23 June 2014

Big Day at the War College

Today was exciting here in the world of RI DoD nonsense. In short John Schindler, professor at the Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, RI was put on leaver after he, allegedly, sent a classic "dick pick." Because apparently no matter how smart you purport to be, the temptation to send unflattering pictures of your genitals to people is a tough urge to overcome. I first caught wind of it from Chris who kind of mentioned that some guy at the NWC had imploded himself on Twitter. Cool! I love a good fiery demise by social media! I kind of watched it all unfold in real time and by this afternoon, he was on suspension from the NWC and it is big news. I have so many things to say about this, none of them necessarily connected, but here they are in no particular order.
  • Good on the NWC for moving ahead with an an investigation ASAP. They are at least giving the impression that this guy will not just get the classic "well, you know, we are all old white dudes so whatevs" pass.
  • It is sad that I consider that victory. As if the bar for response to what could, and should, be considered a form of sexual assault has been set so low that even a passing acknowledgement that it should be investigated is cause for celebration.
  • I am curious as to why he has not been investigated, or possibly, dismissed in the past. Schindler seems to have a long history of unprofessional behavior on his blog and on Twitter. While his behavior in those venues may not represent how he acts as a professor, and his private life should be just that, private, he is throwing around a lot of NWC clout. He presents himself as a subject matter expert (which he may very well be, no argument there) and constantly acts as an ambassador of the NWC in high profile discussions in his area of study. I am just surprised that he was able to walk around acting like a jackass while wearing a huge NWC insignia and no one has smacked that bad attitude down.
  • This is especially true since he has made transphobic and/or homophobic remarks about key players in the currently ongoing NSA investigations. I have a hard time accepting the professional credibility of a person, and by extension the institution that employs said person, when that kind of behavior is exhibited and subsequently tolerated. Looks like we have a long way to go when one of the DoD's leading educational research institutions is willing to tacitly endorse that kind of rhetoric.
  • The e-mails, just oh my goddess, the e-mails. They are sexist, misogynistic, elitist, uber-conservative gold. Seriously check them out (Warning: the following link is definitively NSFW and may contain un-pixelated images of the penis in question. The article makes it clear when the unedited material will appear, but a back up warning in case that is not your bag or it might be in any way triggery is always a good idea.) The emails.
  • His whole demeanor, the entire "I am saying this is true and you will believe it and not question it because I am an expert and that is all you need to know" attitude is so archetypically perfect I can't even stand it! Spend five minutes involved with DoD operations and this will feel oh so familiar. Not really a shock that the herd of professors they hire to train military members to be, well, good little service(wo)men unerringly embrace this attitude.
  • The simpering explanation that he has received negative blowback, not only directed at him personally, but his family and co-workers, is just too exemplary for words. While I don't enjoy seeing a person's life ruined, the total disbelief that he is in any way culpable for this outcome is amazing. That is white-cis-het-conservative-male privilege at its very best.
  • Additionally, this is probably still only a fraction of the abuse that women receive, daily, just because they dare to speak out on topics such as, just for example, trans* issues, homophobia, sexism, misogyny and sexual assault. I am having a hard time feeling sorry for a man who actively engaged in a breathtaking intersection of all those terrible things getting some blowback.
I am very curious to see how all this plays out. I have my doubts as to whether the college will actually do anything about this, or if they will keep up the standard DoD SOP of just making it look like they care. I am also waiting, with popcorn at the ready, for when this guy makes his inevitable return to social media so we can all hear about how he was the tragically wronged party in all of this. (Granted, that may still turn out to be true, the validity of all these claims has yet to stand up to investigation level scrutiny, but I am always going to assume claims of this kind of assault to be true because we owe that to victims who are brave enough to come forward.)

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