‘Dr. van der Hilst has managed to throw red meat to the reactionary right wing, curtail academic discussion, tarnish the reputation of M.I.T. and shortchange the students and faculty he is supposed to serve.’

Nice summary. UD keeps thinking that, with each meat toss, universities will wise up and stop suppressing speech. But things are getting worse. Every week, administrators pitch another porterhouse at reactionaries. How utterly fucking stupid.


‘We are back to the age of Galileo’s inquisitors.

‘College students shouldn’t need protection from an old film used to help them think about and debate the conversion of a classic over time. Sheng was using the film to stir and inform artistic consciousness. To read that situation otherwise is deeply anti-intellectual.’

‘[T]he current fashion [is] a performance, a kind of, yes, virtue signaling… Upon what authority are [Bright Sheng’s denouncers] allowed such primacy of influence in how we speak, think and teach in our times?’

Fuck Yeah!

Brandi wins big.

‘Independent MP Yassin Ayari summed up this exasperation on Facebook, writing that “to despise the culture of others is not freedom of expression.”‘

Actually, yes it is. Even hate speech is protected in the United States, a country which models freedom of expression for the world. As an American, I’m free to say that I despise the culture that continues to thrive in, say, the camps full of ISIS members being held in Syria. No one gets to hush me and advise me that it’s an illegitimate form of expression to despise sex slavery, the full body veiling of eight year old girls, routine beheadings.

An extreme example? We would all condemn such a culture?

Well, but then you don’t actually believe the expressed loathing of a particular culture is out of bounds.

‘He is also one of eight children born unto Ronald and Beatrice Seal Presgraves.’

For unto us a child is born! Folks in Luray, Virginia, where at exactly this time last year UD celebrated her birthday, do tend to be a bit old-fashioned… Here you’ve got their good ol’ boy mayor Barry Presgraves not only using a way-Biblical verbal formulation, but also chuckling online about how Joe Biden’s VP is gonna be “Aunt Jemima .” HAW!

Well people all over noticed and afirst he jest chuckled more and said he thought twas funny and ain’t racist onaccounta he ate them pancakes all time grow’n up. Then MORE people noticed and the town of Luray started to worry it’d get all shit-listed and it’s a tourist town, see (gateway to Shenandoah National Park, Luray Caverns… ) so a lot of locals said they’d appreciate it if ol’ Barry resigned but hell no he said I ain’t gonna resign nothin wrong with calling all black women Aunt Jemima hell I wouldn’t mind if yall called me Mr Deliverance...

But well now see now Barry begins to understand that he’s fucked up the town real good by making all of us think it’s racist because of what its highest profile citizen said, plus pressure is really growing on him to get his ass out of the municipal building, so now he’s doing the lord I’m really sorry I mean it I’m sorry and I’ve grown and learned from this experience thing.


Nice summary of a recent town council meeting here, where some of the locals explained that calling people racist is just the sort of thing evil fascist socialists do, while some of the locals called for ol’ Barry to resign. “Luray has a black eye right now. You did that. TKO, boom, you knocked us out. You put us on the map,” said one woman, with absolute accuracy.

I mean, take Les UDs. We find ourselves in Luray couple times a year because it’s one of the only places with good restaurants down the hill from the national park, where we like to hike in the day and sit out under the perseids at night. Now that we know the mayor of the town’s a nasty racist, we’re liable to go elsewhere for our meals.

Will he resign? UD thinks eventually he will. It’ll just take more time cuz ol’ Barry’s real, real, slow.


A young Tunisian woman is sentenced to six months in jail because she retweeted a covid health advisory which uses religious calligraphy.

“Offense Archeology” is the kind of lovely new phrase that almost makes our latest wave of witch hunts worth it.

OA involves, as this afternoon’s target writes, “trolling through tweets and through statements [of prominent people] seeking to find evidence—however tortured—that there are signs of prejudice behind them.” Prominent Steven Pinker (yeah, he’s a linguist; but for me what matters is that he is among the highest-profile and most articulate of atheists) is in the process of being unpersoned because of his awful awful awfulness; though curiously, given his awesome awfulness, almost no one who signed on to the cretinous screed unpersoning him is willing to talk about it. Or even admit, in a number of cases, to having actually signed on. Self-cancel culture!

The origin of the letter remains a mystery. Of 10 signers contacted by The Times, only one hinted that she knew the identity of the authors. Many of the linguists proved shy about talking, and since the letter first surfaced on Twitter on July 3, several prominent linguists have said their names had been included without their knowledge.

Several department chairs in linguistics and philosophy signed the letter, including Professor Barry Smith of the University at Buffalo and Professor Lisa Davidson of New York University. Professor Smith did not return calls and an email and Professor Davidson declined to comment when The Times reached out.

Hit and run, baby. Hit and…. RUNNNNNNN!!



… one of the most progressive publications out there. All decent progressives are right to be enraged; mindless promiscuous attacks on the moral integrity of one’s betters do great damage to liberalism. The purulence of this group of academics in fact makes liberalism stupid and disgusting, which makes the world safe for the reelection of Trump.

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Origin story.

Geoffrey Stone, a law prof at the University of Chicago, has long been a …

hero of mine. Especially today, with Stone’s release of an email exchange he had with the notorious Richard Spencer.

In an April 18 op-ed in the New York Times, Stone defended Spencer’s First Amendment right to speak at Auburn University.

According to Stone, he received an e-mail from Spencer thanking him for his piece saying, “[he thinks] it will be looked back upon as significant in changing the contemporary free-speech debate.”

In the e-mail, Spencer also expressed his desire to return to his alma mater for a speaking event.

… Stone wrote back, saying that he thought Spencer’s views were not worth discussing, and that he would not extend him an invitation.

“My strong support for the right of students and faculty to invite speakers to campus to address whatever views they think worth discussing does not mean that I personally think that all views are worth discussing. From what I have seen of your views, they do not seem to me [to] add anything of value to serious and reasoned discourse, which is of course the central goal of a university. Thus, although I would defend the right of others to invite you to speak, I don’t see any reason for me to encourage or to endorse such an event.”

More here.

Middlebury College: America’s Wealthiest Gated Community

The greatest privilege of all is being able to shut out offensive ideas.


Freedom and safety both require a level of risk and a careful balance. Unhappily a free society is simply not compatible with never-ending, numbing comfort. A bubble is its own kind of cage.



Know hope.

[North Korean] authorities have reportedly been holding mass meetings in various parts of the country to warn people against making sarcastic remarks about the regime and its supreme leader. … Officials pointed to the phrase “this is all America’s fault” as an example of sarcasm it doesn’t want uttered. It’s common for North Koreans to use the phrase ironically to criticize the country’s leadership.

“[B]ringing Title IX complaints over exceedingly minor errors in a publication you disagree with and naming them ‘retaliation’ is an abuse of the process. To then keep on pressing a bad case in public even after it’s been arbitrated and you’ve been told you’re wrong, is worthy of a correction.”

Laura Kipnis is apparently willing to spend the rest of her life trying to talk sense to her inquisitors. Color UD impressed.

“When we said that ‘Kipnis does not speak for us,’ we lent credence to the idea that Kipnis was responsible for speaking for us in the first place.”

A Northwestern University student, reflecting on the Laura Kipnis fiasco, targets groupthink. He’s absolutely right.

“[Laura Kipnis] was accused … of writing an article that upset some students. Turning that into a federal case is beyond the pale.”

UD liked Northwestern. She didn’t love it (she loved her graduate school, the University of Chicago), but she liked it. In Erich Heller, for instance, she found not merely a compelling teacher, but a compelling human being.

As Geoffrey Stone points out here, NU has been making an ass of itself, in the matter of free speech, for some time now. He discusses two recent cases, including that of Laura Kipnis.

Laura Kipnis wrote a piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education in which she raised important questions about the regulation of student-faculty relationships, the meaning of consent, the procedural irregularities that frequently taint the efforts of colleges and universities to address such issues, and the messy and destructive lawsuits that often follow.

Kipnis’ article is a serious, provocative, and valuable contribution to the ongoing debate about these often difficult and vexing issues. Among other things, Kipnis charged that some of the recently enacted campus codes dealing with such matters have had the effect of infantilizing women students. This, she reasoned, is not a good thing.

In response to this essay, several students at Northwestern staged a protest demanding “a swift, official condemnation” of the article because they had been made to feel uncomfortable by her thoughts on the subject. One woman student went so far as to describe the essay as “terrifying.” Shortly thereafter, a women student who had filed sexual assault charges against a professor at Northwestern filed a Title IX (sex discrimination/sexual harassment) complaint against Kipnis because of the publication.

As Kipnis traces in a powerful new article published this week in the Chronicle of Higher Education, for the past several months she has been subjected to a star-chamber proceeding in which outside investigators retained by Northwestern University have sought to determine whether her initial essay somehow constituted unlawful retaliation, “intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination” against the student who had previously filed the sexual assault charge against the faculty member at Northwestern.

As anyone who has read Kipnis’ initial article can discern, the accusation is ludicrous on its face. An essay that takes aim at the substantive values and procedures employed by universities in their efforts to regulate sexual relationships on campus is not, and cannot rationally be taken to be, an act of discrimination, retaliation, or harassment directed against any particular student who may have filed such a complaint.

What Northwestern should have done in the face of such a complaint was to dismiss it as quickly and decisively as possible and to reaffirm the fundamental right of members of the university community to write, speak, argue, and complain openly and vigorously about matters of public concern. Instead, Northwestern put Kipnis through months of “investigation” for doing nothing more than writing an interesting and provocative article in a journal of considerable repute.

It was only after Kipnis went public in her second article this week that Northwestern finally informed her that the charges against her were unfounded. As evidenced in both of these situations, it seems, not surprisingly, that the best way to get universities to stand up for academic freedom is to call them out publicly on their lack of commitment to the principles for which they are supposed to stand.

As Stone suggests, NU should be ashamed. It should replace whoever is running its Title IX office.


Update: Same idea.

Samuel Bagenstos, a University of Michigan Law Professor who, until 2011, served as the number two official in Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, says Northwestern wasn’t compelled to go as far as it did. “Federal law requires a prompt and equitable resolution of the complaint,” he says. “They do have to look into it. The question is, what does looking into it mean?”

In the Kipnis case, he says, “ All you would have to do was read her article, read the Tweet, and maybe talk to the people who filed the complaint to understand that there’s no conceivable way that even if everything in the complaint were true, there’s no way that was a violation of Title IX.”

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