Current Reading

This blog is primarily for me to blog my responses to books that I'm reading. Sometimes I blog about other stuff too, though.

I'm currently reading Notes on the Death of Culture: Essays on Spectacle and Society by Mario Vargas Llosa.

Word cloud

Word cloud

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The most painful compromise of my academic career thus far

The Cal State system has done many things that deeply offend me, and the CSU has forced me to make many compromises, but the very worst compromise that the CSU has ever pushed me into is defending a smarmy little shit like Ben Shapiro. He had been invited to give a speech to a student organization at Cal State LA (our sister campus), but the campus president canceled his speech because he's an obnoxious firebrand who says offensive things. If the CSU were properly upholding the value of free expression I wouldn't have to say one damn word in defense of Ben Shapiro. I could simply do what I was planning to do, which is to ignore him. Instead, I now feel a responsibility to say that Ben Shapiro is in the right and academics are in the wrong. WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME DO THIS?????

You think I like defending Ben Shapiro? Believe me, I don't, but we live in a world with academic values, and those values need to be guarded by people with convictions. Who's gonna do it? You? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for being offended, and you curse academic traditionalists. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Shapiro's speech, while repugnant, is necessary for free expression to thrive. And my stance, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, makes spaces safer than you'll ever make them. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about in safe spaces, you want me in that committee, you need me in that committee. We use words like academic freedom, debate, and free expression. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a slur. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a scholar who reads and writes under the blanket of the very academic freedom that I am trying to defend, and then questions in the manner in which I defend it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you donate to FIRE. Either way, I don't give a damn what sort of space you think you're entitled to.

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