Welcome to Castrogonia North: Speech police are winning

Act of repudiation: coming to your doorstep this year

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been shipped back to Castrogonia.

All the restrictions placed on speech — especially in the classroom — have me feeling like the desks are full of spies and snitches from Committees for the Defense of the Revolution.

I keep asking myself: how will I respond to an act of repudiation?

The worst part of all this is that many (or most) of my colleagues promote this new and insidious form of censorship.

Some of them are even zealots for self-censorship.

If you want to see how insane this self-censorship can get read this critique of it in National Review, written by a former student of mine.

Or…. read this whole essay below.  It spells out why we are all doomed in the free world.

Required reading.  You will be quizzed and examined constantly, and punished if you fail to curb your speech.




From Acculturated:

How Politics Killed Comedy

By Andrew Stiles

One of the most frustrating aspects of our increasingly politicized culture is the demise of comedy. Not that there isn’t a ton of hilarious material to enjoy these days—there is—but it’s impossible to ignore the extent to which lame activism is tarnishing the “comedy” brand. As is often the case, millennials are probably to blame.

The problem presents itself on two equally obnoxious fronts. On the one hand, you have the hordes of hypersensitive lunatics who are trying to redefine the bounds of “acceptable” comedy. After years of whining valiantly to ensure that their college classrooms are “safe spaces” free of problematic ideas that might contradict their worldview and/or trigger an array of micro-grievances, they see no good reason why these same protections shouldn’t extend to comedy venues.

When Jerry Seinfeld recently explained that he doesn’t play college campuses because the students are too “politically correct,” aggrieved millennials responded by proving him right. The Huffington Post published an open letter from a “disheartened” college student purporting to educate the comedy legend about the new rules for humor and its appropriate role “in the progressive world.” For example:

Provocative humor, such as ones dealing with topics of race and gender politics, can be crass and vulgar, but underlying it must be a context that spurs social dialogue about these respective issues. There needs to be a message, a central truth behind comedy for it to work as humor.

Got that? It’s perfectly fine for comedians to push boundaries—as long as they do so within a tightly regulated framework that advances the “progressive” narrative.

The author cited Amy Schumer as an example of how comedians can “tackle difficult social commentaries” in a way that is both funny and (more importantly) socially responsible. Of course, this was before the same politically correct mob that gave rise to Schumer’s popularity turned against her, as tends to happen. A few weeks after Seinfeld’s gaffe, the Washington Post published an op-ed denouncing Schumer’s comedy as racist and “dehumanizing” and most likely a source of inspiration for Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who murdered nine people at a black church in South Carolina. It was co-authored by two university professors.

The sins of Seinfeld et al. spawned innumerable hot takes stressing the importance of “punching up” in comedy. This is just a fancy way of declaring certain subjects off limits. Offensive jokes are only acceptable if they “afflict the comfortable” and leave “afflicted” groups untouched. For instance, using 17,000 colored condoms to make a portrait of the pope is “art,” but drawing a picture of the Prophet Muhammad is cruel and offensive. The former is “punching up,” and therefore acceptable; it’s also far less likely to get you killed.

As it happens, death is an appropriate segue to the second front on which activism is corrupting, if not slowly killing, comedy as we know it. The popular website Funny or Die, founded by liberal comedians Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, is one of the worst offenders. In a thinly disguised effort to reach out to that other critical segment of the millennial generation, the politically disengaged, the website regularly churns out videos that simply appropriate the “comedy” brand in order to promote a progressive agenda.

One of its most recent productions, for example, attempts to “parody” the hidden-camera campaign to expose controversial abortion-related practices at Planned Parenthood.  It is less a “parody” of the anti-abortion videos than it is a sarcastic regurgitation of Planned Parenthood talking points. “Planned Parenthood overwhelmed me with the ability to make my own choices,” one actress says in faux distress.

Funny or Die, which recently hired a former White House public engagement officer to lead its new Washington bureau, has also made “funny” videos (featuring a disturbing array of comedic talent) urging President Obama to establish a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and provided a softball venue (Between Two Ferns with Zack Galifianakis) for the president to promote Obamacare in the midst of its website-related crisis in early 2014. “I don’t think the president has to pitch jokes,” one of the shows producers said about the episode. “He just says jokes and we enjoy them.” Afflicting the powerful and whatnot.

As the recently departed Daily Show host Jon Stewart certainly knows, adhering to the rules of “punching up” and “speaking truth to power” while still championing liberal arguments isn’t easy when the president is a Democrat. With George W. Bush out of the picture, Stewart was forced to satisfy his audience’s lust for moral validation by DESTROYING the likes of rural county health officials and conservative state senators.

Stewart, who consistently aggravated critics with his absurd insistence that he was “just a comedian” who stood for “sanity” and against “bullsh*t,” may be off the air for now. But the politicization of comedy proceeds apace. Consider the recently releasedvideo in which celebrities, including comedian Jack Black, jokingly urge viewers to support the Iran nuclear deal or risk having their children “melted” in a nuclear war. “Because playing politics with our national security isn’t actually all that funny,” Black says.

Neither is playing comedy with your politics.