Try Again

A CU instructor admits he's behind a pro-Ward Churchill blog known for bawdy humor and a pronounced nasty streak.

Try-Works has demonstrated just as much resolve when going after perceived enemies, as Rocky writer Charlie Brennan understands. In 2005, after the site spent weeks ripping Brennan's coverage of Churchill, a Try-Worker got hold of sometimes flirtatious, often embarrassing e-mails the reporter sent to a woman he may or may not have thought was an American Indian Movement source and began posting them in serial fashion. Before long, Brennan vanished from the Churchill beat. He refers questions about the move to Rocky editor/publisher/ president John Temple, who characterizes it as a mutual decision designed to avoid any perception of bias.

Like Brennan, Whitmer has now lost a piece of his privacy, as well as one of his website's greatest assets. The presumption that Moredock was Churchill "created a kind of mystique," he notes. And if conjecture that Churchill was behind every word may have made slaps at the media seem like personal vendettas, it generated "this kind of cult following from the anti-Churchill bloc, which took everything we said really seriously."

Granted, some secrets remain. Now that they know Moredock isn't Churchill, both Martin and Crowell think the embattled professor likely writes for the site under a different moniker, "Charley Arthur." Whitmer offers no help pinning down the facts: "I've only communicated with Charley Arthur via e-mail. I've got a couple ideas as to who he is, but Ward Churchill's not tops on my list." Churchill, for his part, didn't respond to several interview requests.

Benjamin Whitmer's TryWorks blog is back on track.
Benjamin Whitmer's TryWorks blog is back on track.

What's gone, however, is Whitmer's ability to smash opponents from behind the veil of anonymity, as he did to Drunkablog's Martin. Following the release of a damning report against Churchill, Martin says, "I mentioned in passing that I imagined Moredock was face down in a puddle of his own vomit -- and he commented back that the only puddle of vomit he'd seen was after 'somebody puked in your wife's cunt and I was eating her out.'"

Will Whitmer continue using startling language like this now that everyone knows he teaches at CU? University spokesman Hilliard hopes not. After hearing samples of Moredock's bluer material, he says, "We like not just free speech but better speech, enlightened speech. Much of what you're describing to me is personal vitriol, and that's rather disappointing."

No wonder Whitmer isn't exactly cocky about job security. "Since I'm an adjunct, I have no protection whatsoever," he notes. "They can just choose not to renew my contract, and I'm gone." Still, he refuses to soft-pedal his opinion about CU's treatment of Churchill, who is currently on paid administrative leave. "I love the Ethnic Studies department, I love my students, and I love teaching," he asserts. "But I think the university at large has been the worst kind of cowardly, folding like a yard-sale card table under the slightest media pressure. I don't plan on ever being quiet about that."

Even so, the new Try-Works seems more polite than its predecessor. The 2007 posts aren't timid, but neither have they involved torture fantasies -- and Whitmer doesn't know when or if that will change. "I'm not entirely sure," he concedes. "It's probably less nasty at this point -- but then, I haven't had much time to get rolling."

If he does, hang on to your intestines.

« Previous Page
My Voice Nation Help
Sort: Newest | Oldest