There are two aspects to the Paul Mirecki matter that I haven’t seen discussed, or discussed only in passing.
First: What if Professor Mirecki had made condescending and hateful remarks about “protected” or “favored” minority groups such as Jews, blacks, Hispanics, women, even Muslims? I am having trouble imagining what would have happened, but being insensitive to groups like these carries a much harsher penalty than insulting Christians, I am sure.
Second: Shouldn’t we be concerned that a professor (a department chair no less) at the flagship university of our state, educated at the finest university in the world, writes so poorly? A writer, who seems to know what he (or she) is talking about, one who uses words like “puerile” and “dude” in the same post, analyzed the email on the Wichita Eagle Editorial Blog. (The link is http://blogs.kansas.com/weblog/2005/11/mythological_do.html#comments.) This writer noticed errors such as, and I quote from the post:
Those were some of the errors that I understood. There were more. This writer concluded: “This was not written by a Ph.D. at major university. If it were (note the correct use of the subjunctive mood, found so rarely these days), he should be fired for multiple violations of grammar rules.” That was the point of this writer’s post: that the email was not authentic, that it was not written by a university professor, because no university professor could write so poorly. Later, it was determined that the email was authentic.
Why are Professor Mirecki and the University of Kansas not embarrassed about the correctness of the grammar and usage in this writing? Why is the whole state of Kansas not concerned about this? Does this send the appropriate message to schoolchildren? For this alone I am ashamed that I graduated from this university. I doubt that I will react positively to its fundraising requests from now on.