Saturday, February 26, 2005
Anybody Want To Defend This???
CBS4 Denver attempted to interview Ward Churchill about his "original" artwork. The response was a flurry of curse words followed by Churchill swinging his newspaper at the camera man and the reporter, hitting the cameraman once. The full video is available at the link above.
Placing Churchill's work beside that of renowned artist Thomas E. Mails and the two look like mirror images. But one is a copyrighted drawing. The other is an autographed print by Churchill.
The following text is a transcription from CBS4's footage of the exchange between Chohan and Churchill on Thursday in the hallway outside his office.
"Get that camera out of my face," Churchill said.
"This is an artwork we've got called 'Winter Attack.' It looks like it was based on a Thomas Mails painting; it looks like you ripped it off. Can you tell us about that?" Chohan asked.
That prompted Churchill to take a swing at Chohan while he held a stack of papers in his hand.
The exchange continued:
Chohan: "Sir, that's assault, you can't do that. Can I ask you about this? It looks like you copied it."
Churchill: "I was just grabbed by the arm. And that (camera) gets out of my face."
Chohan: "Sir, we're allowed to take these pictures, this is a public space."
Churchill: "You're not allowed to grab be by the arm."
Chohan: "He didn't touch you sir, we've got it all on tape. Sir, this is called Winter Attack. It's a serigraph by you. It looks like it was copied from Thomas Mails artwork. Can we talk to you about that please?"
Churchill made the serigraph in question in 1981 and called it "Winter Attack." He printed 150 copies and sold one of them to Duke Prentup for about $100.
"I have enjoyed them ever since, immensely," Prentup said. "They're, obviously, up in my house."
But last month came a stunning revelation. As Prentup flipped through a book of illustrations by renowned artist Thomas E. Mails, he found an artwork of striking similarity.
"It's very obvious that the Churchill piece was taken directly from the Mails piece," Hubbell said. "There's just too many similarities between the two for it to have been coincidence."
Churchill has also been accused of plagiarizing several of his written works. Churchill appears to have stolen entire sections for his works from works of other academics and from the local newspaper. Churchill was attacked back in 1999 for one of his works which apparently has several pages of footnotes to back up his claim of the United States Government giving smallpox-infected blankets to a Native American tribe. Unfortunately for Churchill, a thorough reading of all those footnotes shows no evidence of that claim.
It should be clear to anybody now that Churchill is a fraud and a jerk. Say what you will about his insane rants calling the murdered victims of 9/11 "little Eichmanns" - freedom of speech at least allows him to say those things. [Whether or not taxpayer funded Universities should financially support such speach is a topic for another day.] However, no one person in academia can defend plagiarism. Intellectualy property and original ideas are held as paramount in the academic environment and such blatant abuses should be grounds for formal dismissal from Univeristy of Colorado and, perhaps worse, complete bashiment from the circles of academia.