In another century I recall walking up the hill towards Georgia’s north campus. It was a clear lovely morning. There, hanging by a noose from an ancient tree, was a mannequin clothed in ethnic African garb. Upon the corpse was affixed a sign protesting the atrocities in Somalia – this was during America’s failed intervention in that crumbled nation. Dramatic high political speech.
The hanging corpse faced downhill so as to be visible to the masses walking north from the student center and Sanford Stadium. Those at the library and the law school also had a good view. The body stayed there all day.
I think they left the beautiful tree when they erected yet another monstrous hall of learning on the hill – followed by another across the walkway. Progress.
A year or two later I was on the north campus quad, making my way to Brooks Hall. I smelled smoke and heard a commotion. Nearing the hanging tree I observed Brooks engulfed in flames.
The metal roof needed repairs and a roofer with a torch was called in. One thing led to another and then the whole structure needed repairing. It was almost a year before classes resumed therein.
Another time I trotted into the courtyard between the student center and the bookstore. There was a huge crowd gathered around the performance stage. On stage were a variety of smartly dressed loudmouths. A be-suited man was screaming into a microphone. I think it was Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist fame. If not, he was a similar hate-monger.
“Fred” ranted and raved. The gathered students jeered and mocked. A woman on stage filmed the spectacle. A police officer looked on. He was there to keep the throng from assaulting the insulting preacher though he obviously sided with the insulted. All in all, the crowd was very well-behaved. The good behavior was rewarded with belittlement and abuse:
You, slut in the pants, thou shalt burn in hell!
Black man, ye shall no the fires!
Filthy sinner, I discern thoust to be a homosexual. God hates you!
You there, … I just don’t like your looks. Sinner!
Here, we have a witch!
A young man turned to the taunted, taunting crowd and asked them to show old Fred a little respect. The crowd booed laughingly. Fred turned immediately on his defender: “Silence! Ye heathen interrupter!”
On it went. I grew weary and shuffled away. The students gave as good as they got from Hell’s street preacher.
Again, that was another century. I swear people were differen then. Remember? It was called America.
Today, any of these incidents would be the genesis of great crisis. CNN would host a campus town hall telethon. Riots would ensue. Politicians would shriek. Climates would change.
By all accounts, over the past 25 years Americans in general have changed – young people and college students especially. They have become soft as butter and about as intellectual.
National Review notes: Campus Commotions Show We’re Raising Fragile Kids. So it seems. Decades ago, armed with only flowers, college students would stand down the rifle-totting ranks of the National Guard. Now, they cower in fear of one of their own sporting a Raggedy Ann costume.
The Review’s article centers, primarily, on the stupidity at Yale.
A warning not to wear culturally insensitive Halloween costumes sparked an imbroglio at Yale, which went viral over the weekend. A lecturer asked in an e-mail, “Is there no room anymore for a child to be a little bit obnoxious . . . a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?”
Students went ballistic. When an administrator (who is the lecturer’s spouse) defended free speech, some students wanted his head. One student wrote in a Yale Herald op-ed (now taken down): “He doesn’t get it. And I don’t want to debate. I want to talk about my pain.”
They can’t debate anymore. That requires logic. It’s all about them now. Their feelings. Their offense. Their pain. The Review has also deemed them Yale’s Idiot Children.
And what happens when large numbers of these delicate little flowers are set free to navigate their way through life? They feel unsafe and demand “safe spaces.” They feel threatened by uncomfortable ideas and demand “trigger warnings.” They might even want written rules or contracts to help them negotiate sexual relations.
In other words, this is the generation the mandarins of political correctness have been waiting for.
This tragedy is part of yet a greater tragedy in the making. As America’s young grow weaker, the world gets harder. There’s a lot of danger brewing out there – terrorists, welfare-driven migrations, economic upheaval, political machinations. If the darlings can’t stand the uncomfortable idea, they will never be capable of withstanding the uncomfortable action.
Things must change and quickly if an entire generation is not to be lost to whimpdom. They fate is bad enough. Worse, civilization may hang in the balance. Oops, didn’t mean to offend anyone by writing “hang.” Oops, wrote it again…