It was a grim joke during my time at the University of Alabama that we only ever got in the news for football and racism–because of our revolving door policy on coaches and such lovely incidents as parties at sorority houses involving girls in black-face respectively.
Now it appears that UA’s going to add another negative category: suppressing speech.
So, the story would seem to be that some student decided to stick a confederate battle flag in his window. Whatever your feelings about the conflict of 1861-1865, whether you call it the Civil War or the War Between the States or the War of Northern Aggression–and I have to say that, over time I have come to believe that the third construction may not be that far from the truth, however much I am disgusted by what the South was fighting to preserve–you have to be an idiot to not realize that the flag has been appropriated by racist bigots as their symbol. To display it, whatever your motivation, is *at least* impolite.
Oh, well, so much for Southern manners.
Anyway, this would have been bad enough–being yet another score in the second category of the title–but the University decided, in response, that they would arbitrarily ban all window displays.
So a bunch of other students put the stars-and-bars in their windows as a protest. Which apparently led some dolt on the Volokh Conspiracy “to assert that they were prohibiting the display of American flags on campus”:http://volokh.com/posts/1109629158.shtml, which is, at least, a misstatement of the situation.
Me? I wonder who the protesters were. I’d like to think that this is just sort of Molotov cocktail that would be lobbed by the “Mallet Assembly”:http://www.mallet-assembly.org/, an organization to which I belonged (and for which I still do stuff, like hosting a few mailing list and maintaining a domain registration), because I think they’d do it for the right reasons.
But you never know.
Look in the current events section, for Eric Alterman’s book ??The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America??. Flip to the index. Look up “Klinefelter, Anne”.
My favorite subversive.
Ogged “nails the problem”:http://www.unfogged.com/archives/week_2004_06_06.html#001957:
bq. Like the mass of people who lived in the Soviet Union, or who are now living in Iran, you’ll go about your business, making accommodations, and trying to get by. In fact, in Iran, you can easily hop in your car, go all across the country, camp where you like, build big fires, leave a mess, and drive like the devil. In many ways, there are far fewer regulations there. But we rightly call it a repressive society because of the way it treats dissenters and the accused, and because there is little accountability and limited democracy.
So, my wife is a librarian. If you ever doubted–or even just hadn’t thought about it–you need only consider their reactions to the Patriot Act to realize that librarians are on the side of all that is good and true in this world: there are librarians out there who are considering breaking the law so that you, good person, can know when your government is spying on you.
Anne, as a librarian with a law degree, has been part of a panel discussion in Fayetteville, NC (where Fort Bragg is located) regarding the Patriot Act, and is starting to accumulate a bit of a speaking schedule in the local academic community regarding the Patriot Act. Finally, she was one of several librians interviewed for “this article in the News & Observer:http://www.newsobserver.com/front/digest/story/2471743p-2298944c.html, about NC librarian’s reactions.
In the weeks since her speaking engagement in Fayetteville, we’ve often joked to one another that if we weren’t on some FBI list somewhere before she spoke, we certainly must be on one now. It’s unfortunate that, in this land of freedom, it doesn’t feel much like a joke.
Courtesy of “Whiskey Bar”:http://www.billmon.com/
“Unfortunately, I don’t think that I can just filter cookies to DHS”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41854-2003Apr16.html.
Oh, my stars and garters.