I Am Not Making This Up: Dave Barry Is "Patently Offensive"


The free-speech fun squad at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports on the latest suppression of expression on campus: In August, a grad student at Marquette University in Milwaukee posted a Dave Barry quote on his office door. The quote reads:

"As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government."

On September 5, says FIRE:

Philosophy Department Chair James South sent [student Stuart] Ditsler an e-mail stating that he had received several complaints and therefore removed the quote. He wrote, "While I am a strong supporter of academic freedom, I'm afraid that hallways and office doors are not 'free-speech zones.' If material is patently offensive and has no obvious academic import or university sanction, I have little choice but to take note."

I dunno about you, but I actually think the most offensive thing in the whole situation is the department chair's quisling claim to being "a strong supporter of academic freedom." More info here.

Reason interviewed Dave Barry a decade ago. It's a very funny interview well worth reading and even committing to memory, though I should warn all fan(s) of The Five Man Electrical Band that he/they will find it "patently offensive":

Barry: My nomination right off the top my head [for the worst rock 'n' roll song of all time] is a song that was a hit in the '70s–"Signs, signs, everywhere signs, blocking up the scenery, breaking my mind, do this, don't do that, can't you read the signs?" Basically a diatribe against property rights….It' s a real smug self-righteous punk kid saying nobody has the right to tell him what to do and how dare you put a sign up saying that I can't go on your property? Hey, kid! Stick this sign up your ass.

Whole interview here.