Mary Grabar: Kennesaw State: Choking on Che
by Mary Grabar
Guest Columnist
April 20, 2012 12:00 AM | 3103 views | 35 35 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While many of us may be used to seeing images of Cuban Communist mass executioner Ernesto “Che” Guevara on the T-shirts of youth who are testing the waters of rebellion, we wouldn’t expect an English professor to be quoting favorably from one of his speeches at an academic conference.

Yet, that is what Kennesaw State University Lecturer Khalil Elayan did at a March 16 conference on “world literature he co-directed. He quoted from a 1960 speech to doctors in which Che claimed “almost everything we thought and felt in (the) past period ought to be deposited in an archive, and a new type of human being created.”

Elayan was relating Che’s Stalinist directive of creating new types of human beings to the current political situation regarding the so-called Arab “Spring” and its presumed outgrowth, the Occupy Wall Street movement. For Elayan, certain literary texts taught in a certain way can help create such a new type of human being.

The real purpose of the conference was to advance Marxism through world literature classes. And there was nothing too subtle about the objective, including the call for papers and announcement on the English Department website, which quoted from the Communist Manifesto:

“The bourgeoisie has, through its exploitation of the world market, given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. ... The individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature.”

That is part of the quotation that the conference organizers used.

Elayan’s co-director, Assistant Professor Larrie Dudenhoeffer, was only slightly more subtle. He focused on revolutionary drawings for their mockery of Christianity.

The other six papers I heard advanced, in various ways, the latest incarnation of Marxism in the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movement. Echoing Elayan’s claim that a new non-Western democracy needed to be instituted, the other panelists used literature to tear down hallmarks of Western civilization and democracy, including traditional families and sex roles, and American exceptionalism (to be replaced by “global citizenship”). Even the long titles of the papers are meant to put a gloss on the real agenda of such conferences. You can read them as well as an overview of their gist in my original Minding the Campus article.

Georgia citizens should be outraged. But they should also expect blowback.

The ready and rehearsed professorial response to objections to such conferences is that common citizens are incapable of understanding the scholarly nature of such gatherings, and that any criticism infringes on their “academic freedom.” So far, they’ve used the jargon of theorists like Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida to obscure their agendas. Now they expect us to believe that Che Guevara is a credible literary authority.

Another common response by the professoriate is that such conferences are intended to test new, controversial, and esoteric ideas, and do not convey what is being taught in the classroom. Baloney. One other Kennesaw professor, Melissa Keith, discussed using radical “adult-themed” feminist poetry in classes of “mature” students. You can bet that if a professor is favorably discussing Che at a conference, he is doing the same among 19-year-olds, arbitrarily determining their “maturity.”

The boldness with which Marxism was promoted at this conference surprised even this 20-year veteran of academia.

But the situation has changed for the worse. Radicals have driven just about every other professor from academia and now rule despotically.

And today they have an anarchist movement called Occupy Wall Street, funded by anti-American billionaires and unions.

They continue to revise the history of Communism and present it to impressionable undergraduates, even in literature classes, as they lure them to the Communistic Occupy movement.

The question remains: Why are Georgia taxpayers paying the salaries of Elayan, Dudenhoeffer and their ilk?



Mary Grabar, Ph.D., a college English instructor and writer, lives in DeKalb County. She writes about education for various publications and her own site, www.dissidentprof.com.

Comments
(35)
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anonymous
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May 01, 2012
"Infinite Truth, do they teach you guys about paragraphs? Or, citing examples when you make characterizations of ones behavior or comments...so people can judge for themselves? Is name calling/label speak the extent of your skills of persuasion? Are you a "higher education" professional?"

Haha, Whoever this guy is doesn't realize that everything Infinite Truth is referencing is right there in the article by Grabar. Its not that hard to understand what he's talking about if you have basic reading skills.

Also, this is a "comments" section...not a place to formally submit a paper. If it was, that measly paragraph of yours wasn't worthy.
Seth Weissman
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April 27, 2012
"I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Dr. Grabar,

I find your opinions to be spiteful, small-minded and incredibly intolerant. Then again, see the above quote. It's advice that I take and I would suggest you do the same.

Seth Weissman

Proud Undergraduate of English at KSU
anonymous
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April 24, 2012
--RE: Notquite said...""No one would tolerate a professor quoting the words of, for example, David Duke in a positive light." How sad for you, anonymous. Sounds like you'd sure love it."

Gosh, it almost sounds like you are calling me a klan lovin', hatin' kinda person, Notquite.

That's not very nice. That must be the scary bile spewing conservative part of you coming thru, huh?
Notquite
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April 25, 2012
haha, it is spelled "through," anonymous.
Infinite Truth
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April 23, 2012
To Mary Grabar and her readership:

Normally, I would not respond to such one-sided dogma and hypocrisy, but Miss Grabar has elicited a much needed retort. Nowhere in her two articles on KSU’s first World Literature Conference does Miss Grabar produce a viable or accurate rhetorical analysis; in fact, what she produces is merely an inventory of blurbs. These blurbs are akin to any series of headlines I would be reading in the aisle of a grocery store. They exist primarily as vitriol. I find her irresponsible attempt at discourse disconcerting because it lashes out at individuals, a department, and an institution of which she has no fundamental knowledge. Miss Grabar is well known for her conference-hopping, senses acutely targeting suspicious subjects, shopping for anything and anyone she can quote out of context to further incense a readership that unfortunately might not take the time to do the necessary research before it instantaneously calls for the firing or, as in the case of a comment following her article in “Minding the Campus,” calling for the execution of intellectuals (one is reminded of the Neo-Conservative “target,” which made the news last year). For those of you who are unfamiliar with a Literary Conference, papers are presented at hotels, institutions, or other public settings at which people may or may not attend, pay conference fees, and choose to listen respectfully, as well as ask questions. Miss Grabar did not present a paper, did not ask questions, nor did she pay the fee to attend our conference; yet, she deceitfully asked for our papers. What academic/scholar would email an as of yet unpublished work to another unknown individual thus risking an affront to intellectual property? Some time after the conference and after her email request, at the invitation of my conference co-chair, Dr. Larrie Dudenhoeffer, Miss Grabar paid the fee. Paying the fee entitles one to no more than attendance if you are an off-campus attendee. The conference was open to anyone who wanted to participate. Why did Miss Grabar not participate or contribute to the academic discourse? The answer lies in her writing above, writing that in no way resembles true scholarship. There is no scholarly empathy, no reaching out to fellow colleagues, no desire to even introduce one’s self; there is only the propagation of hatred. She completely ignores the three other sessions of the conference, three sessions she did not attend that involved pedagogy (teaching methodology) and more literary analysis. She also references KSU professors unprofessionally by their last names, in a facetious tone, as if they were “unfortunate” acquaintances from a troubled past. One quote from Che Guevara does not make me a supporter of his actions, nor does it make me a Communist, nor are conference papers reflective of institutional class environments. Miss Grabar’s foundation of ignorance presupposes Marxist guilt in every corner of academia; she has a right to think what she wants, but character assassination and calling for the dismissal of an institution’s professors is close to liable. If one reads my paper (and it will be available publicly once the set of conference papers are published), the reader will inevitably become aware of the single reference to Guevara and will clearly see the that the dominant activity is merely a literary analysis of The Thousand and One Nights and the heroine’s ability to tell good stories to prevent the king from murdering his own people. This would be akin to Saddam Hussein’s wife telling him moral tales that would prevent him from “killing his own people,” an accusation that President Bush made when he could no longer pin the “weapons of mass destruction” accusation on him. So, if I am spreading the message at a conference that storytelling is better than legalized rape and mass murder, then I am guilty. Miss Grabar and at least one of her readers believe that most participants in the conference should be fired with no thought to what this might do to their families. I, for one, am a single father (my wife is ill and away) and have to rely on a salary and insurance to support my family and fund a seventy-five mile trek to work. This remark is not meant to elicit pity but, rather, a reality, a reality that never enters the mind of Miss Grabar’s fascist agenda that desires the eradication of freedom, autonomy, empathy, and good writing. The ultimate reality is that I enjoy my job no matter what I am paid, but Miss Grabar should never allow her opinions to affect the livelihood of true professionals.

Mary Grabar
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April 25, 2012
Professor "Infinite Truth":

"Empathy"? Really? Talk about empathy with an elderly Cuban exile whose family members were tortured and executed by Che Guevara and his henchmen. Why the barely disguised admission of guilt by claiming you made only "one" reference to Che? If you think Che is a credible literary source then say it and say it loud. In my twenty years in academia I have never heard an English professor cite a mass executioner in a literary paper.

I encourage readers to go to Minding the Campus for my lengthier article about this conference.



Professor "Infinite Truth," you know who Che was and you know that your purpose was to denounce Western democracy and promote Occupy Wall Street and the kind of "democracy" arising from the "Arab Spring." That was the main thrust of your paper.

So, we will finally get to read your paper after it is published--and edited.

Whatever happened to collegiality? I've never had a colleague refuse to send me a copy of his conference paper. Methinks you had something to hide.

Your references to "discourse" are nothing but hot air. I hold a Ph.D. too, so don't try that on me. It doesn't impress me and it probably doesn't impress the readers of this newspaper. You and your ilk are merely trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the taxpayers of Georgia who are forced to pay your salaries. They don't owe you a job, or anything, especially if you are simply using your classroom to promote your own political agenda, which by the tenor of the entire conference was anti-American and anti-Western through and through.

So stop the name-calling ("fascist agenda") and innuendo. You are an employee of the state of Georgia, i.e., the citizens of Georgia, and you are beholden to them. They have every right to know what you are doing for the salary they pay you.

So stop the obfuscation. This conference was as far from being one of "true professionals" as I've ever seen.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mary Grabar
KingGeorge
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April 25, 2012
...and a notable silence from Ms. Grabar.

We can't have too much reality in here, Infinite Truth... it spoils all the fun. Likely to Grabar you exist more as a convenient caricature than a person, a professional, a father, and a decent person asking questions. You're just a page view generator, I guess.

Notice, also, the litmus test that "anonymous" applies to conservatives below. One cannot possibly be a true conservative, evidently, without holding certain specifically defined (and perhaps absolute) views. That makes for a mighty small tent, one that's sadly getting smaller.

One wonders where the conservatives of thrift were--let alone the Tea Party--during the Bush deficit-exploding years. One wonders why conservatives aren't supposed to care about conservation of natural resources or stewardship of the environment among other traditional conservative views.

Anyway. To end on a more positive note, we sure could use a few more columnists who seek genuine dialogue. Wouldn't that be a nice change.

Tina Trent
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April 26, 2012
Sweetie, it's Dr. Grabar, and you really ought to sign your name to such a personal attack. I cannot even begin the labors necessary to take your claims of authority seriously when you hide behind a ridiculous fake title like some giggly adolescent.

I don't think you're telling the truth about several details, which complicates your character assassination here. But they aren't really important things: what is important is the substance of Dr. Grabar's criticism of your work. And as an academic, your job -- for which I am other Georgia taxpayers foot the bill -- is to be capable, at minimum, of defending the arguments you make on our dime.

So please start with that. The academic racket of conferences at hotels is just one more perk we should be eliminating in any case. I've been to quite a few, and it isn't your money you are spending: it is mine. Frankly, so long as academics continue to indulge in such useless, self-serving exercises (I am excluding research that actually requires collaboration, such as medical work), the public ought to be welcome. We're paying for it, as you and your peers well know.
anonymous
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April 26, 2012
"They don't owe you a job, or anything, especially if you are simply using your classroom to promote your own political agenda"



Come on, Grabar. How can you even begin to talk about that when your own students give you a 1.8 on Rate My Professor for not being able to keep your own agenda out of your classrooms?



You're easily identified as a right-wing looney who doesn't have the slightest grip on reality. A google search confirms that. You've got nothing to show for your PHD. Last time I checked, you doctors were supposed to be consistently, and legitimately, published. I ask you, where is your work as a literary professor? What have you done to show that you deserve your credentials besides waste your time trying to harm people with your partisan hackery? And it certainly doesn't count that you write these silly little articles as a "guest columnist". Are you even able to teach upper-level courses? I should think you would be able to having a Ph.D. "Methinks" all you've got to show for your years in the classroom is a reputation for weasel-like, red-state, pandering that even Bill O'Reilly would wash his hands of. Do everyone a favor and start doing research. Start contributing to literary criticism. If you can.
anonymous
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April 30, 2012
Infinite Truth, do they teach you guys about paragraphs? Or, citing examples when you make characterizations of ones behavior or comments...so people can judge for themselves? Is name calling/label speak the extent of your skills of persuasion? Are you a "higher education" professional?
Notquite
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April 23, 2012
As a conservative, I'm upset by this article and some of these comments. If we appear as scary as some of you have made us out to be, no wonder we are developing a bad name for "conservatives." I just want to say that not all of us are so vitriolic and hateful. I, for one, am glad Kennesaw State has a Catholic Center, and is even so tolerant as to let religious evangelists come to the campus(though some of them are not exactly tactful). If the price I have to pay for this tolerance at my school is that people can have liberal views tolerated as well, then I fully accept these terms. I've had one of the professors you've mentioned as a teacher before, and he's never been less than professional and polite. I've never seen him try and turn the classroom commie. This article is an attack, and I do not support this. I love my university.
anonymous
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April 24, 2012
Notquite...I call BS. You are not a "conservative" anything.

Please tell us about this "bad name" that you speak of conservatives having? What is it exactly that is giving/causing the "bad name"? Among who? Anyone other than other inbred marx loving "higher education" types?

Stop the goofy pretending when you post. You clearly are not bright enough to come close to making your story sound believable.

Notquite
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April 24, 2012
Call BS all you want. I haven't seen one bright comment that is directed against this conference. All I have seen is angry bile being spewed. Conservatives are getting a bad name because of people like you who resort to calling people "marx-loving higher education types" because they don't agree with you, and are not as angry as you. This article is a completely out of line attack on good human beings.

"No one would tolerate a professor quoting the words of, for example, David Duke in a positive light."

How sad for you, anonymous. Sounds like you'd sure love it.

GrabarPhDlite
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April 23, 2012
A quick search of publications in research/literary criticism or peer reviewed journals finds few published by Grabar. In fact, in my search I found only 1 piece of literary criticism about one of Percy's writings. On the other hand, she has been posting letters to the editors for decades I found one in 1986 which she posted in a San Diego paper. If she expects to simply have a forum to espouse her opinions she has found it. But, she has made no contributions worthy of note to any cause except her on musings on her own self promoting website.
Harry Hagan
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April 22, 2012
Dr. Grabar's column is excellent, as always. Why indeed are Georgians, and Americans supporting these far left, thankless, anarchists? These Marxist thug academics have been busy demolishing this nation unfettered now since ca. 1965. Their putrid fruit, that is, their graduates, have littered the landscape in ever increasing numbers to the point that it is now permanently marred and scarred. The idiots now run the asylum. The current federal administration is the culmination of 50 years of this treacherous, fetid, academic stew. An entire administration composed of exalted academic bumpkins who know nothing of how economics or any other real life function actually works. But God, do they have theories!

America can only recover if these vacuous sleaze bags are consigned to their proper place in Hell.

They are nothing but subversive riffraff.

A.P. Palled
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April 21, 2012
You know "Professor" Grabar, that instead of merely demonstrating your ability to parrot talking points (i.e. "anti-American billionaires," "radicals," and "Communistic"), you can actually offer criticism by way of peer reviewed journals or conference roundtables. If you don't believe that Che Guevara has historical or literary significance (despite his involvement in a fairly major event of the twentieth century), then make that argument. If you disagree with deconstruction or discursive analysis as literary tools...well, as they say, "put pen to paper." The debate between structuralists and post structuralists has been going on for a while - I'm sure you can find adequate citations on the subject.

GraberNoScholar
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April 23, 2012
Bravo, A.P. Palled! Agreed! In fact, if one did a search for peer reviewed or edited publications by "Dr." Grabar, one would have much difficulty. In fact, I found only 1. Some piece of literary criticism on one of Percy's writings. However, she has dozens of letters to the editors of the AJC, MDJ and others dating as far back as 1986 in a post to a paper in San Diego. Had she spent more of her time actually engaging in scholarly pursuits rather that espousing her opinions and posting her musings on her own self-absorbed website, she would have more credibility with those within and outside academia.
anonymous
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April 21, 2012
No one would tolerate a professor quoting the words of, for example, David Duke in a positive light. The only difference between Che and Duke is that Duke never saw to the murder anyone...let alone thousands of people.
bobmontgomery
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April 20, 2012
One questions "How can this be? How can Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist-Maoist doctrinal theses be given much airing at all these days in the face of all the empirical evidence of it's evilness and failure to produce utopia?" The answer can only be that, contrary to font's profession of innocent dialogue, there has to have been, and continue to be, conscious and dedicated shelving of the empirical data and determined revision of history, or, so to say, the tactic of Obamaspeak.

It is trite to say the culture has been corrupted as part of the process, but there is much empiricism in that angle as well which the apologists also ignore. The grating part is that they have had power and influence far in excess of their intellectual honesty and academic integrity for decades too long. They must be divested of it.
anonymous
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April 20, 2012
Fontofwisdom:

"News flash: students don't accept without question what their teachers present. Universities are not mind-control camps. Opposing views are essential for debate...and Grabar herself might consider participating as a contributor to the discussion instead of launching ridiculous attacks."

Apparently you are not acquainted with brain-washing techniques. Get them in Elhi, teach them how evil the USA is and you wind up, right out of high school with young adults who will condemn almost every action from our founding until today. They believe that many horrible thongs were all done by white Americans and there was never any bad things done by anyone else.

Then you pop them in Marxist incubators like KSU and the brain-washing begins to bear fruit.

font of wisdom
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April 20, 2012
Grabar has made a pseudo-career of right-wing hatchet jobs on any topic she deems offensive. This column is filled with the exact kind of distortion and spin she accuses others of dispensing.

As for the commenters below, do you commonly believe everything you're told so easily? No wonder you're worried about young minds being shaped by nefarious forces...certainly seems to be working here.

Exercise a little critical judgment. News flash: students don't accept without question what their teachers present. Universities are not mind-control camps. Opposing views are essential for debate...and Grabar herself might consider participating as a contributor to the discussion instead of launching ridiculous attacks.

That would require more effort and thought, however.
PracticeWhatUPreach
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April 20, 2012
I certainly understand the concept of having opposing views represented on University campuses. Something I support. However, in practice, what many who pay attention to politics and what happens on college campuses find is that views such represented in the column are welcomed by campuses yet routinley conservative viewpoints are denied access or when given access are typically shouted down by "free thinkers" and "tolerant" individuals. I learned a long time ago University settings should be Free Speech Zones and that means for EVERYONE!
Mary Grabar
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April 20, 2012
"font of wisdom," a professor, I assume? "Participating as a contributor"? When the call for papers begins with an extended quotation from the Communist Manifesto? Really? You pretend that academia is a place where all views get an airing. You know that is wrong. If this conference was so welcoming, why was there such a uniformity of opinion? So far you haven't specified what kind of distortion there was. One of the organizers refused to send me his paper. But I took careful notes. Others of your ilk have accused me of distortion, but have been proven wrong with videotape. So, "font of wisdom" you've probably been reading my stuff for a while to accuse me of making "a pseudo-career of right-wing hatchet jobs." (Your kind always resort to name-calling because logic fails you.) And the qualifier about students not accepting "without question what their teachers present" acknowledges just a little bit of guilt. So come on "font of wisdom," if you are so full of wisdom you shouldn't be afraid to reveal your name.
anonymous
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April 21, 2012
--RE: As for the commenters below, do you commonly believe everything you're told so easily?--

font of wisdom, my friends who were run out of Cuba in the 60s'tell me that Che murdered their family members and saw to the torture and imprisonment of others of their family members for long years...all after their property and businesses were confiscated by the regime. I believe their stories, just like I "believe" the missing fingers from the hands of a friends father who spent 11 years in one of Castros prisons after he was rounded up by Che's goons. Once released, he join his family who fled long before to the "evil" USA.

I believe my friends from mainland China who were run out of China by Mao in the 60s because they feared for their very lives after all of their property/homes were seized...you see "intellectuals" like my friends parents--the doctors-- were not welcome or safe when Mao came to town.

What do your friends tell you about their personal experiences with Che? Castro? Pol Pot? Mao?

Do you commonly believe everything you are told about the "goodness" of Che? Castro? Mao? Pol Pot?

Would you be as outspoken today if people were critical of someone who put forth the words of David Duke in a positive light?

Alum Aware
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April 20, 2012
Instructors & professors at public colleges and universities are not monitored these days. They are able to espouse anything they wish by using their so called "academic freedom". KSU is the third largest university in GA and for the past few years, the most vocal dissidents seem to be at KSU.

Wake up residents!
KSU Prof`
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April 27, 2012
And exactly what sort of "monitoring" would you suggest, Alum Aware? Faculty members go through annual reviews and rigorous three-year reviews wherein their performances are evaluated not only in their departments, but their colleges, their deans, the administration, President, and Board of Regents. If there were deficiencies, believe me, they would be dealt with in the three year review process. We cannot "espouse anything [we] wish by using [our] so-called "academic freedom." Each course at KSU has set learning outcomes that we MUST meet. These outcomes are not set by us, but by the State of GA and the evaluative entities that administer our accreditation. I know you should have learned basic argumentation at KSU, so before you spout off things about which you know nothing, please get the facts right.
Mary Grabar
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April 27, 2012
KSU Prof, that is the problem: self-monitoring. See fox, hen house; inmates, asylum.
Disclaimer Please
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April 20, 2012
I have no probem with free expression either on your person or in the classroom. In fact I am a huge proponent of the 1st amendment and wish more people actually practiced it on college campuses. It would be nice to these folks wearing their Che shirts or quoting these Communist/Marxist icons to have some form of disclaimer. For instance a shirt with Che pictured on it would have underneath the image (Communism is credited with the death of over 100 million people.) That might help some young hipster make and informed decision on whether to purchase a shirt like that or more importantly whether or not to adopt communist/marxist theory as relevant.
misterbill
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April 20, 2012
Mary Grabar,

Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the republic and your fellow citizens. Please continue to expose this type of activity. Our Georgia politicians need to be involved and perform their oaths to protect Georgia and support thr US Constitution.
Mary Grabar
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April 20, 2012
I most definitely will, Mr. Bill! Thanks for your support.
Mad As Zell
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April 20, 2012
"The question remains: Why are Georgia taxpayers paying the salaries of Elayan, Dudenhoeffer and their ilk?"

Not only should Georgia taxpayers NOT be paying the salaries of such traitors as Elayan, Dudenhoeffer and apparently much of the staff and faculty at Kennesaw State, but Elayan and Dudenhoeffer should be immediately arrested, jailed and brought up on charges of treason while the KSU staff, faculty and administrators who made this conscious decision to support and grant a platform to these blatantly anti-American activities should all be fired and brought up on charges of conspiracy to commit treason.

If KSU refuses to clean house and empty out this hornets' nest of marxist and anti-American treasonous activities then all public funding should be withheld from KSU until they change their act and encourage extracurricular activities that espouse the All-American and Conservative values of the surrounding community that a publicly-funded institution like Kennesaw State is commissioned by the state to serve.
misterbill
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April 20, 2012
Mad as Zell-

While I am in agreement, I am not surprised that the likes of the staff of KSU can preach/teach and endorse Marxism. It is one thing to be an advocate of a form of government or society. It is quite another to take the taxpayers' money nd work against those very taxpayers and the great republic of the USA.

I am late awakening, but I was shocked when I found that schools, all over America, were teaching out elhi students from history books by Howard Zinn, the great self hater and America hater.

It's no wonder our youth has no love and respect for our country.

Remember KSU is the same school that knowingly and willingly supported Colotl in her efforts.

KSU is a hotbed of Marxists and Che worshiping staff members. I predict that KSU will try to remove Dr Melvyn Fein from staff. He speaks the truth.
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