I Meant To Say I Was A "Rosanjin Scholar." That Must Have Been A Typo.

Michael Bellesiles, step aside.  Sure, you're America's most prominent academic fraud, but do you have a name as childishly humorous as "Anil Potti"?

Researchers have stopped three clinical trials that rely on the work of a Duke University scientist who may have falsely claimed to be a Rhodes scholar on applications he submitted for federal grant funding.

Overlawyered moment:  He either claimed to be a Rhodes scholar, or he didn't.  He either is a Rhodes scholar, or he isn't.  There are only four possibilities here.  Given that you're confident enough to print the story, you can avoid the "allegedly" and "may have" weasel words.

The problem with this country is that people don't say what they mean, and don't mean what they say.  Am I the only person who thought the funniest moment in the entire Journo-List scandal was pencil-necked dweeb Spencer Ackerman's suggestion:

What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

Really? You thought an audience of NPR producers and Washington Post bloggers would literally throw a right-winger through a window, take a snapshot of the corpse, and terrorize his family with photos of the gory mess?  At Christmas?

What in the Hell is wrong with this country, where everyone feels the need to put a "smiley" on sarcastic suggestions that one's political foes be killed by defenestration?  Edward R. Murrow wouldn't have been afraid to say that Joe McCarthy should be thrown out of a window, even though weasel words and emoticons hadn't yet been invented.


the three trials are testing the genetic findings reported by cancer researcher Dr. Anil Potti and his colleagues. Last week, Duke placed Potti on administrative leave after allegations arose that on grant applications he embellished his résumé with the prestigious Rhodes scholarship.

Enrollment in the trials was halted Sunday at Duke and elsewhere. The next day, a letter signed by 31 researchers at universities across the nation sharply criticized the work conducted by Potti and Dr. Joseph Nevins, another Duke cancer researcher, noting "serious errors" in their science.

Fortunately no one has died in clinical trials of Dr. Anil Potti's non-Rhodesian work.  I said before, many of them don't really care about you.  You're just a meal ticket, someone whose money is to be digested then flushed down the Anil Potti.

Scandals like this, Climategate, Journo-List, and too many others to name wouldn't be nearly as frequent if the professions would only police themselves.  But that's beside my main point.

The main point is that, somewhere out there, there's a fake Rhodes Scholar named Dr. Anil Potti.

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White


  1. says


    Everyone's met that person who says, after every obvious joke, "just kidding." Everyone ditches that person as soon as possible.

  2. says

    Ackerman's a brooklyn punk kid. Given what I know of the music scene he used to run in, disclaiming suggestions to throw people throw windows as jokes may have been a useful habit at one point.

  3. Patrick says

    Don't give me that shit Chris. I went to college too.

    And Ackerman has a prominent neck beard.

  4. Jess says

    Did I just read a lawyer's suggestion that other professions should police themselves? That is rich, sir.

  5. says

    I'd say that the journo hedging their bets is because they haven't read the supposedly falsified application. They only have the secondhand claim by Duke that he falsified the application. They are essentially reporting on Duke's actions and what Duke claimed prompted them not on the underlying falsification itself.

    As for Ackerman, I think he said "rhetorically" because he was smart enough to suspect that eventually everything from JournoList would leak. If he doesn't include that last sentence he would be on a constant FoxNews loop as if he were a New Black Panther.

    As for whether Climategate and JournoList etc. are examples of whether certain groups "police their own," apparently most of the list thought that Ackerman's comments were just "Manny being Manny" and let him rant like a loon and then ignored him. The Climategate scientists talked tough about closing ranks and refusing to share information but never actually did. It seems like these groups policed themselves just fine despite the occasional outburst of intemperate – and stupid – remarks.

  6. ThomasS says

    I remember a particularly silly instance of weasel wording from the evening news. They showed grainy security camera footage of two punks trashing a store after hours. "Here we see the suspects knocking down a rack of clothes", etc. I wanted say to the reporter "No, there we see the criminals committing crime. They guys that they have locked up are the suspects, and determining whether they are the people in the video will be a big part of the jury's job."

  7. Dennis says

    What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

    Remember, boy, many of us right wingers carry guns. Not rhetorically. And this is one reason why we'll cling to our guns and our religion.

  8. says

    If you achieve nothing else this week, Patrick, you've put us on the first page of Google results for Anil Potti.

  9. Patrick says

    I take it that your comment, Dennis, is purely rhetorical.

    On that note, I agree with Charles that Ackerman no doubt feared his overheated and intemperate words would be twisted or taken out of context. He's being mocked savagely as it is, most notably by Iowahawk on twitter.

    What I find amusing is that we're glossing over the fact that Ackerman himself was advocating twisting another person's words, taking them out of context to confabulate a charge of racism.

    His status (shared with the equally detestable Andrew Breitbart) as laughingstock of the week is well deserved.

  10. says

    Charles, the Climategate scientists who were emailing each other about refusing to comply with the UK version of FOIA requests actually did refuse to comply with such requests.

    The investigation was a joke, concluding that it was too late to do anything about their illegal refusals to release requested materials.

  11. mojo says

    Lawyers are at least smart enough not to collude via email. Well, most of 'em.

    Face to face. That's the ticket.

  12. Patrick says

    Shallow people, when watching Iron Chef, play drinking games which involve inserting the phrase "like a —-" at the end of anything the Actress says.

    True fans, who care about the food, await the judgment of the Rosanjin Scholar and the Fortune Teller.

    Unless Korn is one of the judges. I despise the American band of the same name, but Japanese Korn rules.

  13. piperTom says

    Sorry to divert from Patrick's main point, but emoticons were invented long before Ed Murrow. Wikipedia has "emoticons were published in 1881 by the U.S. satirical magazine Puck." I've seen them in the letters to editors sections of Sci Fi fan mags dating from the 1920s.