English Studies, R.I.P.

Rollins.Gilmour1.jpgThe small world that is Canadian literary-academic culture underwent convulsions last week when a novelist named David Gilmour, a part-time English instructor at the University of Toronto, announced in an interview that he doesn’t love women and Chinese writers enough to teach them in his fiction course, and that he prefers books by “very serious heterosexual guys.” He listed as his favourite “guy guys” Elmore Leonard, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anton Chekhov, Marcel Proust, Leo Tolstoy, Henry Miller, and Philip Roth. The one exception was Virginia Woolf, but he didn’t teach her because of poor student response.

The furor over his words was predictable, and right on cue. Various outraged students and faculty members at the University of Toronto came forward to denounce Gilmour’s putative bigotry (in the world of the politically correct, “not loving” is little different from “hating”). An anti-Gilmour protest was held September 27th on the university grounds next to the statue of a former principal of U of T’s Victoria College, literary critic Northrop Frye; Frye’s statue was dressed up in a pink boa and tiara to demonstrate the gender daring of the protestors. The progressivist Toronto Star newspaper wrote to Angela Esterhammer, current principal of Vic, asking “what action, if any, the college would take” against Gilmour, and reported as significant the fact that he would not be fired. The Twitter world burst with sizzling insights, with Natalie Zed, for instance, reminding her friends that “David Gilmour said this shit aloud. How many more just think and do what he does quietly?” A bookstore and library in Waterloo cancelled their invitation to Gilmour for a speaking event, claiming that his “remarkably impolitic” statement was not one they could “afford to be associated with.”

President Esterhammer, too, wasted no time in distancing herself from Gilmour, affirming that he “expressed his views about teaching literature in a careless and offensive manner,” stressing that he was not typical of Victoria College, which is widely lauded for the “range and diversity” of its course offerings, and pointing out that “Faculty members, students, alumni, and the administration of Victoria College have made clear that they do not share [his] views about novels by women or about other groups of literary works.” It’s good to know that no one is standing out from the assembly of the just. A friend of mine has suggested that Gilmour may have been deliberately inflammatory and attention-seeking rather than “careless” in the interview, though if so, he is certainly regretting his flamboyance now. But whether or not the bad-boy remarks were designed to bring Gilmour’s name into the spotlight, his colleagues have certainly stepped up with alacrity to play their mortified and righteous roles—and their theatrics show all too clearly what a farce the study of English has generally become, even (or especially) at one of Canada’s most prestigious universities.

Perhaps the most self-dramatizing hyperbole came from the acting head of the University of Toronto’s English department, Paul Stevens, who wrote in a staff memo that he was “appalled and deeply upset” by Gilmour’s comments, which “constitute[d] a travesty of all we stand for.” Obviously unembarrassed by the overstatement, he also claimed to be “pursuing the matter further today”—whether to have Gilmour forced into gender sensitivity training or some other blasphemy sanction is not clear. His outrage was nearly matched by that of Holger Syme, Chair of the Department of English and Drama at U of T’s Mississauga campus, who wrote a blog post casting Gilmour out of the charmed circle of the intellectual elect: Gilmour “does not talk or think like a professor of literature,” he sniffed indignantly, because “Good teaching requires empathy—an effort to understand things, ideas, and people totally unlike you.” Leaving aside the question of whether some “effort to understand” might be required to appreciate nineteenth-century Russian and French writers, one wonders whether Syme would have delivered himself of the same caustic putdown of a Canadian aboriginal scholar teaching only other Canadian aboriginal authors or a gay black man teaching only gay blacks.

Many other concerned U of T citizens joined the fray. Gillian Jerome, co-founder of Canadian Women in the Literary Arts, asserted that Gilmour represents Canada’s “deeply sexist and racist culture.” Anne Thériault found it “almost exciting” that such blatant sexism had been expressed so that a discussion on academic misogyny could be pursued. A PhD student in the department, Miriam Novick, called for Victoria College to “seriously reconsider [Gilmour’s] continued employment.” Associate Chair of the English Department Nick Mount opined that it was “not fair to students” to advertise a course on “a variety of international authors” and then to present only “dead white guys.”

So what exactly are the feminists howling about? When such literary masters as Leo Tolstoy, Marcel Proust, and Anton Chekhov are dismissed by a professor of English as “dead white guys,” it’s clear that a blanket anti-male animus—of the sort only a feminist could love—has overtaken the ivory tower. Contrary to the self-righteous huffing and puffing of the advocates of gender justice, Gilmour’s off-hand statements highlighted not misogynist tyranny but the lockdown by academic feminism on even the most flippant and marginal deviations from the correct line. As Margaret Wente remarked in the Saturday Globe, “… only in a world where people are manufacturing oppression would a middle-aged professor who happens to prefer Henry Miller to Alice Munro … be vilified as an agent of the patriarchy.” Merely to note the glaring contradiction in the condemnations is to see their hypocrisy: on any campus across North America, one can find courses galore that focus exclusively on women writers, Aboriginal writers, lesbian writers, and so on—with nary a white heterosexual male in sight; and no one censures them for lack of “range and diversity.” Whole programs such as Women’s Studies are devoted, in fact, to slandering white men, and almost no one in the university community raises an objection.

What the fracas does clearly reveal—through the uniformity of response to Gilmour and the intellectual shallowness of reactions—are the dying gasps of a once magnificent, now morally bankrupt and pusillanimous, academic enterprise.

The study of literature—which was, let it be said right away, largely the study of literature by white male authors—once saw itself as part of the search for universal truths through reflection on the masterworks of great authors. Though undoubtedly at times stuffy and hidebound, it was also serious and intellectually substantial, attracting great thinkers such as Lionel Trilling, F.R. Leavis, William Empson, Edmund Wilson, and University of Toronto’s Northrop Frye himself. Today’s academics seem, in comparison, of vastly diminished moral and mental stature, fussing in chorus about “diversity” as if it were the only possible value to be gained from reading, and exhibiting in their own remarks no significant diversity at all. It is remarkable that not a single one of these academics, despite the protection of tenure, came forward to defend Gilmour or at least to rebut his more hysterical detractors. Is there not one with courage and common sense?

And of all those so eager to damn him, not one could be bothered to rebut his statements on their own, literary, terms: to show why the male authors that he preferred were not, actually, better than the women authors he slighted; to offer counter-judgements about literary value; to confirm, in short, that great literature matters to literary scholars (only journalist Barbara Kay—and, to a different end, Rex Murphy—dared to reflect on the gender of literary genius). It’s not only that academic cowardice and self-interest remain at an all-time high but also that interest in literature as literature, apart from its sociological import, long ago ceased to have any place in departments supposedly dedicated to its study. The titan Northrop Frye—he of the statue decorated with a feather boa by the protestors, few of whom likely know his (now largely untaught) works—defined major writers by the capacity for their readers to “grow up inside their work without ever being aware of a circumference.” It’s unlikely that such an idea would get a serious hearing at the University of Toronto today. Having lost faith in the discipline they are (over) paid to teach, literature instructors have enthusiastically embraced their roles as the guardians of progressive pieties about women and the Chinese.

This is not to suggest that Gilmour himself is any kind of resistance hero. He has long since apologized for his remarks and will almost certainly never make any such again.

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  • Jakareh

    This is a courageous expose’ of a higher education system that has become little more than a racket to extract inordinate sums of money from young people (and their parents) while at the same time indoctrinating those young people with leftist dogma. Like much else in Western society, universities will have to go through a major overhaul.

    • Drakken

      Overhaul? I would have to say a major purge would be much better for all concerned.

      • Guest

        And such “purge” would, of necessity, start at the primary grades level. The destruction of the minds of our children- and grandchildren if such be thy age- starts virtually from the day they enter the Public/Catholic School systems of Canada.
        Would that they could all be forced to do what they were intended to do, namely teach Reading, Writing, Mathematics, and THINKING and REASONING skills.
        Unfortunately they totally neglect the last two while marginally doing the first three.

        • Drakken

          Frankly, I am more than willing to fire every bloody one of them and put our former military personnel in charge, at least these kids would learn something and get back to the basics of this country and what made it great.

  • gawxxx

    the death of western academia and all of it’s ” degenerate” followers is a joy to behold !

    • The March Hare

      I don’t know whether to vote you up or down since your statement is very ambiguous. The article describes how western academia is now in the death throes of political correctness and progressivism. Are you applauding this or the fact it is being uncovered and exposed. I’d venture to say the former the way I read you.

      • Guy Fromage

        This idiot is a Moby, and a very bad one, at that.


        • A Z

          Nice post. I had to look up the reference. The term is more elegant than false flag. Once a person reads the history of the term, they are more cognizant of the threat.

          • Guy Fromage

            While flipping channels, I came across an interview with the eponymous musician. I laughed out loud, when he claimed Christianity was an important part of his life and worldview.

            I guess he missed the bit about not bearing false witness.

          • A Z

            Neill Macaulay wrote in “A Rebel in Cuba” that the Cuban authorities led by the Castros and Che would often publish trial verdicts before the trial had begun. Moby must have missed it.

  • Guy Fromage

    When completing my gen-eds for my engineering degree, I had to tread very carefully on the spongy end of campus, when it came time to enroll in these required classes. Fortunately, there was a closet conservative history teacher on the faculty, so I was safe there. I tried enrolling in several sociology sessions, and had to drop them time and time again, because the “professors'” heads were so firmly inserted up their backsides, all one could hear was an occasional muffled “patriarchy,” “white privileged,” or “Che.” Ultimately, I satisfied that requirement by taking an eastern religions class, which was actually quite interesting. I was later informed by the professor I earned one of the only two As in the class, which, judging by the banter I overheard while seated in the auditorium, was filled with the usual undergrad left wing snapperheads who would be prepared to favorably compare ANY faith to Judaism or Christianity, but could not be bothered to learn a little about Hindu iconography.

    The last gen-ed was psychology. This is a subject which interested me greatly, actually, as I view our current brand of “liberal” left wing fascism today as a form of mass psychosis. I panicked to learn, however, my schedule for my very last undergraduate quarter, would only allow one section as a psychology option, and this section was taught by a woman! The horror!

    Now, before a lefty troll dismisses me as a patrinazi, understand I had given female teachers many opportunities with these gen-eds, and I had, on every occasion, had to drop their sections after a single class, because they were, to be frank, complete airheads. I never blinked when given the choice of a female prof for economics or any hard science class, of course.

    Defeated, I enrolled in the aforementioned psychology section, and resigned myself to be regaled by condemnation of my androgenized brain, my inherent sexism, and general male-ness. I soon learned my worries were for naught, as the professor turned out to be an empiricist. One of her favorite themes, was debunking pop psy memes with research findings. In particular, she turned The Hite Report into a pile of fluffy rodent bedding.


    • A Z

      How professors can have good morales while admiring Che is a mystery.

      How the left can be enamored of Cuban communism after reading A Rebel in Cuba by Neill Macaulay?

      The ends justifies the means.

      But the end result is poverty for the masses and an oligarchy with a new fangled justification for ruling.

      Cuba is poor after decades on Soviet life support. Venezuela has shortages of everything after a little over a decade of socialism/communism. The response of the left is that the right flavor of socialism has not been tried. We have been through so many flavors and not one is good.

      • Guy Fromage

        I went by the new jacked-up-tuition-funded humanities offices, to pay a visit to the aforementioned conservative history professor’s lair (he managed to hide his orientation well enough, he now has tenure). His door featured a small, snarky quote (Mencken, I think), but his professorial neighbors had doors which looked like communist propagandists exploded in front of them. There were Ches and Marxes and Cesar Chavezs aplenty.

        • patron

          I earned my mechanical engineering degree at a Catholic University. Fortunately I could missed most of these stupid classes, costing me $3,000 a semester.

          Unfortuantely I found even the engineering courses greatly lacking when I started my career. Good thing I started work earlier. I would compare my university’s engineering curriculum to learning the alphabet in the first grade, and my career to publishing the great american novel.

        • A Z

          I signed up for a history course as an elective, which is my best subject according to my college entrance exams and Barnes & Noble.

          I subsequently dropped it after less than 3 weeks. The professor might have know many historical facts but he was a high speed rail train wreck. He wrote key words on the chalkboard like a kid jumps around playing hopscotch. Then he would lecture at high speed and everyone would furiously take notes. I could not keep up.
          It wasn’t just me. In exasperation, I looked up and saw everyone else furiously scribbling.

          In order to drop the course I had to get the prof’s signature. As I sat outside the office waiting for the prof to show up. Other profs were arriving at the offices and making small talk. All they could say is Reagan this and Reagan that and how bad he was.

    • Drakken

      Your experience was a little better than mine, I once had a professor have a complete meltdown and throw her lecture at me for having the temerity to say that a patriarchy has brought you Western Civilization and please explain to the rest of us where a matriarchy has ever succeeded? It didn’t help that when she was having her little tantrum I was laughing the whole time, the Dean of Students wanted to avoid the controversy and gave me a B on the course. Frankly the only thing I learned in college was the fact that most of the faculty were die hard leftist of the militant wing and didn’t like being challenged. I learned more about life and hard work in Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children than I ever did in the re-education camp I attended.

      • Guy Fromage

        Hah! Your experience is a somewhat more dramatic version of one encounter I had with a militant philosophy prof. The same course was offered in two sections for the same term. One, led by a female instructor, was at a very convenient time (one three-hour session, on a day when I had no other classes), with the other taught by a male PhD, with three sessions weekly, smack dab in the middle of an already very busy week. I enrolled in both, in the hope the “lady” would not be a screwball.

        It proved to be a vain hope.

        The first (and for me, only) session, which lasted only 15 minutes of the scheduled three hours, consisted of her issuing a diktat, stating that we would conform with the university’s policy of not using “sexist language.” She neglected to tell us this was a stylistic suggestion to professors authoring papers for publication, and was not applicable to undergrads kowtowing to what they think are teacher’s expectations.

        It was at this point, I resigned myself to my busier midday fate, but, as a courtesy, I chose to remain for the duration. It turned out, after this brief misrepresentation of university policy, she planned to let us go, without any reading assignments or other work: a week wasted, in short. But she did allow for questions before dismissing us.

        One student asked her, which presidential candidate she planned to vote for. She replied she was an anarchist, and voting only “encourages the b*stards.”

        As an evil grin began to curl on my face, I raised my hand. When she acknowledged me, I asked, “Earlier, you instructed us to not use sexist language. With regards to the occupants of Washington…what of all the b*tches?”

        With that, class was dismissed. She was a pale woman, but was visibly redder as the students departed.

        • Drakken

          Ah yes, the fun days of the re-education camp. How I don’t miss them. College was nothing more than a hoop to jump through to get where I needed to go.

      • hiernonymous

        Which matriarchies had you studied and considered before offering your comment?

        • Drakken

          Think outside the box dear boy, you will go far.

          • hiernonymous

            I have gone far, thank you. But your empty cliche wasn’t an answer. What matriarchies had you actually studied and assessed as ‘failures’ before dealing such a deadly rhetorical blow to your hapless professor?

          • Drakken

            They were all failures, for if they were successful they would be the example to follow today. They would have built and maintained a civilization that would be the envy of the world, since that hasn’t happened, that would be called failure correct?

          • hiernonymous

            I suppose that depends on your definition of ‘success.’ Why don’t you mention four or five that you considered, and tell us what life was like for the people who lived in those societies?

          • mike

            Why don’t you do it instead, f**kstick? :)

          • hiernonymous

            Here’s why, Sparky: I want to see if Drakken can even identify some matriarchies. The comment he’s reporting as a devastating shutdown of a politically extreme professor is actually nothing of the sort, if he didn’t actually have a valid comparison in mind.

            What was the intent of the emoticon? Passive aggressive, or did it indicate that your comment was a joke and not to be taken seriously?

          • alanstorm

            Little slow, aren’t ya?

            If there were any to report, they would be named. If you know of a successful one (i.e. had any lasting effect on…anything at all, lasted for any measurable time period, whatever), let’s hear it.

            If not, his comment stands.

          • hiernonymous

            “If there were any to report, they would be named.”

            You’re starting to see the direction I’m going with this, but you haven’t figured out the implications yet.

          • Guy Fromage

            Looks like you picked up a tick, Drakken.

          • Drakken

            Loves to criticize, but never offers a rebuttal or insight, strange isn’t it? Personally I think that the tick is either a western educated arab, or a western arabist who went a tad native.

    • fistdeyuma

      Great story Fromage. I had problems with Liberals in college as I’ve always had a hard time keeping my mouth shut when faced with lies. However sometimes I would get a surprise.
      I had one of those green earth classes, where one required reading was the discredited Population Bomb. On my term paper I took the track that technology has been the savor of mankind for over 200 years and would be in the future. The glum and doom predictions always failed because of new ways to grow food, including the Green Revolution prevented the mass starvation predicted.
      I expected to get lambasted but the instructor shocked me. He stated, “It never occurred to me that technology could be the answer instead of the problem”. This was shocking in three ways. That he had an open mind. That he was a teacher on the environment and had never heard of the Green Revolution and other improvements. And lastly that he would admit to it.
      While my computer science classes had some open minded women teaching I found most classes taught by women to be a waste of time. I know more on the subject then they did.
      My biggest shock was finding that a hard core Liberal art teacher, while disapproving of my conservatism, overlooked it to love my work. She could not understand how someone who did not want art to be funded by the government could put such effort into a project. I’m guessing she had never been exposed to the right kind of conservative.
      All too often I got the kind of teacher would know little on the subject and would hammer you with the feminist view of the world. I lost three grade points do to one teacher down grading me twice for being a conservative. (Two business classes to boot, my only “C” ever.) and one that we found had automatically up graded all the women and down graded all the men, just so we would understand what it was like to be a woman.
      Conservative students at NAU tell me that they mostly have to keep their heads down, their lips buttoned and thoughts to themselves, for fear of being attacked and/or losing grade points. I could defend myself from the other robot thinking students but Teachers with the power to effect your life is another story. The business teacher even tried to get me kicked out of school for being a racist. I said I treat all people equally, which labeled me a racist. Hard to believe but they really think the answer to racism is government supported racism, and teaching in business classes.

  • A Z

    The left is acting like the 1920s NDSAP without the street fighting.

    How long will the situation last?

  • StanleyT

    Some years ago, I took a creative writing course at U of T. For one of my assignments I outlined a story where a father and son switched roles, with dire consequences for the father. The instructor suggested that instead of the father, I consider making the mother one of my characters. One woman in the class rose in high dungeon. “Women are ridiculed every single day and you want to add to it!” she screamed. It was almost enough to get me to go with the instructor’s suggestion (even though it would have ruined the story).

  • victoryman

    A big BRAVO for Mr. Gilmour.

    • Race_Dissident

      But not for his capitulatory apology. Is there not any man (Mr. Barilla, I’m looking at you!) or woman (For shame, Paula Deen.) alive who has both the common sense to make politically incorrect statements, and the intestinal fortitude to reiterate them in the face of the gibbering Hutus?

      • Not David Mamet

        David Mamet

  • http://www.clarespark.com/ Clare Spark

    Would love to know how the marginalized “sexist” professor teaches Melville if at all. See http://clarespark.com/2010/06/10/herman-melville-dead-white-male/. “Herman Melville: Dead White Male.” If any writer was androgynous it was HM.

    • ReyR

      Herman Melville. Born August 1, 1819.
      In 1837, his older brother helped him get a job as a “boy” on a New York ship bound for Liverpool…
      In 1841, he sailed from Fairhaven, MA, on the whaler Acushnet. He was later to comment that his life began that day. The vessel sailed around Cape Horn and traveled to the South Pacific.
      …he left the ship. …For three weeks he lived among the Typee natives
      Melville did not seem to be concerned about the consequences of leaving the Acushnet. He boarded an Australian whale ship, the Lucy Ann, bound for Tahiti; took part in a mutiny and was briefly jailed in the native Calabooza Beretanee. After release, he spent several months as beachcomber and island rover.
      …On August 4, 1847 Melville married Elizabeth Shaw, daughter of Lemuel Shaw, the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The couple honeymooned in Canada and then moved into a house on Fourth avenue in New York City. In 1850, the couple moved to Massachusetts. They eventually had four children: two sons and two daughters.
      Androgynous, no doubt. Effeminate. A real namby-pamby mummy’s boy if there was one.

  • WW4

    I don’t know that what the prof said was very wise, necessarily, but this is ridiculous. He has an opinion–so what? Don’t take his class!

    I could see that if the class were about, say, 19th Century American Poetry, and he wasn’t teaching Emily Dickinson because he “didn’t love” female poets, that would be a red flag. She’s a titan in her field and in her time period, and an important historical figure in literature. It’d actually be negligent to exclude her–in that kind of course.

    But surveying reading materials for diversity for no other reason than diversity?

  • Andrew Apter

    What is happening in the university system both drives and reflects the decay in the exterior culture. As intellectual life in the U.S. dwindles to a sputtering flame so dies intellectual life in the universities. All that is left is some dusty old queer studies and classes devoted to the accusations of racism of the one-time heroes of intellectual life. Peruse through any philosophy syllabus in a major college and you will find course after course on such things as gay metaphysics, lesbian ontology and feminist epistemology. One would do better to sit on a toilet and read Mad Magazine than attend these foolish money-sucking hovels. As a survivor of two PhDs in philosophy and psychology from ivy league universities I can only thank the gods that I escaped just in time with half my sanity left.

  • Chuck Nichols

    I posted my support at the University of Toronto English department Facebook page.

  • fistdeyuma

    Just proves that the only people who can, “speak their minds” are people who support whatever trend the Liberals are in love with today. Their idea of freedom is freedom to do at they are told.

    • Guy Fromage

      Yep. Sort of like the race and dependency hucksters, who call for a “national conversation” on this or that topic. What they mean, is a national lecture.

  • Chezz

    Before rushing to his condemnation, let’s not forget that Gilmour admitted to loving the most oriental author of them all: Virginia Woolf.

  • navigator1965

    Professor Fiamengo’s lucid thinking, complimented by her simple eloquence, exposes feminist “intellectuals” and “scholars” for the repressive frauds they truly are. Rather like Bacon’s essay “On Seeming Wise.”

    It was interesting to see the moral cowards surrounding Gilmour all too ready to throw him under a bus.

  • Spirit of the Fighting 69th

    The hallmark of academia is cowardice. These learned Marxist fools would be the first to be eliminated by some future Cheka.

  • Chuck Nichols

    Univeristy of Toronto’s English Dept. has a facebook page. just saying.

    I had a Poli Sci prof who told the entire class that Welfare (as in food stamps) was guaranteed by our Founding Documents. He then wondered aloud how Mixed race people feel when confronted by all “these white people” to which 3/4 of the class indicated their partial Native heritage. He then told the Osage chief’s son that he was dumb for not being upset about the “Washington Redskins”. This was at Oklahoma state. He was the only prof that I had that was an ideological buffoon.

  • ebonystone

    President Esterhammer, too, wasted no time in distancing herself from Gilmour … stressing that he was not typical of Victoria College, which is widely lauded for the “range and diversity” of its course offerings, ….

    But apparently Gilmour was just a bit too diverse. Esterhammer is a typical leftist, always applauding diversity, but when something really diverse is proposed, she tries to shout it down.


    Prof. Gilmour missed getting his brain washed in estrogen.

    Good for him!

  • LawReader

    Most amusing! Ya’ gotta’ love what passes for ‘higher education’ these days. We’re producing semi-adolescent clowns that can’t spell or make change, but by God they’ve got their ‘gender questioning’ priorities in order.

    We used to call people like these ‘protesters’ retarded. Now, we’re more politically correct – we call them ‘diversity and tolerance terrorists’…

  • Bill Cervetti

    So, basically, and without spending a cent, the University spontaneously opened up a Department called “Gilmour Studies”.

  • Kukye

    So a guy says what’s on his mind. So the antagonist decide to do that too. Go to BED ALL OF YOU!

  • Joanne Jacobs

    Marcel Proust is a “very serious heterosexual guy?” I didn’t think he was hetero, much less seriously hetero.

  • teapartydoc

    The universities are burning themselves to the ground. It isn’t much fun to watch when you live in a university town.

  • Dean Esmay

    One interesting thing about this little protest: as it happened, they staged this particular protest on the exact same day the Canadian Association for Equality, on the exact same campus, was a lecture by Professor Miles Groth on the crisis for young men in education. Why is this significant? Well every single lecture promoted by the Canadian Association for Equality on that campus was subject to mass and sometimes violent protests by feminist activists. After they were publicly shamed by A Voice for Men and other sources for their outlandish behavior, and after CAFE was forced to pay for extra security for the Groth lecture, the protestors pulled a no-show and went to attack this poor English professor instead. It appears that hateful femifascists decided that attacking Men’s Rights Activists was a losing game for them and decided to pick another target to draw media attention away instead. Guess they’re getting a little smarter, this poor guy probably had no idea what was coming. I suspect they picked him primarily as a distraction.