Sunday, January 02, 2011

What kind of beer goes good with crow?

Some time back, I made a pretty harsh post about one Bill Holda, implying that he was either an idiot or a liar.

I was wrong.

Now, he and I may disagree on a lot of things, but it appears that he was neither an idiot nor a liar, but instead was honestly mistaken, and has taken steps to correct that. I'm not expecting that he's going to suddenly become my ideological bedfellow, but it takes a mensch to honestly examine his premises.

Dr. Holda, you have my sincerest apologies.


Anonymous said...

"Consequently, I keep forgetting to put safety glasses on. I’m working on it."

Eye protection, it's not just for anal retentive Yankees anymore.

Keads said...

Well done Tam! Kudos to the person that stepped up and took them to the range!

That is what we need people. Civil, polite discourse will do much better than "Get off my lawn" conversations. Trust me on this one!

pax said...

Good people doing good things, both of them. And you. It takes a good person to admit freely and without reservation when she was wrong.

Now a book recommendation: The Invisible Gorilla, by Daniel Simons and Chris Chabris. The book very thoroughly explains how good people with good intentions can make the type of mistake Dr. Holda made when he got the Luby's facts wrong.

Joseph said...

Kudos to all 3 of you, Tam, you for this post and to Dr. Holda and his wife for taking the time and effort to find out first hand "what it's all about". Puts them far above many intellectuals who never leave the office.

Josh Kruschke said...

As, I'm eating some of my own crow at the moment I'll let you know what I come up with and we will compare note. I am thinking something bitter.

Anonymous said...

I admire your humility, Tam, in admitting your mistake. I also admire the Holdas for stepping up and trying something that goes against the grain.

Anonymous said...

Whatever kind of beer it is, make sure there's enough to share with popgun and the Holdas. This is really a remarkable story.

Anonymous said...

You know what?

You were right to begin with.

This gentleman is an academic. An intelligent man in a responsible position who probably makes official position statements to his board, his faculty, his student body - and the media - on a regular basis.

So either he does so entirely out of his ass (idiot), or he intentionally makes false statements when he believes the ends justify his means (liar).

I applaud popgun for reaching out to give the doctor some actual experience and knowledge, and the doctor for taking it. Let's hope there has been a real change in his perspective that he will use to guide the young minds over which he has substantial sway, making "factual" statements backed by actual facts instead of the partisan dogma that so thoroughly saturates his profession.

But that doesn't mean he wasn't an idiot, or a liar, or both...when he gave that teevee interview.

And it doesn't mean you were wrong to say so.


NotClauswitz said...

For some reason I kinda expect that an academic at Kilgore College might be capable of this display of broad-mindedness and open inquiry, whereas one at/from Berkeley would likely be absolutely incapable of similar behavior.
And I'm really glad that Kilgore College exists and employs such a person - and that the lockstep institutional prison that Berkley has become houses its own rigid minded cretins where it does, because we can put a wall around Berkeley and then fill it with Bay water and drown the bastards, or pray for the next Big Earthquake, the Hayward fault of which runs directly through the campus, take them...

Miguel said...

I have to agree with AT on this one. Dr. Holda's statements were not 'Maybe' or 'I think' or 'My opinion is' but statements we knew were false and that he either knew were false or repeated without any previous research in the matter. Dr. Holda is not an average person off the street but the head of an academic institution. He is duty bound to find out the truth and pass it along or at least allow himself and others to be exposed to opposing points of views and then make an informed decision.
Going on TV under the badge of president of an educational institution carries weight and shapes public opinion. That he tried to shape such opinion without all the information and informing of events that did not happen was fraudulent.
But that is my opinion.

alath said...

Wait, put a hold on that crow.

Kudos to Dr Holda for the willingness to be corrected, yes.

But no crow to Tam for administering the correction. Dude made a ridiculous statement; the ridicule you dealt was well deserved.

og said...

If you had overreacted, you'd have a reason to eat crow.

As is, you reacted appropriately. If this guy comes around to sanity, you will still be able to say he was an idiot. But you'll be able to shake his hand, look him in the eye, smile,and say it. And he'll probably smile back, and agree.

As for crow, I suggest Rolling Rock.

WV: Shlog. A schlocky blog.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

I have to agree with AT and Miguel on this one - hold the crow.

He made a statement that showed clearly that he utterly failed to verify his facts by checking with unbiased sources (and the Luby's massacre is a matter of historical record, the sources are readily available). For a man in his position that was inexcusable, and for that blunder he deserved every harsh word you wrote.

Having said that, I'm glad he was willing to listen when his error was pointed out to him, and that he took the time and effort to learn the facts behind what he had been talking about. I'm willing to forgive someone a lot when he's willing to admit his mistakes and even more when he's willing to act to correct them. While his error was inexcusable, it is certainly not unforgivable.

I also think that, had you been in popgun's position, where - as an alumni - you could contact him without being lost in the background noise, you would have reached out just as popgun did. While your words were harsh, they were not excessively so, and they covered the possibilities - either he was lying, or he was misinformed. Either of which, for someone in his position, deserved that harshness.

George said...

I hope one day to be as mature as you, and as classy. ps - I'm old enough to be your father.

Firehand said...

Have to agree with AT: Mr. Holda said some flat-out false things, and when it was pointed out they were false tried to cover it up with 'go look at the VPC website' and such. You, and others, called him on it and the fact that he appears to be trying to fill in the holes in his knowledge doesn't mean you have to have a serving of bird.

Anonymous said...

Tam you just showed everyone what a very class act you are! It takes a very big person to admit when they are wrong ( even when you were not wrong in your rebuke of the statements). This is why we read your blogs!!

Walt H.

Popgun said...

Hi, Tamara;

Apologies; I wasn't thinking about crow when I posted about this, I just thought you'd want to know.

You are an honorable person and have my respect.


ViolentIndifference said...

This really paints a picture of character and humbleness.

Holda was wrong and arrogant. I appreciate that he took steps to be less wrong and arrogant, once someone challenged him. Is he making this move only because he was challenged and because Popgun gave him this opportunity?

You were right all along, yet still made a fair public statement that you think shows you in poor light, but that is not the case. You were right to call out Holda. I respect you even more.

You have had integrity and honesty all along. You come way out on top on this one.

staghounds said...

You will never get that job at the NYT or Washington Post this way.

Don't you know that as long as there is the slightest technical reason that you might have been correct, you just ignore possible errors? It's not about the spirit of the piece!

And corrections belong in a dark little room someplace.

A responsible journalist doesn't give her own corrections the exact same prominence as the original error!

Anonymous said...

What's the old joke..."I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken..."?

Yeah, that's you here.

This whole "correction" came about because an official was called out for making outrageous public statements that had no basis in fact but a very clear motive.

Because that's what "responsible journalists" do.

By all means have the beer, but save the crow (and the apology) for later; I'm sure you'll be wrong sometime.

But not this time.


Bram said...

I'm with everyone who says that no crow is needed. He wrote an essay without research, footnotes, or supporting evidence. That earned students an "F" when I went to college.

Anonymous said...

Dr Holda made a very incorrect statement in a very public forum.
After checking the internet, the only admission he makes to being mislead is in a private conversation with Popgun.

If your going to scream from the roof top the world is flat, shouldn't you make the apology from the same place? Isn't that what you did Tam?


Midwest Chick said...

Your comments were spot on. Dr. Holda was not practicing good scholarship and was relying on only one source for his data.

Additionally, he was not practicing critical thinking skills, which tend to be near the top of any educational goals of any institution of higher learning.

Your comments were spot on. The fact that he is now attempting to put into practice his scholarship skills is commendable (and too rare in academe), but it does not negate what you said.

Matt G said...

I see what you did there.

Retraction posted.

perlhaqr said...

What kind of beer goes good with crow?

Arrogant Bastard? ;)

Ed Foster said...

Conservative: A liberal who's been mugged. Actually, are any of us still the person we were at 25? And the good Doctor Holda has been locked up inside an Ivory Tower since at least that time.

I'm more than pleased with the new, formerly doctrinaire liberal son-in-law, who's quoted Winston Churchill's old rubric about young men who call themselves consevatives having no heart, and old men who call themselves liberals having no mind.

From a knee-jerker to a guy who's now married to an amazing lady (one of the world's best, parental puff) who grew up a total gunbug and shoots a mean course of high power rifle.

And he's headed to a pistol license course with said miraculous daughter in a few weeks. Bringing along my ex, which should be interesting, since I've promised to sit in on said course. I will stand behind her at the range.

But if we close our minds and assume they're all bigots, we're making the same mistake they are.

Liberalism/socialism is a religion that substitutes a flawless ideal of government for an infallible God, and, like most religions, it is based on a belief system that excludes those who aren't fellow practicioners.

But some folks, with time and encouragement, can escape their conditioning. It's the job of all reasonable people to provide that encouragement.

So good job all around, Tam, Dr. Holda, and Popgun. The conservative says "I think the problem is this", and the liberal says "I feel the problem is this". Everybody here seems to be thinking. It's a hell of a start.

Keads said...

That last post over there has proved that you are a good person! Well Done!