Update — Prof. Randall Kennedy publicly credits hoax scenario

A few brief updates for the many readers we’ve had in the past few days, per our WordPress stats (9,000+ page views) — mostly to tip our hats to those who’ve helped publicize our work –and then our main update, concerning Professor Randall Kennedy.

Since its launch several days ago, this blog has been praised by noted Harvard attorney, and conservative blogger, John Hinderaker (who was among the handful of commentators who immediately suggested the supposed “hate crime” was likely a hoax).

Mr. Hinderaker calls the evidence we’ve summarized “highly persuasive.” In fact, unless he’s being jocular (possible), he’s even more persuaded than we are. He suspects that in positing a figure of 99.99%, we “have understated the probability of this event being a hoax.”

Prosecutor and conservative blogger Patrick Frey has praised this blog even more fulsomely. On November 20, he expressed his opinion that the supposed “hate crime” was probably a hoax, privately (he now notes) putting “the odds at over 90%, though he admits:

It didn’t take any special genius to predict this. All you had to do was be a sentient being who pays attention to such things.

And here is the fairly overwhelming and very entertaining proof, spread out over four joyous, well-written, sardonic, and brilliantly argued blog posts, that the hoax was perpetrated to publicize the latest racial grievance, which was not getting traction until the hoaxsters decided to give the cause a fraudulent burst of fame.

Enjoy. It’s a lot of fun to read.

And law professor Paul Caron, who specializes in tax law, but frequently comments on legal academia and the legal profession, also called attention to our work, in this post.

Now for our main update. It concerns the op-ed by Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy in today’s New York Times. Recall our earlier report that within hours of Tape-Gate being discovered, in a class session Professor Kennedy reportedly implied that it could have been a hoax, because the black tape could have been placed by black protesters chastizing black professors for being insufficiently supportive of their efforts (we say “implied” because such an action, even if initially taken as a  black-on-black protest, would devolve into a hoax if the protesters remained silent after others reached the conclusion that a white racist must have done it, as of course happened here).

Now, in the New York Times, Professor Kennedy has explicitly suggested that it could have been “a hoax meant to look like a racial insult in order to provoke a crisis . . . .”

The balance of article is well worth reading. In particular, it seems Professor Kennedy may have the “Royall Asses” in mind when he questions the wisdom of the tactics being employed by black activists who “seem to have learned that invoking the rhetoric of trauma is an effective way of hooking into the consciences of solicitious authorities.” He argues that in the long run, such tactics may be counterproductive, because “reformers harm themselves by nuturing an inflated sense of victimization.”

Now that Professor Kennedy has made the hoax scenario a topic appropriate for discussion (as not just a black Harvard law professor, but one of the “victims” of Tape-Gate, it would seem impossible for black activists to attack him, or his motives, for noting what of course is an obvious scenario for what happened here), we look forward to the mass media following up on their reports of a “hate crime,” and now delving into the hoax scenario with the same gusto with which they approached the initial reports of a “hate crime.”

(November 30 update)

Thanks  to Harvard attorney and conservative legal legend Ed Whelan for his Bench Memos blog post at the National Review this morning, recommending our blog for “exhaustive and compelling evidence that it is indeed a hoax . . . .”

Thanks also to Jennifer Kabbany at The  College Fix for her post today excerpting John Hinderaker’s recommendation of our work.

These posts gave new life to our blog traffic, pushing total views well over 20,000 in this blog’s six-day life, even though we’ve done nothing to promote the blog beyond a couple of tweets to a few journalists who had earlier covered the November 19 “Tape-Gate” incident.

And thanks for the dozens of comments on this blog, many positive, some quite negative, but all appreciated. Some of the comments (particularly those of Eric Rasmusen and Calvin Hobbes) will likely be referenced in an upcoming post.

We welcome e-mails from journalists, which we will be happy to answer to the best of our ability, but only on background (we want the focus to be on our collective output on this blog, not on any stray comments made in e-mails). Of course journalists can feel free to contact us for background information confident that we won’t disclose that they contacted us.

We hope that the law school’s official investigation of this incident will soon be completed, with the incident formally ruled a hoax. We appreciated the Dean’s assurances, at the community meeting this afternoon, that a thorough and vigorous investigation is very much under way.

(December 3 update)

Joseph Asch, a graduate both of Dartmouth and Yale Law School, favorably mentions our work (and Prof. Kennedy’s op-ed) in a post today on Dartblog.

On November 30, Steve Sailer published a humorous piece at Unz Review, which we highly recommend, and from which we excerpted not one, but two, tweets:

8 thoughts on “Update — Prof. Randall Kennedy publicly credits hoax scenario

  1. The real damage created by the hoaxers is done to Harvard Law itself. Harvard is today a national (even international) laughingstock like Mizzou. Given the vast chasm of disparity in costs between Harvard and Mizzou, a sensible candidate might take a pass. It’s sad really, I certainly once held a good deal of respect for Harvard. But affirmative action admissions and now this incompetent racial politicization will make me think of Harvard as just another Clown College.


    1. No, Harvard Law does not look nearly as bad as Missouri. The difference is that the grown-ups at Harvard Law have been more restrained. It looks to me as if they all know this is a hoax, and while they’re not going to try to punish the hoaxers (bad), they’re not going to reward them either (good).


      1. “The difference is that the grown-ups at Harvard Law have been more restrained.”

        But Martha Minnow is an important exception, right?


  2. My favorite part of the Sailer piece: “Sure, slack planning of hoaxes is to be expected at, say, Oberlin, but this is Harvard Law School. The public expects scams perpetrated by people associated with HLS to show attention to detail. This example undermines public confidence that an HLS diploma guarantees at least a minimum level of cunning. Are you going to trust HLS alumni to plot, say, your $160 billion tax inversion merger grift if HLS students can’t pull off a simple hate hoax?”


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