UNH professor brags about having disrupted Dave Rubin’s talk

Joelle Ruby Ryan is a senior lecturer in women’s studies at The University of New Hampshire, and according to their Twitter profile (I’m using Ryan’s preferred pronoun) is a trans woman.  Ryan teaches these courses: Introduction to Women’s Studies, Gender, Power, and Privilege, and Colloquium: Transgender Feminism. They are (is?) one of the people who disrupted Dave Rubin when he tried to have discourse with the audience at Ryan’s university (see my post here).

And Ryan is bragging about their disruption.  Ryan’s tweet, which includes Rubin’s tweet, is below.

In fact, Rubin was literally begging for discourse, civil or otherwise, but couldn’t have much because of the angry students and professors, some of whom simply shook noisemakers or tried other kinds of interruption.  (See my post here; Rubin’s event also had to be moved because students blocked the original venue.) Regardless of what you think about Rubin, Ryan had no right to disrupt him; Ryan lies about the reason for the disruption, and Ryan unconscionably brags about trying to shut down free speech.

They (and I mean Ryan) shouldn’t be teaching at UNH.  It’s one thing for young students, who perhaps haven’t learned about the First Amendment, to disrupt a talk (although they should still be removed and possibly disciplined); it’s another for a professor—a role model—to brag about it. She of course has the right to brag, but not the right to disrupt, and Ryan’s behavior and subsequent braggadocio is reprehensible.

No, Ryan didn’t “do something right.” In fact, it’s the complete opposite.


  1. Posted May 26, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    One of these days, some conservative or otherwise leftist-hated speaker is going to totally control his or her meeting. Have security people on hand who will capture and expel all disrupters and establish complete order in the room. That person will immediately gain enormous respect from the public at large.

    • Posted May 26, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      I look forward to that. The people trying to exercise the heckler’s veto should be warned that they are trespassing, then prosecuted to the fullest possible extent if they continue with their behavior. The only way this is going to stop is if there are real consequences, including fines and jail time.

    • Carey
      Posted May 26, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      I think it should be the UNH administration’s responsibility to maintain order and to discipline both students and professors violating university rules.

      I agree that they/she/zhe should not be teaching at a public university.

      • Posted May 26, 2018 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        Yes. A university has to protect free speech on campus. Else it fails in a way critical to the purpose of a university.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      An invited speaker has no authority to bring private security on campus; that’s the administration’s responsibility.

      I’m sure many invited speakers would like to have opponents turfed out, and supporters coddled. Whole idea sounds heavy-handed and authoritarian to me (though I don’t doubt that, by dint of that alone, it would be enormously popular with a certain segment of the public).

      • Craw
        Posted May 26, 2018 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        Well, your claim about security is false and when because some speakers are accompanied by the Secret Service. That’s a minor point. The important point is that there is no right to disrupt the speaker, there is only the right to protest. Protest is easily distinguishable from disruption. It is not “coddling” me as an audience member to evict a man with a noise-maker, whether at a debate, a lecture, a play, or a symphony.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted May 27, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

          You’re comparing the Secret Service to a “private security firm”? The Secret Service is there only for the president’s safety; they have no authority to bounce hecklers.

          So you’re in favor of invited speakers showing up with private goons who’ll turf out anybody the speaker points out and says to? Manhandling protestors like that is the kind of thing Erdoğan’s thugs do.

          • Paul S
            Posted May 27, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

            Ayaan Hirsi Ali travels with security. There are several speakers, politicians and performers with there own security detail.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted May 27, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

              That’s all well and good. Speakers can travel with a bigger security detail that J-Z cruising to a downtown hip-hop club if they wanna. What they can’t do is have their private security detail eighty-six students from a speaking engagement on a college campus — certainly not on the campus of a public university.

              I don’t see how that’s even a matter of controversy.

              • Paul S
                Posted May 27, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

                I was only responding to “An invited speaker has no authority to bring private security on campus”.
                For clarification, the spirit of your argument may be true, the above statement is not.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted May 27, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

                Invited speakers have no right to bring bodyguards to a speaking engagement on campus; like other non-students, such bodyguards may attend the speech at the university’s sufferance.

    • XCellKen
      Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Didn’t that happen several months ago at a Sargon speech in London or thereabouts? AntiFa invaded, got punched, etc. Then at the end, a big Black security guard “escorted” a White AntiFa protester off the property in a not so gentle manner

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 26, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    They are (is?)

    How ’bout the old colloquial contraction “they’s”?

  3. John Black
    Posted May 26, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    This is the first time I’ve read something where the author earnestly tried to use “they” as a singular pronoun (even though he slips up once and uses “she” instead).

    I have to say, I find it painful to read and occasionally confusing (not sure if Jerry intends to mean all protesters or just Ryan in some cases).

    Kudos to PCC(E) for attempting to be respectful to his subject, but there has to be a better solution. Maybe “zhe” or some other neologism will become standard… I honestly think it would be better (or at least clearer!).

    • BJ
      Posted May 26, 2018 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      If they’re a trans woman, why don’t they want “she” to be used? This seems like one of those too-cute attempts at being special. If you’re a woman, why do you want to be addressed as “they”? And if the argument (which I’m sure Ryan agrees with) is that a trans woman is like any other woman, why would a trans woman use a special pronoun?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 27, 2018 at 2:15 am | Permalink

        Quite agree.

        I do find ‘they’ a lot less annoying than weird neologisms like ‘xe’ or ‘zhe’ or whatever. Though ‘their Twitter profile’ is quite confusing usage (but not nearly so confusing, though, when used as the object, ‘them’, for some reason).

        But if someone demands an explicitly singular non-gendered pronoun, there’s always ‘it’ 😉


        • John Black
          Posted May 27, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          You know, I thought of “it” as a natural choice if one wants to avoid a specific gender! But it has such a strong connotation of “non-human” that the word probably cannot be used to reference a person.

          The word “one” is also gender non-specific, but isn’t a pronoun and would create more ungainly speech.

          I really do think a new word is in order here, as awkward as it would be to take it onboard. But over time it would become natural enough.

          • Dan Hue
            Posted June 16, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

            I don’t think it is reasonable to expect intimate knowledge of someone’s status in order to properly refer to them. Most people are not *that* interesting, and their appearance, which they largely control, should suffice. A gender-neutral pronoun (other than “it”) for ambiguous cases would be nice to have in the lexicon, as long as its use is not perceived as offensive. Just like “Ms.” for a woman whose marital status is unknown.

            IMO, this trans-woman presents herself as a female, so she is a “she”.

      • nicky
        Posted May 27, 2018 at 4:02 am | Permalink

        Good point.
        But I gather he does not consider himself a woman either, he’s much to special for that.

      • Posted May 27, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        It’s attention-seeking behavior from an obvious narcissist. (Three autobiographical films?!)

        • Robert Bray
          Posted May 28, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

          It may be that identity politics builds upon the old, central Romantic notion of striving to objectify one’s subjectivity. Since it can’t be done ‘scientifically,’ and religion is apparently out for folks such as this ‘senior lecturer,’ that leaves only a protective ideology and an intense tribalism, brutally enforced, with which to challenge the real world.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 26, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of the reprehensible removal from the stage the NFL has done the same to the players with their nonsense of standing for the anthem. It is also reprehensible kissing of the Trump ass. So maybe they will have a slave ship standing by to provide that return trip to somewhere for any behavior they do not like. I think it’s time for boycott by the players.

    • mikeyc
      Posted May 26, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      RE the NFL. Although I see this kneeling controversy in toto as a silly Tempest in a Teapot, both sides have a point.

      The players because, well, they’re right – there IS a problem in our country and they are drawing attention to it. Good on them and because of their bully pulpit, they help keep our attention on a real problem. I support them.

      The owners however, also have a point – these are their employees and when they are suited up and on the field they are on the job. Employers have the right to restrict certain civil rights of their employees while they are working. It isn’t often wise to do so (that’s the case here, IMO) but they do have an argument.

      • mikeyc
        Posted May 26, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        html oops after “they are on the job”.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted May 26, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        We are all employees of some kind or another. So what? Any employee who wants to take away any of my rights will not be my employer for long. I think maybe you have an entirely different understanding of your civil rights than I. The only example I can think of off hand, where you lose some rights the rest of us have is if you join the military service.

        Now since the owners have ordered the players to either stay in the locker room or stand if they come on the field maybe they can win if they take it to court but I am not a lawyer. We will see. Some tried to keep others from burning the flag…how did that work out?

        • mikeyc
          Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

          Randall, I’m sure you know that first amendment rights only impose limits on government action. A private employer may restrict many civil rights while on the job.

        • Max
          Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          So if I’m an employer and one of my employees is on TV– at work and in uniform– and they say “Gays and lesbians should all be rounded up and shot,” I shouldn’t be able to tell them that behavior is not acceptable on the job and they need to stop?

          What I’d have rather seen from the NFL was for them to make it clear to the public that the players were protesting repeated and systemic abuse, not the military.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

            The demonstrations by the players has nothing to do with the military. They are demonstrating the treatment, the shooting of innocent African Americans by the police.

            The whole buisness of playing the national anthem at their football games was the NFL’s commercializing their connection with the military. Before they began that association they did not play the song at games.

            • Max
              Posted May 26, 2018 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

              Randall, you’ve intentionally sidestepped my point. And I said that it’s not about the military, so there’s not really a need to remind me of that.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

            The whole “disrespect the military” trope is a red-herring (created by the Obfuscator-in-chief to rile up his resentful base). It’s rife with irony, too, given that Cadet Bone-spurs not only dodged military service himself, but has disrespected POWs and Gold-Star families). Sanctimonious patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, as Sam Johnson sorta said.

            • Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

              The whole country does sanctimonious patriotism pretty well. It gives our politicians an easy way to manipulate voters. Virtually every political campaign consists mainly of each candidate trying to beat the other’s level of patriotism. “Well, that’s nothing! Even my farts are red, white, and blue!”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        True, that since the owners are not state actors, there’s no First Amendment issue. But I think there are free-speech and freedom-of-conscience interests at stake (just as there are when a private university no-platforms an invited speaker).

        Would you be as sanguine if the owners required the players to pray aloud before games, or to say the Pledge of Allegiance? What if they required the same of spectators as a condition of buying a ticket? The Fist Amendment has nothing to say about those scenarios either.

        • mikeyc
          Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          I’ll only repeat what I wrote above; “Employers have the right to restrict certain civil rights of their employees while they are working. It isn’t often wise to do so (that’s the case here, IMO) but they do have an argument.”

          • Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

            The NFL are totally within their right to control their players and their broadcasts. We’ve often noted in these very pages that there’s no guaranteed platform. The NFL has undoubtedly made its decision based on the perceived positions of its customers with Trump putting his pudgy fingers on that scale. If we have any complaint it is with the NFL customers. I believe polls have shown that they are overwhelmingly against the players kneeling during the playing of the anthem. I wish the NFL had more guts and supported the players’ protests but completely understand that they’ve made the right decision from a strictly business point of view.

            • Randall Schenck
              Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

              As long as they have made the right decision from a business point of view. That’s pretty good. So as long as a pole of mostly old white guy fans is good with it, it must be right. On the other hand, around 70 percent of their employees are African American and that could come back to bite as well. Even picking cotton by hand kind of fell out of favor eventually. Shooting innocent African Americans might also someday.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted May 26, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

              NFL owners have always been wusses. Hell, they fancy themselves to be rugged individualists and rock-ribbed capitalists, but they were whipped into socialist submission (sharing of all television revenues) by former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle.

            • Robert Bray
              Posted May 27, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

              Much depends, I think, on what the NFL owners ‘own.’ The players are hardly employees in the general sense. Rather, they are under contract, and unless that contract stipulates that they must behave in a certain way, they don’t have to. And the current NFL agreement with the players apparently does not have anything to say about behavior during the National Anthem.

              I have read that the owners did not even discuss, let alone negotiate this new demand with the players’ union. Were I among the players, I’d be inclined to insist that every owner first appear at the bargaining table if they are serious about writing ‘patriotic respect’ into a football contract.

              Though many of the players earn very, very good money, their careers are usually quite short. They get used up by the physical traumas of the game. Just like, one might say, a slave picking cotton.

              Yes, I know the analogy is provocative and will be roundly rejected by many. But it stays on my mind as I contemplate the owners’ tacit ‘black’-balling of Colin Kaepernick, who started the protest and who has paid the utmost professional price for his action.

              • Posted May 27, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

                I’m sure you are correct about NFL players being under contract and not true employees. However, that doesn’t really change much as I’m pretty sure that the players’ contracts contain many clauses that constrain their behavior. My guess is that they implicitly cover “patriotic respect” under some more general verbiage.

                I totally agree with you on the league’s treatment of Kapernick. I suspect that some of the owners also feel bad about it but are afraid of the controversy that hiring him would undoubtedly bring. Another case where owners are simply looking after their teams’ business interest.

                I put the blame for this fiasco squarely on Trump’s shoulders. He has turned the kneeling protest into a political quagmire that other parties can’t find an easy way out of.

              • Filippo
                Posted May 28, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

                I look forward to the day that the terms of a player’s contract force on the team owner the onerous chore of walking down to the field and standing with the team during the national anthem, rain or shine, letting his righteous patriotism shine for the all the world to see.

                Exactly what does a team owner own, anyway? What does he (and she, re: Marge Schott, who owned the Cincinnati Reds, and whose most disagreeable behavior prompted a team manager to resign, despite a $1M salary) DO?

              • Robert Bray
                Posted May 29, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

                I write to thank those who responded to this post. The civility and serious thought that characterize this site make it invaluable to me.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted May 26, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          very nicely put…

        • BJ
          Posted May 26, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          I’m surprised by the argument in your second paragraph. Those examples would be compelling speech on the job, rather than merely restricting it. You could claim that forcing them to stand for the Anthem is compelled speech, but this wouldn’t be true because the NFl isn’t forcing them to do that, as they’re given the option of simply staying in the locker room. So, your second paragraph isn’t strictly relevant.

          While I disagree with the decision of the NFL, it’s not because I believe in the ideals of free speech (as you know I do). The NFL not wanting players to take a knee during the Anthem is the same as an employer not wanting their employee to shout racial slurs while on the job: the NFL feels that this particular form of speech is offensive to many people who consume their product. I don’t think there’s a single employer in the entire world that doesn’t restrict the speech of its employees while on the job. I think it only becomes a problem when the speech is speech that some people want them to express/be able to express.

          I don’t think that, if there were NFL players who were giving the Nazi solute during the Anthem, Randall would have a problem with the NFL stopping them, as is likely the case with everyone else who is angry about the NFL’s decision. So, this isn’t really about the NFL trampling on the players’ right to express themselves on the job, but rather to express a specific opinion that the angered support.

          • Posted May 26, 2018 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

            Well put. The only argument we can make to the NFL to let players protest while on the job is a moral one. If they agree with our moral argument, the NFL management and the team owners have to weigh the benefits of allowing the players to protest against the considerable business risks.

            • Robert Bray
              Posted May 27, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

              Or perhaps give up the playing of the National Anthem. . . ?

              • Posted May 27, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

                I’d be in favor of that. The connecting of sports to patriotism and militarism is abhorrent to me. American football is enough like a battle without the additional help.

              • Posted May 27, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

                Why play it if there isn’t a team from another country?

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted May 26, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            Your problem with saying they have the option of staying in the locker room is off. That makes you think they have been given an option because apparently you too have been suckered. Can’t demonstrate by taking a knee but you can sure stay in the locker room. Staying in the locker room means you are okay with doing nothing. But the point is to do something — demonstrate.

            Sorry but you cannot sit on the front of the bus but you can walk. Sorry but you cannot demonstrate on the bridge but you can stay home. You cannot go to school here but you can go over there.

            Your first paragraph is not relevant because it is wrong. It is also the same racist answer to the black community since the beginning of civil rights.

            • BJ
              Posted May 27, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

              “because apparently you too have been suckered.”

              Could you leave out the insults? I understand the situation perfectly well; I just don’t agree with you about it.

              ” Can’t demonstrate by taking a knee but you can sure stay in the locker room. Staying in the locker room means you are okay with doing nothing”

              It doesn’t mean you are “okay with doing nothing,” it means “I’m not OK with having to stand/not being able to take a knee during the anthem,” which are two very different things. But, regardless, you have completely failed to address any of the points I’ve made. All you’ve said is that I’m wrong. My point is that the NFL is disallowing certain speech while its employees are on the job, and not in any way compelling speech.

              Unless you can demonstrate how this situation is different from a situation in which the NFL refuses to allow players to heil Hitler during the Anthem (beyond one being speech you like, and the other being speech you don’t), you have no case. But you have completely failed to even try and address that point so far.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 26, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

            I’m not so sure the distinction between compelling speech and restricting speech holds up in the long run, since speech can come in symbolic forms (and compelling any player then on the field to stand for the Anthem would qualify). In any event, I don’t think this issue is over; I suspect NFL players will find another way to protest, perhaps with a Tommie Smith/John Carlos-style raised-fist salute, rather than kneeling. Will the NFL, at Trump’s behest, also prohibit that?

            I’ve consistently stated that the First Amendment has nothing to say about a private employer disciplining an employee for speech on the job. But I think employers ought nonetheless to give their employees some breathing space for a private right of conscience that doesn’t interfere with their job performance (particularly employers who’ve been exempted by the government from the full application of the nation’s antitrust laws). Then again, I’ve never had any interest in running a public corporation, so maybe my opinion on that should considered in that light.

            • BJ
              Posted May 27, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

              Disallowing certain types of symbolic speech is not, in any way, compelling speech. I agree with you, in principle, but I feel like you’re speaking in vague truisms at this point. Of course we should draw certain lines, but what separates this from refusing to allow players a Nazi salute during the Anthem? Hell, I wish the NFL would let them take a knee, but I also believe that they’ve provided a reasonable compromise, and I only wish they would let them take the knee because it happens to be speech with which I, personally, have no problem.

              I agree that employers should give their employees breathing space when it comes to private speech, but this fact is part of the point. What the NFL has banned is (1) not private speech, but speech engaged in while carrying out employee duties, and (2) speech that does affect job performance, as it apparently angers a significant portion of the audience that consumes, or that the NFL hopes will consume, the product. Surely, the line for any company begins there.

              And, yes, I believe the NFL will want to stop any protests during the Anthem, and the arguments will be the same. I also think it’s disingenuous to say that they’re doing any of this because of Trump, since it was clear when all of this started that a portion of the fan base had a problem with it and it was creating PR issues for the league.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted May 27, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

                Trump (who hasn’t a patriotic fiber to his being) has demagogued the shit outta this issue, including by conflating it with disrespect for the troops, in order to inflame his reactionary base.

                Hell, he even sent his nutless lackey of a VP to Indianapolis to virtue signal by making a big production of walking out of a Colts’ game after players took a knee during the Anthem.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 27, 2018 at 2:29 am | Permalink

            I find this bizarre. As I understand it, kneeling is intended as a protest? Yet when Tebow did it, it was a mark of respect for his God.

            If someone ordered me to kneel as a mark of respect for a national anthem I’d flatly refuse.



            • BJ
              Posted May 27, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

              Tim Tebow didn’t kneel during the Anthem, despite what the Washington Post tried to suggest when it compared him and Kaepernick.


              • Posted May 27, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

                Yes, that was my memory too. Thanks for looking it up for us.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted May 27, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

                By kneeling and praying in the endzone after a touchdown, Tebow certainly engaged in personal speech on his employer’s dime. How do you think fining him for doing so would’ve flown with the very same right-wingers who are up in arms about players taking a knee during the Anthem?

                Woulda made a martyr outta him, no doubt.

      • XCellKen
        Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        I could be wrong, but I think in the past, the players didn’t even take the field until AFTER the Anthem was played. They were not required to be on the field for the Anthem until the military started advertising on the broadcasts. So once again, its all about the $$$

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, all about the Benjamins as Puffy and Biggie and Kim put it.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

          I am pretty sure you are correct. The DOD became involved in all kinds of recruiting efforts with the military and the playing of the anthem at the NFL games became a big part of it. In some cases soda and beer companies got involved in these efforts as well. Over in NASCAR it became so involved the military services were sponsoring race cars for a while. In the modern American world of the all voluntary military they must be very resourceful. For the NFL owners it is all about $$$ but for the military it is about getting recruits.

        • Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          For that matter, why is the anthem played at all at sporting events? And now the mawkish “God Bless America” at baseball games. It’s enough to keep me away.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted May 26, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

            My theory is it covers up a lot of consciousness or lack thereof. It also is interesting to see the draft dodger in chief make the loudest noise about standing for the damn song. I personally stay away from the parades and other flag waving events, especially this time of year. Kind of makes one sick at the phony over acting.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 26, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

            I could get behind playing Woody’s “This Land is Your Land” before a ballgame (though I’d never insist on anybody else’s standing or singing along).

            • Randall Schenck
              Posted May 26, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

              I think at some ball fields they still do take me out to the ball game during the 7th. The trouble with football is they have no song. Comfortably Numb might work. I’m falling unconscious over you?

              • Craw
                Posted May 26, 2018 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

                Bang Bang Bang, by Bigbang seems the most apt. Or, Jacko Me Brain Hurts, by Issac Simchon.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 27, 2018 at 2:24 am | Permalink

                Do you mind? Comfortably Numb is one of my favourite tracks and I don’t want it… contaminated by American football jocks. (or baseball or basketball or NASCAR or… you get the picture).

                Besides, it would be impractical, can you see them standing/kneeling/saluting for the entire nine minutes?


          • Historian
            Posted May 26, 2018 at 10:05 pm | Permalink


            There is an unholy alliance of sports, religion, business, and the military. The ruling class (in whatever country and under whatever its ideology) aims to bind the masses to the state. Since many people like sports, if it can be associated with patriotism, religion, and business, the goals of the ruling class will be met. In the United States, at least, organized sports (on the college or professional levels) is a profoundly conservative institution. Not only does it bind people to the state, but it encourages them to become fanatically loyal to their teams, to such an extent that it diverts their attention from their real problems, which serves the ruling class by tampering down dissent against the state. As a young person I was a fanatical New York Yankee fan. But, as I learned the true nature of sports, my interest in it diminished to almost nothing.

            • Mikeyc
              Posted May 26, 2018 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

              You had me until you “learned the true nature of sport”. Your education has gone badly awry.

              • Historian
                Posted May 27, 2018 at 6:30 am | Permalink

                If you get a chance you should see the 2009 indie film, “The Big Fan,” starring Patton Oswalt. It is a drama/dark comedy that presents in a somewhat exaggerated way what organized sports, in this instance professional football, can do to some people. This is one of my favorite films of all time.

            • Robert Bray
              Posted May 27, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

              ‘As a young person I was a fanatical New York Yankee fan.’

              The redundancy is good rhetoric here, Historian, since it underscores your point: all fans are fanatics, and institutions of social control love them, at least so long as their wasted energy leaves them empty of both purpose and means for social melioration (let alone justice!). So fans by the . . . what, millions? boo Colin Kaepernick for pricking their bad consciences, as you say, thus interrupting the happy work of the drug called sports.

      • Carey
        Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        I am reminded of when Natalie Maines criticized President Bush. Fans of the Dixie Chicks stopped supporting them. When you are in the entertainment business, you can lose a lot of money if you offend your fans. Perhaps speaking your mind is more important than money. NFL is in the entertainment business and has to consider this.

        • Posted May 27, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          If the people speaking their minds and those losing money are the same, there is no problem. There is a problem, however, when someone wants to speak his mind and so inflict losses on someone else.

    • Carey
      Posted May 26, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Not being sarcastic, but are you comparing NFL players to Dave Rubin?

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted May 26, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        I think I’m comparing free speech to free speech. And also, what the players are demonstrating about is every bit as important to anything David Rubin or anyone else has to say. What do you mean – comparing Rubin to NFL players? I don’t even understand the question?

        • Carey
          Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          I don’t understand what the NFL protests have to do with the Dave Rubin incident or why you brought up the NFL in this context. The only connection I could see is that both Rubin and the NFL players are trying not to be silenced.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

            I believe you answered your own question.

        • BJ
          Posted May 26, 2018 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          One is Constitutionally protected speech while on one’s own time, while the other is unprotected speech while on the job.

          • Craw
            Posted May 26, 2018 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

            I started out agreeing with BJ, and perhaps still do, but I was given pause by this:


            • BJ
              Posted May 27, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

              Oh, I wasn’t saying that I like where this is going, just that Randall isn’t being completely honest when he says he’s comparing “free speech to free speech.” He’s intentionally smoothing over significant differences in the situation to preclude arguments.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 26, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m something of a contrarian around here in maintaining that audience members have every bit as much a free-speech interest in expressing their opprobrium for a speaker as others in the audience have in expressing their approbation. But even I draw a bright line between disapprobation and disruption. (That’s a bright-line rule for doctrinal purposes; it will often call for fine-line application in determining what constitutes “disruption” in a given factual context.)

    In the campus setting, since it doesn’t constitute a traditional public forum, I think school administrators would be within their authority to require that all audience members sit quietly during a presentation, and that they be given a period of time before or after the speech in which to express their sentiments, pro and con.

    What I think would offend free-speech principles — and, on a public university campus, would violate the First Amendment — would be for a student group to invite a controversial speaker (say, the National Lawyers’ Guild inviting a socialist, or the Young Republicans inviting MiYi) and allowing student supporters free reign to applaud and cheer, while prohibiting those opposed the opportunity to boo or hiss or jeer.

    Free speech in the United States — particularly free political speech, the heartland of the First Amendment — has been a traditionally boisterous affair, dating back to this nation’s founding. It doesn’t require the politesse of Emily Post.

    • mikeyc
      Posted May 26, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      ^what he said

    • Posted May 26, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I agree with regard to heckling at political rallies. It tests the speaker’s mettle, if nothing else. Attempts, like Ryan’s, to deprive others from hearing what a speaker has to say are disgraceful, however.

      • Kiwi Dave
        Posted May 26, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Yep. Ryan disrupted not only Rubin’s opportunity to give speech but also her audience’s (comprising fellow UNC fellow members opportunity to hear that speech. So, does she believe that:

        1)She can disrupt any speech by any guest invited in accordance with UNC’s rules?
        2) Anyone can disrupt any speech by any guest she invites in accordance with UNC’s rules?

        • Kiwi Dave
          Posted May 26, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          Oops – the first sentence should be “…give a speech but also her audience’s (comprising fellow UNC fellow members)opportunity…”

    • BJ
      Posted May 26, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      At what point is the line drawn, though? I agree that both sides should be able to express themselves freely, but at what point does it cross the line into intentionally trying to deprive the speaker of the right to speak, and the public of the right to hear? That’s a line that I think you need to make explicit before you stance can be evaluated, as I agree with it in principle, but I can’t be sure if I do in the practice you might envision.

      • Posted May 26, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        It is very hard to come up with a set of rules that collectively draw this line between reasonable argument and deliberate deplatforming or disruption. However, as with pornography, it is fairly easy for a judge to make the distinction in each individual case. In short, some sort of referee is needed.

        Of course, one still needs something that draws the line in a general way. That’s fairly easy too. It should be ok to disagree with the speaker but the rights of each to speak should be respected. That means not deliberately trying to speak at the same time and not to attempt to drown out a speaker. No physical assaults should go without saying. Also, no one should prevent anyone from hearing what a speaker has to say.

        • BJ
          Posted May 27, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

          I agree.

    • BJ
      Posted May 26, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      I have another question: in this case, as in many others where you have expressed this view, the protesters have made it clear by their own words and/or actions that their actions were not about expressing their disagreement, but about trying to disrupt and shut down the speech they are protesting. If this is the case, is your stance really applicable? If so, why?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 26, 2018 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        Let me reply to both your comments here, BJ. As I’ve said above, I think there’s a bright line doctrinally, but a fine line in application to the facts. Perhaps, as pautopping says, the best we can do regarding disruption is a Potter-Stewart-style “we know it when we see it” (as unsatisfactory as that standard tends to be).

        Applying that standard to the incident at UNH, I’ve watched the video, but I’m not sure the sound on the recording adequately captures the full extent of the disruption. Nevertheless, I think at least part of that protest, particularly the woman shaking the coin jar, crossed the line into outright disruption.

        In any event, I don’t think the issue need be as difficult as you’ve framed it. As I’ve also said above, since college campuses are not traditional public fora, the university administrators have every right to require all in attendance to remain quiet during the presentation, or to meet certain standards of conduct. (The issue is more thorny in a traditional public forum, see here.)

        My primary point in all these threads and comments involving college students protesting invited speakers is that free-speech principles suggest — and at public schools, the First Amendment requires — that there be no double standard as to what is permitted a speaker’s supporters and opponents. Do you disagree?

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted May 27, 2018 at 2:37 am | Permalink

          One thing that would be fairly easy to do would be to ban noise-making devices – no coin jars, no football rattles, no vuvuzelas. And impound any device that was so used.


        • BJ
          Posted May 27, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

          That was much clearer, and I have no disagreements with anything you’ve said.

        • BJ
          Posted May 27, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

          You can see why I thought that, since you made the initial comment on this post, you were suggesting that this incident falls on the disapprobation side of the line 🙂

  6. Ken Phelps
    Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    The only meaningful reason this should be of interest right now is the response of Democratic politicians to this trend. If they don’t start publicly distancing themselves from the ctrl-left, they are handing out free talking points to the Republicans. Center right people who are uncomfortable with Trump need to hear explicitly that Democrats are focused near the center left and might be a safe place to protest Trump.

    • Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      As long as “distancing themselves” means “speaking out against”, I agree.

      • Ken Phelps
        Posted May 26, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Yes. If we expect politicians on the right to speak out against their fascists, the left needs to speak our against theirs.

    • Marc LAVISEWON
      Posted May 26, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      In fact this intensification of campus identity politics is likely to become the winning recipe of Trumpism in the years to come. It’s especially so if indeed Democratic politicians don’t speak out against the ctrl-left. This requires brains, guts, and, also,some charisma. Not much evidence for that.

  7. Posted May 26, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    So again, what exactly is they teaching and what credential has they to teach anything, other than being transgender?

  8. Posted May 26, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    It is sad that some right wing criticism of academia and higher education has a kernel of truth to it.

  9. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted May 26, 2018 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Ryan has a fairly odd history.

    See https://twanzphobic.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/is-it-because-i-was-born-male-that-i-can-say-this-crap-and-not-get-fired/

  10. ladyatheist
    Posted May 26, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    She’s not a “professor!” She’s a “senior lecturer.” That department has many other faculty members and could lose her without disrupting their Fall semester:


  11. Posted May 27, 2018 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    “Introduction to Women’s Studies, Gender, Power, and Privilege, and Colloquium: Transgender Feminism.” Boy, I’ll bet employers are lining up to hire people who can claim that coursework on their resume.

    • Posted May 27, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      The only jobs for them are either in another Women’s Studies program, or as an Equity & Diversity kommisar.

  12. nicky
    Posted May 27, 2018 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    I’d advise any student not to waste their time by doing any xxxx-‘studies’. The likes of Ryan are the main reason.
    Stronger, I think that her/his likes are a reason centrist voters tend to go republican.

  13. Bruce Gorton
    Posted May 27, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    OT – but sort of in line with T:

    Two days ago, John Bain AKA Totalbiscuit died.

    The response from some elements of the regressive left was to celebrate his death – he was one of the people who lent credibility to Gamergate when he pointed out that journalism in videogames does actually have a problem with ethics.

    I disagreed with him at the time because he wanted to somehow exclude himself and other YouTube presenters from the designation journalist, thus producing a sort of weaseling way out of having to live up to the standards he promoted.

    One of his arguments was that most YT presenters don’t have degrees in journalism – nor do a lot of journalists I know. There are outlets that actually prefer their writers to have degrees in things other than journalism, because they figure an engineer is better at reporting on engineering news for example.

    Anyway, the regressives were celebrating, calling him a Nazi and a Transphobe. Totalbiscuit had a 24 minute podcast telling transphobes to go fuck themselves, and famously had no truck with the question “Are traps gay?”

    He was also, so far as I’m aware, never particularly racist or in favour of any sort of fascism. His major fight was actually anti-corporatism, pushing consumer rights.

    In other words, he had far more legitimacy in claiming to be of the left, than the regressives do, in that he actually had some focus on economic issues that challenged the 1%.

    So here is the thing, and it is the thing that keeps striking me with the regressives – they keep on lying to me. I don’t follow a lot of rightwing shit, because I noticed them lying to me.

    Which brings us to this topic – the regressives keep conflating wildly different people in wildly dishonest ways and telling me people believe things that, if I go look myself, they say they don’t believe.

    And they push this hysterical idea that people are harassing their special little group into suicide – then you go look at the people in question, and the harassment simply amounts to expressing some disagreement, not even strong disagreement at that.

    And it leaves me thinking, “well commit suicide then” because the threat of suicide is a very popular tactic by abusers.

    And these are people who greet someone dying of cancer by celebrating simply because he disagreed with them once. Calling them abusers is an understatement.

    Dave Rubin, well I honestly don’t know that much about him, what I’ve seen hasn’t interested me enough to look deeper, but there are worse things than being boring, and he’s getting accused of a lot of that.

    So I’m left with this – do I accept that he believes stupid bullshit, do I take the time to check, or do I just assume that as this is a day ending in “y” chances are that the people telling me he believes all this nonsense are lying to me?

  14. Gamall
    Posted May 27, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    “senior lecturer in *women’s studies*”.

    There’s the main problem, right there.

    • Filippo
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Does there exist out there a “(senior) lecturer in men’s studies”?

  15. Posted May 27, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Ruby went by “she” until just recently.

    • Craw
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 2:49 am | Permalink

      A cynic might see that as evidence this is just a power-play, and that the pronoun will change again …

      • Posted May 28, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        A cynic might also note the high comorbidity between autogynephilia and NPD.

  16. Posted May 28, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I am (for various reasons) reading _Three Faces of Fascism_. It seems that shouting down speakers and so on has a long history – both by some communists, and by fascists.

  17. Posted May 28, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    They are (is) delusional.

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