Campus censorship: no to the Ministry of Silly Squawks
WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2016 — Comedian Jerry Seinfeld found himself the target of harsh criticism after telling ESPN Radio he would no longer do stand-up comedy on college campuses, citing politically correct obsession with “That’s racist, that’s sexist, that’s prejudiced.”
“Don’t go near colleges,” Seinfeld’s friends told him, “they are so P.C.”
John Cleese of Monty Python fame joined the debate. He says that politically correct censorship has reached the “point where any kind of criticism of any individual or group can be labeled cruel,” adding that if “we start saying, oh, we mustn’t criticize or offend … then humor is gone, and with humor goes a sense of proportion, and then, as far as I’m concerned, you’re living in ‘1984.’”
Campus laggards are not amused; their imaginary “safe spaces” have been assaulted. For the uninitiated, a campus “safe space” is the mime-like invisible wall erected by campus thought police around the absurd notions taught them by their absent-minded professors.
Its purpose is to keep the pinpricks of pointed argument from popping the wind-tossed soap-bubbles of their narrow ideology.
“As a college student that loves and appreciates offensive, provocative comedy,” Anthony Berteaux, a campus “editor-at-large” for the San Diego State University Daily Aztec, wrote in an open letter, “I’m disheartened by these [Seinfeld’s] comments … As college students who are engaged in a myriad of social, economic, and political issues, it’s our duty to be actively engaged and educated about issues of sexism, racism and prejudice … college students can distinguish the boundaries of what’s considered appropriately sexist or not.”
Oh, the Stalinist arrogance of youth.
Are these silly children, now flocking in droves to socialist, septuagenarian Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, to be the guardians of thought and speech in today’s America?
A coalition of around 70 groups calling itself the Feminist Majority Foundation Advocates for Youth thinks so.
They wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice to “express grave concern regarding pervasive sex- and race-based online harassment and intimidation on college campuses around the country.”
The coalition urged the Justice Department to ignore “vague First Amendment concerns” and aid the fight against “hate crimes” on campus, which they insist cause “trauma” in student victims that “may develop disabilities as a result of abuse and are entitled by law to receive long term care, support and services … under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.”
To prevent sharp, contrary ideas disabling campus sensitives, they urge the “geo-fencing of anonymous social media applications that are used to threaten, or harass students; barring the use of campus wi-fi to view or post these applications.”
According to the website Eagnews.org, geo-fencing software helps “to determine when students are on school ground and scans their Twitter, Facebook and other social media posts.”
The coalition, which counts among its members the Muslim Advocates, would like the Justice Department to enforce the same kind of Internet tracking and censorship at work in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi royals define terrorism as “any action intended to ‘insult the reputation of the state,’ ‘harm public order,’ or ‘shake the security of society,’ among other vague descriptions,” says the human rights group Freedom House.
It seems there is little daylight separating “terrorism” from “hate crime” or “humor” in the minds of frightened, delusional monarchs, whether in Riyadh or at Rutgers.
“A wonderful thing about true laughter,” John Cleese once said, “is that it just destroys any kind of system of dividing people.”
And the clown most deserving of our united, raucous laughter is the humorless and doltish campus Stalinist.