Posts

Showing posts from September, 2016

A few words of advice to Trigglypuff--and her teachers

Image
I would not want to be this young woman. By now, five months after the event she attended at the University of Massachusetts Amherst featuring a discussion with Christina Hoff Sommers, Steven Crowder, and Milo Yiannopoulos on the problems besetting university campuses with speech considered "triggering," she has become a favorite meme among those who see such concerns as at best mildly hysterical, at worst a symptom of the total breakdown of our national character (I paraphrase). Audiences at several of Milo's recent talks (which you can see here) have made reference to her, imitating her arm gestures (which I am having a hard time ignoring on the gif as I am writing) and laughing at her expense. Milo, to his credit, has admonished them: "No, we love Trigglypuff! Trigglypuff is wonderful!," while insisting that it is not she, but those who have lied to her about what will make her happy that are to blame. "She is going to be miserable," he has said (a…

Safe Spaces vs. Sacred Spaces

Image
As I am sure you are all aware, a few weeks ago, John Ellison, the Dean of Students in the College at the University of Chicago, sent a letter out to all of our incoming freshman in which he described some of the things that they should expect--and not expect--to encounter as students in the College. "One of the University of Chicago's defining characteristics," he told them, "is our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression.... Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn, without fear of censorship. Civility and mutual respect are vital to all of us, and freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harass or threaten others. You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort."

Not, arguably, all that remarkable a claim, you might think. Of course our students should expect to feel…

Taking Umbridge

Image
I thought it was a funny photo, so I shared it on my Facebook wall. Apparently, or so several of my friends are anxious to tell me, it isn't funny at all and I should be very careful at this moment in our nation's election season not to make jokes about Secretary Clinton, because as everyone knows, Donald Trump is terribly, terribly dangerous. 
As one of my friends from college posted almost immediately: "Dislike! Rachel, I respect and love you, and consider you one of the most intelligent persons I know, but I believe that you are not seeing Hillary Clinton for the strong candidate that she is. I had issues at first, too, but then I realized that my prejudice was more about Bill Clinton, and I now admire Secretary Clinton without reservation."
Another friend submitted soon thereafter: "Submitting Barty Crouch Jr (lunatic with borderline multiple personalities who impersonated Mad Eye) as a better substitution for Lockhart, if we're in this universe." …