Why Professor Johnny can’t spell

Posted: Nov 21, 2005 12:05 AM

Rebecca Beach is a freshman at Warren County Community College (WCCC) in Washington, New Jersey. Recently, she sent an email to the faculty at her school announcing the appearance of a decorated Iraq war hero named Lt. Colonel Scott Rutter. The war hero was asked to discuss America’s accomplishments in Iraq.

The simple email announcement was met with the following blistering response from part-time English Professor John Daly (jpdalyca@yahoo.com):

I am asking my students to boycott your event. I am also going to ask others to boycott it. Your literature and signs in the entrance lobby look like fascist propaganda and is [sic] extremely offensive. Your main poster "Communism killed 100,000,000" is not only untrue, but ignores the fact that CAPITALISM has killed many more and the evidence for that can be seen in the daily news papers. The U.S. government can fly to dominate the people of Iraq in 12 hours, yet it took them five days to assist the people devastated by huricane [sic] Katrina. Racism and profits were key to their priorities. Exxon, by the way, made $9 Billion in profits this last quarter--their highest proft [sic] margin ever. Thanks to the students of WCCC and other poor and working class people who are recruited to fight and die for EXXON and other corporations who [sic] earning megaprofits from their imperialist plunders. If you want to count the number of deaths based on political systems, you can begin with the more than a million children who have died in Iraq from U.S.-imposed sanctions and war. Or the million African American people who died from lack of access to healthcare in the US over the last 10 years.

I will continue to expose your right-wing, anti-people politics until groups like your [sic] won't dare show their face [sic] on a college campus. Real freedom will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors and fight for just causes and for people's needs--such freedom fighters can be counted throughout American history and they certainly will be counted again.

Prof. John Daly

Some people reading the above diatribe will ask why a college would allow a professor to use such harsh language while addressing a student. But I disagree with any implication that Professor Daly had no right to say what he said so poorly. In fact, I would fight to the death to protect his right to very bad free speech. That is not because I am a principled person. I just enjoy watching liberals make asses out of themselves. To me, it is a cheap form of entertainment not unlike the CBS Evening News.

But the real question for Professor Daly and his boss (austin@warren.edu) follows: Why can’t English professors spell?

The answer can be found in Daly’s biography/teaching philosophy, which is posted on the WCCC website:

“Often linguists do not use their skills to teach grammar and writing, but Professor Daly finds that linguists have a special view on language that may help students—particularly students who have had trouble in these areas in the past. English courses generally are taught from a rule-based perspective. Students become overwhelmed with these rules and often find the exceptions make them impossible to manage. Linguistics [sic] view language from a descriptive point of view—that is they understand language in the same way you might organize a sock draw [sic] — by dumping the contents on the ground and seeing what goes together until finally ending up with a super-efficient drawer (or deeper understand [sic] of grammar and writing). Students often respond to this approach.”

For those who do not understand the above statement, I am delighted to offer the following translation:

“English is a really hard language with a lot of confusing rules. So when you take my class, you don’t have to follow rules at all. I do not try to bring you up to a higher standard. Instead, I am committed to lowering myself to your standards – even to semi-literacy, if necessary. That way, we can all avoid judgments and keep everyone’s self-esteem intact. And, best of all, when I am not teaching English I have plenty of time to talk about my political views. ”

I sincerely hope that the above re-statement of Daly’s philosophy helps to explain his incompetence. In the next installment, I will try to explain his anger.

To be continued …