Nick S writes: Timothy Burke writes an excellent response describing the predictable rhetorical maneuvers involved in debates about freedom of expression on campus.
So my own challenge to Emma Camp and anyone who finds her concerns resonant would be to understand that they are not envisioning a culture which once existed and is now being lost. ... If we are imagining some way of talking with one another that is wide open to some vast range of possible views and perspectives, we are imagining a future that we have yet to live within. And if so, it is incumbent on anyone desiring that future to explain why it's what they want and what it might be like to live that way, within the university or outside of it....
So point #1 about the future that Camp is calling for, though she doesn't understand it as such: even the people that want to live in that future in the terms she offers would want, I think, for a great many everyday situations to not be defined by or inviting to "vigorous debate". Here at least we do have a history (as well as future possibilities) to consider: "vigorous debate" is something that we attach to a very specific domain of civil society and pointedly exclude from the rest of it. And the university has not historically been the centerpiece of that specific domain, that "public sphere", because the university has other purposes as well. In its modern as well as medieval forms, the university in Western societies was associated more with theological indoctrination and the shaping of the comportment of a ruling elite than it was with encouraging free and open debate on the issues of the day. The "public sphere" as we commonly understand it was located elsewhere in early modern Europe into the 19th Century; it extended into the university but was not necessarily of it. Even now, the university has other purposes (as the Port Huron and Sharon manifestos acknowledge) still encoded into its structures besides being sprawling soap boxes.
Read the whole thing, as they say, it's one of the best pieces I've seen on the topic.
Heebie's take: oh man. The original sin is this dumb-ass Emma Camp piece about how she felt stifled during vigorous debates in her classes in college. You know, backlash and cancel culture. My response to that piece is, "Maybe group debates have always been kind of unpleasant unless you're the kind of person who really grooves on that thing?"
Burke's piece is probably smart, but I haven't had my coffee yet today, or for the past two weeks, and I found myself getting a bit bogged down. You should drink your coffee.
It's kind of nice that they fixed the retirement-funding mandate for the Post Office, right? The first place I saw it pitched it as a major rebuke of DeJoy that signaled that his board would boot him. But this WaPo article makes it sound like now DeJoy has a feather in his cap. (For anyone who is making lists keeping track of Black Eyes and Feathers In Caps.)
On a different note: It's harder to post with the war in Ukraine going on, because it's dominating out attention, but I don't have smart things to say about wars and geopolitics. It's vaguely related to how much easier it was to post once Biden was president, because there was breathing room to post whatever dumb shit flits across my brain. I'm chock full of that.
This is intended to be our system for checking in on imaginary friends, so that we know whether or not to be concerned if you go offline for a while. There is no way it could function as that sentence implies, but it's still nice to have a thread.
Episode Kobe nineteen.
When I was growing up, my dad once advised me to not mistake alertness for being bright. In other words, there are some people who come across as responsive, alert, and with-it, and yet they're less smart than you might think when they need to follow something or figure something out.
I'm starting to suspect that my work is populated by the opposite kind: they're not that alert, but they're basically bright when you need them to be. It makes for a lot of plodding conversations, but the place runs okay. (Also, people who work here are incredibly earnest and good-hearted. That helps with it running well, but also contributes to the ploddingness of conversations.)
This is kinda shitty: Britney Griner has been detained in Russia, whereabouts unknown for the last couple weeks. That seems not good.
Argh. I am going back and forth about posting on the "Fund the Police" slogan, because it feels like it could invite conversation to turn into angry territory. Clearly this makes sense in terms of turning out suburbs next November. Clearly it's also a public rebuke of the black community and everyone working against police brutality, even if Biden discreetly tries to soften the slogan.
In theory, it could be consistent with a funding a bunch of other initiatives that decrease the number of police encounters altogether, but probably not given this particular Senate. I dunno. I feel both dismayed and that it's a canny move.