Farewell, Rosemary

Apr 28, 2017

Professor Rosemary Armao recently dropped a bomb on all of us at WAMC when she announced that she was retiring from the University at Albany where she had a full-time, tenured position as Associate Professor (harder to find than a gold mine.) She will soon be working with investigative journalists all over the world, teaching them the tools of their trade. To put it mildly, doing this puts her in real physical danger. It also means, of course, that she will no longer be a nearly daily presence on The Roundtable and a participant on The Media Project. 

As a retired academic myself, I have nothing but admiration for this remarkable woman who defies all the odds. She truly speaks her mind. For the most part, she is progressive in orientation but I have seen her take positions which invite anger from those on the traditional left. Her advocacy of Hillary Clinton's candidacy annoyed a lot of the Bernie Sanders supporters. I know full well what it means to debate with Rosemary. Some of our listeners took our jousting for other than what it was, at least on my part — a loving competition over ideas and philosophical positions.

I know from the e-mails we get that Rosemary has a loyal and devoted group of feminist supporters who admire her defiance of conventional wisdom.

In any case, Rosemary Armao's departure has upset many of her followers who appreciate both her depth of knowledge and infectious wit. People who have heard of Rosemary's decision have to acknowledge, however, that the greater purpose to which she has dedicated her life is even more important than being on the radio. Of course, we have already received her assurance that no matter where she is, she will immediately become our correspondent from that place. Her first port of call will be Jordan and while we may have to put up with some iffy cell phone quality, it will be worth it to hook into her perspective.

In some areas, Rosemary seems to be somewhat intolerant. When newspapers screw up she is quick to call them on their failures. Donald Trump is a favorite target, to the delight of so many of our listeners. When her students don't work hard enough, she certainly hasn't reserved her opinions about that. 

Rosemary Armao has been great about the academy. I have always believed that holding a Ph.D. is hardly an assurance of knowledge. I have known brilliant people with doctorates and some very foolish and stupid people with the same degree. Students want to learn from Rosemary and adore her because she had done it all and isn't just reading about it.

Every time Rosemary takes some time off to go work in a dangerous place somewhere in the world, someone writes to the Roundtable and seems to imply that we have fired her. We have gone out of our way to tell these foolish people that Rosemary calls her own shots. No one — no dean, no academic, no radio station executive —tells this great lady what to do or say. 

I happen to know that because of her widespread opinions that are heard outside the usual academic circles, Rosemary has heard from those in the academic superstructure that she ought to, well, be careful. She has not stood still for that. If she had, she sure wouldn't be Rosemary Armao we know and love. We are sure going to miss this remarkable woman.

On another subject, we have a fund drive coming up in the first week in June. There are those people who an put up a challenge to make the whole thing work. No after what size, and some have been whoppers, they work. If you can write or call me with such a challenge I will be very grateful. I'm alan@WAMC.org. We are in  a very dark period. With your help, we'll survive.