Some Of These Things Are Not Like The Others

by Henry Farrell on June 11, 2008

From “Inside Higher Ed”: today

The missteps in Iraq are well documented by now. … Among those success stories is the American University of Iraq, a Western-style institution in the war-torn country’s northern region that promises to “lead the transformation of Iraq into a liberal and democratic society. … The university’s lofty aspirations, as espoused on its Web site, make the selection of its first chancellor all the more puzzling. Owen Cargol, who took the helm at AU-Iraq in 2007 and resigned in late April of this year, had a checkered past that could have been revealed to university organizers with a simple Google search.

… Cargol’s 2001 resignation stemmed from allegations made by a Northern Arizona employee who alleged that Cargol, while naked in a locker room, grabbed the employee’s genitals, the Arizona Republic reported. In a subsequent e-mail to the employee, Cargol described himself as “a rub-your-belly, grab-your-balls, give-you-a-hug, slap-your-back, pull-your-dick, squeeze-your-hand, cheek-your-face, and pat-your-thigh kind of guy.” Cargol, who at the time was a married father of two children, went on to say that he was a “sensual kind of guy” who hoped the employee could “feel comfortable enough with me (and others) to reciprocate the same level of playfulness and affection,” the newspaper reported.



Skeptical 06.11.08 at 11:57 am

Aren’t at least two of these things not like the others? Arguably, three. Crap, I don’t want him doing any of those things to me, now that you mention it. Maybe a slap on the back.


Guest 06.11.08 at 12:10 pm

Me, I’m a punch-your-head, take-your-wallet, drink-your-booze, steal-your-girlfriend kinda guy, and I hope you can feel comfortable with that.


Steve LaBonne 06.11.08 at 12:27 pm

Let me guess, he’s a Republican, right?


Barry 06.11.08 at 1:18 pm

Of course, Steve, so it’s OK.


thompsaj 06.11.08 at 1:27 pm

well, since the two most inappropriate ones were the ones he was fired for, I guess he was trying to point to a continuum and ask “Where is the line?” Personally, I like to play on people’s sensitivity to cultural differences whenever I’m outside my home city by making up offensive behaviors and then acting indignant at how prejudiced everyone is. However, I actually don’t do that.


Picador 06.11.08 at 1:36 pm

Among Republicans, dick-grabbing is known as a “freedom handshake”.


Dave 06.11.08 at 2:39 pm

Yeah, but he said dick *pulling*. Where I come from you have to be *real* good friends for that…


lemuel pitkin 06.11.08 at 2:58 pm

What I’m wondering about is the “economics/finance” tag…


asl 06.11.08 at 3:17 pm

rub-your-belly, grab-your-balls, give-you-a-hug, slap-your-back, pull-your-dick, squeeze-your-hand, cheek-your-face, and pat-your-thigh

What’s the deal? Fifty years ago, there was a tee vee show entirely built on this activity. The Three Stooges.


Anderson 06.11.08 at 3:27 pm

I guess he was trying to point to a continuum and ask “Where is the line?”

Circumscribing one’s genitals, I think is where most of us would place it.


RSA 06.11.08 at 3:46 pm

Cargol’s faux pas is perfectly understandable.


"Q" the Enchanter 06.11.08 at 4:17 pm

At least he’s not a shoot-you-in-the-face kind of guy. I’ll give him that.


Randy Paul 06.11.08 at 5:00 pm

Christ. I hope he doesn’t have a wide stance in the bathroom as well!


noen 06.11.08 at 7:15 pm

So can we remake “The Producers” but only substitute the Bush administration now? I mean my God, it’s already written all we need is the score.

Also, I claim that the truism “History always repeats itself, first time as a tragedy and second time as a farce” to now be an experimentally proven fact.


Mike 06.11.08 at 7:22 pm

I’ve never been in a position where I could discover whether I was a grab-your-balls kinda guy or not. How does one discover that? Trial and error? Deduction from first principles?


Righteous Bubba 06.11.08 at 7:29 pm

The strange thing here is that if you’re grabbing your own balls and pulling your own dick in the locker room people still get upset. What a world.


Matthew Kuzma 06.11.08 at 7:39 pm

I’ve always been wary of “friendly” belly-rubbing and the like, and now that it’s been made clear what that kind of person is like, I feel justified.


Colin Danby 06.11.08 at 7:46 pm

I’m still hung up on how this would “lead the transformation of Iraq into a liberal and democratic society.” What would Stanley Fish say?


John Protevi 06.11.08 at 10:24 pm

What does “cheek-your-face” mean? I quick check on Urban Dictionary comes up blank.


Nick 06.11.08 at 10:42 pm

I think it would involve The Amazing Cargol pinching the flesh of your cheek between his thumb and first finger & saying ‘Who’s got a cheeky face . . .’ or similar. Apparently in Republican circles it’s a sign of affection. In a purely manly sort of way, obviously . . .


John Protevi 06.11.08 at 11:10 pm

Thanks, Nick. The only other option I could think of was the depositing of one’s cheek upon the other’s face. If the cheek in question was the face cheek, this would seem nothing more than a sort of “kissy face” or “air kiss” gesture. But if the cheek in question were the butt cheek, then it would seem to be more serious, and perhaps either alarmingly acrobatic or distressingly violent, depending if the face was in an upright or prone position. Assuming the face in question had not previously consented to being cheeked, of course.


gandhi 06.12.08 at 12:49 am

Loved the intro:

“The missteps in Iraq are well documented by now… Among those success stories…”

See how quickly we can all “move on”!


KCinDC 06.12.08 at 1:44 am

I’m not sure John, but I think there may be another Republican cheeker.


Thomas 06.12.08 at 4:52 am

I hate to mention it, but there isn’t any evidence that this guy is a Republican. He does have a long history as an administrator in higher education, which tends to suggest he’s not a Republican. Is this sort of behavior typical among university administrators? I’ll defer to others more familiar with those circles on that point.


Hattie 06.12.08 at 5:54 am

Better than having a woman in the job. The Iraquis would never accept that.


Anspen 06.12.08 at 10:31 am

Well he was appointed to a position in Iraq, so that pretty much says “Republican”. Actually it says hard nosed Bush supporter/neo-liberal.


Barry 06.12.08 at 10:49 am

thomas, he was appointed to a position in Iraq by a GOP administration, one which had been using political loyalty as a basis.


MR Bill 06.12.08 at 11:05 am

Jeez. That kind of behavior might get you beat up at a gay bar.
Wonder what the Iraqis though about this fellow.


Henry (not the famous one) 06.12.08 at 8:30 pm

“Cargol” is, sources say, Catalan for “screw.” And “snail.” Make of that what you will.


Tony 06.13.08 at 9:18 am

This is the funniest thing I’ve seen all week.


derrida derider 06.13.08 at 10:25 am

Fair go – who would take up a job in Iraq by now? I reckon the appointments board had to take whoever they could get.

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