Tag Archives: FAU

Prof. James Tracy’s Termination in Light of Orwell’s 1984: If all records told the same tale

David Mathisen
The Mathisen Corollary

George_Orwell_press_photo
Image: Wikimedia Commons

But to trace out the history of the whole period, to say who was fighting whom at any given moment, would have been utterly impossible, since no written record, and no spoken word, ever made mention of any other alignment than the existing one. At this moment, for example, in 1984 (if it was 1984), Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.

The frightening thing, he reflected for the ten thousandth time as he forced his shoulders painfully backward (with hands on hips, they were gyrating their bodies from the waist, an exercise that was supposed to be good for the back muscles) — the frightening thing was that it might all be true. If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened — that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death.

The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed — if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

— George Orwell, 1984 (pages 31-32 in the Signet reprint of the 1949 hardcover).

If all records are made to tell the same (lying) tale, then the memory of the past can be altered for the purposes of exercising control over others. Drawing a veil over the memory of the past, and imposing a false picture of the past in its place, is a tremendously powerful weapon — as George Orwell dramatizes in 1984.

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James Tracy on The Real Deal w/ Allan William Powell

The Real Deal
Media Broadcasting Center

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 8.58.07 PMFormer Florida Atlantic University tenured professor James Tracy presents additional information and observations on his 2016 termination during the first hour of this February 19, 2016 webcast of The Real Deal with special guest host Allan William Powell.

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The Subtle Mechanics of Unfree Speech Revisted

“Our own FAU handbook says an employee may be terminated for questionable conduct, professional or personal,” trustee Robert Rubin said. “And what Professor Tracy said wasn’t?”

But making comments that are embarrassing to a university is not grounds to fire a tenured professor, said Robert Shibley, senior vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which advocates on free speech issues.

too-much-to-think“Professors are citizens, too. They have the right to espouse various ideas, even if they’re controversial, as long as it doesn’t impact their teaching and their students.” -Scott Travis, “It’s That Professor Again: FAU Egghead Who Doubted Newtown Massacre Questions Boston Bombing,” South Florida Sun-Sentinel, April 24, 2013, A1.

“The Subtle Mechanics of Unfree Speech” first appeared at MHB on November 10, 2013, exactly two years before Florida Atlantic University administrators began threatening Professor James Tracy with disciplinary action for constitutionally-protected speech on his personal blog. The observations below have a special resonance in light of not just the scrapping of Dr. Tracy’s tenure and livelihood, but also more recent developments, including calls by Israel government officials to censor and suppress the free exchange of ideas on social media. 

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A (Rare) View From FAU Students

“Your class, Public Opinion and Modernity, was by far my favorite class at FAU and one of the most difficult. Thank you for enabling us to think critically.”-FAU Student, January 2013

So is James Tracy really the “twisted” (Daily News 12/15/15) “psycho” (Daily Kos 12/20/15) and “nutty” (Daily Caller 1/7/16) professor that mainstream media outlets have made him out to be over the past three years, and particularly in late December 2015/early January 2016?  As we know, the mass media provided the reasoning for FAU administrators to terminate his employment on January 6, 2016.

Yet according to some Florida Atlantic University students, whose feedback and comments appear below, Tracy’s teaching endeavors over his 13 years at the south Florida college were consistently ranked “above satisfactory” and “excellent” by students and faculty peers with good reason: the classes were interesting, demanding, and popular.

FAU_EntranceRegrettably undergrad students today have very little say in university policies or decisions on who will teach them. In Professor Tracy’s case the FAU administration is happy to trample on tenure, free speech, and academic freedom by giddily dancing to the tune of corrupt newspaper editors, wealthy donors, CIA couples, even professional stalkers, all of whom are driven by financial and/or political interests, and whose views are antithetical to the life of the mind.

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The De-Authorization of James F. Tracy

Submitted by Toni King

It took two weeks for the Sun-Sentinel newspaper to announce that James Tracy had stirred up a controversy. In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting incident, the academic had published a series of articles describing the neglect of major media to address discrepancies in their own reporting, as well as the appearance of their collusion with law enforcement and federal agencies in carefully managing a narrative that focused away from journalistic investigation. Tracy’s writings gathered conspiracy-400x264attention from independent researchers, but were little noticed elsewhere until, singularly, the Sun-Sentinel newspaper was roused to mount an exception to the Professor’s critique.

The problem for the Broward/Palm Beach counties publication was that Tracy, a PhD whose areas of expertise include media and communication studies, was the kind of authority the newspaper was accustomed to running to when it wanted to shore up its own credibility. What to do? Deciding to ignore Tracy’s observations helped the newspaper slip past the need to justify its own position, and move on to the only option left to it: discredit the man himself.

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