Reed College students demonize director of “Boys Don’t Cry” as transphobic

This report will be found only on right-wing websites like Reason.com, so take it with a grain of salt as usual. However, there’s an eyewitness report by blogger Jack Halberstam, who writes about LGBT issues; but Halberstam, also links to the deeply weird “Freedom to Marry our Pets Society” page, so take that into account.

This incident is reported to have happened at Reed College, a Center of Regressive Leftism in Portland, Oregon. On November 11, Kimberley Pierce, director and cowriter of the famous movie “Boys Don’t Cry,” gave the Greenberg Distinguished Scholar lecture on that film after it was screened. If you’ve seen “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999), you’ll know it was a sympathetic treatment of the tragic story of Brandon Teena, a trans male who was raped and murdered by two ex-convict associates in 1993. His transsexuality was the reason he was killed.

The movie, which I’ve seen, is deeply moving, and garnered Hillary Swank, who played Teena, an Oscar for Best Actress and a Golden Globe award; co-star Chloe Sevigny, who played Teena’s girlfriend, was nominated for theBest Supporting Actress Oscar. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know that the movie depicts with loathing the transphobia that caused Teena’s death, and depicts him sympathetically. It was a powerful statement against violence against transgender people.

You can guess what happened at Reed College, for both Pierce and the movie were deemed NOT TRANS ENOUGH. As Reason.com reports:

The students hurled a litany of insults at Peirce, putting up posters that read “fuck your transphobia” and “you don’t fucking get it” among other things. Worse, when Peirce ascended to her podium, students had placed a sign there. It read “fuck this cis white bitch.” That Peirce is actually gender-fluid is quite beside the point.

The students’ unbelievable rudeness crossed the line into a kind of censorship when Peirce tried to speak: the students simply shouted over her. Eventually they let her talk, but some students continued to yell things like “fuck your respectability politics” and “fuck you scared bitch.”

. . .You’re probably still wondering why the social justice left hates Peirce so much. Well, the film was ahead of its time in 1999, but in 2016 it’s problematic. That’s because the main character, Brandon, was played by Hilary Swank, a non-trans person. Students were also incensed at the idea of Peirce having profited from violence against trans people, which isn’t a remotely accurate way to characterize things, but there it is.

Halberstam gives a list of other reasons Pierce was attacked, and then goes on to answer them in a calm and rational way. Here are the students’ objections that he recounts:

Since this incident at Reed, I have heard from other students that they too felt “uncomfortable” with the representations of transgender life and death in Boys Don’t Cry. These students raise the following objections to the film some fifteen years after its release:

  • First, younger trans oriented audiences want to know if Peirce herself is trans. And they understand her as a non-trans person who is making money from the representation of violence against transgender bodies.
  •  Second, they ask about the casting of a non-trans identified actor in the role of Brandon and wonder why a transgender man was not cast to play Brandon.
  • Third, students in particular have objected to the graphic depiction of rape in the film and feel that the scene is poorly orchestrated and the film is too mired in the pathologization and violation and punishment of transgender bodies.

There’s further evidence, as Halberstam shows a picture of some of the posters put up by protesting students:

screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-11-09-03-am

and added this:

These posters voiced a range of responses to the film including: “You don’t fucking get it!” and “Fuck Your Transphobia!” as well as “Trans Lives Do Not Equal $$” and to cap it all, the sign hung on the podium read: “Fuck this cis white bitch”!! The protestors waited until after the film had screened at Peirce’s request and then entered the auditorium while shouting “Fuck your respectability politics” and yelling over her commentary until Peirce left the room. After establishing some ground rules for a discussion, Peirce came back into the room but the conversation again got out of hand and finally a student yelled at Peirce: “Fuck you scared bitch.” At which point the protestors filed out and Peirce left campus.

Finally, the Reason.com article gives more evidence that this really happened, and notes a sensible response from Reed’s Dean of Students:

A spokesperson for Reed College confirmed the posters and the heckling, which he attributed to a handful of students.

“It has sparked a lot of debate on campus,” the spokesperson told Reason.

Dean of Students Nigel Nicholson, to his credit, penned a strongly-worded statement in the campus paper:

“The actions that I saw were not animated by the spirit of inquiry or the desire to learn that usually animates Reed audiences. The students had already decided what they thought, and came to the Question-and-Answer session to make their judgments known, not to listen and engage. Some brought posters bearing judgments and accusations. Others asked questions, that, while grammatically questions (that is, they ended with question marks), were not animated by a genuine desire to explore a question, but rather sought to indict the speaker. It felt like a courtroom, not a college.

Some students sought to dominate the space, and to take control of the space away from the speaker.

I was deeply embarrassed and ashamed of our conduct, and I hope that as a community we can reflect on what happened and make a determination not to repeat it.”

Now I can’t find Nicholson’s statement online (the articles in the Reed student paper aren’t accessible), so let’s again be a bit skeptical, but I’ll take this as true for the moment. (Perhaps Reed students or faculty can weigh in below or email me.)

The reported treatment of Pierce, including calling her a “bitch” (Pierce is a lesbian), is unconscionable, and the violation of her freedom of speech by the heckling students, solely on the grounds that her sympathetic film didn’t meet every single criterion for transgender purity, is reprehensible.

This is the reason the Left is tearing itself apart: unless you meet various criteria of ideological purity, you’re not only not accepted, but demonized. Christina Hoff Summers, an equity feminist, is not considered a real feminist because she’s not a gender feminist. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is demonized because she once worked for a conservative think tank and is married to a conservative. With criteria this stringent, there’s no hope for the Left to unite around various important issues.

Lost in all this is the fact that “Boys Don’t Cry,” considered a daring and shocking film at the time, was also a landmark in bringing the horrible treatment of transsexuals to the attention of the public; indeed, it was used as a rallying point for trans rights.

What is the Left coming to? And why doesn’t the mainstream media ever report on things like this?

h/t: Cindy

123 Comments

  1. Ken Phelps
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Well great. The children of people who think Huck Finn is racist are all grown up!

    • Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Bad words in 100 year old novels nobody is forced to read are triggering.

      Plastering ‘fuck you bitch’ all over the wall is okay.

      It will be interesting to see what epithet they use for Spike Lee if he is invited to talk about School Daze

    • GBJames
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      By some definitions of “grown up”.

      • Ken Phelps
        Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        Let’s go with some variation on “as the twig was bent…”

  2. Kisanet Beyene
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I thought Reed was relatively immune from this sort of thing (refusing on principle to adopt a gender studies program) but I guess it is not.

    There was another similar incident at Reed last year,

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/24/rape-culture-troll-threatens-reed-college.html

    I think it was a small minority responsible for this incident — it takes only a few to shut down a talk. And it’s good to see a reasoned response by the administration and at least one student willing to go on record in opposition and in support of liberal values.

  3. Posted December 10, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    This is why social justice films are a Kobyashi Maru test: there’s no possible way to win.

    Best stick to movies about robots disguised as trucks.

    • Posted December 10, 2016 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

      You must realize that the Transformer movies are just as problematic as Boys Don’t Cry: robotic beings that have a binary mechanic identity as robots and as cats/trucks, and are not accepted as human beings and not given any human rights. The Transformers director is just lucky SJWs haven’t realized the problematicism yet.

      • Badger3k
        Posted December 11, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        They are also symbolic of slavery – their alternate form (vehicle usually) is a tool that is used by others. They must represent the Transformers internalizing of their own slavery or something (I’m sure someone can make more of this line of …er…”reasoning”).

        • Posted December 11, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          I’ll help – the very word “robot” has originated from Czech word “robota” which pretty much means “slavery”.

          • Posted December 12, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

            Oddly, in the original play that got the terminology into use in SF, the robots were basically clones – they were grown, not assembled.

  4. Merilee
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Sub

    • Diane G.
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

      sub

  5. AL Watson
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Those who demand tolerance from others are now the most intolerant of all. Of course when one believes that hurt feelings or being offended is a criminal act, it doesn’t take much to provoke these snowflakes.

    But no worries, in a few short years, they’ll be living at home with their parents as they’ll be unemployable and thankfully invisible to society.

    • Cindy
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      It isn’t ‘tolerance’ that regressive leftists want, no, it’s absolute acceptance and *appreciation*. Anything less makes you literally Hitler.

      I ask, why should I have to appreciate FGM? Why should I have to appreciate the burka? Why should I have to appreciate the murder of LGBT?

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/10/tolerance-protect-human-rights-migration

      • chris moffatt
        Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Not so much acceptance and appreciation. What they want is total control of the narrative and of the discussion, and total suppression by any means of anything of which they do not approve.

        “,,,I hope that as a community we can reflect on what happened and make a determination not to repeat it.” This will not happen as long as there are no consequences to these little fascists.

      • AL Watson
        Posted December 11, 2016 at 6:32 am | Permalink

        I don’t have to like or “appreciate” them and neither do they have to reciprocate. What is owed is civility, regardless.

        Another failing of the appeasing colleges is not teaching their customers, err students, how to disagree. But then, as tuitions climb ever higher, they’re not as interested in education as in retention and revenue.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      they’ll be unemployable and thankfully invisible to society.

      And that will help just how? Being invisible doesn’t stop them from existing – as the recent resurfacing of the racism endemic in western societies shows. Boils like this grow unless lanced. Putting the snowflakes into safe spaces again will just let the poison fester until it comes out worse. That is a recipe for disaster.

    • Posted December 10, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      They might be unemployable, but thanks to Internet and lots of free time (especially for those actually unemployable), they will be VERY visible.

      • Posted December 11, 2016 at 1:33 am | Permalink

        + 1

        • AL Watson
          Posted December 11, 2016 at 6:24 am | Permalink

          True but they won’t have the forum or leverage living in mom’s basement that they had while self-importantly attending colleges that let them get away with the perpetual victimhood and demand for toleration while having none themselves. No other institution would put up with it, which is a lesson that the $70,000/year college failed to teach, seemingly being in the appeasement business rather than education one as the former is more lucrative.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted December 11, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

            Yes. If education wasn’t such a lucrative business, fascist students like this would be expelled. They’re a tiny minority ruining the place for the majority.

            Behaviour like this wouldn’t be tolerated from white supremacists, for example, so why should they get away with it? The authoritarian left are usually the first ones to criticize gendered insults like “bitch,” but I guess when they’re the ones using them, it’s okay.

            The far left will tell us this is these students’ home and they therefore have a right to do this. However, they’re not the only ones living there and they have failed to consider all those they share a home with.

            • AL Watson
              Posted December 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

              While a minority, the aggrieved snowflakes exert disproportionate influence not only on their peers but by demanding and getting favorable responses from the administration who fear for a decline in revenue, bursting the speculative bubble that higher education has become at the current inflated tuitions.

              It really is disgusting and deeply demoralizing for the future of a country and society that will certainly face more serious challenges than hurt feelings or offense.

    • Simon
      Posted December 11, 2016 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Jessica Valenti, Laurie Penny, Kate Smurthwaite, Amanda Marcotte etc. There are jobs out there in mainstream media. Critical Theory inspired pomo BS is far more institutionalised in Canada, the US, the UK and probably other Western Nations than many seem willing to acknowledge. It has been influencing legislation for a while by riding on the back of accepted “truths” and unexamined assumptions about gender and race relations. People don’t seem to wake up until squashed by the legal steamroller and then they get cast as reactionary kooks. Ignore at your peril.

  6. Posted December 10, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    However, there’s an eyewitness report by blogger Jack Halberstam, who writes about LGBT issues; but Halberstam, also links to the deeply weird “Freedom to Marry our Pets Society” page, so take that into account.

    And this:

    But, we are also limiting the meaning of “violence” to physical assault. As so many theorists have shown, violence can also appear in the form of civility, empathy, absence, indifference and non-appearance.

    Because civility, empathy and the absence of violence are also violence.

  7. Carl
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    What makes Reason.com “right wing?” “Libertarian” or “free-market liberal” would be more accurate.

    • Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      It’s right-wing on economics in the sense that they believe the market can solve everything, that global warming is a myth and that people need more guns, not fewer.

      On social issues it is liberal on things like drug policy. Also, they are very critical of policing methods without falling into conspiracy theory. Their view that the conflict between police and black communities is more down to the over-policing of petty crimes to meet arbitrary targets and raise revenue is more convincing than the idea that police are all trigger-happy white supremacists. There is a high correlation between the criminalisation of ‘antisocial behaviour’ and mutual hostility between the police and the public.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 10, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        that people need more guns, not fewer.

        That includes special snowflakes hidden in their parent’s basements, unemployed and nursing one or more grievances based on their failure to handle the outside world? What could possibly go wrong?

      • Posted December 10, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Ronald Bailey, who does most of Reasons GW coverage, believes GW is real.

      • Michael
        Posted December 10, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        Where on reason do they say that global warming is a myth?

    • Historian
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      If you think libertarians shouldn’t be called right wing then the people described in this post shouldn’t be called left wing. The vast majority of people on the left have little sympathy for those who have no respect for freedom of speech. It’s funny how definitions can be twisted to support anybody’s position on a topic.

      • Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        Are you saying that libertarians shouldn’t be called right-wing and authoritarian students shouldn’t be called left-wing, or that libertarians should be called right-wing and that authoritarian students should be called left-wing?

        • Historian
          Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          What I am saying is that terms such as “left wing,” “right wing,” “liberal,” “conservative,” etc. are loosely thrown about without any attempt by the utterers to explain or define the terms. Ambiguity and/or incoherence in how these terms are bandied about result in poor communication and misunderstanding.

          For example, in my opinion, the terms “left wing” or “leftists” have virtually lost meaning over the last few decades. Traditionally, leftists viewed the world primarily through an economic lens. Now people are labelled as a leftist if they have certain social views, irrespective of how they think about economic issues. I prefer to view the differences between those I call leftists and rightists in economic terms. I admit that I have not always made this clear in what I have written or said.

          So, from my perspective I view libertarians as right wing because of their economic views, despite what their social views may be. I view the people described in this post as not left wing. This is why I wince at the term “regressive left.” I also understand that other people may have a different definition of the terms leftist and rightist. I only wish that they would take more effort to define them.

          • Posted December 10, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

            A lot of it is down to self-identification. Most of these students would identify as Left-wing. They’d also use the term ‘progressive’ which is why flipping that around to ‘regressive’ is appropriate.

            There’s a fair point to the argument that they are not even ‘left-wing’ in an economic sense: that the demands they place on universities are consumerist demands on an increasingly market-lead education system, and that no-platforming and safe spaces are the logical result of the withdrawal of the campus from a public space into a private one: the campus is, in effect, a gated community which ruthlessly polices itself.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 10, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

              Most of these students would identify as Left-wing.

              Some of these people could really benefit from a week or two in the shipyard with some real left-wingers.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 10, 2016 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            I quite agree. Further, ‘left-wing’ and ‘right-wing’ are frequently implicitly defined in terms of modern industrial society.

            In cold-war times this led to both sides (US and USSR) supporting third-world revolutionary movements for whom ‘left’ or ‘right’ were irrelevant and utterly misleading labels. Including some factions whose aims would have been at variance with any ideas of social justice or liberty held by those sponsoring them.

            I’d be willing to bet a fair few movements decided to name themselves either ‘Peoples Democratic Revolutionary …’ or ‘Freedom Fighters of …’ depending on whether they thought they were more likely to get free Kalashnikovs or free Armalites.

            cr

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted December 11, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

              Hitler deliberately used the word “socialist” in the name of the NAZI party because it was popular. I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard Republicans point out, inaccurately but because of this, that the Nazis were actually socialists.

      • Carl
        Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Fair enough. “Right” and “left” are not particularly useful anymore. Christopher has it mostly right in his comment – I would only extend the overlap he cites to explicitly include ideology (or better, core beliefs).

    • Christopher
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      It’s probably more helpful to dismiss the old imagery of a “political spectrum”, as in a straight line descriptor from fringe far right reactionaries to the extreme left revolutionaries and instead view it as Venn diagrams, where the far left and far right, classical liberal and classical conservative, libertarian, and so on overlap, not in ideologies per se, but in methods of social and governmental control, for example.

      • Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Left and right are the x-axis. Authoritarian and libertarian are the y-axis. Now map that onto the surface of a Klein bottle and you have something resembling the truth.

        I read Ian McDonald’s Luna recently (there’s my suggestion for books of the year) and that is set on a lunar colony where gender and sexual orientation are entirely free. The book has won awards for its representation of sexuality.

        The thing is that it is in all other ways a libertarian society: there’s no law, other than contract law, and no welfare system: stop paying for air and you you don’t get to use it.

        And both aspects are entirely consistent with each other.

        It’s like a Robert A Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress taken to its logical conclusion.

        • Carl
          Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          “The polar opposite of Authoritarian” is an excellent definition of “Libertarian.”

          • Historian
            Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

            I have not seen a poll indicating what percentage of self-identified libertarians voted for Trump, an undoubted authoritarian. Yet, it seem that some well-known libertarians, such as Peter Thiel, supported Trump. How can this be explained?

            http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/10/peter-thiel-the-authoritarian-libertarian-for-trump.html

            • Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

              Over at Harry’s Place – a left-leaning blog that identifies as ‘decent left’ (broadly Blairite) – they have been attacking Trump for abandoning Reaganism.

              No party represents a pure ideology. Ecomomic libertarians had the choice between a fairly incompetent Libertarian without a hope of winning, Trump, of Clinton, son many of them voted Trump.

              Leftish liberals went for Clinton as the least worse option out of those who could possibly win, or they didn’t vote at all.

            • Carl
              Posted December 10, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

              I can only offer a version of the “no true Scotsman” argument to explain Libertarians voting for Trump.

          • Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

            I think the word has been tarnished by association with conservatism in the US.

            I think I first encountered it properly in George Woodcock’s Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Thought where it was very much identified with the left, and later with pacifism – which is almost the flipside of the US where libertarianism makes a glaring exception for government spending where the military is concerned.

            • Carl
              Posted December 10, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

              I think this is a false impression of Libertarians in America. One of the things I fault them for is an unrealistic attitude toward national defense and the U.S. leadership role in the world. The attitude strikes me as “worry about if we are invaded” – more isolationist and less hawkish than either Clinton or Trump.

              • Posted December 10, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

                I recently read an article that indicated at least one of the NATO countries are talking about the need to improve their military because they feel they can’t continue to depend on the good ‘ol USofA to provide leadership (read military support) against the Bear.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 10, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

            I think it’s accurate to say that libertarians are generally anti-authoritarian. There are nonetheless some self-described libertarians who are authoritarian on particular issues — Ron and Rand Paul on abortion, and other matters pertaining to religion, come to mind. And there is a strand of libertarianism — the Randian objectivists — that seems to attract those of an authoritarian bent.

            I don’t think it’s correct to brand Reason magazine “right-wing.” Like libertarianism generally, it tends to be liberal on civil liberties, but conservative on laissez-faire economics and governmental regulation.

            I see no reason why any self-respecting libertarian (small “l” or large) would’ve voted for Donald Trump, since he’s on the opposite side on both ends of the spectrum — both opposed to civil liberties and anti-free-trade.

            • Carl
              Posted December 10, 2016 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

              One point where the junior adult wing of libertarians tends toward authoritarianism, is the god like status granted to Ayn Rand. Most people over 30 are past that though.

              I have heard it argued that abortion rights are orthogonal to libertarian values, but that seems inconsistent to me.

            • Posted December 11, 2016 at 6:25 am | Permalink

              There’s certainly a branch of libertarianism which thinks that the state has no business in how they run their companies – and they should be free to treat their workers how the hell they want.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 10, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

          Left and right are the x-axis. Authoritarian and libertarian are the y-axis.Not a new argument. See linked website which has been up since 2001 (they added that bit since I last visited). There are probably an infinite number of possible axes to choose, and the actual number of axes and their orthogonality is probably a completely open question.

          • HaggisForBrains
            Posted December 11, 2016 at 5:05 am | Permalink

            What a fascinating website! Thanks Aidan. It seems that I am bang in the middle of the Libertarian Left, close to Bernie Sanders and Ghandi! I thought I was very middle of the road.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 11, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

              I have on a couple of occasions suggested it would be ineresting to see where the average user of this site plots.
              Being in the middle of the road with Ghandi means the police horses are probably lining up to charge.

          • GBJames
            Posted December 11, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

            Interesting. I find myself down in the corner, a bit to the left of Ghandi and way more libertarian than him.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 11, 2016 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

              Ghandi was descended out of the Jain priest caste, IIRC, and it shows. Decidedly authoritarian AND a lawyer? Quelle surprise!

          • Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

            As an aside, I’ve always thought there is a role for “revolutionary/evolutionary” as an axis. I’m a left libertarian evolutionary, as is Chomsky, for example. My friend Raven, by contrast, is more left libertarian revolutionary.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 12, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

              Hmmm, I’ll think on that a bit.

  8. Christopher
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Nice to know that in the post-truth Trumpocalypse era, the left chooses to continue its ouroboros obsession. This is the perfect example of why I no longer refer to or consider myself “on the left”, or liberal, and the “D” no longer means democrat, but Demoralized.

    • ToddP
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      I think the Regressive/Authoritarian leftists are actually quite pleased with the prospect of Trump’s America. They would never admit that, of course. These are people who thrive on and celebrate professional victimhood. They must ALWAYS be the victims of oppression (real or imagined), it’s become their religion now. What better environment to develop and spread their message than an antagonistic onslaught of Trump trolls and Alt-Right neo-fascists? The SJWs will now have an endless supply of hate speech to feed on and point to.

      What they ultimately want is power and control, then they will act as cruel and malicious and oppressive toward their “enemies” as they claim is being done to them.

      Loud shouters always win the coverage, whether they’re instigators or reactionaries. The media doesn’t care for a rational, middle ground approach. Conflict sells. We centrists will be increasingly ignored.

      • Carl
        Posted December 11, 2016 at 12:12 am | Permalink

        Very perceptive:

        I think the Regressive/Authoritarian leftists are actually quite pleased with the prospect of Trump’s America. They would never admit that, of course.

        It goes beyond “never admitting” – the source of their joy probably doesn’t rise to conscious awareness.

      • barn owl
        Posted December 11, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        I think the Regressive/Authoritarian leftists are actually quite pleased with the prospect of Trump’s America. They would never admit that, of course. These are people who thrive on and celebrate professional victimhood.

        I suspect the same about the members of a social media group in which I participate (less and less frequently). These are people who wail about the impending Trump oppressions out of one side of their mouths, and discuss their international conference trips and sabbaticals, multiple pairs of Fluevogs, and weekly shopping trips to Trader Joe’s out of the other. I should stop reading the group entirely but, you know, train wreck mentality and all that. :-S

    • Ribb Rotgut
      Posted December 13, 2016 at 3:52 am | Permalink

      I, too, left the “liberal” label back in January because of the madness. Now I am a “left-leaning moderate”. Still a Democrat though. Although I probably would’ve voted for Rand Paul if he was the Republican candidate against Crooked Shillery.

  9. jeffery
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m reminded of the LGBTQ student organization in England that decided to not let gay male students participate because they “weren’t discriminated against enough”.

    • merilee
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      It seems it’s no longer OK to be cis anything. Kind of like the recent hijab post, it’s no longer enough just to tolerate and accept differences, we have to celebrate the differentest as the bestest:-(

    • Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      The irony is that identifying with the gender you present as is now also an axis of privilege.

      First there was cis-privilege – the outrageous privilege of identifying as the gender assigned to you at birth – but now there’s ‘passing privilege’ to distinguish transgender people who present as their preferred gender.

      The axes of privilege have gone fractal.

      • Cindy
        Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        They have to keep upping the ante and inventing new ways in which to be oppressed because, in SJWland, oppression is a form of currency and social status.

        • barn owl
          Posted December 11, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

          Cynic that I am, I predict an increase in the incidence of factitious disorders and malingering. If you’re an upper middle class or wealthy cishet white person with no congenital disbilities, your options for oppression points are pretty limited.

          • Cindy
            Posted December 11, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

            Mx Barn Owl, I find your post to be very triggering. I am lit-rally shaking so much right no that I lit-rally have to take the day off!

            • barn owl
              Posted December 11, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

              😀

      • AL Watson
        Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        How many of these delicate snowflakes who think that their feelings surrounding “gender identity” are to be genuflected to? 1,000? 10,000? 100,000? In a country of 330 million?

  10. Carl
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Maybe it’s as simple as generational envy. With Nazism and Communism defeated, civil rights firmly established, women enjoying more equality than ever, and even gay marriage legalized and approved of by a majority of citizens, what’s a red blooded college student to do?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      You have evidence that Nazism has been defeated?

      • Carl
        Posted December 10, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        Some statements are so foolish, they don’t deserve any further response than scorn. You have mine.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 11, 2016 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

          Ah, so you didn’t have friends kicked to shit by British Nazis in the 1970s, and the street riots between the Anti-Nazi League and the British Nazi Party (operating as “National Front”) in the 1980s? You didn’t see the re-rise of the British Nazi Party under the name of “British National Party” into the 1990s and the “English Defence League coming into the last couple of decades.
          They were suppressed – a little – for a couple of decades after World War 2. Defeated – never.

          • Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

            “The war is never completely won. There are always new battles to be fought against the darkness. Only the names change.”

    • Shaokang Yuan
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Fight against Islam.

      • Carl
        Posted December 10, 2016 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        That defeats my argument. I guess they are just stupid.

  11. Cindy
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    If anything, dealing with regressive leftists has taught me to be more tolerant of those with different views. I used to be one of those leftists who mocked and demonized those who disagreed with me – no more.

    If anything, what I find interesting is how closely regressive/authoritarian leftists mirror the social conservatives with whom I used to argue. The social conservatives used the same tactics – accusing you of being Hitler, banning you for ‘violent speech’ etc, when such ‘violent speech’ was mere disagreement. (I once got banned from a right wing site for using the term ‘bs’. That = violent swearing)

    These regressive leftists, just like the social conservatives, are fanatics. They care about one thing more than anything else – power. They don’t care how much suffering they cause in pursuit of their goal. All that matters is that they ‘win’ at all costs. That they can feel good about their moral superiority while forcing the rest of society to make sacrifices. And no, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the most regressive, authoritarian leftists tend to be upper middle class people going to the most expensive universities on earth. SJWism is just another way for them to signal and to maintain their social status. Why pay any attention at all to inequality when you can just dismiss the concerns of the poor as racism, sexism, and Islamophobia.

    They shame you into doing what they want, whilst maintaining their social and economic status, and signalling their ultimate superiority.

    • Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      I grew up in the mid-Eighties. I was a punk and a horror fan and all the censorship was coming from the Right.

      Then the Tories brought in Section 28 (banning the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality), lumped anti-war and anti-nuclear dramas in with ‘video nasties’ in an attempt to get them banned, banned Irish Republicans from speaking on TV and stopped the publication of Spycatcher.

      Political correctness was still a joke (I didn’t live under the GLC) and naturally I identified with the Left.

      Then came the Rushdie affair and the left abandoned free speech.

      I haven’t changed my position on free speech. I haven’t changed my positions on the welfare system, unions, education and universal healthcare. I just don’t identify with most of those who identify as Left-wing.

  12. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Ugh, ugh, ugh. A very clear case of recursive left bending ’round to the far, far right.
    The next step, which is entirely predictable, is that they will call for Dean Nicholsons’ removal from office for his (I think) very tepid rebuttal of the extraordinarily poor behavior of those students.

  13. Pliny the in Between
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    One of the problems of the progressive movement is the failure to realize that open-minded is not the same as not recognizing boundaries. We have substituted the tyranny of the majority for the tyranny of the minority. Consequently the liberal agenda seems driven by the loudest and most divisive voices just like the right.

    • merilee
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      +1

  14. Nobody Special
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    For Cod’s sake don’t let the snowflakes watch Tootsie.

    Do these eejits not know about actors and acting? What next? Boycotting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for not employing real Oompa-Loompahs?
    The regressive left have shifted beyond satire.

    • Christopher
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Exactly, and Bosom Buddies would probably send them into fits of uncontrollable rage!

      • Nobody Special
        Posted December 10, 2016 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        Big Momma’s House or Eddie Murphy’s Nutty Professor would have them apoplectic.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Wait, what? The Oompa-Loompahs weren’t real?!

    • merilee
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Or Mrs. Doubtfire!!

      • Nobody Special
        Posted December 10, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        From what I’ve heard, Daniel Day Lewis is not quadriplegic (My Left Foot), Hoffman is not only not a transvestite, he isn’t even an autistic savant (Rainman), Tom Cruise isn’t confined to a wheelchair and wasn’t even born on the 4th of July, and Tom Hanks neither died from AIDS (Philadelphia) nor suffers from a mental disability (Forrest Gump).

        There, is that enough to make the little darlings’ heads explode, or do we need to go on and explain about Quasimodo? or Steve Martin’s nose (Roxanne)?

  15. Jenny Haniver
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know about other articles in the Reed student paper being inaccessable, but this link http://www.reedquest.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/quest20161118.pdf opens a PDF of the Nov. 18th issue of the student paper, “The Quest.” The article “Students Sit, Kroeger Walks,” discusses the brouhaha in the context of other recent protests at the school re the social justice hot buttons of the hour. Then on pg. 5 is a letter to the editor by an anonymous trans student who was present at the event, giving their impressions. An extremely thoughtful and insightful letter, I think.

  16. Jean Hess
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that some students were rude jerks. I always wish there was an agreement that people who interrupt the proceeding(like yelling over the speaker) should be reminded of the rules, then if they break the rule again they get escorted out of the hall. We are supposedly a civil society.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted December 11, 2016 at 5:23 am | Permalink

      Exactly.

  17. Paul
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    What happens if some challenge to our civilization appears in twenty years and these students are the ones that have to face it? Will they retreat to safe spaces and issue trigger warnings?

    • Cindy
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      I think that a lot of this ‘safe space’ stuff and ‘don’t trigger me’ stuff is just theatre. As I said, oppression is a form of currency with these people, so they must constantly demonstrate how oppressed they are, and they have to keep upping the stakes to prove that they are more oppressed than that guy over there.

    • Nobody Special
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      “They’re about to launch nukes, what shall we do, Non-Gender Specific President?”

      “There’s only one thing to do; break out the play-doh, colouring books, comfort cushions and labrador puppies.”

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 10, 2016 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        If you think it would help.

        (Ford Prefect: People of Earth, a round of drinks. On me.
        Barkeep: Do you really think the world is gonna end?
        Ford Prefect: Yep.
        Barkeep: Well shouldn’t we lie down on the floor, or put a paper bag on our heads, or something?
        Ford Prefect: If you think it would help.
        Barkeep: Will it help?
        Ford Prefect: Not at all.

        – Doug Adams )

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted December 11, 2016 at 5:24 am | Permalink

          🙂

  18. Jenny Haniver
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    “Freedom to Marry Our Pets” is indeed “deeply weird”; however, here in Berzerkely, a woman who teaches in one of the cultural studies-type departments “publicly” married herself! Planned the wedding, invited guests (a gift registry?), had a ceremony. I read that she’s had a child — parthenogenesis, perhaps?

    • Posted December 10, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      I foresee a very messy divorce.

      • Diane G.
        Posted December 10, 2016 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

        😀

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted December 11, 2016 at 5:25 am | Permalink

        😀

    • Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Raises an interesting question – an example of “specification creep”. With same sex marriage now legal in many of our countries (and a good thing it is!), I wonder if there are any places where one *could* now marry oneself because the laws did not remember to say that the parties to the marriage have to be distinct!

      Shades of the old chess rules, which, apparently, forgot to mention that pawn promotion had to be to a piece *of the pawn’s own colour*.

  19. dd
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Coyne, how apropos you should ask about mainstream media not reporting events like this.

    You may have heard about the murder and rape of a young girl in Germany by a refugee minor in October. German state and national media neglected to report it….much like the Cologne molestations.

    I first read about it in Breitbart a few days ago. Today the New York Times had an article about the controversy and gave the event meta-coverage, if you will.

    In other words, it used the crime as a platform to discuss what should and should not be reported. (The BBC covered it yesterday.)

    As I said, I first read about it in Breitbart a few days ago and its writer on the case was far more direct and informative than the BBC or Times, which have focused on, well, its hermeneutics.

    • Posted December 11, 2016 at 2:18 am | Permalink

      Several days ago, there was a discussion here about whether we should boycott Breitbart because of their support on Trump, and I predicted that before the week is over, we would find ourselves discussing something reported by Breitbart because MSM have decided we do not need to know the event.

  20. Blue
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Actually and seriously, Ms Haniver, this public intention of mawwying Self is not that uncommon: http://www.google.com/#q=%22marry+herself%22.

    I have no idea re homosexual women nor polygynous women nor men; but for heterosexual, ‘monogamous’ women, the aftermath of such a practice is utterly so much safer, and thus far, far happier for very many, than society’s ‘traditional mawwiage’ is. Even for the person (and, most especially, if that person is female) as parent to one or multiple children.

    Blue

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      I am aware that some women have married themselves, though I’d aver it’s uncommon. Guess I’m not so évolué a feminist because I think it’s ridiculous and solipsistic, as ridiculous as marrying your pet or your i-Phone or whatever; but, hey, if that’s what they want to do, let ’em do it, just don’t invite me to the “wedding.” It’s a silly fiction. Following your link, I find that one woman who married herself, Yasmin Eleby, states “I wanted to have a celebration of myself. My wedding was going to be about me making a commitment to love myself, to honor myself and to know my self-worth.” Such blather. I don’t know why she has to marry herself to do that unless she has multiple personality disorder, and I say that sarcastically. She also stated that if she didn’t get married before she turned 40, she was going to have a wedding by herself. Sorry, but I think that’s cockamaime. And I see nothing wrong with traditional marriage — if someone wants to get married, and obviously she did. I also reject the feminist dictum that traditional, heterosexual marriage is inherently evil — male domination and blah, blah, blah. And are these feminists against marriage as an institution or just against heterosexual marriage? (Gays can be just as dominating as straight people.) If a woman doesn’t want to get married (to a man), fine, then she doesn’t have to. I happen to be well past 40 and am not married, NOT because I have no interest in marriage, or because I think it’s evil; in fact I keenly understand Ms. Eleby’s sentiments about wanting to be married (not just living with someone, which is fine if that’s what the involved parties choose), but just because Mr. Right hasn’t come along (or shall I say, he’s come and gone and happened to be a blasted Jesuit) doesn’t mean that I’m so desperate to be married that I’m going to marry myself or my cat or dog just to say that I’m married. Nor would I want a deathbed marriage (I’d want to make a full life with my man, not get married just to know that I was married before I expired), though I do have more sympathy for that sort of thing.

    • Nobody Special
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      I did ask me to marry myself but had to turn me down because I fear I have nothing in common and I just don’t understand myself anymore.

  21. Tom Brown
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Informative and interesting. However, I disagree that the director’s free speech rights were violated. You could look at it the other way around and say the students were just exercising theirs… in an incredibly rude and obnoxious manner, granted.

  22. chris moffatt
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    For one person’s view of how bad it’s gotten:

    http://www.professorconfess.blogspot.com

    There are other sites/blogs with similar content.

    • Posted December 11, 2016 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      Professor Doom is Doctor Doom with tenure.

    • Jeremy Tarone
      Posted December 11, 2016 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      “rants and raves” seems about right.

    • Merilee
      Posted December 11, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Love the one about the srudent whining that “My head hurts” is a valid answer on the math multiple choice test!

  23. kelskye
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    “What is the Left coming to?”
    Part of me things this is a consequence of the echo chamber. When the people on the left aren’t engaging with the people for whom there is great moral disagreement, they tend to interact with people who generally share their views. So anyone who may only generally agree are rife to be seen as part of the problem.

    So my conjecture is that puritanism forms from people only being able to indulge their moral outrage on others who already mostly agree with them. Other people just don’t give them the time of day.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Probably right.

      cr

  24. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    The real downside of this sort of censorious stupidity is that ordinary people who might make some attempt to accommodate [given minority] will see it and conclude, since any effort will be vilified anyway, there’s no point in even trying to tolerate the stupid bastards, so why bother?

    cr

  25. steve
    Posted December 11, 2016 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    My favourite part of the statement by Dean of Students, Nigel Nicholson, in the campus paper was this:

    “Others asked questions, that, while grammatically questions (that is, they ended with question marks), were not animated by a genuine desire to explore a question, but rather sought to indict the speaker.”

    He isn’t sure the readers of the campus paper know the definition of “rhetorical question” so he doesn’t use the term but instead wastes many words defining it without using it.

    Now that’s funny (sad?).

    • Nobody Special
      Posted December 11, 2016 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Rhetorical questions; do we really need them?

  26. Marc Aresteanu
    Posted December 11, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    And this is why universities have become a joke. It’s not just some radicals running around annoying people… it’s everyone’s personal knowledge that self-censoring your actual thoughts is the best strategy to get by in academia. The effect is chilling.

    Unless we all make a stand and share the social ostracism, this will only get worse.

  27. John Ottaway
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    So you can only make a film about a subject, if you yourself are involved with, or experiencing that subject?

    Holy crap, George Lucas is a Jedi…

  28. Pluto Animus
    Posted December 12, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    “Christina Hoff Summers, an equity feminist, is not considered a real feminist because she’s not a gender feminist.”

    I challenge both Jerry Coyne and his readers to come up with anything — anything — intelligent written or spoken by Christina Hoff Sommers.

    [drums fingers]

    • Cindy
      Posted December 12, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      So I take it you think that it is a good idea to oppose and silence any and all dissent and that research should not be credible?

    • Posted December 12, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Her contribution to the volume _The Flight from Science and Reason_ seems plausible and intelligent. (I have it on the authority of a colleague from my UBC days that at least part of it is correct, too, but that’s also irrelevant.)

    • Marc Aresteanu
      Posted December 14, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      She’s pretty good at debunking insane mainstream feminist claims… but then again, you don’t need to be intelligent to debunk feminists.


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