Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rice University's Most Embarrassing Alumni

When I went to Rice, I was proud (and still am) that Larry McMurtry had gotten a masters degree there. But he was about the only famous guy I knew who had graduated from Rice. Now we have had a couple of Nobel prize winners and some politicians who are well-known in Houston and Texas and a few major captains of industry (see here), but compared to our Ivy League brethren, the number of nationally and internationally notable people who have graduated from Rice is tiny, and many of them are embarrassing.

Like Alberto Gonzalez. At first I was proud when he was selected to by attorney general--sure he plays for the other team, but the accomplishment is what counted. To bad he turned out to be morally bankrupt and incompetent!

Less well known but also loathesome is Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the RIAA, who is best known for suing teenagers and little old ladies whose computers have been used to download music illegally. This strategy really won sympathy for the beleaguered record industry!

But today I encountered the most shameful Rice alumnus of all (so far!). I was reading blog posts about James von Brunn, the neo-Nazi terrorist who murdered a guard at the Holocaust Museum, and came across one that pointed out how so many extremists and domestic terrorists were products of elite schools! (Uh oh...) And who should I find? William Pierce.

Who, you ask?
William Luther Pierce, an ascetic physics professor who built an organization of young supporters for George Wallace for president into the nation's largest neo-Nazi group, and whose novel ''The Turner Diaries'' was credited by Timothy J. McVeigh with inspiring the Oklahoma City bombing, died yesterday. He was 69. (New York Times, 2002)
Oh, that William Pierce.
Mr. Pitcavage said Dr. Pierce was a successful businessman, creating a racist-book-publishing venture, National Vanguard Books, and running Resistance Records, the largest publisher of hate records in the world.

''The Turner Diaries'' started as a serial in Dr. Pierce's newspaper, Attack, as what Mr. Strom called ''an adventure story he thought would cause people to want to read the next issue.''

It was self-published in 1978, under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald, then later reprinted by Lyle Stuart's Barricade Books.

Mr. McVeigh cited the novel as the inspiration for his bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in 1995 in Oklahoma City. When interviewed by mainstream news organizations, Dr. Pierce was noncommittal about the influence that the book might have had on Mr. McVeigh, as well as whether his book had influenced the assassination of Alan Berg, a the host of a radio talk show in Denver, or a Brink's armored-car robbery in California, both crimes carried out by white supremacists.

William fucking Pierce.

Dr. Pierce was born in Atlanta in 1933, grew up in the South and attended a military academy in Texas. He was a graduate of Rice University and had master's and doctoral degrees in physics from the University of Colorado.
Jesus. Rice needs some nationally known alumni who aren't embarrassing.

Available at a gun show near you!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy crap! I did not know that. Perhaps it has been suppressed! I hope you don't get "suppressed", too! I will alert Mack White.

11:13 PM  
Blogger  Robert Boyd said...

Well, Rice is hardly going to brag about it, but I don't think it has been suppressed. It a matter of public record, after all.

5:03 AM  
Blogger  Robert Boyd said...

"It's a matter..."

(Never comment before 6 am.)

6:54 AM  
Blogger Kenneth Fair said...

Then there was Henry M. Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research and the father of modern creationism, who received a B.S. with honors in Civil Engineering from Rice in 1939. One Rice alum stated it succinctly: "Few men in the 20th century did so much on behalf of confusion as Henry Morris."

9:30 AM  
Blogger  Robert Boyd said...

Oh, that's a good one for the "Hall of Shame"! Not as bad as William Pierce, but an embarrassment to Rice to be sure. I wonder if the profs in the biology department know about him?

9:38 AM  

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