As one of the few people in America who has never referred to someone as a "bitch" and dislikes the term intensely, I am quite amused by Alan Dershowitz's recent article for David Horowitz's online zine. Dershowitz cites a Chicago Sun-Times report on the minority report of three members of DePaul's department of political science objecting to Norman Finkelstein.
As Peter Kirstein observes, the story further confirms that DePaul used inappropriate collegiality criteria as the reason to oppose to Finkelstein. However, Dershowitz focuses on one element of this report: that Finkelstein allegedly called a female staff member a "bitch." Needless to say, if every professor who ever called someone a "bitch" was fired, we'd pretty much clear out every university. To use an unproven claim like this, which is entirely unrelated to Finkelstein's qualifications, should outrage everyone on the left or the right. How long will it take to find someone who ever heard Dershowitz use the word "bitch" or some other offensive term?
It is ironic that the DePaul professors who were so unprofessional in denying Finkelstein tenure because he was unkind to them use the term "unprofessional" in describing Finkelstein's rudeness, as if politeness rather than the search for truth embodied the work of a professor.