Why Sanctimony Is No Defense against Zealotry


To some extent, sanctimony is the “civilized” version of dogma enforced by social, religious, or political conformity and then, when that proves insufficient, the threat of force.

There is now a great deal of attention to the nature of the satire published in Charlie Hebdo, with some commentators finding it almost embarrassingly juvenile and others finding it relentlessly offensive and extremely and needlessly provocative.

But what is missing from most of those discussions is that this is a debate about taste, and as any freshman composition student knows, debates about taste are not fruitful topics for any sort of well-reasoned argument. Taste is always very personal, even if we happen to agree on some standards by which tastefulness might be judged.

Although the Internet has developed into an unprecedented source of information, it is also a cesspool of completely uncensored and often horribly offensive opinion. And nowhere is this…

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About martinkich

I am a Professor of English at Wright State University's Lake Campus, where I have been a faculty member for more than 25 years. I have now served multiple terms as the President of the WSU chapter of AAUP, which now includes all full-time instructional faculty, and as the Vice-President of the Ohio Conference of AAUP. I have also served several terms as an at-large member of the Executive Committee of AAUP's Collective Bargaining Congress. In addition to serving as co-editor of the Academe blog, I am also a member of the editorial board of Academe and have been a guest editor for an issue of the magazine on collective bargaining strategies. As co-chair of the Ohio Conference's Communication Committee, I began to do much more overtly political writing during the campaign to repeal Ohio's Senate Bill 5, which would have eliminated the right of faculty to be unionized. I have sustained that activism, and at the risk of stating the obvious, I have very much enjoyed contributing to the Academe Blog and to our chapter blog. I also maintain several other blogs to which I have re-posted, by topic, my posts to the Academe blog, as well as some other items.

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