As Jeralyn and a surprising contingent of national media has noted, University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill has been fired. I, for one, am relieved. Not because Churchill was fired, but because this story is one step closer to being over once and for all (except for the lawsuits, of course).
The Ward Churchill saga has only been active since January 2005, but forgive me if it feels like I was hearing about him in junior high school. I’m just glad this whole thing has been resolved so I don’t need to keep hearing about it like it’s one of the five most important issues of our time. It never was, even if some folks were downright obsessed with it.
For some people in Colorado in political circles – particularly Republicans and radio hosts Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman – yesterday was probably something of a mixed blessing. Churchill opponents are no doubt delirious that he was canned, but now what are they going to talk about? Caplis and Silverman, for example, are going to have to find something else to talk about for 20 hours a week, although I’m sure they’ll milk this cow for at least another few weeks.
And what of the blog “Pirate Ballerina,” which has written about virtually nothing other than Ward Churchill since 2005 (no, seriously). What will become of Pirate Ballerina now that Churchill has been canned? Once they come down off of the high that was yesterday’s Super Bowl and Election Day all rolled into one, what are they going to do for a hobby?
I don’t begrudge anyone for having a fascination with the Churchill case, but insofar as it seeped into the mainstream media (and whether or not you would consider Caplis and Silverman mainstream is another issue), I think it was a great and pointless distraction. Should he be fired? Should he not be fired? I might have cared in early 2005, but there are sooooo many other issues in front of us today that I can’t even find a place in line for the Churchill controversy. For some people the Churchill case really was one of the most important issues in their personal universe. I just never understood how it could become an obsession when there were so many bigger fish to fry.
Now that Churchill has been fired, I anxiously await the day that San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds breaks the all-time home run record. I don’t like Bonds, and I’m rooting against him to break the record, but it’s inevitable that it will be done unless he gets hit by a meteor or something. In that case, I just want it to be over with so that I can stop hearing about it.
I know that I could avoid Churchill and Bonds by shutting off the TV or not reading the newspaper, but I don’t want to shut off the TV and not read the newspaper. There are lots of interesting things happening in the world – I want to hear about the rest of them.