's VP for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, joined Chedester in the invitation. 

So far, so good.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Conversation took place via Zoom, with Chief Chedester participating from his home office.  And this where the university's top cop screwed up. In the background of his Zoom image, viewers could see a "Thin Blue Line" flag--basically an American flag with one blue stripe. This flag is generally interpreted as a sign of respect for law enforcement.

Big mistake! 

Several WVU professors and students were offended by the flag and lodged protests to the university. Chief Chedester, a team player, took the flag down and issued a letter of apology.  "I sincerely did not have any intent to suggest that police lives matter more than Black lives, nor was I intentionally trying to cause any harm or offense."

Apparently, some WVU professors were not satisfied with his Chedester's apology. One professor tweeted that Chedester should still resign.

I admire Chief Chedester for his dignity and humility in responding to protests against his home decor. I probably would have responded like Michael Corleone (played by Al Pacino) in The Godfather after a rival Mafia gang machine-gunned his bedroom one night.

"In my HOME!" Corleone shouted furiously. "IN MY BEDROOM WHERE MY WIFE SLEEPS! Where my children come and play with their toys. In my home!"

Yes, some people wanted Mr. Chester to lose his job because he hung an artistic expression of his personal beliefs in his own goddamn home.

And so, as I said, you don't need to see Within the Whirlwind to get a glimpse of what life was like in Stalinist Russian. Just take a tour of the WVU campus. I'm sure someone from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion would be glad to show you around.


Joseph Stalin:

Note: Within the Whirlwind, directed by Marleen Gorris, was released in 2010. Emma Watson played Yevgenia Ginzburg, a Russian literature professor who was railroaded by the Communist Party and sent to a Siberian labor camp. According to her Wikipedia bio, Ginzburg served an 18-year sentence in the Gulag. I highly recommend the movie.