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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Bad Brian Leiter

Incoming email:


Keith Burgess Jackson, a tenured philosophy professor, has just started a new blog designed to deflate thuggish far-Leftist blogger, Brian Leiter. Leiter has a lot of influence and uses it to harm people who dare to challenge him. So Keith wants to try to civilize him a bit. Apparently Leiter is obsessed with his reputation. Keith says that Leiter scours the Internet for references to himself and then writes to people to get bad references removed. He has also apparently hired a lawyer to get the University of Pennsylvania law students to take down their rankings blog. Keith wants to put him down, but only by saying true things about him. Truth is an absolute defense to defamation. If you would like to help, at least please blogroll the new blog so that it rises in Google’s rankings, so that when people type “Brian Leiter” into Google, the new blog comes up. I myself have no connection with the new blog – just a wish to see it thrive. The blog is here: http://brianleiter.blogspot.com


John Ray

Sounds like a laugh. Presumably this posting will help.

I have no idea just how much of a shit this Brian Leiter is, and how much he contributes to the “Brians are bad” syndrome, but I expect that he is indeed a shit to some degree. I will visit this blog a few times, and then decide if I want to keep reading it. If I do, I will then blogroll it, here.

Nearly forgot. Happy New Year everybody.

19 comments to Bad Brian Leiter

  • Verity

    Greeting! Not Greetings! Hmmmm.

    Keith Burgess Jackson, a tenured philosophy professor, has just started a new blog designed to deflate thuggish far-Leftist blogger, Brian Leiter

    And this altruistic Keith Burgess Jackson is a “tenured philosophy professor” … where?

    Leiter has a lot of influence and uses it to harm people who dare to challenge him. So Keith wants to try to civilize him a bit

    This sounds awfully personal. Why would any Samizdata reader care about these people? The world’s full of leftists we’ve actually heard of.

  • Both Leiter and Jackson appear to be faculty of UT-Austin. The controversy appears to concern Chomsky, Nietzsche and Pejman Yousefzadeh, among others. So if anyone hasn’t got enough bare-knuckled intellectual rowdiness in their lives, jump right in!

  • Keith

    As an avid reader of all John Ray’s blogs, all I can say is: if JR is agin ’em, that’s good enough for me. :o)

  • Dylan

    Leiter is truly vile. Burgess Jackson may have some personal issues, but it’s still a good cause.

  • Hrm. I got that same e-mail from John, though mine said “Greetings!”

    Whoever doesn’t know JR, he’s an extremely prolific blogger whose most valuable blog is probably Dissecting Leftism.

    Here’s a list of his other blogs: GREENIE WATCH, GUN WATCH, PC WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH,
    SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, LEFTIST ELITISM, MARX & ENGELS, SCRIPTURE COMMENTARY, RECIPES, OF INTEREST, OF INTEREST (2), Of Interest 3. There’s a link to all of them through Dissecting Leftism. He is also a principal contributor on at least three other Australian high-traffic blogs I know of. I’m not sure how much time he has for other hobbies like eating and sleeping…

  • Chris Harper

    I’m with Verity on this.

    First thought was since when does Samizdata officially get involved with personal vindictive spats?

    Well, often I suppose, thinking back on some of the mud slinging I have observed here over the years, but you know what I mean.

    James, I read Dissecting leftism on occasion, but this pushes John Ray down in my estimation somewhat.

    By the way James, welcome back. You gonna give us the full skinny on how you found China & Mongolia?

  • “You gonna give us the full skinny on how you found China & Mongolia?”

    Err, go east and turn left?

  • Chris Harper

    Err, go east and turn left?

    For James I think it was more go north and turn right.

  • Julian Taylor

    I’m actually going to go with John Ray and Keith Burgess Jackson on this one. I did read a particularly vile post by Mr Leiter attacking Glenn Reynolds and suggesting other more unpleasant names for Instapundit.

    Glad to see that what goes around comes around.

  • Verity asks, pointedly (or something), where K. B-J is tenured. Doing some heavy sleuthing, I followed the link in the above post and found this written prominently beneath the man’s name on the top right of the blog:

    “I’m Associate Professor of Philosophy (with tenure) in the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at The University of Texas at Arlington.”

    So, that answers that important question.

    The observation is then made that this is “personal”. Well yes, that would seem to be the case, by its very nature.

    Finally, we are asked why any Samizdata reader would be “interested”. Apparently a Samizdata reader being interested in Brian Leiter and a deflating of same is beyond Verity’s capacity to imagine. Weird. Verity, suffice it to say that (contrary to what you apparently believe) it *is* within the realm of possibility for another person who reads the same blog as you to be interested in something that you are not.

  • Julian Taylor – okay, you’ve convinced me that the guy is a total fucknut. The man’s lack of perspective is shocking. He thinks he’s being terribly witty by calling Instapundit “InstaIgnorance”, “InstaDepravity” and even “InstaFascist”. Real rib ticklers those, one and all.

    Geez, Glenn’s ears must be burning.

    Then he has the gall to pose a what he erroneously terms a “quip” from one of his equally dim-witted chums who he describes as “delightfully ascerbic”:

    “Why is the blogopshere full of so many second-rate right-wingers?”

    What a humourless twat.

    Chris : ’twas fine, but for the most part bloody cold. 🙂 As for anything written, I’ve got something in the works…

    Hope you enjoyed your NY celebrations!

  • RAB

    Sheesh! who knew there were that many “Philosophers” in the world.
    Like ever! leave alone that current list of people the rest of us have generally never heard of.
    I will not be bothering mr Leiter (middle name isnt Felix is it Bri!) with my wit and wisdom unless he bothers me.
    I have other stuff to do.

  • Millie Woods

    Just to let you folks in on this academic dust up I’m going to reveal the big secret of the males in the ed biz who are not involved in the teaching of real subjects such as science and technology.
    They have too much time on their hands and they get mega bitchy. A host of women with PMS are angelic compared to men with large salaries, larger egos and very little to do that is both muscular and productive.
    Boy can they be nasty. BTW did I fail to mention that they are not the least bit chivalrous. They are equal opportunity snarlers at anyone they consider has hurt their tender feelings.

  • Verity

    You beat me to it, Millie Woods, in a very nicely acerbic post, I must say. Every university in the Anglosphere – don’t know about the rest of them, although I suspect they’re all the same – is a hotbed of bitchery, backbiting, hissing and plotting among the tenured staff. Forget blogs. There are whole novels about it.

    So, I ask again, especially for the benefit of xmath, who may actually stroll the corridors of academe himself from the self-righteous hissiness of his post, why would the people on Samizdata have the faintest interest in this spat at UT? Why would we feel drawn to get involved in a catfight between people we’ve never heard of?

  • Chris Harper

    Again, with Verity on this.

    Seriously, what level of vindictiveness is involved in setting up a blog whose sole purpose is to be catty about some other individual?

    Catty posts I can live with, even enjoy, but this seems a tad obsessive, doesn’t it?

  • Verity

    As Millie Woods said so amusingly, this is the world of tenured academe. Actually, I missed her rider about these being people who are not involved in disciplines such as science and technology. Not being in that world, I don’t know if she’s right, although it sounds right.

    But I do know the liberal arts bunch are focused and lethal. They go for the throat in ever-changing cliques, allegiances and wine bar venues. I speak only from the experience of having had friends in this world and believe me, it’s depressing in there.

  • Satchel Allen

    As Homer Simpson might say –

    Who needs philosophers with rock stars like Bonio & Bob around?

  • Whatever his other failings, Leiter’s hatchet job on Ronald Dworkin suggests he can’t be ALL bad.

  • He thinks he’s being terribly witty by calling Instapundit “InstaIgnorance”, “InstaDepravity” and even “InstaFascist”

    Making fun of BL and his sycophants would seem to be the more effective route, not “Brian Leiter, Academic Thug”. However, that might impact him in some rarified professional way, perhaps causing some not to take him seriously.

    While BL is vile, the author of “BL,AT” doesn’t seem to realize that many bloggers and posters to Usenet are the same.