I suppose it's a sign of, well, something, that wingnuts are just not pissing me off very much nowadays. I think this is because one could legitimately argue that as of late the most venerable and august Conservative Thinkers among us include Erick Erickson and Jonah Goldberg. That's not even me making a joke. The 2003 Right Blogosphere swallowed the GOP entire, and now it's farting out Trumps, or Cruzing out Trumps, and is now even too dumb and too gross to wipe up Santorum.
Here is my favorite thing so far about the GOP primaries: whenever you get even vaguely intelligible policy proposals out of a GOP candidate, it is entirely an accident caused by the candidate not knowing or caring about the issue in question.
But on the Trump Side we have a stray nutty-bananas bigot academic from a thoroughly harmless, decent, and now-humiliated tiny liberal arts college; this cramped Grima-soul is eager to plump for Trump:
The small private college in Iowa last week was distancing itself from Sam Clovis, a tenured professor of economics who is currently on leave so he can be national co-chair of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. After Clovis was quoted defending the Trump campaign's proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States, the link between Clovis and the college attracted attention.
A statement from the college said, "We find the view that a particular religion should be discriminated against to be repugnant to the values held at Morningside College. When he was on campus, Dr. Clovis was a staunch defender of the Constitution and a strong advocate for religious freedom. His recent comments appear to be at odds with his earlier views. We find his recent position to be outrageous and disappointing." (The college says it has one student who self-identifies as Muslim.)
There is a fantastic academic novel to be written here, maybe to be entitled Fuck You! I Own Many Casinos and Golf Courses, Lucky Jim, And Also Fucking Wonderful Yachts.
But this is the punchline: Clovis bravely defends Trump on the grounds that ethnic cleansing only means an ethnic knob polishing, but when it gets down to brass knuckles:
Trump is unlikely to join the campaign against accreditors, Clovis said. "I'm not sure tinkering with accreditation is where we want to go," he said, adding that his work at Morningside with its accreditor (the Higher Learning Commission) has left him thinking that the regional accreditors do important work.
Clovis is an idiot, but he is nevertheless an idiot with an actual job.
Trump's higher education policy proposals, as amorphous and silly as they are ever likely to be, are miles better than any of his GOP rivals. Sure, this is likely because he doesn't give a poo-plated golf-ball shit, the tacky dimwitted spookheaded inarticulate ill-kempt dishonorable pervert Wookie.
But Rubio is, with a straight face, making Deeply Serious Proposals to make it easier for crooks to rip off veterans and taxpayers.
One: Kaminer is deriving an immense amount of pleasure from publishing this in the WaPo.
Two: Kaminer offers a total bullshit canned history of campus protest.
Three: Kaminer went into a speech "debate" and deliberately threw a bomb.
Four: Kaminer is not a person who will remain on any campus anywhere and have to pick up any pieces.
Five: Kaminer is wanking.
Here's the point. Nobody ever actually bothers to try to understand what's actually going on in any contest about what is and what is not legitimate speech. Everyone just runs in hard and fast and tries to impose their own rues.
So I've been away awhile. Much of this is due to my involvement with my institution's response to accreditation requirements. And if you annoy me, I'll tell you more about that.
Going forward, Whiskey Fire will be largely about speech issues, because these subjects interest me, and because the usual discourse about these issues is, as a rule, stupid. For example, let's paw through this garbage from the Atlantic. Here's the ominous overture:
Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense.
Oh fuck you.
To back up. One thing you must understand -- and if you can't grasp this point and you leave a comment to this post I will find you and pee on you -- is that pretty much everything that is written about "censorship" and "free speech" on the Internet, or the popular press, or indeed in academia, is not scholarship, but instead activism.
What do I mean? I mean that it is extremely rare to find anyone asking basic questions about controversies regarding speech controversies -- basic questions that very often should have included inquiries as to "who actually said what" and "what was actually said in response." Here's a goddamn rule: whenever you hear about a speech issue that gets you riled up, you probably know less than an eighth of the relevant facts. And if you spend a year or so trying to track down these facts? You know about three quarters about the dispute, if you're lucky.
So what you get when you read through the bullshit of assholes trying to PROVE THAT FREE SPEECH IS DOOOOOOMED AT COLLLEGE is a lot of noisy nothing --
Continuing with the morons from the Atlantic:
Two terms have risen quickly from obscurity into common campus parlance. Microaggressions are small actions or word choices that seem on their face to have no malicious intent but that are thought of as a kind of violence nonetheless. For example, by some campus guidelines, it is a microaggression to ask an Asian American or Latino American “Where were you born?,” because this implies that he or she is not a real American. Trigger warnings are alerts that professors are expected to issue if something in a course might cause a strong emotional response. For example, some students have called for warnings that Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart describes racial violence and that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby portrays misogyny and physical abuse, so that students who have been previously victimized by racism or domestic violence can choose to avoid these works, which they believe might “trigger” a recurrence of past trauma.
For fuck's sake. There is no evidence at all offered that either of these terms have become "common campus parlance" that is not anecdotal.
And "Trigger warnings are alerts that professors are expected to issue"...? You made that up. There are professors that use them. There are more that don't. The evidence that this is now what English profs do... is imaginary.
You can go through the entire stupid article and you will not find a single goddamn scrap of non-anecdotal evidence for any single one of the authors' sweeping claims. If instead you decide to take as a hypothesis the contention that "college students have always argued about group identity" and "this shit has happened in some way shape or form for centuries" YOU WOULD BE PROVED FUCKING RIGHT BY EVEN A FUCKING CURSORY REVIEW OF THE AVAILABLE HISTORICAL EVIDENCE HOLY SHIT.
The truth is that there is no such thing as "free speech." This is a fine ideal to pursue, and bless you for believing in it. What actually exists is a ferocious competition between specific groups to own and impose on others a monopoly over the right to differentiate between legitimate and illegitimate speech.
Unless you understand this, from a scholarly perspective, you can't even begin to understand the stakes of any "free speech" battle. For instance:
Greg Lukianoff is a constitutional lawyer and the president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which defends free speech and academic freedom on campus, and has advocated for students and faculty involved in many of the incidents this article describes
This is a work in progress, bear with me. I have dogs and band stuff with which to deal.
Let us hope, with JESUS' MIGHTY MILLION DOLLAR HANDS upon us,that there will be more to come.
Or we can all just suck it. Life is a mystery.
Mas: I never really had a hero, growing up (Dad stories, yada yada) but I did have a few idols. Steve Martin, to my young mind, was the funniest, most talented mofo around. Through the years, he's always been my comedy grounding, if that makes sense.
In 1989, this tall, cool hippie chick hit the scene and we stood united. United we stood?
Speaking of which...
Mas: I also found this.
Even more mas: Look, we're all stuck in this godforsaken shitstain of a nation that Ronald Reagan left us with, and The Cheneys are back on the news, which means we're all gonna die horrible deaths. So we may as well go down tickling each others' underbits, yeah?
I suppose it is a sign of something like progress that nobody else but this blog is going to bother with Pat Buchanan's 2015 ideas about the Confederacy. But fuck him.
Buchanan notes that the loved ones of the victims forgave the murderer, and notes that this is Christian.
If there is a better recent example of what it means to be a Christian, I am unaware of it. Collier and the families of those slain showed a faithfulness to Christ's gospel of love and forgiveness that many are taught but few are strong enough to follow, especially at times like this.
Of course, few are called, many are the butt of systematic oppression, but fair enough.
Here is the Fun Bit.
Their Christian witness testifies to a forgotten truth: If slavery was the worst thing that happened to black folks brought from Africa to America, Christianity was the best.
And then this lament:
Vilification of that battle flag and the Confederacy is part of the cultural revolution in America that flowered half a century ago. Among its goals was the demoralization of the American people by demonizing their past and poisoning their belief in their own history.
The world is turned upside down. The new dogma of the cultural Marxists: Columbus was a genocidal racist. Three of our Founding Fathers -- Washington, Jefferson, Madison -- were slaveowners. Andrew Jackson was an ethnic cleanser of Indians. The great Confederate generals -- Lee, Jackson, Forrest -- fought to preserve an evil institution. You have nothing to be proud of and much to be ashamed of if your ancestors fought for the South. And, oh yes, your battle flag is the moral equivalent of a Nazi swastika.
Uh, that's pretty much the world right-side up, motherfucker.