Little Red Book Redux

Ah-ha.  The Little Red Book visit was <a href="">a hoax after all</a>.  I had my suspicions, which I voiced in my previous post on the subject, but nonetheless I did spread the story despite misgivings about its veracity.  I am not a very good journalist. 

They're reporting now that the lie was uncovered when the student, who was the source of the story that was eventually relayed to journalists via his professors, began embellishing the story with more visits and extra details.  Still, it wasn't a very believable story to start (despite, of course, my decision to spread it).  I think I had Marx assigned in about 4 different classes throughout my college career.  I'll bet a majority of college students have to read some sort of Marxist/Communist literature at some point.  And I'll bet most of them don't want to own a copy, and so borrow it from a library.  If you put watches on everyone who borrowed a piece of communist literature, you'd be watching most of the nation's college students, including a lot of College Republicans.  Even limiting it, as the student tried to argue that they did, to students who do significant travel abroad wouldn't help much.  I know a hell of a lot of students who did semesters abroad.  Probably not a majority, but still enough that it would be a pain for the DHS to harrass everyone who went abroad and also read Mao.

So, sorry again for spreading this nonsense.  It strikes me as a story that started with the student coming up with an excuse to try and get an extension on a paper.  "I couldn't write it because the government stole my book!"  Note the embellishment that the DHS kept the copy of the book he ordered.  From there, the professors talked, decided it was serious, built it up and told reporters.  Note the student's initial reluctance to talk to journalists.  The student will probably be disciplined but, really, this nonsense is more the fault of the credulous media (and, ahem, bloggers) who spread the dubious tale.  The kid should be disciplined for lying to the professor, but this is one of those situations where I imagine he's already been punished enough by all the attention he's gotten and shame he'll be getting. 

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on December 24, 2005 7:14 PM.

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