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No Holds Barred

Posters like this have begun appearing around campus.

Explanation:

On February 3rd from 9:00 to 10:30 pm in the Paresky Auditorium, a few friends and I are organizing an event to embrace political incorrectness.

We will be showing various episodes and clips from The Simpsons, South Park, George Carlin, Penn and Teller’s Bullshit, and Dave Chappelle’s Show that are both humorous and possibly offensive.

We hope to give people an impulse to think critically about views that are not mainstream or socially acceptable.

I recommend that you come at 9:00 and stay for the full hour and a half, but feel free to stop by at any time to relieve the stress from the first day of classes and share some laughs with friends.

1) Good stuff! Kudos to the students involved.

2) Any suggestions for material to include? Add them in the comments, ideally with a link. I don’t know the Simpsons and South Park oeuvre as well as I should. Maybe “Die Hippie, Die“?

3) I would select all the best items from Stuff White People Like but re-label them as Stuff Williams People Like. Put together a slide show of rugby, study abroad, recycling, arts degrees, Obama and so on. Comic genius.

4) The narrow-minded among you might object to this event occurring the evening before Claiming Williams. Shame on you! As all my fellow Eph members of the Vast Right Wing Conspirancy can confirm, “I am Williams too!” Socially unacceptable Ephs unite! You have nothing to lose but the praise of Professor Wendy Raymond . . .

UPDATE: Here is the Facebook group and the WSO announcement:

Love South Park, The Simpsons, Dave Chappelle, George Carlin, or Penn & Teller but never have the time to watch TV anymore?

Tired of “Political Correctness” all the time?

Want to laugh really hard?

Then come to “No Holds Barred Comedy Night” and watch screenings of your favorite shows tackling important issues hilariously.

We’ll be playing the shows from 9pm to 10:30pm on Wednesday night in Paresky Auditorium (by the ’82 Grill) so come on by and have a great time.

This “intellectually free space” is brought to you by the Williams College Commons Club

What is the Commons Club?

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#1 Comment By Brandi ’07 On February 2, 2010 @ 12:47 am

Man, I could do an entire un-pc comedy set about Williams. And I one day I will.

That said, I assume that this event will include a Children’s Treasury of Ephblog posts for attendees to take home.

#2 Comment By David On February 2, 2010 @ 8:53 am

Children’s Treasury of Ephblog!

I love it.

What would be the most un-PC posts at EphBlog? Hmmm. So much to choose from! (And some of these I now regret.) I would start with:

1) On curve bending students from Xavier
2) Better (or, at least, browner) Umpires
3) Box checking on the Common Application
4) On the magnitude of affirmative action at Williams
5) On environmental hypocrisy (here and here).

What are your favorite un-PC posts?

#3 Comment By rory On February 2, 2010 @ 9:33 am

Penn and Teller’s Bullshit sucks. It’s mostly cursing and extremely oversimplified libertarian snide remarks that aren’t funny (even with the nudity and cursing). At least the other shows are funny.

My only regret (other than that Penn and Teller aren’t funny. Maybe show Glenn Beck’s come…nah. Dennis Miller would be better), is that they aren’t really reaching the treasaure trove: 1980s black comedy. Eddie Murphy + Richard Pryor were some of the least PC comedians ever. Pryor, sadly, passed and Murphy became…well, we know what he became. Just show raw or delirious and you’re good.

#4 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 2, 2010 @ 10:59 am

Sheesh, I don’t see Sarah Silverman listed.

(Wiki link provided via Google)

#5 Comment By Derek On February 2, 2010 @ 11:56 am

Once again: The invocation of PC in the year 2010 is always a canard coming from a certain segment of the right. No one on the left actually accuses anything of not being PC. If you disagree with certain specific policies and ideas, by all means, let’s have that debate — I think anyone who has read me here in the last few years would say I am just about the opposite of PC, but I am also unabashedly on the supposed-PC left — but let’s have it against real people and not those made of straw.

dcat

#6 Comment By azj ’04 On February 2, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

Did these guys really fail to even mention PCU in the announcement? I for one, am not going to protest this event.

#7 Comment By Loweeel On February 2, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

I seem to remember somebody sending out an all-campus email about a screening of PCU after the college council ultra vires derecognition of the Mad Cow …

Ah those were the days.

Derek, in 2010, you may have more of a point. But at the beginning of the decade, PC censorship, even if not pervasive or everyday was alive and well at Williams, as the Mad Cow fiasco demonstrated.

#8 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 2, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

@Loweeel:

What is PCU?

#9 Comment By Loweeel On February 2, 2010 @ 7:00 pm

@Jr.Mom — http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110759/ (roughly based on Wesleyan and filmed there, in part)

#10 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 2, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

@Loweeel:

Thanks. Don’t know how I missed that. Must have been those toddler years…

I think this event could be a really good thing. If done in the right spirit, by those who mean well. Speaking of which…

Man, I could do an entire un-pc comedy set about Williams. And I one day I will.

Bring it on, Brandi. And give me the date ahead of time so I can be there.

#11 Comment By Derek On February 2, 2010 @ 7:32 pm

Loweel —
Fair point. And it was even worse in the early 90s, where it wasbad everywhere. But even then PC became a word the right used to describe their own perceptions rather than anything the left was actually doing or saying.

dcat

#12 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 2, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

@Derek:

I hear what you’re saying re the argument of the far right. I have much the same initial reaction.

But. leaving that aside (for a moment), I am very interested to hear what you think could be accomplished by an event like this? The caveat being, that it is done well, with the best of intentions?

I, for one, considering that it is being done by Williams students, am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

#13 Comment By David On February 2, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

Derek writes:

The invocation of PC in the year 2010 is always a canard coming from a certain segment of the right.

Specifics would help this conversation.

Consider two sophomores, equally well-rounded and friendly, both applying to become JAs. The only difference:

One writes a Record op-ed arguing that the College should reduce its carbon emissions.
One writes a Record op-ed arguing that the College should reduce its use of affirmative action in admissions.

Both op-eds are well-written and moderately stated, with great respect for opposing views.

I bet that the second student does not get to become a JA at the Williams of 2010 because of his political views.

Would you disagree with that prediction or with the claim that this is a PC-related problem?

#14 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 2, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

Derek,

With all due respect, I would like to see my question (to you), answered before you get caught up in Dave’s. There is somewhat of a point in my request.

;-)

#15 Comment By Derek On February 2, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

Jr. Mom —
I see it as being an echo chamber and a solution in search of a problem in all honesty. I do like the diea of using the clips, but then that seems to be an ability to manipulate what is ordinarily meant by “PC.” But furthermore, the way to look at issues that “are not mainstream or socially acceptable” is to show clips from mainstream and socially accepted tv and comedy? Oooohhh, The Simpsons — how edgy! (And I’m as big a Simpsons fan as there is. But if that’s your example of challenging pc — and where do YOU think the politics are of the writers of The Simpsons? Of Dave Chappelle?)

David —
Really? Two people exactly the same save for an op ed in the Record? And we assume that the decision would be based solely on an op ed in the Record? If your characters were any more cardboard Kevin Costner would be playing them.

dcat

#16 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 2, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

@Derek:

Ummmm. Okay. I think you are forgetting that which needs to be experienced rather than…intellectualized, but I appreciate your response.

These students have my support. Providing their intentions are good.

#17 Comment By Parent ’12 On February 2, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

@Jr. Mom: I agree with your primary point about experience.

I think the problem is so much of this gets dated. It would be interesting if the students put what they’re doing / showing in historical context.

What do you think current students would think of Archie Bunker?

#18 Comment By frank uible On February 2, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

The quality of an intention is like beauty – in the eyes of the beholder.

#19 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 2, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

@frank uible:

And P’12:

Intent is not to be taken lightly. More important is who is behind this effort. Depending on that, the material, and whether it is dated, takes on less significance.

Again, I can’t know the intent, but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

#20 Comment By Derek On February 2, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

Jr. Mom —
I honestly have no idea what you mean. Your question to me was: “I am very interested to hear what you think could be accomplished by an event like this?” I told you what I THINK, as per your question, which is sort of an intellectual exercise. If you wanted something other than what I think, you should not have asked me what I think. I think nothing will be accomplished by it.

So: Yeah, good for them, fine. Assuming they did not get permission to use the clips, beware the limits of copyright fair use laws. And just remember: A lot of people who rail against pc prohibitions that do not actually exist actually just want a free pass to be assholes and to place the blame anyone who gets offended by the assholery.

Here is a good guide: One does not not use racial slurs not because it is pc, but because to do so makes one a racist.

dcat

#21 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 2, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

@Derek:

I wanted to know your thoughts. Thanks for giving them. Sorry if you are disappointed in my response to your answer. As for “copyright issues”… say what? First I have heard of that issue, so forgive me for being out of the loop.

As for those who “rail against pc prohibitions” because they “want a free pass to be assholes”, I honestly don’t think (hope) that is what’s occurring here. On the contrary, I “honestly” believe that most of today’s Williams students are in a different place than the one that you describe. I believe they are trying to find a middle ground, one that includes humor, irreverence, and an entirely different point of view than the one that is known to most of us here on EB…that they are attempting to bridge a gap that is very different from the one that you, or I, or Dave, experienced.

I don’t mean to offend you, Derek, but keep in mind that much of what I say (and hope for) comes from conversation with a current Williams student. I don’t profess to have a full grasp of the climate at Williams (I mean he only tells me so much!), but again, I am trying to entertain the thought that these might be ideas backed with good intentions.

And bridging the gap might also mean covering territory that seems “dated” to us…and involving a sort of fast motion “intellectual exercise”. These kids move at a pace that is way different than mine, and possibly even yours and Dave’s. So be it. More power to them. “Dated” is irrelevant as long as it sets the stage.

Possibly, as Frank Implies, I am far too hopeful. I await to see how it goes. I only wish Brandi was there to supervise. I would have much more confidence if that were the case…;-)

#22 Comment By JG On February 2, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

@David: I wonder if your greatest regret about Williams was not serving on JA selection given the frequency with which you hypothesize wildly and incorrectly about what goes on.

I don’t recall politics ever entering into a discussion – ever – about a JA candidate. I tried the thought experiment of considering your hypothetical, but it is just so many levels of impossible that it can’t be done. First, nobody can ever be an identical candidate, but beyond that what does an Op-Ed in the Record have to do with being a JA? And why would that be included in an application?

#23 Comment By Parent ’12 On February 2, 2010 @ 10:11 pm

@Jr. Mom:

? I think I’m missing something.

I don’t think there’s much to this. Doesn’t it boil down to questioning one’s assumptions or at least recognizing that we have them.

Rory referred to Richard Pryor & Eddie Murphy from the 1980s. I can’t think of any equivalent now, which is why I referred to Archie Bunker. There’s Larry David of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but he’s basically gauche.

#24 Comment By JG On February 2, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

@Loweeel: The Mad Cow situation was far more nuanced than “political correctness,” regardless of the outcome (that I didn’t support). The many students I counseled who felt unwelcome at Williams, attacked, and some even threatened certainly wouldn’t appreciate you reducing it as such. Oh, and it was really, really badly done “humor” or “satire” or whatever it was supposed to be.

#25 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 2, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

@Parent ’12:

Not sure what you’re asking me…

My point is that it isn’t about the entertainment being featured–whether it be dated or not, suited to your generation or mine (or Rory’s, or Derek’s or Dave’s)–as much as it sets the tone , with enough irreverence to open the door to braver discussion. Being careful and “PC” was necessary for a while, maybe even up to now, but things have changed, and these kids are ready to move on. I think we might need to step back and see what they have in mind.

#26 Comment By Loweeel On February 2, 2010 @ 11:26 pm

JG — you’ve hit on the very essence of political correctness: disagreement with a particular viewpoint makes those who hold those viewpoint “feeling attacked” to the point that they have to punish the dissenters. Sounds a lot like something published in a newspaper in Denmark.

It was actually really, really good humor, and perfectly done parody of what was a pretty ridiculous idea to begin with. There was no better way to puncture the pretensions of those who supported the addition of minco-only seats on College Council (as opposed to only having dorm and class-based positions) than a satirical blurb about College Council adding a “black guy” position that gets 3/5ths of a vote.

It’s really hard to beat that parody.

Evidently, referring to a historical event to make a point about a minority set-aside is off-limits. The irony, of course, is that the people most angry about it demonstrated perhaps the least understanding of the 3/5ths compromise and the realistic counterfactuals. It would not have been better for the state of the union and the eventual fate of slavery in this country for the southern states to have had MORE representation.

#27 Comment By Ronit On February 2, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

#28 Comment By ’10 On February 2, 2010 @ 11:32 pm

On an unrelated, but tangential note, the womens and mens rugby teams are some of the most diverse athletic groups on campus.

#29 Comment By Ronit On February 2, 2010 @ 11:39 pm

For what it’s worth, I never felt that there was restraint against politically incorrect humor among the people I knew at Williams circa 2003-2007. Perhaps I was lucky in my humor or choice of friends, or maybe they were typical of the time, I don’t know. I do know that a random sample of late night conversations among my friends and I would have been enough to send at least half a dozen campus organizations into a tizzy if publicly aired.

#30 Comment By Ronit On February 2, 2010 @ 11:42 pm

@Derek: the Simpsons and South Park both seem to have a libertarian sensibility rather than a conventionally liberal one… if you’re implying the writers on the Simpsons are “leftist”, I think you’re probably wrong.

#31 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 2, 2010 @ 11:51 pm

@ Ronit:

Good to hear. I was thinking I was going to have to listen to 13 minutes of Saget (doing whatever it is he’s doing there) to get your point.

Phew, what is that anyway? I started it but stopped because it’s too late for that kind of thing! I will try and get to it tomorrow. Maybe I’ll be brave and play it in the airport before I board my plane. Heh…yeah… that could be interesting…

#32 Comment By Ronit On February 3, 2010 @ 12:27 am

@Jr. Mom: the Saget bit is unrelated to any point, I just thought it was appropriate for a “No Holds Barred” thread. it’s an old joke

#33 Comment By JeffZ On February 3, 2010 @ 12:29 am

Ronit re: comment 29, the same thing held true in the mid-90’s, for certain. I’d say in a FEW classes there might have been SOME commentary held back due to PC concerns (really, just at the margins, and not necessarily always to the detriment of those classes), but I can never recall political correctness ever playing any role whatsoever in social life.

Now if you want a CLASSROOM experience that is free from PC constraints (sometimes for better, but sometimes for worse), try UChicago Law School. I remember one memorable class that dealt with poverty / family law type issues, I can’t recall the context of the conversation, but one dude’s “solution” to urban poverty issues was “just stop being crack whores.”

#34 Comment By JeffZ On February 3, 2010 @ 12:30 am

Which is not, by the way, to say that flat-out correctness never played a role. For example, when a group of idiots put up “the shocker” in Christmas lights on dorm, they had to take it down and issue an apology — and for good reason.

#35 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 3, 2010 @ 12:32 am

@Ronit:

New to me. (Those toddler years? Or maybe it was my time on the commune?) Anyway, just goes to show that “dated” all depends.

Regardless, I look forward to listening to it…I think.

#36 Comment By Ronit On February 3, 2010 @ 12:34 am

@JeffZ: you went to UChicago Law? Would love to hear more about that sometime, esp. the campus culture.

#37 Comment By JeffZ On February 3, 2010 @ 12:51 am

I did indeed. Very, very different place from Williams, that is for sure. Although the law school, which is fairly conservative (by academic standards, very conservative, although that reputation is a BIT exaggerated) is itself very different from the undergrad, which is very liberal.

I felt like the average UofC law person was about as smart as the average Williams person, but they were definitely (a) more serious about their studies and arguably themselves, (b) far more likely to proudly self-identify as a nerd / geek / intellectual / socially-awkward (I think many Williams people share these traits, but keep them in the closet to some degree), and (c) far less likely to have other super-high-caliber talents, such as of an artistic or athletic nature. Obviously I had less contact with undergrads, but from my observations, I’d say those three generalizations apply even stronger in that context.

I am guessing that it is obvious from my interests, as exhibited by posting history, which institution I felt more at home in, by a wide margin (I always found it weird just how quiet a large university campus could be on a weekend evening, or how dead the atmosphere was at the one or two campus sporting events I had the misfortune of attending while at UofC). But there are many people for whom UofC would be a MUCH better fit than Williams.

#38 Comment By Derek On February 3, 2010 @ 1:02 am

Ronit —
For the Simpsons there are no sacred cows, and they will skewer all equally, but I’d happily bet that the vast majority of the writers on the Simpsons are liberal. Go doiwn the list — some have not been all that subtle about it outside of the Simpsons or even on it. Plus Al Jean (producer and writer) has been quoted as saying that the writers and ther show “are of a liberal bent.” So, you know, there’s that.

Jr. Mom —
On Copyright issues, you cannot just show a television show or movie in a public setting, even in an educational setting, without permission. No one is likely to enforce it, of course, but I just mentioned it in passing.

As for generational questions and all that, I do not deal with Williams students ona daily basis, to be sure, but I do sort of kind of deal with college students just about every day of my life. I’m nopt convinced that the fundamental issues and concerns are that dramatically different from when I was in gread school, which was not much removed from when I was at Williams.

As I say, this seems like a solution in search of a problem. But more power to them. And at least the premise sounds fun and interesting and not especially bombastic.

dcat

#39 Comment By JG On February 3, 2010 @ 1:59 am

@Loweeel: My guess is you were on the editorial board, because even the ardent supporters of the Mad Cow along free speech lines that I knew thought the humor feel flat. And that was, btw, one of several racially tinged “jokes” in the issue (I have thankfully forgotten many of the details, but use of the names of black students on campus as prisoners or convicts or something rings a bell – hilarious). If it had been funny, or perhaps had made fun of more than just the brown people on campus, it wouldn’t have been such an issue.

#40 Comment By Brandi ’07 On February 3, 2010 @ 2:54 am

Points (lot of high scorers/losers:

+50 to Jr. Mom for possibly expressing interest in my future stand-up comedy endeavors.

+75 to Jr. Mom for Sarah Silverman needing to be added to the list.

+120 to Ronit for saying “…The Aristocrats!”

+150 to Rory for saying Penn & Teller’s show is a bunch of libertarian bullshit (summarizing). Also, libertarian bullshit is redundant.

+200 to ASJ ’04 for referencing PCU, the movie based on fellow Little Three-er, Wesleyan.

+205 (I don’t know) to JG’s thoughts on that Mad Cow incident of ’01. It was poorly written satire but, at the same time a lot of people seemed to miss the underlying commentary of the piece. Probably because it was poorly written. That’s all I’ll say on that as I said enough about it as a frosh.

+500 to me for feeling the need to point out that, no, *you* can’t say that word just because you’re being un-pc.
-300 if you don’t know what I am talking about.

-100 to everyone for not pointing out that the most un-PC thing you can possibly ever say at Williams College is “I don’t like it here.”

-30 to everyone on this thread who uttered the term libertarian as a positive thing.
-100 to everyone who tries to argue with me about this.

-10 to Ronit for not acknowledging my reference to Children’s Treasuries.

+50 to Kane for creating The Children’s Treasury of Un-PC Ephblog posts.
-300 to Kane for each of those posts existing in the first place.

-100 to all for not suggesting Colbert’s White House Correspondent’s Speech.
-50 to all for not suggesting Wanda Sykes’ WHCD speech.

So, good/bad job everyone!

#41 Comment By Brandi ’07 On February 3, 2010 @ 3:10 am

Oh, also, someone really needs to get their hands on Glenn Beck’s stand-up comedy special. It is reviewed here by the people at Cracked.com.

You can get this via Netflix. It’s in my queue but I’ll probably never watch it because none of my friends will watch it with me and I’m scared to watch it by myself.

#42 Comment By Jr. Mom On February 3, 2010 @ 6:42 am

@Brandi ’07:

Doing the math here, and it appears I am still in the + category, thank goodness.

Great stuff, thanks for the laugh. And, I’ll be back for more points after I can say that I watched Saget, and ordered PCU on Netflix.

#43 Comment By Brandi ’07 On February 3, 2010 @ 6:55 am

@Jr. Mom: Rent the Glenn Beck special too!

#44 Comment By JeffZ On February 3, 2010 @ 7:00 am

I refuse to, even indirectly, do anything to enrich Glenn Beck that much further. Yet, I must admit to curiosity as to whether it can finally top Vanilla Ice’s vehicle, Cool as Ice, as the worst purported entertainment produced by mankind.

#45 Comment By Brandi ’07 On February 3, 2010 @ 7:01 am

@Jr. Mom: Actually, everyone in this thread gets -250 (total up the negative points for no one mentioning the most un-PC thing you can say at Williams, Colbert or Sykes). I’m the only person with a score above zero (because I gave myself 500 points). Still, nothing you actually said made you lose points, so that is still really good!