Sunday, October 16, 2005


I, Paid Lecturer

Now here's a curious choice of visiting lecturers at my old alma mater. UC Davis's daily paper The California Aggie -- the first publication to ever hire me as a writer, so praise or blame them accordingly -- reports that discredited 1992 Nobel Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú has been invited to lecture on campus:

Her autobiography I, Rigoberta Menchú was exposed by The New York Times in 1999 to contain fabricated accounts of her life. She will be speaking at UC Davis on Oct. 21. In her book, she describes watching her brother Nicolas die of malnutrition, but a New York Times reporter found him alive, running a homestead in a Guatemalan village. Additionally, she wrote in her book that she never went to school, but Menchú’s half sister confirmed that she was a scholarship student at a prestigious private boarding school. Scholars have argued over whether her book should still be taught in classrooms, as some felt it challenges a university’s dedication to truth and critical thinking....

UC Davis history professor Thomas Holloway, who helped arrange Menchú’s visit, encouraged students to look past this controversy and focus on the bigger picture. “She is someone that people ought to hear,” he said. “It’s important to hear people like her who have worked so hard to reach a position where the exploited, indigenous majorities can finally have their place at the table of government and be full members of society.”.... Her supporters argue that her book captures a larger truth about life in the indigenous tribes of Guatemala.

Yes, yes -- well said. To this end, I hereby invite the oppressed students of Professor Holloway to begin fabricating work in his courses. Because, don't you know, perhaps they will be exposing a larger truth in the process.

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