Ha, ha, those folks in Athens; what a bunch of kidders.
A couple of weeks ago I made light of the controversy that erupted when state Sen. Jim Whitehead joked about doing away with UGA -- except for the football team -- because of its liberal professors.
The Athens Banner-Herald had gotten all huffy about it, and I said they were humor-challenged. They then reprinted my column, and now I've gotten a huffier response from one of UGA's self-described liberal professors.
He's a professor of French, no less, and won't let me publish his comments as a letter to the editor. I guess some academics don't like to share their opinions outside the protected world of college tenure.
Professor Chicken agrees most of his colleagues also hail from the left, and have no respect for conservatives. "Give me a conservative view, whether on the environment, reproductive freedom, fair treatment of working people, or being a responsible world citizen, that is worthy of respect, and I'll respect it," he writes.
Of course, for a conservative view to be "worthy of respect" for such a fellow, it would have to be one with which he agrees. So, naturally, give him a liberal view, and he'll respect it.
Ingenious. Maybe that's why he's a professor.
Other responses to Whitehead's comments have ranged from funny to indignant. Most don't want to be printed, so the professor isn't a lone chicken.
But I hope none of my kids ever winds up in one of his classes. I bet he can be a real tough guy there.
Leaving in threes
Augusta took a big hit this past week with three good men announcing plans to leave town.
Scott Loehr is leaving the Augusta Museum of History, where he served for the past almost eight years as director. He'll run the Newport (Rhode Island) Historical Society.
As a member of the board of the Augusta Museum, I've seen how good a job Loehr has done. He's reached out to the broader community, while keeping the focus of the Augusta Museum on Augusta.
If you haven't toured the museum lately, you really don't know what you're missing. The exhibit featuring the wreck of the slave ship Henrietta Marie is now on display, and it's well worth a visit.
Tuesday, the National Science Center announced its director, Joe Edwards, is leaving for a Washington, D.C. job. The former astronaut made an out-of-this-world effort this past summer to raise funds to keep the Discovery Center open after Gov. Sonny Perdue held up state money. His passion and hard work will be tough to replace.
Personally, though, the biggest fish swimming out of Augusta is Julian Miller, president of The Augusta Chronicle.
Julian worked in The Chronicle newsroom when I first got a job with the Augusta Herald more than 20 years ago. He has never ceased to be a positive and constructive influence for journalism and this community.
Above all, I learned from Julian the truth of the old saying from former Columbia County School Superintendent John Pierce Blanchard: A mistake is an error only if you fail to correct it. No matter how badly I've screwed up, Julian always made sure I understood it wasn't the end of the world, and that the experience would provide an opportunity for learning. I'd like to think I've learned a lot as a result.
Among the three of them, these men leave huge shoes to fill. It's almost enough to make me forget that one woman, Evelyn Browne, founder of It's Spooky to be Hungry, has moved out of Columbia County and now lives on the hill in Augusta.
Almost, but not quite. We'll miss them all.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal@ newstimesonline.com.)
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