done several newspaper and radio interviewsrnby phone, they immediately faxedrnback; “We will pay all expenses for arnweek’s visit, to deal with you and yourrncritics.” (Evidently in their first invitationrnthey’d imagined that I would payrnmy own way!) Meanwhile, back at thernUniversity of South Florida, my mailboxrnand even my voice mail got crowdedrnwith letters, phone calls, and even cassetterntapes from unhappy Kiwi, some ofrnwhom actually signed what they wrote.rnA distinguished religious studiesrnprofessor at the University of Waikatornexplained the furor to me: “I was intriguedrnby recent media exposure yournhave received here. Frankly, I think yourrnown perspectives are right on target—rnthe locals just don’t want to be told thernharsh truth! New Zealand’s worst prejudicernis the prejudice that there is nornprejudice here! In fact, there is, as yourndetected so incisively.” My mailbox hadrnalready told me that. I sent my reportercolleague,rnColin Espiner, at the Press arnsample of the letters, as well as a tape; herncould then judge for himself. But I hadrnnot said the place was prejudiced, onlyrnprovincial, as readers will remember.rnIn the storm, I had hoped to hearrnfrom Canterbury University some voicesrnof reason and perhaps even contraryrnviews, joined with solid evidence andrncompelling argument. After all, if yournwant to know about the attitudes of arnwhole society, you turn not to episodicrnincidents and hearsay, but to surveys ofrnpublic opinion, on the one side, and thernevidence of systematic analysis on thernother. How, for instance, do Maori viewrnNew Zealand society—as open or racist?rnWhat about the locals of Indian or Chinesernorigin? (Letters from Indian andrnChinese Kiwi confirmed my impressionrnof a rather closed and uncomprehendingrnsociety.)rnwhat came back may not qualify forrna place on Firing Line, for reasoned debaterngave way to raw emotion, mainly tornblind, personal fury. Here is DavidrnNovitz, Canterbury professor of philosophy,rnwho is himself Jewish: “ProfessorrnNeusner’s extreme sensitivity to his Jewishnessrnmade it impossible for people tornspeak to him for very long. . . . ProfessorrnNeusner is an excellent scholar in hisrnarea of expertise, but that did not qualifyrnhim to comment on New Zealand societyrnor the students at Canterbury.”rn”Extreme sensitivity”—that is to say, I’mrn”too Jewish.” I reckon he’s not.rnHere is William Shepard, Canterburyrnlecturer in religious studies, who was inrncharge of my visit: “As the person whornhad the misfortune of having to hostrnhim in our department, I can assurernreaders that their most negative conclusionsrnabout the character of this manrnand the value of his opinions will probablyrnnot be wide of the mark.” Shepard isrnso gauche he can’t even deliver a cuttingrninsult.rnHere is a man named Henry Tedder,rndescribing himself as “a visiting retiredrncollege lecturer from Traverse City,rnMichigan”: “Professor Neusner is nuts.rnNo one reads the magazine his articlernwas published in except the writers andrntheir students who are forced to readrnthem. He reminds me of a jackass brayingrnin the wilderness to his own confusion.”rnHere is Norman Simms of WaikatornUniversity, who was my guest for a yearrnas visiting scholar when I taught atrnBrown University: “Neusner is prone tornarrogance . . . he is known as a man whornhad never had an unpublished thoughtrnin his life.” How Simms knows what Irnhaven’t published I can’t say. Simmsrnwas the professor who told me he thinksrnNew Zealand is an anti-Semitic countryrnwith a fascist government, so perhapsrnwhen I said in these pages that thisrnwasn’t so, he took offense. Why he staysrnthere, I don’t know.rnHere is Professor Norton Moise, a visitingrnprofessor at Otago University inrnphysics, who had already written tornChronicles and demanded “equal time”rnto reply to me. As John Gibb reported inrnthe Otago Daily Times, Moise “was unhappyrnthat the American publicationrnhad apparently seen fit to publish ProfessorrnNeusner’s views without checking onrnthe views of the many other Americanrnacademics who had visited Christehurchrnand New Zealand. Professor Neusner’srnviews were based on a very limited timernin this country, could damage NewrnZealand’s reputation abroad and potentiallyrnbring other visiting American academicsrninto some disrepute in this country.”rnSome may find the intellectual qualityrnof the replies a bit disappointing,rnexpecting more than arguments thatrnappeal to “extreme sensitivity,” badrncharacter, “arrogance,” and so on and sornforth. But don’t wonder why it wasrnmostly Jews (Shapiro, Novitz, Moise,rnand Simms) who volunteered to clobberrnthe Jew—for self-hatred marks the hostilernsociety. They prove my case.rnAnd then there are the other outsiders,rnwelcome only on the fringes ofrnKiwi society: the Americans, Shepard,rnShapiro, Moise, Simms, who leaped torndefend Kiwidom (Novitz is a SouthrnAfrican refugee). But who can have predictedrnappeal to—of all things—goodrnold American academic snobbery: “Myrnuniversity is better than yours, so shut uprnand sit down”? Leave it to our crowd torndegrade already-despicable discourse. Inrnsome circles hereabouts, it’s not thernpower of your ideas that matters, norrnwhat you have accomplished, but whornpays your salary—an attitude as Yankeernas apple pie, the Fourth of July, andrnracism.rnIt was an American teaching atrnCanterbury, a classicist named HaroldrnShapiro, who had eariier written to thernPress and reassured people that Universityrnof South Florida students spend allrntheir time on their surf boards (I reckonrnhe’s never seen Tampa Bay, where theyrnbuild the causeways all of six inchesrnabove the water surface, to avoid thernenormous waves, or perhaps he’s confusedrnthe Gulf of Mexico with Big Sur).rnHere is the indignant Norton Moise, visiting-rnJewish-American-physicist, deliveringrnhis knock-out punch, again in Mr.rnGibb’s report: “It was ironic that bothrnCanterbury and Otago Universities enjoyedrnhigher international standing thanrnthe University of South Florida in Tampa.rn. . . Canterbury and Otago studentsrnwere also of a higher overall academicrnstandard than students at the SouthrnFlorida institution.” I asked my colleaguesrnwhat international standing wernat USE enjoy, but they didn’t bother tornreply—several were overseas, lecturing atrnforeign universities.rnTo assess my response to Norton’srnsnobby dismissal of little old USE, withrnits 36,000 students out on surf boards,rnthe older readers of this magazine mayrnbe reminded of President Roosevelt’s indignantrnobjection that the Republicansrnhad sunk to criticizing “my little dogrnFala.” Those guys really hit you where itrnhurts.rnOh well, now that the Novitzes andrnthe Shepards and the Moises and thernShapiros and the Simmses have ventedrntheir spleen, perhaps it is time for a reasonedrndiscussion about issues—if anyrnsurvive for discussion. Still, if you wantrnto become famous in New Zealand, yourncan do worse than print an article inrnthese pages. If you’re really lucky, you,rntoo, can get to turn down invitations torn6/CHRONICLESrnrnrn