Intellectual Safespace


The landscape of political correctness has been jostled by a recent hubbub at Yale University regarding... Halloween costumes

Wait, wait, don’t go… I know that was my reaction, too. What a first world problem, college kids at one of the most expensive, and #2 in brand recognition, institutions in the country, getting upset about Halloween costumes. But then, I watched this video-

This is about fucking Halloween costumes.

Yeah, I’m also just going to gloss over all that weird Master and Committee shit, because that seems like some stupid elitist secret society crap to indoctrinating the students into thinking they’re better than everyone.  

The part that stuck with me was when the Prof. asks, "Who gets to decide what’s offensive," and immediately two of the students started pointing to themselves and saying, “Me, me!” 

Look at the arm posture cradling the beloved ego. So precious. So fragile. 

Me, me, me. That’s what this is all about isn’t it? These are supposed to be educated young adults, but they can’t even entertain the concept of free speech. Freedom can be sacrificed if it denigrates your or victimizes you or oppresses you… on and on. Me, me, me. It’s selfish behavior that pits the feelings of one against the rights of another. 

Now multiply that by millions. Make that the majority and you have the beginnings of a group of people willing to infringe upon the rights of others if they feel threatened, they have to do what they can to protect the children, or the fatherland, or vaginal purity, or whatever it is they all agree is more important than these undesirables.

Perhaps a charismatic leader emerges from the teeming mass of hypersensitive zealots. One that’s real yelly and talks good. He says he has a solution to the problem, let’s remove them from our society, clean it up, and re-educate them. We’ll register all of them, give them each a number, and assign them to work camps or deprogram their thinking, nothing sinister, just good old fashioned redemption through hard labor and total subservience to the state. After a while, all this re-educating starts to get expensive, so maybe we need a last, or final, if you will, solution to this whole mess. Look, we really tried everything, but the folks have decided that we’re going to cleanse all of you undesirables, you know, get rid of you.

Perhaps that’s hyperbolic, but consider how many revolutionary movements, like the Cultural Revolution in China and the Nazis in Germany, had young people at the forefront of rooting out undesirables and intellectuals that would be “counter-revolutionary” or “vermin.” You had the Red Guards, who were given unlimited ride train tickets and were encouraged to drop out of school and root out intellectuals that favored the corrupt status quo all over the country. A lot of times the students would root out their own teachers and parents, have them dragged out into public and beaten. Then they would turn them over to the authorities, where they would be shipped off to camps for hard labor and confessionals. The National Socialist German Students’ League was founded during the rise of the Nazi Party “with the mission of integrating University-level education and academic life within the framework of the National Socialist worldview.” I’m sure they were a lot of fun at parties, unless there was jazz playing. 

"Fascism recognizes youth as a vulnerable and politically significant population. In the 1920s and 1930s, fascist parties promised young people not only jobs and educational opportunities, but also a divine mission–to be the leaders of a revolutionary movement that would purify the nation. The fascists promoted a cult of the youthful, featuring young heroes in their music, film and literature, rejecting the ruling elite as cynical and complacent, and emphasizing the relative youthfulness of their own leaders. Fascism celebrated duty, loyalty and physical vitality, and challenged the young to use their natural energy, idealism and competitiveness for the good of the national community."   

-Fascist Youth, Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood: In History and Society, 2004

Ok, wanting to police racist Halloween costumes is a far cry from the Cultural Revolution or Nazis, but there’s a disturbing kernel of intolerance, feelings, and young people that seems to be at the root of fascist or totalitarian movements reflected in this conflict at Yale.

This videos continues from the tail end of the last. It shows what happens when the true nature of intolerant indignation rears its ugly head. The head yells. This student or the “Shrieking Girl” as she’s been dubbed already, yells at this Professor to “BE QUIET!” and screams gems like, “IT IS NOT ABOUT CREATING AN INTELLECTUAL SPACE.” She tries to explain that his job as Master is to create a place of safety and that by sending out that email, he violated that safety. The Master says he does not agree. She then explodes, “THEN WHY THE FUCK DID YOU ACCEPT THE POSITION?!?! WHO THE FUCK HIRED YOU?!!?”

It’s not hard to imagine someone going from screaming to hitting in order to win an argument. When he disagreed with her, she lost all reason and exploded with emotion. Props to the Master for keeping it together and not screaming back, or smacking her like Sean Connery. 

But multiply this behavior by tens, hundreds, thousands, and it becomes terrifying. You have a mob of emotional, irrational, and angry people who belive that they are threatened and have to eradicate the threat, and get it fired for good measure.

Turns out Shrieking girl was outed online and it was discovered that she was part of the search committee that chose Prof. Chrisitakis as Master of Slytherin or whatever the fuck house. She also had to delete her Twitter and Facebook presumably because she no longer found them to be safe spaces. We can all breathe a sigh of relief that Shrieking Girl was shamed and the majority of our society shakes its damn head at the young lady.

For now, political correctness gone too far is the realm of crybabies and bullies, which is why Cartman embracing PC culture on this seasons South Park is so brilliant, but I can’t help but think it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to fascism. Hopefully, it’s a big jump. 

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
— Aristotle