911 Denial to be Taught at Wisconsin

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Wisconsin Law Professor Ann Althouse has several posts on an Introduction to Islam course to be taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As part of the syllabus the lecturer, Kevin Barrett, proposes to teach 911 denial:

''The physics of those collapses clearly could not have resulted from plane crashes and jet fuel fires with office materials.'' Barrett says jet fuel does not burn hot enough to melt steel, and says recent tests on melted steel from the building prove his theory that it was wired to collapse, by the Government.

Barrett says the Bush Administration is fooling the American public with the Adolf Hitler 'Big Lie Technique'... ''Tell them a little lie and they'll wonder about it - weapons of mass destruction in iraq was a relatively little lie - and people are getting called on it.'' Barrett says. ''Tell em a big lie like 9/11 and they have a huge resistance to questioning it.''

University Provost Patrick Farrell calls the view "unconventional" and cites the Bascom Hall plaque that calls for the "continual fearless sifting and winnowing of ideas."

If there is to be a "sifting and winnowing" then why doesn't Farrell appoint a committee of the Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin to issue an engineering report? Why doesn't the Wisconsin Engineering Department take it upon itself to issue a technical refutation?

Will Wisconsin permit Holocaust denial to be taught? How about "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?" Voodoo and witchcraft? AIDS in Africa planted by the CIA?


Knucklehead said...

Here's the Provost's Statement re: Barrett.

The oft asked question, Where do we find such men?" applies as well to the likes of Kevin Barrett as it does to the likes of Gunner Sgt. Michael Burghardt.

According to the UW-M Center for the Humanities:

Kevin Barrett earned his BA in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a MA in English Literature at San Francisco State University, a MA in French from San Francisco State University, and a PhD in African Languages and Literature with a concentration in Arabic from the UW-Madison. His presentation will examine the ways in which an Islamic cultural identity has changed the study of folklore via by eschewing a "value-neutral" approach in favor of one that judges the value of such practices in light of an Islamic worldview, the specific prescriptions and prohibitions of Islamic scripture, and the discursive traditions based on it.

And educated man. Of course nothing obvious in Mr. Barrett's education suggests he is qualified to accurated judge determinations about the collapse of the WTC. Provost Farrell, however, is also an educated man and would presumably be qualified to lead, or at least launch, the sort of engineering investigation Brylun calls for.

Oh well. Barrett is a man absorbed with folklore. He's dedicated his young life to it apparently. Why should investigations of the real world interest him?

Just askin', but if you had the opportunity to select between two choices of next door neighbor, and your choice was between UW-M "associate lecturer" Keven Barrett and Marine Corps Gennery Sergeant Michael Burghardt which would you choose?

Rick Ballard said...

"Will Wisconsin permit Holocaust denial to be taught? How about "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?" Voodoo and witchcraft? AIDS in Africa planted by the CIA?"

I certainly don't see why they wouldn't. Each of those reinforce the Articles of Faith upon which the religion of "Reason Above All Else" is constructed - why shouldn't they be taught? Being a true progressive means that your sense of reason is so well developed that it permits you to believe in all that imagination might encompass. I'm sure that everyone would agree that banning discrimination in favor of equality is the only path to enlightenment and so a rational mind should welcome exposure to all ideas.

Nice to see you back, Brylun.


I'll take the gunny. He's actually done something with a modicum of utility. I would be a bit afraid of having Barrett next door. Theoretically, brain rot is not contagious, but it's not worth the risk.

Rick Ballard said...

Knuck - You've got two busted links "where do we find" and "Provost Farrell".

Knucklehead said...

Apologies for the busted links (and copious typos). Let's try again.

Here is the story of Gunnery Sgt. Burghardt (Where do we find such men?).

And here is the link to Patrick Farrell's bio.

David Thomson said...

This is not an Onion.com satirical piece? I keep wondering if someone is going to blurt out: “April fool. I was just pulling your leg.” Some people accuse me of being overly cynical regarding the academic world. Alas, it turns out that often I’m not sufficiently pessimistic.

brylun said...

Rick, thanks for the welcome back. In case you were wondering, I was with my daughter in Egypt, Greece, Italy, France, Netherlands and England.

chuck said...

University Provost Patrick Farrell calls the view "unconventional" and cites the Bascom Hall plaque that calls for the "continual fearless sifting and winnowing of ideas."

When I read that I just laughed. Farrell has the words but the meaning has escaped him. Ideas are sifted and winnowed to find the truth, which requires critical thinking and balancing against the facts, which requires knowledge and honesty. And most of all, it requires the idea of truth itself. Ideas aren't valid just because they are far out.

Somehow I don't think Barret is going to endulge critical thinking in his class. Folklore? Shades of Campbell and Moyers, I suspect it is another subject full of bozo theory and deep sounding words. Another passing fad in the boomers quest for something easier and more entertaining than mere reality.

Knucklehead said...


Re: the choice of neighbor and utility...

I have not seen anything by Barrett in defense of his behavior. I have no good reason to suspect it would be any different than the self-defenses put forward by the likes of Ward Churchill, Deb Frisch, and Nicholas De Genova. These are people who see collective guild under every rock and attempt to absolve themselves of the collective guilt by splattering it out upon those they deem inhuman, imperialist, little eichmanns.

I presume these people have some utility on this earth. Even the lowliest insect and most venemous viper have some utility. I want neither for neighbors. Vipers represent little problem in that regard and the battle against lowly insects must be waged but cannot be entirely won.

But whatever that utility is I cannot imagine or speculate upon. It is as foreign to me as the soupy surface of Jupiter. A man more curious might take that cue to select Bennet as a neighbor. How better to discover the man's utility than to live next door to him?

And what utility does Gunny Burghardt provide? His expertise is in disabling and disposing of bombs and ordinance. I have no use for those skills in a neighbor. And yet...

Burghardt (I encourage all to read the brief story about him and his flippy bird) is a man of undeniable courage (probably has a screw loose!). More importantly he is a man who keeps his wits about him. Most importantly he has almost certainly spent real time and energy searching his soul to discover what he is willing to kill and die for. And therein lies his utility.

Were he one's neighbor and some disaster of small or large proportion befall the neighborhood I could count on Gunny Burghardt maintaining his wits while few around him could say the same. And should I prove unable to maintain my wits in the crisis I could simply fall back on following Gunny's instructions. Men like Gunny Burghardt are a form of what the military calls "force multipliers".

Folks like Barrett, De Genova, Churchill, and Frisch know nothing of crisis - not even crisis of conscience. They mulitply nothing but the false notion of collective guilt. They do nothing but slather the guilt they conjure onto other people. Should crisis befall them they would not be among those keeping their wits or providing instruction to those on the edge of maintaining their own. All they would do is curse the world for being imperfect and look for ways to heap guilt upon the innocent.

A bigger man that me would find them beneath contempt. Sadly I cannot manage that.

Skookumchuk said...

Well, we just need new parallel universities that hire different kinds of people who teach in different ways.

A: So where did you go?

B: Harvard.

A: You're still young. You might try to get in to -----.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Brylun--great to see you back. Are you going to give us some posts on the places you visited?

ewing2001 said...

Kevin Barrett is only scratching half of the truth.
The rest is here:


Knucklehead said...


My analytic abilities are always suspect but they are currently further weakened by a nasty head cold and treatment thereof.

Can you net out for me the point(s) being made at the sites you pointed to. I looked but I'm missing it.

Bernard Pyron said...

I sat in the front row at the UW-Madison Student Union auditorium in 1957 to hear Frank Lloyd Wright give a talk, and was proud of the University for allowing him to speak. But - according to the mentality of some who have posted here the UW should not have let him speak. I know that in his time the deceptions pulled off by powerful groups were small scale compared to 911. But Wright talked a lot about politics and government, and why the government never hired him to design one of their buildings. He and his apprentices opposed World War II, the draft, and J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI hated him and tried to get him. When his Monona Terrace Project was to be built in the late fifties or early sixties some fine Wisconsin members of the legislature and other politicos opposed Wright and his design for Madison. The project was finally built, but long after Wright was dead. Wright was eccentric and highly controversial with populist ideas. He also ran the University down when he came into the Student Union and sometimes into the Rat.
Bernard Pyron, UW Ph.D., 1963