While the justice department is still trying to figure what to do with John Yoo - the UC Berkeley law professor and former Bush administration lawyer who drafted memos that endorsed torture - "The Chaser's War on Everything" took a less veiled approach ... by donning hoods.
The Australian comedy show sent an actor to one of Yoo's law classes wearing a black robe and hood reminiscent of the hoods worn by prisoners in the Abu Ghraib scandal photos and videotaped Yoo's reaction to the hooded figure.
Hooded figure (standing on table with arms held out to his sides as in the Abu Ghraib photos): Actually, professor, I’ve got one question. Um, how long can I be required to stand here ’til it counts as torture?”
Yoo - who moves to end the class early - is made visibly uncomfortable by the presence of the figure. I imagine it was something like ol' Ebenzer Scrooge getting a visit from the ghost of Christmas past.
Unlike Scrooge, who was moved by images of his youthful folly, however, Yoo dismisses the actor and threatens to have him removed from the classroom.
The actor's response?
Watch the video here.
According to Wired's Threat Level blog, the prank took place at the Chapman University School of Law, where Yoo was a visiting professor this spring. According to Nuts & Boalts the incident took place at Berkeley.
Regardless of what school the taping took place at, the fact that the prank went down in a classroom has offended some students, like Berkeley law student and Nuts & Boalts blogger "Dan".
I'm not sure I agree with the whole "sanctity of the classroom" bit. The classroom is where you should be free to give birth to muck: the still-gestating, half-formed bits of opinion that may or may not survive out in the "real world". (I know you're thinking it so I'll say it: It's kind of like a blog).
In the classroom, one should have those opinions confronted and attacked by forces inside and outside the classroom; whatever doesn't kill them, should makes them stronger. In the classroom, one should be exposed to ideas, both agreeable and disagreeable, with one's world view, which I think the hooded dude represented.
Rather than call it an "attack" or even a "joke," to use an overused phrase in child development books, it could have been but was a wasted "teaching moment".
What do you think?