Applause turns to hate messages
(April 8, 2005) GENEVA, N.Y. –After speaking at the “Regarding Evil” summit at Massachusetts Institute of Technology last weekend, Jodi Dean, political science department chair at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, was stunned a few days later to discover she'd become the target of Neo-Nazi bloggers.
On Wednesday morning her blog was peppered with lengthy, “hateful, horrible, personal attacks and anti-Semitic comments filled with links to other hateful links.” More demeaning and threatening posts followed Thursday.
“I have this nice philosophy blog and I didn't expect as a college professor to be attacked for something I said at an academic forum. It makes me feel like there are really fringe forces that want to silence academics. The climate of hate that academics face is really difficult in this country right now,” Dean said in an unsettled tone Thursday. “It's been unnerving.”
The cyber assault was doubly disturbing because Dean said she'd received nothing but applause after her talk, “Evil's Political Habitats” from the audience of nearly 300 at MIT that included “about 20 to 30 followers of counter cultural figure, industrial music artist and former satanic high priest Boyd Rice, who were dressed like fascists.”
“There was nothing to indicate that anyone was upset,” Dean said.
However a review of the MIT summit on a Neo-Nazi Web site in which she was criticized for her talk that she said was the “most political” and in which she decried President George Bush's “empty rhetoric on evil”–may have spurred the attacks.
In going public about them, Dean, HWS associate professor of political science, is hoping to educate.
“What does this say about a world in which people go to an academic forum dressed as fascists and then violate my personal space on the Web and attack me personally. This is not OK and people need to be aware that we need to change this hateful climate.”