Me: What kind of intellectual climate do you want here at Centerville? Would you rather have option A: a school where people with views you find offensive keep their mouths shut, or B: a school where everyone feels that they can speak up in class discussions?
Audience: All hands go up for B.
Me: OK, let’s see if you have that. When there is a class discussion about gender issues, do you feel free to speak up and say what you are thinking? Or do you feel that you are walking on eggshells and you must heavily censor yourself? Just the girls in the class, raise your hand if you feel you can speak up? [About 70% said they feel free, vs. about 10% who said eggshells.] Now just the boys? [About 80% said eggshells, nobody said they feel free.]
Me: Now let’s try it for race. When a topic related to race comes up in class, do you feel free to speak up and say what you are thinking, or do you feel that you are walking on eggshells and you must heavily censor yourself? Just the non-white students? [The group was around 30% non-white, mostly South and East Asians, and some African-Americans. A majority said they felt free to speak, although a large minority said eggshells.] Now just the white students? [A large majority said eggshells.]
Me: Now let’s try it for politics. How many of you would say you are on the right politically, or that you are conservative or Republican? [6 hands went up, out of 60 students.] Just you folks, when politically charged topics come up, can you speak freely? [Only one hand went up, but that student clarified that everyone gets mad at him when he speaks up, but he does it anyway. The other 5 said eggshells.] How many of you are on the left, liberal, or democrat? [Most hands go up.] Can you speak freely, or is it eggshells? [Almost all said they can speak freely.]
Me: So let me get this straight. You were unanimous in saying that you want your school to be a place where people feel free to speak up, even if you strongly dislike their views. But you don’t have such a school. In fact, you have exactly the sort of “tolerance” that Herbert Marcuse advocated [i.e., “Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.”] You have a school in which only people in the preferred groups get to speak, and everyone else is afraid. What are you going to do about this? Let’s talk.
Free Speech: Progressivism vs. Liberalism November 29, 2015
Soccer Pros vs. The Munchin Hordes November 28, 2015
Two vs. Fifty-Five
Eleven vs. One Hundred Nine
TV Turning Points? November 27, 2015
Easter Eggs in Modern Warfare November 26, 2015
My personal favorites are 13, 10, (and especially) 2 & 1.
#OriginalBritishSeries November 25, 2015
- Not many Americans have seen the original British series of Cheers: “Drink, Drink, Drink!“
- But few Brits could forget the original British series which inspired Quantum Leap: “Millimeter Hop.“
- “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” is not as good as the original British series it’s based on, “The Filthy Commoner in Windsor Palace.“
- Four scholarly, Shakespeare-quoting flatmates tried to woo Lady Farthing in the original British series “The Static Universe Hypothesis.“
- The plots of original British series “NCIS: London” caused alarmed protesters to chant: “Yankee Seamen-Crooks, Sail Ye Home, Sail Ye Home!“
- The original British series upon which “Survivor” is based was “The Scurvy Challenge.”
- “Sons of Anarchy” has an original British series entitled “Heirs of Shenanigans on Motorized Cycles.“
- The most groundbreaking original British series of the last century was “Stripes are the New Prison Uniform.“
- The original British series of “Psych” was called “Phrenology” on the British Empire Network.
- Ever seen the original British series “Alfred Hitchcock Prevents“? (He’d stand in doorways, interrupt couples snogging, & other tomfoolery.)