Here is one of the four (?) posters put up in our recent Mary Jane Hitler scandal.


The other three, along with, uh, interesting commentary, are available here. The associated argument is not dissimilar, at least in attitude and in-your-face-to-PC-Williams elan, from the stuff I wrote 20 years ago. I have, I hope, matured since then

Many people on campus took offense when tasteless and sickening “Holocaust Remembrance” posters were taped to dorm doors with the intent to invade personal space and make students uncomfortable. A few days later, 4/20 parody fliers were posted and most students were not bothered, but a few were so outraged that someone dared to express an idea they disliked that they demanded censorship as a response.

They’ll serve the corporate world well one day as they crush anything they dislike.

The parody fliers contained images of a marijuana leaf for the unofficial 4/20 holiday recognized by pot smokers and images of Adolf Hitler who had a birthday on 4/20. In addition, these posters featured historically accurate quotes about the Autobahn, National Socialist social concerns, rejection of materialism, and the goal of unity and cooperation. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Hitler and marijuana aren’t a traditional pairing or one of shared ideology, but apparently the formation of that thought never arose in the duller minds on campus.

The idea that someone could post these fliers so offended a handful of weak-minded people and caused them to react like Hitler Youth and demand censorship and repression. Authorities were summoned. Campus security was immediately dispatched and removed the fliers, perhaps to throw them into a bonfire, while the obnoxious but sacrosanct “Holocaust Remembrance” fliers remained posted on doors of students who mostly found them distasteful and ridiculous.

Wow. I think that we have found the main topic of conversation for the remainder of the spring term. Julia was the student who put up (and designed?) the posters. (See comment toward the end of this thread.) The author of this manifesto(?) is her (male?) friend. (Am I sexist for thinking that this was written by a man?)

Rationalism was notably lacking in much of the commentary posted in the Williams student forum. One student called the parody posters “hate speech” as if such a thing existed in law rather than fantasy. In the United States, all opinions and ideas are legal to express, whether unpopular, ignorant, or hateful. Calling an idea “hate speech” is just a mendacious method to marginalize another person’s right to express ideas that differ from those of the person who wants censorship.

The spectacle snowballed as people who had not seen the fliers began to discuss how outraged they were as they imagined a bogeyman that captured all of their fears and weaknesses. There was no reality check because these people live far from reality and logical evaluation. They might be good at repetitive work where they operate like machines designed to perform a function, but when something new emerges the machine is unable to handle it and sadly breaks.

One day they can be the brutal and unempathetic bosses that stick to the company line despite the harm caused to individual workers. They are the deciders, for your best interests of course.

I actually think that the WSO thread displayed a lot more nuance than this description. Read the whole thing and decide for yourself.

Those who called the fliers “hateful” were only projecting their own hatred and small-mindedness. To be a self-centered zombie who claims to be “offended” at anything disagreeable is a hallmark of immaturity and ignorance. It is ironic when a liberal environment is lacking in open-mindedness, tolerance, and diverse viewpoints — and many politely sit silent without concern.

If a college campus is not a suitable environment for free speech, but instead we hear only calls for self-censorship and lockstep obedience, what future can this generation offer? If students are so weak-minded that they are afraid of ideas, even hating any idea with which they disagree, but can only respond with anger and calling security for censorship instead of rational consideration or discussion, what have they learned for all of their time spent pursuing education? These are people soon to enter the adult world after spending years evaluating grammatical structures, molecular balances, and Renaissance art, yet they are unable to evaluate a flier sensibly?

Surely there are also students who still have enough youth left in them to laugh at absurdity, and enough self-confidence to not desire other ideas censored when they find them disagreeable.

More to come, no doubt. I am still trying to figure out if this is a serious political viewpoint or an elaborate theatrical spoof of campus discussion. Opinions welcome! I am still thinking through my own thoughts on the matter.

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