Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

UM Prof on Reagan's Passing

18. June 2004 • dilleym
Email this article

From University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole:

“He said that he had heard that some asserted there was hunger in America. He said it sarcastically. He said, “Sure there is; they’re dieting!” or words to that effect. This handsome Hollywood millionnaire making fun of people so poor they sometimes went to bed hungry seemed to me monstrous. I remember his wealthy audience of suburbanites going wild with laughter and applause.”



  1. It’s surprising that a professor would take such an unbalanced, unacademic approach to this criticisms of anyone, let alone a former President.

    Remind me never to take a Juan Cole class; if I want to hear people bitch about inequality I can just read the Daily, no need to waste and money hearing from someone who likely does not see it as his job to present history from all sides.

    I’m very disappointed, and more non-plussed than angry.
       —James Dickson    Jun. 18 '04 - 10:53AM    #
  2. “It’s surprising that a professor would take such an unbalanced, unacademic approach to this criticisms of anyone, let alone a former President.”

    You DO attend the University of Michigan, do you not?

    I am not the least bit surprised that such ignorant comments would come from the mouth of an LSA prof at UM.
       —T.J.    Jun. 18 '04 - 11:52AM    #
  3. so are you two denying that reagan said that???

    -ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jun. 18 '04 - 12:03PM    #
  4. I appreciate Juan’s comment. Since Reagan’s death we’ve experienced nothing but glossed-over history as the media fawned. There is nothing wrong with remembering and reflecting upon both the good AND the bad.
       —Sara    Jun. 18 '04 - 12:19PM    #
  5. I think it’s funny that people who have never missed a meal in their life are ripping Reagan for making these comments, while someone who often spent the several days before payday with nothing to eat at all is defending him.

    Reagan was a great man and a great president, and it drives you lefties nuts that he played for the other team and everyone loved him. You just can’t take it, so you slam him when he dies.

    Where was all the Reagan bashing a month ago? It’s one thing to bash the man, it’s another to attack someone when they die and try to justify it as if you have been doing it all along.
       —T.J.    Jun. 18 '04 - 12:56PM    #
  6. i think its funny that t.j. assumes he knows everything about every one who is left adolf hitler and their economic status…

    t.j., either make a case for reagan based on facts other than “he was really great” or stop making unfounded assumptions…

    i don’t know dr. cole’s background, but it is disingenouis of you to assume ANYONE’S economic status…

    true, i have been guilty of the same thing sometimes, but i’m trying to get better…

    -ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jun. 18 '04 - 01:02PM    #
  7. Hey, Ok, time to call bullshit then Teej. I’m poor. I’ve grown up poor. I’ve missed meals. I’ve stolen saltines and smeared ‘em with mustard. Stop pretending to be the poor white Lorax, and realize that hey, some of us poor folk really do have legitimate complaints about Reagan and his voodoo economics. And what, you’re amazed that Cole is feeling compassion despite being well-off (at least currently)? That’s what you two chuckleheads are bringing? Fuck off, man. Go back to the Freeper boards and leave the rest of us to sanity.
    js
       —js    Jun. 18 '04 - 01:18PM    #
  8. Everyone loved him?

    Are you sure?

    http://www.fair.org/extra/8903/reagan-popularity.html
       —Elliott Mallen    Jun. 18 '04 - 01:18PM    #
  9. “some of us poor folk really do have legitimate complaints about Reagan and his voodoo economics.”

    The difference is, some of us are poor and believe in upward mobility and merit. Others believe that if someone is poor, you give them a sandwich as opposed to an opportunity to earn their own money so they can buy their own sandwich.
       —T.J.    Jun. 18 '04 - 01:55PM    #
  10. “Others believe that if someone is poor, you give them a sandwich as opposed to an opportunity to earn their own money so they can buy their own sandwich.” -t.j.

    i, for example, believe in things like job training programs and improved education…which catagory would i be in…

    teach a man how to fish…mmmm, fish,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jun. 18 '04 - 02:35PM    #
  11. and t.j., if you DO believe in upward mobility, i suggest you do some reading…here’s a good start:

    http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040105&s=krugman

    the business week article he references can probably be found on lexis-nexus…

    rawk,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jun. 18 '04 - 02:38PM    #
  12. Now what if we gave the poor person a sandwich and then let him have upward mobility … that would rock.
    ——————————-

    Besides not eating for days until payday TJ also walked ten miles up hill, both ways, in five feet of snow to get to school, where he was unmericifully beaten for being the only conservative child enrolled. Despite all of these things TJ is still upwardly mobile.
    ——————————-

    For the most part Ari is not an armchair socialist. His out of state tuition is paid for through minority grants. He really did grow up a poor colored child in the deep south and has really lived a life of abject poverty and strife. Because of these conditions he can safely attest that upward mobility does not in fact exist.
    ———————————
    Wouldn’t be great if the left and right could just get along and leave out the hyperbole? Maybe we could actually get something done.
       —Kat    Jun. 18 '04 - 03:13PM    #
  13. Put Ray Charles on the $10 bill.
       —David Boyle    Jun. 18 '04 - 05:09PM    #
  14. Reagan did reach out to Democrats, although we hear little about it. Sure, he had honest disagreements with those on the left; and many ont he left utterly hated him; but that is no different for any president. Remember the Reagan Democrat. The man couldn’t have gotten the votes he did without appealing to something in the center and even left of center.

    Was he flawed? Certainly. Is there hunger in America? Sure. But compare to elsewhere – where life-and-death serious starvation occurs. And those who are hungry in America can find programs and charities, not to mention individuals, everywhere – that will prevent starvation. Reagan was right in this sense – it isn’t all bad in America.
       —Chetly Zarko    Jun. 18 '04 - 09:20PM    #
  15. Exactly why is it “unbalanced” and “unacademic” and “ignorant” to criticize Reagan for mocking poor people but perfectly acceptable to call him “a great man and a great president”? Would conservatives criticize a professor who called Reagan a “great man” for violating academic neutrality and pledge not to take her or his class?

    I enjoy listening to the conservatives on these blogs when they make intelligent and intellectual arguments, but all this whining and fantasies of reverse victimization is really unbecoming.

    For the record Reagan made this comment in the 1960s while mocking the calls for a war on poverty and government statistics about hunger in Appalachia—that would be poor whites, by the way.
       —Matt    Jun. 19 '04 - 09:56AM    #
  16. There are better and fairer ways to criticize President Reagan than the way in which Cole went about it; I expect professors to be more “fair and balanced” and thoughtful in their analysis of any topic, whether I agree with the man or not.

    If Clinton died and we saw a lot of conservatives deriding him the way I’ve seen liberals criticize Reagan, I’d have a big problem with that as well.

    Like I said, if I want catalogues of “oppression” and complaints about inequality in the world, I could read the Daily, I don’t need a professor for that.
       —James Dickson    Jun. 19 '04 - 02:03PM    #
  17. James- That you use the phrase “fair and balanced” without irony (but with scare quotes, for some reason) pretty much sums up your ideology trumping good sense. But hey, TJ thinks of himself as the poor white man’s lorax, so I guess we’re all winners here.
    js
       —js    Jun. 19 '04 - 06:14PM    #
  18. Put James Dickson on the $10 bill.

    At least for a couple weeks.
       —David Boyle    Jun. 19 '04 - 07:39PM    #
  19. I’m not going to say Ronald Reagan was a great president or had great policies, because I honestly don’t know enough, but through being in d.c. for the entire funeral process and attending several portions of it, regardless of party affiliation, he was a highly respected man among his colleagues, his friends and family, and much of this country’s citizens. The outcry of mourning and support shown throughout that week was unbelievable, and if anyone watched the funeral in california, u would see the man, not the politician, and as a person, he should be missed…

    now as for prof. cole, he is widely known as potraying biased views and anti-semitic and anti-israel propoganda in his classroom and lectures. He is the among a few professors at UofM documented as being repeatedly anti-israel in his writings and lectures, and honestly, nothing he says should be taken into account at all.
       —Alana    Jun. 20 '04 - 08:17PM    #
  20. Thanks, Alana, for another ad hominem attack on Cole. Did you actually have a textbook show you how to make one, or did you stumble into it yourself?
    js
       —js    Jun. 21 '04 - 10:15AM    #
  21. JS,
    Alana’s conclusion, that “nothing he says should be taken into account” certainly is a fallacy. but it is true that Cole is anti-Israel – I don’t know about anti-semitic – and I wouldn’t say “anti-Israel” is necessarily a bad thing (if it is balanced against other considerations).
       —Chetly Zarko    Jun. 22 '04 - 06:44PM    #