Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Remorseless remorse

A reader called Spot's attention to the fact that King Banaian apologized for his radio and blog tirade against Hal Kimball. Here's the back story: Spittle guards on microphones.

And here's the apology: Where is the line? Spot thought, well, okay. That's the end of it. But the apology began to eat at Spot. There were some things about it that were troublesome. For example:

When I decided in 2004 to join the NARN as a radio personality, I resolved that it had to be clear that I spoke on the air in a personal capacity. I try hard to avoid the impression that a listener thinks I speak on behalf of the university. I thought I had taken due care in establishing, within the rules of data privacy, that he was not a student and therefore unlikely to be seen as someone with whom I might have any professional responsibility.

Hmmm. Banaian authors a blog called SCSU Scholars, and it has a large vertical graphic "St. Cloud State" running along the left side of the blog. The tagline to the title is: "Deliriant Isti Magistri - They Are Mad, Those Professors." Moreover there is a badge displayed prominently in the right sidebar that advertises the King and the Korb show:

There's not much of a secret of the affiliation is there? Nor is there much question that Banaian is trading on his association with Saint Cloud State.

And then Banaian writes this:

Had Hal identified himself as a returning student [after some absence, apparently] before our Saturday broadcast, I would have hesitated on running the story and would certainly have been more tempered in my discussion of his role; I can understand the confusion it causes to think I may be criticizing him as a professor. Again, he has never been my student and given his course of study (identified publicly as a masters program in social responsibility) he likely never will. But my line is a little further out than that; the potential that criticism of a person is seen as my speaking officially to a student is over that line.

Let's just be sure Spot has this straight: if Hal is a former student, it's okay to savage him and compare him to Gomer Pyle, If he's a student, however, he gets the kid glove treatment. Banaian's invective—especially on his website—was full of information about Hal Kimball's time as a student, a student activist, at that. How do you think that your remarks bore the imprimatur of Saint Cloud State any less if Hal was merely a former student, Professor?

Banaian wants to be sure that we know that he's never likely to cross paths with Hal Kimball at school; Hal is going to be studying social responsibility. Boy, your right, Prof, little risk there.

Then Banaian goes on:

My obligation is to the university in this regard. To them, I apologize for any confusion I may have caused in mistaking Hal as an ex-student.

Shouldn't Banaian being apologizing to "it" not "them," Spotty?

Spot thinks so grasshopper. But Spot says that the thing that bothers him is that Banaian seems to be merely distinguishing situations where character assassination is, and is not, appropriate. Spot has hurled a brickbat or two, but he wouldn't use his status, if he had any, to do it.

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