Banning Milo, Redux.

A quick follow-up to a post from last week regarding Twitter’s “permanent suspension” of Milo Yiannopolous follows.  If you’re so inclined, you can read my original thoughts before continuing.  It’s cool, I’ll wait.

I was surprised at the reactions Milo’s ban received.  Many people responded with “I’m glad he’s gone” and outlined the “horrible” ways this “monster” had treated people.  Funny enough, most people couldn’t identify a single way Milo treated them horribly.  It was all anecdotal stories they’d either read about or heard from other people.  More tellingly, no one could justify Yiannopolous’s Twitter ban beyond the standard tropes involving the First Amendment, free speech, how Twitter was a “private company,” and so on.  Evidence, or the lack of evidence, regarding the “Dangerous Faggot’s” alleged coordinated attack against Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones, didn’t matter one bit.  It was all about the narrative.

That narrative ignored a basic understanding of what phrases like “targeted attack” means, as well as “hate speech (quick hint, there’s no legal definition of “hate speech” in America.).”  It also indicated a bizarre line of reasoning that retweeting “racist” comments on line and “exposing” said thoughts for the world wasn’t the same thing as directing a targeted attack against another user’s account.  Those who prattled such tripe in my direction seemed a touch blind to statements like “Get her” and “I’ll blow you up.  If you tweet hateful things at me I’ll retweet it so all of my followers see it and come after your punk…”  None of this surprises me, after the work I’ve done for a couple of months now.  What did surprise me were the people who came rushing to the defense of censorship.

Those who spoke in favor of silencing Yiannopolous were arguably people who depend on free speech the most.  There were performance artists, musicians, and stand up comedians all telling me “words can and do certainly hurt people” and that being pro free speech was only a good thing “during the days when you could beat a man within an inch of his life.”  People whose very livelihoods depend on pushing the boundaries of what you can and can’t say in public flocked to the side of silence.  The display absolutely confounded me, until I started to think about the deeper issues behind this pro-censor stance.

There’s an element of profit at stake, for starters.  The only way you’re really guaranteed a steady income in the entertainment industry is if you display to the public your commitment to the “correct” way of thinking. Any question of authority, any attempts at dissidence will only cost the artist money.  Even if the dissident position is one with which the artist actually agrees, they will deliberately silence themselves to make sure that extra paycheck is available while establishing a name and brand recognition for their work.

Worse still, there’s an implicit tone of rejection for those who dare express wrongthink as artists.  All it takes is one incorrect statement that doesn’t jibe with the current buzzphrases of “diversity” and “inclusion” and you’re squarely in the crosshairs of the Internet Outrage Machine.  Once you’re a target for the digital mobs ready to scream their offense, you’re done.  Your career is finished, or you’re going to at least lose out on the possibility of millions in the process.

In that sense, you might be able to forgive the artist for choosing a life of self-censorship.  The businesses that stand to benefit the most from an open, robust exchange of ideas are the ones that stand to lose out the most when the content creators actually express ideas outside the mainstream views of normalcy.  It’s only good capitalism at work, then.  Everyone likes to own nice things, and many artists have families to feed.  The biggest issue with the “anti-Milo” stance, especially when it comes to the arts, is by limiting the “free speech extremist” you’ve officially shifted the Overton Window on your own work to a position with which you might not be entirely comfortable.

Love him or hate him, the “Dangerous Faggot” always stood on the side of free speech and free expression.  His outlandish stunts on college campuses designed to poke fun of speech codes and grandstanding with people ranging from Christina Hoff Sommers to Dave Rubin all serve a point.  If his ideas and speech aren’t acceptable at the most outlandish of times, then there’s a good chance your “moderate” or “nuanced” view won’t stand the test of time as the politically correct “regressive left” comes to shout down any opposing voice.  Once the modern “Nero” is eliminated from the public’s discourse, then your more “principled” view might very well be next for elimination.

Worse still, eliminating Yiannopolous’s “hate speech” from the digital domain doesn’t make the web any “safer” than before.  It just allows newer forms of hate to fill in the cracks, ones the mobs of “social justice [insert Dungeons and Dragons class of your choosing]” deem appropriate.  Shortly after Twitter smacked Yiannopolous with the Banhammer, a post appeared on Medium, the Twitter owned “platisher’s” Daily Digest slamming Milo, calling him part of the “A-List con men” at the Republican National Convention.  It didn’t serve any purpose than acting as the new official stance on what form of hate was acceptable for modern society: a hatred of those who stood for free speech.

The dangerous line we tread when eliminating people like Milo Yiannopolous from the public eye is choosing a life of hedonistic, intellectual comfort over a forced examination of the ideas and people with which we disagree.  So many of us already engage in this practice daily with block buttons and lists.  The creation of those echo chambers leads to the treacherous line of reason where we automatically assume we’re right, and those who express a different view are guilty of the sin dubbed Wrong On The Internet.

When self-inflicted, it does little harm to the rest of society.  The public elimination of figures like Milo Yiannopolous through outside third parties with massive amounts of power, like Jack Dorsey and Twitter, is a more egregious sin as we’re told by those with the real technological power what to think, absent suffering penalties.

Banning Milo

It was nice while it lasted, but the ruse is over.  The “free speech wing of the free speech party” dropped their ruse of holding a platform for all voices when Twitter, late last night, permanently suspended “conservative provocateur” Milo Yiannopolous’s @Nero account.

It didn’t take Twitter long to let the world know following the formation of their Trust and Safety Council that Yiannopolous, an editor for Breitbart, was a marked man.  They took away Milo’s precious blue “verified” check mark, a sign letting the world know the account was his and not one of the numerous fake accounts bearing his name.  The last straw in Yiannopolous’s antics, apparently, was his bashing of “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones.  Some called Milo’s work an “organized campaign of online harassment” eventually leading to Jones quitting Twitter.

That didn’t last long.  Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, eventually reached out to Jones, and the two conversed via DM.  Then, last night, Yiannopolous joined the ranks of the Twitter Banned, standing beside people like Robert Stacy McCain and Got News’ Chuck Johnson.  This banning is different, though, and it’s one Twitter might regret in the days to come.

Within hours of Milo’s @Nero suspension, the hashtag #FreeMilo started trending on Twitter.  Right now it’s sitting as #1 on my “Tailored Trends” topics.  Adding the hashtag into Tweetdeck produces a torrent of tweets on the subject, ranging from people fully in support of Milo to those gleefully rejoicing in Milo’s ban, and suggesting those upset about the issue join him and delete their accounts.  In essence, by removing Milo from the social media platform, they managed to amplify the “Dangerous Faggot’s” presence more than ever before.  It’s also highlighted Twitter’s disingenuous stance on free speech.

Make no mistake, Twitter is a private company, free to select who uses its services and who doesn’t.  And they’re free to select what they term “harassment” or “hate speech” and silence those voices.  But in taking the anti-Milo side, Twitter stands on treacherous grounds of doing something no one in their camp wants to do: prove him right.

During Yiannopolous’s last appearance on Dave Rubin’s “Rubin Report” show, Yiannopolous predicted Twitter would eventually shed its chosen mantle as a bastion of free speech and stand as a platform only devoted to allowing those ideas it deemed “safe” or acceptable.  They’ve done just that with the banning of Yiannopolous, and even allowed others to posit wilder stances than his, such as the ban’s “targeted” nature as it came right before Yiannopolous attended a “Gays for Trump” party during the Republican National Convention.  The ruse is gone, and Jack can’t take it back.

Worse yet, Twitter managed to give credence to the throngs of “men’s rights activists,” or MRAs, who claim women can’t handle criticism on the platform.  It also places Leslie Jones in a negative light, as a female comedian, arguably someone who should be able to handle criticism from hecklers or otherwise with ample savvy, was outed as someone who needed a Twitter knight in shining armor to activate the Trust and Safety Council’s jackbooted digital thugs and suppress Milo’s voice.

It’s an odd stance for a social media platform to take, especially one so allegedly pro free speech, and ostensibly the bastion of the marketplace of ideas.  A gay man with a fetish for black dudes is silenced for criticizing a black comedian.  In the meantime, pro-ISIS accounts are allowed, and tweets advocating for the killing of cops are prolific.  Even Jones, originally clutching her pearls and whining about how something had to be done to stop all the hate, is back on Twitter denouncing “white people shit.”

Yiannopolous’s presence has yet to end on Facebook, which poses an interesting conundrum for Mark Zuckerberg and his team.  They’ve already been outed as anti-conservative through leaked information, when word circulated his team internally wanted to stop Donald Trump from becoming President.  Zuckerberg, firmly in the crosshairs of the free speech world, invited a number of prominent conservative talking heads to his offices in California and affirmed his commitment to promoting all values, no matter what.

The ball is then ostensibly in Facebook’s court, and can be used to breathe fresh life into a platform now largely seen as an echo chamber for those still using it.  If Mark Zuckerberg takes a strong stance and blows the doors open for any and all, firmly distinguishing Facebook from Twitter, it will send a powerful message and bring the disenchanted back to the land of “likes” and “pokes.” If Zuckerberg remains silent on the issue, or worse yet adds fuel to the fire by endorsing the ban of Milo Yiannopolous, then both social media platforms will suffer.

Only time will tell, as the story is less than a day old and yet gaining international attention.  One thing’s for sure, and that’s striking down Nero only makes him more powerful and amplifies his voice than one would possibly imagine.

Cut a break for the lawyer in hard times.

There’s a local, very prominent attorney experiencing rough times. People are happy to spread memes and info regarding the incident all over social media. I cannot and will not support this, and those of you who benefit from the services of an attorney, no matter how great or small the issue, honestly shouldn’t either. All you’re doing is participating in a public shaming of someone who’s fought for the rights of so many citizens in court.

It’s fun participating in online lynch mobs. I get it. You get to sit behind a keyboard and call someone an asshole, call for their firing, and create neat cat pictures featuring your jokes on a person. You have that right, and it’s one I’ll defend, no matter how reprehensible I personally may find the practice. It’s also fun exposing double standards, and who doesn’t like a great lawyer joke? Most of us have a great sense of humor, but when you’re turning on a guy going through hard times who’s probably walked a few of you from criminal charges you might want to reconsider participating in a public pillorying.

This job requires commitment to all others but yourself first. It’s a profession where those in private practice help others unsure if the final bill will ever be paid. Substance abuse is rampant as those who bend or break under pressure tend to take the easy way out. When the law school bubble burst around the time I was sworn in, I saw first hand how eager this state was to fuck attorneys and their clients. I kept to my oath, defended those charged with offenses, and never bitched about it.  I imagine this brother in the Bar was of like mind when he started his practice.

None of this changes my commitment to free speech or the open exchange of ideas. If it’s your desire to make fun of someone going through a rough patch, go ahead. Just remember it might happen to you some day, and make sure you have thick enough skin to withstand the internet assault coming with criminal charges.

Lessons From Nero’s Spot on The Rubin Report

The Rubin Report is becoming one of my new favorite podcasts.  Dave Rubin is unapologetically advocating for sensible discussions regarding free speech, and has taken to task the “regressive left” with their attempts to silence people through name-calling, labels, ideological politics, and more.  In doing so, Rubin made a commitment that’s laudable for many: he would present all views on an issue, even those he disagreed with and made him uncomfortable.  That takes remarkable integrity, and I applaud Rubin for it.

I also applaud Milo Yiannopolous for showing up to discuss anything and everything related to his conservative leanings, why he leads the life of a provocateur, and his unapologetic support of Donald Trump’s Presidential bid.  You listen to Milo for a little bit, and you’ll learn why the self-proclaimed “World’s Most Dangerous Faggot” has such a massive following.  Here’s what I learned from his appearance on the Rubin Report.

  1. Milo values fun and sees the current state of affairs in America as “boring” because of progressive left politics.

One recurring theme that circulated around Milo’s time on the Rubin Report was that he loves his work because it’s “fun.”  He loves seeing Trump’s rise as President because it’s “fun.” One thing Milo despises is “boring,” and that’s where he lays the finger of shame on the left.

His work as a journalist means living a life of “fun” as well.  One of the more entertaining bits on the Rubin Report appearance was when he talked about his creation of a “Feminism or Cancer” poll and a two time cancer survivor said she’d STILL pick cancer over feminism!  That may be an unappealing view for some, but Milo calls it fun, and he’s enjoying his work.  Good on him.

2. Milo values the ability to say whatever you want, whenever you want, without fear of repercussion.  He also practices what he preaches.

There’s some things in Milo’s appearance on the Rubin Report that will shock a few people.  If you get shocked by Milo or offended by Milo then you’ve never really taken the time to “get” Milo.  He takes issue with the current mentality that people cannot say what they want when they want without worrying about losing their jobs or alienating others.

Give the man a chance, and he’ll give you some quotes that will make your day.  One example comes from when he describes a press conference he would hold if he was President Trump’s Press Secretary.

“Daddy doesn’t feel like answering your questions today.  I’m going shopping.  Please leave your comments in the box.”

3. Milo is incredibly persuasive when speaking on just about any issue.

There’s a point in the podcast where Rubin and Milo get into a discussion of an issue Rubin had with a Buzzfeed writer who took issue with Rubin’s label of the “Regressive Left.” Rubin took what would be considered in many circles the “moral high ground” and tried to avoid naming this individual.

Milo would have none of this.  He badgered Rubin into naming the Buzzfeed writer under the rationale of “If someone does something stupid, I want their name and face exposed to the harsh light of scrutiny so people can see just how stupid they are.”  Eventually, Milo got Rubin to name the Buzzfeed writer that aggrieved him, and they discussed the entire issue.  It was clear Rubin didn’t want to go there, but after being called a “cultural librarian” by Milo  all gloves came off and Milo got his way.

4. Milo is willing to say things people are thinking but don’t have the ability to say, and that’s important.

Two points here.  The first is when Milo says the influx of Islamic culture into Europe is a big reason why he’s spending more time in America.  He views the way Islam treats the LGBT community as something he wants no part of, and that means he has to distance himself from places he once called home as a result.  Milo also says this is a bad sign for women too, but people aren’t recognizing it, because as soon as an attack by “radical Islamists” happens the first thing our world leadership and the news media goes to is “This was radical Islam and it wasn’t the view of the regular Muslim.”

The second is his indictment of the LGBT community for going after Christians on randomly “offensive” topics.  Milo takes a large issue with the LGBT community, for example, going after a bakery to find alleged “homophobia” because they’d rather not bake a cake for a wedding, and then grind that into an OFFEND stance that puts people out of business.  He’s not a fan, and sees it as a way of alienating people that would otherwise be allies.

5. Milo is unabashedly conservative and free speech, and sees all of it as the best way to be.

“If you want to be punk, if you want to be cool, you’ve got to be conservative.”

That’s Milo for you.  That’s a guy who says “free speech” means you have to take the piss out of words like “gay,” “faggot,” and other slurs that have been used to denigrate people who just happen to be attracted to others of the same sex.  His take is he wants to see the word “gay” go to mean “stupid” or “idiotic” as it’s been used by straight/cis/heteronormative shitlords for ages.  Milo’s take is that when you get to that point, then you’ve reached a society where “free speech” means something.

He also sees the current state of liberalism/progressive politics as a stifling of everything good in life, anything that’s fun at all, and that’s why it needs to be destroyed.  The same thing goes for conservatives in his book, though, and that’s why he thinks a Trump Presidency will do wonders for this country.  Milo is of a mindset that if and when Trump his the White House, our country will start to reconstruct itself into what it once was.

I can’t say enough good things about Dave Rubin and Milo Yiannopolous, so I’m just going to cut it short and say go look for the Rubin Report on iTunes or YouTube, and follow Milo at @Nero and Dave Rubin at @RubinReport on Twitter.  You’ll be glad you did.

My Letter To Bill Hicks, Revisited

Back in 2013, I wrote the following letter to a dead comedian named Bill Hicks. It went viral, to the point where this comedian’s brother, Steve reached out to me and asked if I would send his mother Mary a written copy of the letter.

I was so honored by this request that I printed a copy out on my firm’s letterhead and sent it to Mary.  I got a handwritten response from her, and a few mementos that will be passed on to my kids one day.

I revisited the letter this morning.  One aspect that’s always amazed me about Bill Hicks is he stands out in a select field including guys like George Carlin and Lenny Bruce, who will be forever relevant because of their contributions to history and the way they presented truth.  Bill was a guy whose words can resonate across generations.

The text of the below letter still remains as relevant today as it did in 2013.

Dear Bill:

During my undergrad years, a friend exposed me to “Rant in E Minor.” I was immediately hooked, right from the start where you gleefully described the premise behind “Let’s Hunt and Kill Billy Ray Cyrus” all the way to the end of the album. I immediately bought all of your CDs that I could find at the time and began making my way through your catalog.

I’d never heard anything like what you had to say, and it resonated me. Years after you left this planet, your words still influence a generation of individuals who feel disenfranchised and as if they have no hope. I’m no comedian, Bill. I don’t have any real understanding of what makes humor work, but I can tell you this: You were a prophet.

Prophets don’t need to tell people omens of the future. Prophesy is simply a means of speaking the truth. And you spoke it with the fervor of a man with nothing to lose and a mission to tell the world what was going on.

The funny thing is this, Bill: You were right. You were right about so many things, and you don’t even get a chance now to see how scary right you were about some of your predictions. To illustrate, I’m offering up a couple of examples from your finer works:

“I’ll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. “I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.” “I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.” “Hey, wait a minute, there’s one guy holding out both puppets!” “Shut up! Go back to bed, America. Your government is in control. Here’s Love Connection. Watch this and get fat and stupid. By the way, keep drinking beer, you fucking morons.”—Rant in E Minor (1997)

You recorded that in 1992. Today, we live in a world where bipartisan bickering is the norm. Our congress is in a hopeless state of gridlock, fueled by hatred of either side’s beliefs. And nobody seems to notice there’s at least one man—if not more—pulling the strings of everybody who claims to pay attention to modern politics. They’re not watching “Love Connection” though—it’s “The Bachelor,” “Jersey Shore,” and “Hell’s Kitchen.” And the beer…we have more beer than you can imagine.

But the government is in control. Very much so. In fact, now we’re all being watched by the NSA. Our freedoms are slowly being taken from us by a police state that tells us we need to have less rights for the purposes of “national security.” Now the government just wiretaps your phone without a warrant or other court documents. If you choose to stay silent, you are implicitly guilty. These are things COURTS HAVE ALLOWED!!!

You were right, Bill. But it doesn’t stop there.

Go back to bed, America. Your government has figured out how it all transpired. Go back to bed, America. Your government is in control again. Here. Here’s American Gladiators. Watch this, shut up. Go back to bed, America. Here is American Gladiators. Here is 56 channels of it! Watch these pituitary retards bang their fucking skulls together and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom. Here you go, America! You are free to do as we tell you! You are free to do what we tell you!”—Revelations (1993)

Did you know that American Gladiators is gone now, Bill? Now we have shows like “Wipeout” and “Oh, Sit!” where people get to laugh at the expense of others as they bumble, stumble, and flop their way through obstacle courses for the glory of acting stupid on television. The other part is the same, though. We live in a world where the government continues to tell us they’re in control, they’ve got it all figured out, and they are the ones we should trust. Meanwhile, our country seems to keep sliding downhill in education, prosperity, and happiness. People are more sick than ever. But the Government’s got it all figured out…that much they keep telling us. And we’re free, all right. Just like you thought. We’re free to do what they tell us.

“I have this feeling man, ‘cause you know, it’s just a handful of people who run everything, you know … that’s true, it’s provable. It’s not … I’m not a fucking conspiracy nut, it’s provable. A handful, a very small elite, run and own these corporations, which include the mainstream media. I have this feeling that whoever is elected president, like Clinton was, no matter what you promise on the campaign trail – blah, blah, blah – when you win, you go into this smoke-filled room with the twelve industrialist capitalist scum-fucks who got you in there. And you’re in this smoky room, and this little film screen comes down … and a big guy with a cigar goes, “Roll the film.” And it’s a shot of the Kennedy assassination from an angle you’ve never seen before … that looks suspiciously like it’s from the grassy knoll. And then the screen goes up and the lights come up, and they go to the new president, “Any questions?” “Er, just what my agenda is.” “First we bomb Baghdad.” “You got it …”—Rant In E Minor

This ended up being true as well, Bill. Not just corporations—MEGACorporations, billionaire industrialists, people with solipsistic worldviews—they run the world, and they control the people who run our country. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the Kennedy assassination footage got played every time someone else got elected President, just like you said. Just to keep the populace in line.

I’m beginning to see why you kept thinking the Presidents got older—visibly older—from the time they took office to the time they left. Must be the weight of all that poison on their shoulders, Bill.

It doesn’t stop with politics, Bill. Music’s been corrupted too. I remember this diatribe of yours fondly:

“Rick Astley? Have you seen this banal incubus at work? Boy, if this guy isn’t heralding Satan’s imminent approach to Earth, huh. “Don’t ever wanna make you cry, never wanna make you sigh … never gonna break your heart” … oh, I wouldn’t worry about that without a dick, buddy. You got a corn nut! You got a clit! You’re not even a guy! You’re an AIDS germ that got off a slide! They’re puttin’ music to AIDS germs, they’re puttin’ a drum machine behind them in a metronome beat and Ted Turner’s colorizing ‘em, God damn it! These aren’t even people man! It’s a CIA plot to make you think malls are good!! Don’t ya see? (Imitates stereotypical American in a robotic manner) “But Bill, malls are good! Malls allow us to shop 365 days of the year at a 72 degree heat. That must be good.”—Sane Man (1989)

I don’t even want to begin to tell you about “RickRolling,” Bill.

But there’s hope in this world, because some of us actually remember a few things you said for the good of the world:

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one.”—Revelations (1993)

Oh how I’ve carried that last one with me, Bill. You see, I choose not to be in fear. I choose not to be in hate. I choose to love. I choose to laugh. And no matter what, I choose to get on board, strap in, and throw my hands up in the air laughing and squealing wildly, because just like you said—this life, it’s “just a ride.”

See you on the other side, Bill.

Love, Laughter, and Truth,

—CLS

A Lesson in Location, Setting, and Message

Image courtesy GC Hutson

Image courtesy GC Hutson

Over at Simple Justice, my mentor Scott Greenfield posed a question on the lunacy that has become academia in the context of two teachers and the way their “academic freedom” is handled. I’m going to stab at answering it.

Or is it just crazy to think that there should be anyone in higher education who realizes that they’re all nuts?

It’s absolutely crazy to think anyone in higher education circles should realize they’re all nuts.  Students in higher education right now have been so insulated from having uncomfortable discussions, with their lives spent largely in the digital world, that they don’t know how to effectively communicate or respond to others.  Add to this the “special snowflake” mentality most parents take with their children, continually playing the role of “helicopter parent” enforced by the police state and you get a toxic combination of people who will not listen or communicate to others.

The educators are a harder nut to crack.  It might be because they’re sincere in their belief structure, and truly grasp certain aspects of this lunacy.

Take a look at the image Scott posts here.

That’s a professor at Oberlin College, known heavily for being a hotbed of this new crazy that is straying from uncomfortable discussions and challenging ideas, including becoming the laughingstock of the nation when the students complained about the ethnic authenticity of food served in their college cafeteria.

It’s an awful set of ideas, and Scott makes no bones acknowledging that.

That Karega’s ideas are reprehensible is, frankly, no big deal in itself.  Academics think lots of stupid thoughts. And on rare occasion, their stupid thoughts turn out to be right, which is why we let them do so without storming the Ivory Tower with torches and pitchforks.

But look at the other example Scott mentions.  Andrea Quinette was chased out of her classroom because she was attempting to pander to those students she taught.  She was attempting to be a communicator, and discuss her shortcomings when it came to “white privilege.”  In having that discussion with her students, she ended up using the dreaded “n” word which White People Must Not Utter, and as a result is now “under investigation” for not doing what students want her to do.

In case you’re struggling to follow, it’s as nuts as it first appears.  In the course of discussing her own white privilege, she used a forbidden word, prompting outrage from her students who then sent out an open letter to demand she be fired.

This is a good time to look at the way the message was sent and received.  In the case of Karega, she gets a pass because of the environment in which she teaches.  She’s been around a place where words hurt and harm so long that she can’t realize she’s adding to the toxicity when she posts her drivel about “Zionism.”

Quintette was, in contrast, in an environment she didn’t completely understand.  She knew she wanted to convey a message and do so from a vulnerable spot.  What she didn’t understand is that the students were so insulated in their own little bubbles that the moment she used a less than optimal word in communicating her message, she’d placed her neck on the chopping block.

Is it really PC hysteria, though?  Is this the stifling of “academic freedom?” I’ve been turning this thought pattern in my head all morning.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s an issue of “location, setting, and message” gone completely bonkers.

Students don’t want to hear things with which they disagree.  Take a look at any Facebook or Twitter account and see the number of times you see the phrase “If you disagree with me on (x), delete/unfriend me.” That’s a person who doesn’t want to have a rational, logical conversation over any uncomfortable idea.

They head to higher education, which is a business.  Those who are in higher education have to justify the outrageous sums charged for tuition in degrees like “gender studies” or “race theory,” so the teaching staff is more likely to pander to the student and either attempt to discuss or propagate the “social justice” mindset, which continues to cannibalize itself on a daily basis.  If you do that, and you give yourself enough time to buy into that frame of reference, then you will eventually adopt it to the point of madness.

Karega is a shining example of the lunatics completely running the asylum.  Oberlin’s gotten to the point where they buy the Social Justice mindset so much they’ll never return to sanity.  The location, setting, and message are all congruent to produce such an environment.

Quinette, on the other hand, is the proverbial canary in the coal mine at the University of Kansas.  She’s a communications professor.  She tried to communicate with people in the language she thought they understood.  When she did so, without remembering the audience receiving her message, she got silenced for making students feel “uncomfortable.”

The location and setting were only slightly congruent.  Quintette’s message, as a result, was completely incongruent, and that’s why she’s being punished for attempting to reach her audience on their level.

Academia is a place where people either don’t understand the concepts of “location, setting, and message” and how all three intersect work or simply just don’t care.  That’s why Quinette got a roll of dimes and a ticket home, while Karega will continue to bask in the toxic Oberlin environment.

And that’s the best I can manage to answer Scott’s question in the world of Mediation is Dead.

Hear my recent podcast.