Students Newspapers Desecrating Free Speech: A Transformation, or Return to Form?

The cycle of censorship rears its ugly head.


Vincent Arel

Everybody is buzzing about Jonathan Chait's latest feature for New York magazine, which argues that the culture of repressive political correctness on college campuses has returned in full-force after a period of hibernation following its peak in the 80s and early 90s. Responses to the article, wrote Reason contributor and Cato Institute scholar Julian Sanchez on Twitter, "make me wonder if Chait hired a team of satirists to underscore his point."

In his article, Chait pursues many of the usual campus suspects: trigger warnings, microaggressions, etc. Readers will not be surprised to learn that I share many of Chait's concerns, having written about them extensively myself.

I have also covered the incident that Chait chose as the launching point for his article:

Around 2 a.m. on December 12, four students approached the apartment of Omar Mahmood, a Muslim student at the University of Michigan, who had recently published a column in a school newspaper about his perspective as a minority on campus. The students, who were recorded on a building surveillance camera wearing baggy hooded sweatshirts to hide their identity, littered Mahmood's doorway with copies of his column, scrawled with messages like "You scum embarrass us," "Shut the fuck up," and "DO YOU EVEN GO HERE?! LEAVE!!" They posted a picture of a demon and splattered eggs.

This might appear to be the sort of episode that would stoke the moral conscience of students on a progressive campus like Ann Arbor, and it was quickly agreed that an act of biased intimidation had taken place. But Mahmood was widely seen as the perpetrator rather than the victim. His column, published in the school's conservative newspaper, had spoofed the culture of taking offense that pervades the campus. Mahmood satirically pretended to denounce "a white cis-gendered hetero upper-class man" who offered to help him up when he slipped, leading him to denounce "our barbaric attitude toward people of left-handydnyss." The gentle tone of his mockery was closer to Charlie Brown than to Charlie Hebdo.

The Michigan Daily, where Mahmood also worked as a columnist and film critic, objected to the placement of his column in the conservative paper but hardly wanted his satirical column in its own pages. Mahmood later said that he was told by the editor that his column had created a "hostile environment," in which at least one Daily staffer felt threatened, and that he must write a letter of apology to the staff. When he refused, the Dailyfired him, and the subsequent vandalism of his apartment served to confirm his status as thought-criminal.

Mahmood's treatment hit close to home for Chait, who also attended the University of Michigan and wrote articles for The Michigan Daily that landed him in trouble with the forces of political correctness in the early 90s. Chait writes that what happened to Mahmood "would not have shocked anybody familiar with the campus scene from two decades earlier."

Like Chait, I am also a U-M grad and former Michigan Daily scribe. My experience, however, was remarkably different from his and Mahmood's. When I edited the student newspaper's opinion page in 2009, I worked alongside writers who generally took a traditionally liberal approach to discourse and held that the answer to bad speech was more speech. The paper employed humor columnists and did not routinely balk at the idea of publishing controversial opinions.

In the years since, The Michigan Daily op-ed page has transformed itself into little more than a propaganda outlet for Marxist-inspired social justice thinking; the online opinion section runs a constant stream of first-person narratives offering tired perspectives on race, gender, and sexuality. This deliberate effort, packaged as "Michigan in Color," is an endless parade of trigger warnings, microaggressions, and the like. From a free speech perspective, the content is not the problem; news outlets should feel free to run whatever they like—that's the whole point. But all too often, people who hold the far-left perspective on these issues are willing to resort to censorship to protect their positions. And so a newsroom culture beholden to trigger warnings and microaggressions will unsurprisingly produce the conditions that led to Mahmood's firing.

The transformation at The Michigan Daily is disheartening to this former staffer whose journalistic career was born inside its office. But according to Chait's account, what has happened there is not so much a transformation as it is a return to form after the aberration that occured during my time there.

If so, there are likely two factors at play. For one thing, college newspapers have high staff turnover rates, since students eventually graduate and leave the paper. Most writers are only with their college dailies for a year, or two, or three. So it's easy for the institutional culture to change rapidly.

The other factor is that respect for free speech on campus—and everywhere else—seems to be cyclical. I first came to campus in 2006, at the height of anti-Bush sentiment. Republicans were ascendant for years, and liberals had grown accustomed to being part of a political minority. At the time, the right to dissent was a necessity for young leftists, and so part of their mantra concerned allowing voices that clashed with those in power to speak, airing perspectives contrary to the mainstream, etc. But as liberalism's fortunes changed, free speech ceased being a priority or a useful tool for the activist left.

The tragic result is that more and more students—and not just the journalists—now expect "freedom from speech," as Foundation for Individual Rights in Education President Greg Lukianoff put it.

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  1. Freedom of speech is so pass?. It’s fine for old, white men who agree on everything, especially oppressing the poor and downtrodden and all not-white men, but it interferes with the greater freedom of belonging and tolerance for all things tolerable.

    1. Sooner or later, it will be necessary to put a /sarc tag on that.

      What am I saying, if you put on a sarc tag you’ll end up in prison.

      1. A /poe tag?

    2. but it interferes with the greater freedom of belonging and tolerance for all things tolerable.

      It’s really not that far off of the “true economic freedom means not having to have a job and living on welfare” bullshit Tony and the “libertarian socialists” spout. (Is that the champion oxymoron of all time?)

      1. True freedom is ceding all of your freedoms to government, which will dole some of them back out to those who really have suffered enough to deserve them. That way, we all start with a blank slate and build up to whatever freedoms we have earned through good behavior and proper birth.

        1. That’s right. Because rights are things made up by the government and they can take them away whenever they feel like it and if you object you are just a Republi-bagger!

          1. Yes, the government should seize all property and take away all rights until we’ve earned the right to have some of them leased back to us.

        2. Paging Harrison Bergeron. Harrison Bergeron to the white courtesy phone.
          Oh, noes — white! With no trigger warning!
          I weep for my species.

  2. Rebecca Schoenkopf ?@commiegirl1

    it’s a lot easier for you all to roll your eyes and go “white man” than actually discuss whether chilling of disagreeable speech is okay

    MillionDollarBaby ?@ShePickedThis 1h1 hour ago

    @commiegirl1 calls for free speech are typically the purview of the privileged, you won’t see a trans WOC advocating absolute free speech

    I… I just can’t.

    1. I remember doing an article about the folly of gun control in college and the proggies were shocked that a black dude from the Southside of Chicago wrote that article. They couldn’t use the usual catchphrases of white privilege and patriarchy

      1. And the ultimate irony of “a black dude from the Southside of Chicago” being the ultimate authority on the negative effects of gun control in America.

        (and I do mean ultimate, highest gun control in nation, one of the highest violent crime rated areas, and the target demographic for violent crime victim being young black males…I swear, I don’t understand why the entire black community in Chicago don’t just arm themselves and ignore their democrat overlords)

        1. Oddly enough, if you talk to a lot of black folks on the Southside, a lot of them would tell a white proggie person to fuck off when they are proposing gun control laws. My stepdad who is a union voting Democrats basically got incredibly angry when he heard some proggie rant on and on about gun control. A lot of them know that it’s the difference between protecting yourself and being a victim

        2. We absolutely do not have the highest gun control in the country in Chicago post-MacDonald. We are far, far outstripped in that respect by places like New York City and San Francisco.

    2. “you won’t see a trans WOC advocating absolute free speech” ummm YES, yes you would moron – the more people are oppressed the easier it is to censor their ideas. How many useful black conservative ideas get censored by the Left? How many people know racist South African white unions lobbied for a minimum wage to apply to blacks only? And one of the biggest problems with transsexuals is that psychologists act like gatekeepers and position themselves as experts despite basically being useless to the point where the only real & current research on transsexuality is all done by neurobiologists. Plus radical feminists and postmodernists hate transsexuals so much for “reinforcing the gender binary” these two groups have whole university departments on their side

    3. What I’m getting from this is that Million Dollar Baby thinks all trans women of color are evil.

      1. That’s racist and sexist!

    4. I’d like to point out that @commiegirl is the sane one in this conversation.

      1. She is the editor of Wonkette, BTW

  3. From a free speech perspective, the content is not the problem; news outlets should feel free to run whatever they like?that’s the whole point.

    To a large extent, I agree with you. But, I have to add a caveat. All of that is premised on a genuine marketplace of ideas. And I don’t mean the marketplace strictly as a metaphor. If a news outlet has a product that the market doesn’t want to consume, they should suffer the consequences of competition. But, that’s not really what you have happening with student papers. The papers are largely subsidized by the school or by student activity fees. And that means that a captive student paper is effectively coercing the student body into supporting their opinions and editorial viewpoint.

    1. And this probably explains why few students read or care about student newspapers.

  4. And this is why you can’t compromise or reason with leftists. They are totalitarians who believe that any and every civil right is subject to the whims of “social justice”. They’re pure evil.

    1. “Social justice” is a completely fabricated concept that serves no purpose other than to conceal the true nature of those who wield it. It’s basically a lie that pretends that what these people do–which is bully, lie, intimidate, and shut down anyone they can that they don’t like–is somehow noble.

      It’s like a schoolyard bully giving people wedgies and calling it “underwear justice” and acting like they’re doing good in the world. It’s disgusting.

    2. “Social justice” is just branding. Proggies and liberals are great at branding.

    3. I forget who, but someone said that if you switch the phrase ‘The opposite of’ in for the word ‘justice’ every time a progressive is talking, their claims make more sense.

      Social justice means treating people differently based on who they are. Women get treated differently than men, blacks get treated differently than whites. Social justice is therefore the opposite of justice.

      The social contract is an ‘agreement’ which no one actually signed, which you’re not allowed to ever get out of, and the terms are constantly changing based entirely on who invokes it. The social contract is therefore the opposite of a contract.

      This principle also works very well for ‘social science.’

      1. The sad thing is social science could be such an important field if it had actual scientists in it. Finding out how people work is a really important subject, but all the idiots studying it don’t know the first thing about how to set up a scientific study. It’s all lets interview this tiny population using questions that will bias the responders to answers we want to hear and then declare our results meaningful.

      2. You probably did see it here, but I think it’s taken from Hayek in The Fatal Conceit (though it’s argued that W.W. Bartley, III, the editor, wrote much of the book). He writes something about how adding social before a word inverts the word’s meaning. “Social accounting” is an exercise without any accounting, for instance.

  5. In college I saw in full force how the progressives dealt with those that opposed their views. It was downright vicious and even scary at times. When they couldn;t use the school to harass those they disagreed with, they did it themselves by often stealing our alternative newspaper, actually sending people to spy on our organization’s leadership, or just plain slandered us in the official student newspaper.

  6. Soooo, speaking of freedom of speech…what happened to the Rob Montz article from this morning? Seems to have been blackholed.

  7. For those on the left who regularly self-censor and put themselves in a politically correct echo chamber it’s hard to stand up for freedom of speech, even if said leftist were to support the principle of free speech & expression.
    Add to that leftists who care little about it like that editor (which is odd as hell since he’s an editor – even for a leftist PC editor that was stupid), and you have social justice types who are further on the radical far-left who believe that vandalism & harassing that man was a legitimate response.
    I pity the remaining pro-free speech leftists out there – just like Nick Cohen & left-wing atheist activists who’ve read too much Nonie Darwish & Ayaan Hirsi Ali, they’re bound to get oppressed and marginalized (pun intended) by the rising totalitarian left

    1. There are any pro-free speech leftists remaining??? Could have fooled me. They may be out there, but they sure are needles in a haystack.

      1. They’re rolling in the hay with the libertarian women.

      2. I used to be one, I’m sure there are some more sensible leftists out there on the verge of becoming apolitical or switching sides.
        Remember it’s not just Left vs Right, Freedom vs Totalitariansm it’s also Smart Ideas vs Dumb Ideas and PC censorship is a dumb idea. The smarter leftists can see that – they just can’t speak out against it.
        Besides some leftists are actual minorities who feel (rightly or wrongly) that they have to be leftists to protect themselves against oppression and improve their lot in life, and so want to find real solutions to real problems.

        (I predict in the future Jewish, Atheist & Queer activist will leave the Left completely & move Right/Libertarian as the Religious (Islamic) Left gains power & prestige… I predict Blacks will be evenly split as there’s a renaissance of black conservatives publishing books??)

        If you want to read a smart leftist that’s very critical of the hypocrisy of the left go to abebooks fin a used copy of Nick Cohen’s What’s Left

        1. I’m sure there are some more sensible leftists out there on the verge of becoming apolitical or switching sides.

          My impression is that liberalism (at least as generally understood in American parlance) is dying. In its place you’re finding most on the left are re-emerging as progressives.

          While a lot of people use the two terms interchangeably, I think that’s highly misleading. While liberals and libertarians have wildly divergent views on economics, liberals’ social views would generally be categorized as tolerant in a way most libertarians would recognize and appreciate. In contrast, while progressives share liberals economic views, their social views would best be categorized as highly prescriptive and regimented, if equally non-traditional.

          A lot of this owes to the waning of social conservatives as a force in the American social discourse. In large part the Culture War is over and the liberals won (or at least the social conservatives lost). How it all plays out over time isn’t clear. My guess is that it winds up a massive political re-alignment. But, that could just be wishful thinking.

          1. The Progressives… the same people who brought us Eugenics and George Bernard Shaw talking about pain-free euthanasia for unproductive members of the Worker’s Utopia.

  8. Republicans were ascendant for years, and liberals had grown accustomed to being part of a political minority. At the time, the right to dissent was a necessity for young leftists, and so part of their mantra concerned allowing voices that clashed with those in power to speak…

    So, basically, for the left, free speech isn’t a principle, so much as a dodge. But, these are the guys so many tell us that libertarians should be staking their fortunes with.

    1. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism!

      But, of course, some dissent is more patriotic than others.

      1. Yeah I was wondering when someone would bring that up… how’d we go from Dissent is the highest form of patriotism to this?

        Also is it just me (because I became a serious atheist in the Bush years), or were atheists more respected by the Left when they were freaking out about America possibly turning into a Christian theocracy than now that theocrats seem to be losing power in the Republican base & more of the atheist intelligentsia/leading figures are attacking Islam?
        Either way our position is still the same, theocracy = bad; there’s no god / probably no god; religions make smart people do stupid things sometimes.
        Now the left acts as if we’re chopped liver. With friends like those who needs enemies anyways?

  9. The left has really been hitting the ‘Freedom of speech does not mean you can say anything you want’ / ‘Free Speech isn’t Hate Speech’ routine pretty hard lately.

    If you cant win people over with honest persuation, lie. If your lies don’t work then use violence. It is as simple as that.


    1. Bad sign or good sign?

      1. If I had more confidence in people to think I would say ti is good that they are confident enough to take off the mask.

        That article explicitly calls for prison and re-education camps for people who hold opinions opposed to the left, along with listing specific forbidden opinions; climate change denial, second amendment rights, etc and ends with nebulous and subjective standards like ‘undermining the government’, general nonsense’.

        If you haven’t read that, you should. It is worth the time. Some have even accused that person of being a troll. I am not so sure.

    2. Oh, it is a real plus that that link included denial of climate change as a forbidden opinion.

    3. I understood that piece to be satire. Tanya Cohen’s a fake name, etc.

  10. I’m boggling at the idea of the fall of 2006 being a time when liberals felt like they were the underdogs. 2004, 2002, sure, but 2006?


  11. “Everybody is buzzing about Jonathan Chait’s latest “

    Hold on.

    Am I going to actually AGREE with Jonathan Chait about something?

    I need to take some pepto.

    1. He can be pretty non-retarded sometimes. See here and here.

      1. the second link is http://nymag.com/daily/intelli…..acist.html

    1. Amazing. They fucking quote him saying basically “I’m going to get attacked for being a white male who criticizes PC”, right at the beginning of the article, and then proceed to say that he can’t criticize PC because he’s a white male. You can’t make this shit up. They’re like Pavlovian robots at this point: say the right words, and they will regurgitate their shit right on cue, even if what they are doing is exactly what you said they would do. They literally cannot help it.

      1. It’s such a provincial and absurd attitude. Just imagine trying to explain this kind of Jezebel thinking to an alien visiting Earth.

      2. And isn’t this just the same argument they freak out over when a man makes it in an article that indicts all men for doing something?

        I don’t use the word mansplaining, I don’t like trigger warnings, I don’t care about microaggressions, I am extremely un-P.C. in person and I agree that verbal policing on social media has gotten excessively out of hand. Political correctness can indeed mandate that everyone use the same vocabulary and peer through the most ideologically paranoid lens; it can suffocate the real world of complicated opinions into a pale, asterisked, overwrought mirage of protected online consent. But does that indicate that being considerate is a concept that’s now out-of-hand nonviable, or rather, that many people have their priorities way out of whack?


        1. To the extent that each of us carries certain biases, why are theirs any better than some white male’s? I mean, I get that they think that victimization somehow constitutes moral superiority, but that’s not automatically so. People can be shitty human beings and be oppressed, for instance.

          It all goes so horribly wrong when one substitutes a class for an individual. Only one of those has morals, can be happy, can suffer.

          1. “People can be shitty human beings and be oppressed, for instance.”

            No they can’t. Because if you’re oppressed, no matter what you do, it’s not actually your fault because you were manipulated into bad actions by your oppression.

            Try to keep up, you cishet white shitHitler.

            1. It’s “cis shitlord,” you filthy microaggressor.

            2. Whether they go around saying such stupid things doesn’t change the truth, regardless of how much they want to pretend that reality is formed solely by their dim little thoughts.

          2. ProL, you have to remember that a central tenet of these people’s world view is the total abdication of personal responsibility. Therefore being a victim means that it’s all someone else’s fault, every time, without exception. And if they can say that it’s caused by whole classes of someone else, then they’ve really succeeded because they’ve now abdicated personal responsibility for entire other classes.

            Collectivism is repulsive.

            1. That kind of thinking isn’t dangerous at all, says the communists and the Nazis.

          3. “People can be shitty human beings and be oppressed, for instance.”


        2. I’ve noticed that, since “social justice” is being mocked more and more frequently, many of them are now trying to phrase their demands as simply being considerate / not being an asshole. It’s so important that they sound reasonable and classify their ideas as just common sense and unoffensive.

          “How can you disagree with social justice? Oh… well, how can you disagree with being considerate and not being mean to other people? You can’t, so vandalizing that guy’s door wasn’t too awful!”

      3. Global BeetJia Tolentino
        1/27/15 1:16pm
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        The un-ironic use of phrases like “political correctness” or “White Guilt” are tell-tale signs of a person’s inherent racist tendencies. The author of that article is either one of those “too stupid to see I’m racist” racists or one of those “too cowardly to admit it” racists.

        1. Is it still confirmation bias if they really do go out of their way to confirm your bias?

        2. It’s amazing how they’re essentially Towelie. Anything at all, no matter what, is somehow turned into “You’re a towel racist!”

          I mean, what would we normally call someone this obsessed with race, 24/7/365? Projection sure is a bitch.

      4. It’s impossible to read Jezebel. I just can’t do it. Trying to read their asinine, terrible writing inevitably makes my eyes glaze. I know I’ve read something, but I’ll be damned if I can tell you the content. Example:

        ‘An obviously defensive and self-interested conclusion follows, between the lines of the page. “But we have failed in combating race and gender bias,” the article is saying. “Because when this well-reasoned article is ripped apart by social justice warriors on what will surely be nothing other than the craven identity-politicking basis of a white man’s perceived unfitness to criticize political correctness (the exact type of essentialist reading you other people don’t want for yourself, idiots!), I will win despite all the criticism; the racialized and gendered criticism of a white man, of all people, will prove we have failed at this noble progressive goal.”‘

        This makes me want to kill not only myself, but everyone else. This paragraph is proof that our species does not deserve to live.

        1. I’m not so sure Jezebelians are the same species in the first place.

        2. I tried, but couldn’t make any sense of it.

        3. I think I’ve figured out the trick. Essentially, they go off on so many pointless tangents that do nothing to advance the argument, or even the sentence, that anyone reading for comprehension is going to get bored and stop waiting (or even paying attention). For the other followers, however, the tangents themselves are what is valuable.

          The paragraph above translates roughly as “The article is saying that criticism of it because it is written by a white will only confirm the racial and gender bias of those making the critique”.

      5. Epi, I know it is old but watch the Yuri Bezmenov video. He explicitly says that they are programmed to do just that, they only have certain number of fixed reactions to stimuli. They are like trained seals.


    2. How Racist Is Jonathan Chait?

      ” Global Beet
      Jia Tolentino
      Today 1:16pm

      The un-ironic use of phrases like “political correctness” or “White Guilt” are tell-tale signs of a person’s inherent racist tendencies. The author of that article is either one of those “too stupid to see I’m racist” racists or one of those “too cowardly to admit it” racists.”

    3. That post is completely confusing/confused, I’m not sure which.

  12. In college papers(not the alternative ones which are usually screamingly far left), they tow the line a lot more than they should regardless of ideology. There will be more pandering to liberal causes in day to day coverage. But when it comes to taking a hard stance, they will usually chicken out regardless of what side of the ideological divide that stance falls on. And based on the power structure of that college, they will err more on the ideological side that power structure leans towards.

  13. Hmmm. I wish Chait would pipe-down. It’s fun watching radically lefties rip apart establishment lefties. The establishment types love to look the other way when the radical types go after some nutty right winger or libertarian. It’s not like they have any foundational principles they really care about above and beyond winning.

    It’s a bit like watching Stalin and Trotsky maneuver for power. Yeah, Stalin was a mass murderer, but they’re both communists after all.

    1. As Rubashov’s neighbor in the prison in Darkness At Noon taps out in his message, “Bravo! The wolves devour each other!”

    2. I doubt the history of the USSR would have been substantially different had Trotsky won over Stalin.

      1. Well, then Soviet history wouldn’t include that whole ice axe story in Mexico City.

        1. This ice pick?


          “I am looking for some financial benefit. I think something as historically important at this should be worth something, no?”

          No way she is faking that. No way.

      2. Maybe a purge or 2 less.

      3. I think that it might have been very different. I was just reading Stalin in Power a few days ago and it’s worth the time for anyone who’d like to get into the nuts and bolts of Stalin’s rise to absolute power and evil. Trotsky was just not in that league, and would have almost certainly pursued the communist agenda at a slower, less brutal pace.

        1. I am merely speculating that staying the dominant crocodile in the river means doing certain things to the other crocs, which Stalin did. Trotsky was not in that league…..yet.
          Of course one can say that Stalin won precisely because Trotsky was not capable of being in that league.

          In either case it doesn’t matter. Stalin won.

    3. The section of Chait’s piece where he tells the story of the “Binders Full of Women Writers”-Facebook group is particularly hilarious =

      Binders was created to give women writers a “laid-back” and “no-pressure” environment for conversation and professional networking. It was an attempt to alleviate the systemic under?representation of women in just about every aspect of American journalism and literature… “Suddenly you had the most powerful women in journalism and media all on the same page,” one former member, a liberal journalist in her 30s, recalls.”

      Wow, that sounds great! I’m sure it should go *swimmingly*

      (Fast-forward to actual example of discussion in the group)


      Quick! hug a black woman!1!

      1. …And they are all supposed to be writers, correct?

  14. ” UCLA students staged a sit-in to protest microaggressions such as when a professor corrected a student’s decision to spell the word indigenous with an uppercase I ? one example of many “perceived grammatical choices that in actuality reflect ideologies.”

    Because the distinction between adjectives and proper nouns is IMPERIALIST!

    1. In their quest to rid the world of sexism and racism they introduce racism and sexism to every single thing in existence; math, snowplowing, grammar, food, geography…ad infinitum.

      Why it is almost as if……oh, never mind.

  15. Chait is very odd. This is a very good article in general, but c’mon, this from the guy who wrote this, just FIVE days ago. Bad when they turn on his white male establishment Democrat ass, but ok against anyone on the right.

  16. I attended a small liberal arts college ’84-’88. This stuff was just starting then. The first time an Administer harangued us about gender equality and social justice, my friends and I just stared at her uncomprehendingly. Had no idea what nonsense was coming out of her mouth.

    Then we had a made up incident of harassment followed by a day of reeducation. Or, as we referred to it, a day off.

    During winter carnival my senior year, our proggie administrator was hit in the head with a lasagna during a drunken food fight. Good times.

    1. I was at a large university during the same period, and only the smallest beginnings of this sort of insanity were present. Not that we didn’t have other issues, like some professors openly espousing Marxism and Maoism, but that’s another matter.

      1. Sure, we laughed at them.

        My Dad visited on Parents’ Weekend and the Chaplin went on and on about what a great guy Dan Ortega was. My father laughed loud enough to be heard through most of the Chapel.

        I thought he would be upset but he explained that he used to hear the same shit about Castro at Yale in the early 60’s.

    2. The famous case of speech-policing during the PC craze of the early 90s was the ‘Water Buffalo incident‘, where the Israeli student’s use of a term was construed to be racist, despite everyone’s agreement that was *not what he intended*.

      The point being was that the “offense” is entirely in the mind of the beholder; and that the ‘victim’ got to decide what was or wasn’t ‘racist’, regardless of what any perpetrator’s intent might be

      Later in the 1990s was the “Niggardly” incident; where a guy lost his job for using a word that other people didn’t understand. Salon(!) of all people is cited in this case as sharing the view that this was something of the *end* of political correctness – since everyone agreed this whole thing was *completely retarded*…

      (… tho i do wonder what that writer would say about the Salon of *today*)

      I’m not exactly sure when the New PC craze really took off, but I’d probably assume it evolved along with the use of Facebook/Twitter, as “identity politics” and ‘online identities’ fit together in a hand-glove way.

      Was the Rolling Stone kerfuffle the Tawana-Brawley incident that will kill the SJW fad? I doubt it. But i do think its losing its appeal with many. As Chait notes = they are *exhausting* and completely unappealing to any long term political movement.

      1. I’m not sure about the when, but I think I know the why. Their policies make no sense in any economic or greater political sense, so they’re down to trying to drum up votes from the many, many idiots who vote.

      2. I think this did start accelerating into high retard in the mid-to-late ’80s, with the campus screeching to end apartheid (and, on my college campus, divest from entities that invested in South Africa).

        The Internet is what made it really take off, probably because you’ve got a lot of people for whom what goes on in that little screen–their social media feeds, etc.–are their entire fucking lives. They never disconnect, and have no real identities apart from their victim-cult calling cards.

        PC butthurt is the country-club jacket emblem of people who cannot or will not achieve. Their lack of merit and/or contributions is not, of course, because they’re mediocre, lazy, and self-obsessed; it’s because The Man has them under his thumb; the mainstreamers are blocking their access to the sunlight with their privilege. They’re not hired because they’re black and transgendered of course, not because they weigh 300 lbs, and arrived at their job interviews unbathed, stinking, and with a weak resume, lousy grades, no experience, and a suck-ass portfolio. They’re not considered stars of the literary canon because they’re women, not because their novels are predictable, formulaic crap. They’re shut out of the Oscars because they’re Latino lesbians, not because they just happened to do nothing exciting or laudable in film this year.

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