Monday, June 11, 2007
... Dave Barry!
Yes. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Marquette University achieved top honors in the "most ridiculous" category during the academic year that just ended for the following case of campus thought-policing:
Last October, Ph.D. student Stuart Ditsler posted a Barry quote on his office door that read, "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." Within days, Philosophy Department Chair James South deemed the quote "patently offensive" and ordered its removal, all the while maintaining in an e-mail to Ditsler that "while I am a strong supporter of academic freedom, I'm afraid that hallways and office doors are not 'free-speech zones.'"What? Did Dr. South take this joke as some sort of personal challenge to his manhood, as if he weren't, as department chairman, sufficiently "dangerous, powerful and relentless"?
Someone needs to remind Dr. South that academic freedom cannot, by its nature, be confined to "zones", although it is possible to describe places where it does not exist. One such place is the Philosophy Department at Marquette University -- a school any children of mine will have to attend without my financial assistance.
Leave it up to the apparatchiks of modern academia to succeed in two astounding feats at once: (1) to fail to see the humor in something Dave Barry said, and (2) to almost make us forget through their own absurdity that stifling academic debate is no laughing matter.
To ban Dave Barry, of all people! I'm speechless!