Political Correctness

Students Were Offended By a Play That Mocks Political Correctness, So Brandeis Cancelled It

"It is an overtly racist play and will be harmful to the student population if staged."

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Brandeis
John Phelan

Don't think political correctness is a problem on campus? Try producing a play about it.

Renowned playwright Michael Weller conceived a play, Buyer Beware, that mocks activist students and their hostility to politically incorrect humor. He planned to stage a production of it at Brandeis University, the institution that granted him a Creative Arts Award.

But administrators cancelled the production after students complained that its subject matter—easily offended students—was offensive, according to The College Fix.

Buyer Beware is about a student who discovers the works of the un-P.C. comedian Lenny Bruce and attempts to stage a Bruce-like production. This antagonizes activist students affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the university, since an important donor is coming to visit on the day of the production and the administration would rather avoid controversy. (If this plot doesn't seem politically relevant to you, this is probably your first time reading one of my articles at Reason.)

The script apparently calls for a white actor to use the n-word in several instances. Bruce sometimes used offensive language, including the n-word, during his performances: not because he was a racist, but because he wanted to shatter their power. Weller's script calls for one of the characters, Ron, to quote Bruce: "Imagine if we just kept saying these words over and over again, sooner or later they'd become meaningless noise."

The activists who wanted the play cancelled have not actually read the script, but that doesn't matter to them, reports The Brandeis Hoot:

[Recent graduate Ayelet] Schrek, who lives in San Francisco, California, told The Brandeis Hoot that she's never read the script. "I trust the people who told me about it. I don't need to read the actual language to know what it is about," she said in a phone interview with The Hoot. Schrek argued that the department wanted to put it on for "political gain" and in a Facebook post wrote, "It is an overtly racist play and will be harmful to the student population if staged."

In other words, it would be harmful for Brandeis to even entertain the idea that activist students are too sensitive to emotional harm.

Another student rejected Weller's play on the basis of Weller's identity:

"The issue we all have with it is that [Weller] is an older, straight [sic] gendered, able-bodied and white man. It isn't his place to be stirring the pot," said Andrew Childs '18 in a phone interview for a Hoot article published on Sept. 29. Andrew Childs is an Undergraduate Department Representative for the Theater Arts Department and a member of the season's "play selection committee." [Emphasis mine.]

In lieu of staging the play, Brandeis intends to teach a course "devoted to the challenging issues Michael's work evokes," but it's unclear whether the course will actually have anything to do with Buyer Beware. The Brandeis theater department told WBUR that the decision to cancel the play was made in consultation with Weller—something Weller vehemently denies:

"That's false," Weller said. "Since I delivered the play, I haven't heard from the theater department."

Weller added that he now has no choice but to seek a professional production company to stage the play.

"I just hope that there is a chance for the kids who haven't seen the play at Brandeis to see it," he said.

Weller called the handling of the decision not to produce the play at Brandeis "a dangerous and corrosive way" to deal with the creation of a play.

"I wanted to give it to the school," Weller said. "I'm personally heartbroken."

Brandeis is a private institution, and Weller does not have some right to have a play produced there. And it is of course possible that the play just isn't very good. It's also possible the play is not merely good, but a socially valuable piece of art that calls attention to a real problem.

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  1. This is almost as good as when “Do colleges have a free speech problem?” panels ban speakers from coming.

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    3. Was there any “satire” involved? If so, they were certainly justified in suppressing it. See the documentation of America’s leading criminal “parody” case at:

      https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

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  2. “Recent graduate Ayelet] Schrek, who lives in San Francisco, California, told The Brandeis Hoot that she’s never read the script. ”

    Political correctness was always a means for the ignorant to avoid having to actually know about particular things-all they needed to know instead was the correct (indignant) pose.

    1. “Recent graduate ,_________,told Brandeis that it cannot expect any alumnae contribution until it stops coddling the easily offended a..holes.”

    2. “I’M IGNORANT OF THE FACTS AND I WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW IT.”

      1. You cant spell “fascist” without “facts”!

    3. “You must say radical Islamic terrorist.”

      1. Who says that Tony? In fact what people say is “why won’t you say radical Islamic terrorist” in those instances where it is so obviously true.

        Nonetheless, I hold out hope that, after having been corrected by dozens of people here on literally hundreds of issues, you will, one day, inevitably get something right.

        1. Even the dotard himself stopped saying it once his slightly more intelligent advisers explained to him that it does nothing but make the problem of terrorism worse (by implicating all of Islam).

          You people’s insistence on affirming your own bigotry is the kind of political correctness that actually gets people killed.

          1. Right-Muslims can’t see or understand the modifier “radical” and put what others say into some sort of context. If there is any mention of Islam at all they just fly into some sort of murderous rage (or so you seem to think), but the rest of us should watch our bigotry.

          2. If logical fallacies were a sport you’d be in the fucking olympics, Tony. Michael Phelps would be but a pale imitation.

          3. Well, they hate us enough to kill us, so the fact is we can’t make them hate us more.
            We can never get them to not hate us enough to kill us, because killing infidels is a core part of the Koran.

            1. Not just the Koran but also the Sunna and the Hadiths. The Koran is just a part of the ideology.

          4. So Muslim terrorists are snowflakes now?

          5. Biggest bigot in the Reason comment sections whines about supposed bigotry of others.

            In other news. irony went out back, dug itself a shallow grave, and shot itself in the head.

  3. “Imagine if we just kept saying these words over and over again, sooner or later they’d become meaningless noise.”

    Lenny was right. For recent examples see, “racist”, “Nazi”, “homophobe”, “bigot”, etc., etc.

    1. Ooops, I tried to make the same sort of joke but you beat me to it. But cheers, you’re right.

  4. The Onion is real life.

    1. It isn’t his place to be stirring the pot

      Proggies will put you in your place…in front of a firing squad…

      1. Because he is the wrong race, sex and sexual orientation, but this is a goid application of racism and sexism!

      2. Nope. They will not use evil guns. The guillotine is on its way back. Screaming mobs in the square and all that.
        To the barricades!

        1. Guns are only evil when they’re not in the hands of their paid enforcers…

    2. Everyone knows that the only acceptable “edgy” play matierial must be sufficiently anti-Trump.

    3. “The Onion is real life.”

      I think that on average about four or five times a week now.

  5. But Robby, there is hope…

    The Surprising Revolt at the Most Liberal College in the Country

    This school year, students are ditching anonymity and standing up to RAR in public?and almost all of them are freshmen of color. The turning point was the derailment of the Hum lecture on August 28, the first day of classes. As the Humanities 110 program chair, Elizabeth Drumm, introduced a panel presentation, three RAR leaders took to the stage and ignored her objections. Drumm canceled the lecture?a first since the boycott. Using a panelist’s mic, a leader told the freshmen that “[our] work is just as important as the work of the faculty, so we were going to introduce ourselves as well.”

    The pushback from freshmen first came over Facebook. “To interrupt a lecture in a classroom setting is in serious violation of academic freedom and is just unthoughtful and wrong,” wrote a student from China named Sicheng, who distributed a letter of dissent against RAR. Another student, Isabel, ridiculed the group for its “unsolicited emotional theater.”

    1. Holy shit, these people are protesting Steve Martin doing King Tut?

      Who the fuck does appropriating a culture that has been dead for 2000 years supposedly harm? Or do they think that Arab Egyptians are the cultural descendants of ancient Egypt somehow?

      God these people are just pathetic.

      1. What I found funny about that is that when it comes to Steve Martin playing King Tut, Egyptians are oppressed POC and thus cannot be portrayed by white people in comedy skits, but apparently Egypt and the Middle East are too white and don’t count as POC representation when it comes to the philosophy content of the class.

        1. And ancient Egypt was a completely different culture. And they were the most powerful empire in the world for some time. It’s not exactly punching down to make a novelty song about the greatest colonial power in the world from 3000 years ago.

    2. One of the first Hum professors to request that RAR not occupy the classroom was Luc?a Mart?nez Valdivia, who said her preexisting PTSD would make it difficult to face protesters. In an open letter, RAR offered sympathy to Mart?nez Valdivia but then accused her of being anti-black, discriminating against those with disabilities, and engaging in gaslighting

      These children need a good paddling.

      1. Wait, SHE is engaging is gaslighting?

      2. Luc?a Mart?nez Valdivia, who said her preexisting PTSD would make it difficult to face protesters

        *facepalm*

        Is there anything PTSD isn’t good for these days?

        1. Wish I had PTSD. Maybe I could retire.

    3. unsolicited emotional theater was my nickname in college

    4. When you get smacked down about speech restrictions from a Chinese student, a little self reflection is in order.

      1. You should know that self reflection is inherently triggering.

      2. It isn’t a Chinese student’s place to be stirring the pot; they’re model immigrants used by the white shitlords to oppress PoC students.

  6. One has to wonder how these people even get through a single day.

    1. Oh, I bet they’re having a great time. It’s just larping that involves being an asshole to everyone, whether they want to participate or not.

    2. Xanax

  7. Renowned playwright Michael Weller conceived a play, Buyer Beware, that mocks activist students

    Sheesh, Weller, what *were* you thinking? Try conceiving a play that mocks Muslim terrorists for your next act.

    1. I don’t know who that is but I thought that happened before Kevin Spacey was even born.

  8. “I don’t need to read the actual language to know what it is about,”

    Thank god only SWJ snowflake millennial types think this way.

    1. Unfortunately, so do congresscreatures.

      1. No, they just have to pass it to know what’s in it.

  9. Andrew Childs is an Undergraduate Department Representative for the Theater Arts Department and a member of the season’s “play selection committee.”

    He’s a Junior. The plays of the future are going to be incredibly boring.

    1. The aptly named Andrew Child. (Soave has his name wrong.)

      1. So his parents literally named him “Man Child”.

        1. Nicely played.

    2. “”The plays of the future are going to be incredibly boring.””

      I think they will be like Kathy Griffin’s character on Seinfeld.

      1. which is pretty much her in real life.

  10. It isn’t his place to be stirring the pot…

    I’m just glad the pot finally has a gatekeeper tuned in to everyone’s skin color.

    1. I’m so old that I remember when “know your place” was considered a sign of prejudice.

  11. She doesn’t need to read it to want it banned? And her name is Schrek? Maybe names do influence behavior, because she is truly acting like an ogre.

    1. Hey, the cartoon Schrek was a good ogre, subverting the classic narrative, etc.

      This more recent Schrek takes us back to the bad old days when ogres hid under bridges and ate children, or is that trolls?

  12. “I don’t need to read the actual language to know what it is about,”

    Does anybody else think it is also ironic that commentators to a Robby post are criticizing this statement?

    Nonetheless, judging from this story they must not teach irony anymore in colleges, which makes sense since the English language perpetuates ‘white supremacy’ or some other nonsense like that.

    1. Its like a traffic jam, when you’re already late

      1. The most ironically titled song in music history

        1. Not a single incident mentioned in that song is ironic, which actually makes the song itself a pretty brilliant piece of meta-irony.

          1. Q: Isn’t it ironic?
            A: No.

          2. There is one thing that is actually ironic. In the verse about the plane crashing a guy says “isn’t this nice?”

      2. To be fair, “Coincidental” was too hard for Alanis to spell.

    2. I believe irony is a literary device and doesn’t exist in real life.

  13. This political correctness is almost as egregious as when the president of the United States says football players should be forced to stand and salute the flag.

    1. difference is Trump said “don’t you wish” while the PC crowd is literally shutting people down.

      1. Don’t tell Trump that nameless college freshmen have more power than him.

        1. Trump restrains his power. A concept you can’t really understand.

      2. …and then threatened to use the force of the state by imposing a kneel tax.

    2. Yes, and?

      1. Tony thinks Reason doesn’t have enough Trump in it.

  14. The faculty have only themselves to blame.
    Reward a type of behavior, expect more of it.
    They rewarded and got more of it, a lot more.

    1. ^^^ When I was in college, they would have kicked me out of class, not refunded me the $300 I paid for the class (now $5,000), and probably would have called the cops and had me forcibly removed. The faculty only have themselves to blame, and putting up with this garbage is only going to perpetuate more garbage in the future. I have little kids used to act like this.

  15. These stories are getting tiresome.

    Let the conveyor belt of these students pass on and let life deal with them.

    Next.

    1. The faculty isn’t going anywhere, and they are the real problem.

      You get more of what you reward:

      and the University administrators and faculty, despite their occasional, rare complaints, reward these students in myriad ways. Even when they voice nominal disagreement, they’ll give concessions to the students, effectively legitimizing their tactics.

      Its not the kids, as Robby also mistakes: its the institutions and their cowardice in the face of any criticism from the left. They steep people in critical theory for a generation; of course they have no rebuttal. Most humanities professors are likely incapable of making a defense of Enlightenment principles w/o injecting 1000 Marxist ‘To be sure’s’.

      1. e.g. case in point

        “”One of the first Hum professors to request that RAR not occupy the classroom was Luc?a Mart?nez Valdivia, who said her preexisting PTSD would make it difficult to face protesters.””

        when they – rarely – try pushing back, they often use the exact same underlying method that they are responding to: claiming that their victim-status gives them special authority. The idea that you can/should use your race/gender/disability or whatever as a means of making demands on other people isn’t being challenged at its root; if anything, they’re validating the same thinking that drove the students to protest.

        sort of like, “leftist violence is wrong… because it might actually help Trump” (*not because it is wrong regardless of its effects). Can’t remember where i heard that, but you get the idea.

      2. The accusation of racism is the trump card of all grievances. Followed by cultural appropriation, triggering, and micro-aggressions. Any mention of that will guarantee accommodation lest it go viral and end up with local interstates being shut down and malls being trolled.

      3. A lot of the faculty don’t like the decision. The student newspaper also criticized the decision. I think it’s unfair to lump everyone together. It’s a very controversial decision that has nowhere near unanimous support.

        1. what ‘decision’ are you referring to? we were making a general point, not something specific to this instance of campus-political-censorship

          1. I was refuting the notion that faculty and administrators as a consensus hold the attitude that you’re describing. It’s quite clearly the minority view. Reason’s odd fascination with this topic promotes confirmation bias.

  16. In lieu of staging the play, Brandeis intends to teach a course “devoted to the challenging issues Michael’s work evokes,” present a screening of the Mel Brooks classic, Blazing Saddles.

    1. That would literally kill these children.

    2. “They said you was hung,”

      “They were right.”

      1. “IT’S TWUE!!! IT’S TWUE!!!”

        1. The sheriff is near!

  17. Ironic and perplexing, as Brandeis purchased the Lenny Bruce archive material last year. Wonder what they will do with it?

    1. Well now that that cat’s out of the bag, it will probably be seized and burned.

  18. So I assume any TV on Brandeis’s campus automatically blocks South Park?

  19. Check out Jamie Kilstein’s interview on Rogan. He said it was common for the social justice left to not read into whatever was offending them. A headline or Huffpo summary was more than enough

    1. I don’t think this is particular to the left. Earlier this week the right was up in arms over a politically incorrect event that Larry David had on his show (the title of the episode was “Thank You For Your Service”, so you can guess what it was about…). Many of the right-wingers who commented on it, and on his show in general, admitted to never having watched it.

      It’s definitely a bipartisan tendency. Ask Howard Stern, who’s gotten it from both sides.

  20. Don’t forget, putting pineapples on pizza is cultural appropriation.

    Also a non Italian singing a composition by the great Italian composer Jacopo Peri, is cultural apparition.

    1. Pineapple on pizza is not just appropriation, it is also abomination.

      1. And it certainly doesn’t belong on deep dish pizza.

    2. Eating pizza is cultural appropriation.

      1. The Italians culturally appropriated pizza from others:

        Foods similar to pizza have been made since the neolithic age. Records of people adding other ingredients to bread to make it more flavorful can be found throughout ancient history. The ancient Greeks supplemented their bread with oils, herbs and cheese, or hops, and in the 6th century BC, the soldiers in Persian King Darius I’s armies baked flatbreads with cheese and dates on top of their battle shields. An early reference to a pizza-like food occurs in the Aeneid, when Celaeno, queen of the Harpies, foretells that the Trojans would not find peace until they are forced by hunger to eat their tables (Book III). In Book VII, Aeneas and his men are served a meal that includes round cakes (like pita bread) topped with cooked vegetables. When they eat the bread, they realize that these are the “tables” prophesied by Celaeno.

    3. Isn’t pizza, and many other foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, chow mein, etc., cultural appropriation? I mean, sushi and lattes are fine but that’s different.

      1. Well, duh Japan and Italy fought with our most worstest evildoer Hitler, so they’re Nazi supporters and their culture doesn’t count. They are one degree away from us punching them on campi rallies.

  21. “”It isn’t his place to be stirring the pot,” said Andrew Childs ’18″”

    I guess Mr. Childs fails to understand it’s not his place to decide who gets to stir the pot.

    I have found people like this are extremely self-centered. Everything must follow from their opinion of things.

  22. “The issue we all have with it is that [Weller] is an older, straight [sic] gendered, able-bodied and white man.”

    I think that was supposed to be [cis] gendered.

    1. Only because the phrase ‘he is a man’ is beyond their comprehension.

  23. When this Politically Communistic thing began just after the Berlin Wall came down, it went stale immediately. It beggars belief that political pinheads in both wings of the looter altruist asylum are still pushing this stuff. I really pity folks still hooked on teevee, and appreciate Reason TV for making the other kind obsolete.

  24. This is like when Trump says something offensive and the media goes nuts, not understanding that it makes them look like fools. Only this is actually funny.

  25. Perhaps this madness will come to the attention of those trying to find federal spending to cut, and the student loan program, along with the entire Department of Education [sic] will vanish.

  26. Bruce sometimes used offensive language, including the n-word, during his performances: not because he was a racist, but because he wanted to shatter their power.

    But mob rule doesn’t recognize nuance. Just turn your brain off and “resist.”

  27. All I can say after yet another one of these fiascoes: Fuck the left wing!

  28. It seems to me that there is a simple solution to this problem.

    Specifically state that it will _include_ “a critical analysis of white racist culture.” Market it with this statement.

    Not only will the play be geeenlit, it will probably receive school funding.

    Then, develop your anti-PC play, but be sure that the first five minutes of the play includes some critical (and real) condemnation of racist culture. This shouldn’t be difficult.

    Feel free to then expand on this idea as it applies to the appalling racist and fascist PC culture. This shouldn’t be difficult either.

    Ta-daa.

  29. Long before that racist nuisance called the Bill of Rights writers had to use symbolism to express their true meanings, or risk a beheading. Perhaps modern writers of the SJW era need to do the same? Sometimes I read articles and I’m not 100% certain if the writer is being serious or sardonic.. I have to give some journalists and writers credit for knowing how to milk PC while revealing its insanity, much like how Jonathan Swift did 500 years ago. A brilliant playwright today would write a play that’s pro-PC but actually is rather anti-PC in its symbolism–today’s marxist morons lack the ability to read between the lines.

  30. “Imagine if we just kept saying these words over and over again, sooner or later they’d become meaningless noise.”

    Like…. “racist”? Or “offensive”? Or “sexist”? Or “misogynist?

    All of them, meaningless noise. So he’s right there, at least.

  31. They drove Lenny from the stage 60 years ago, and now those who presumably were on the other side back then are doing the same thing now. Cowardice is a curious phenomenon

    Lenny could not perform today; neither could Joan Rivers, Don Rickles, Sammy Davis Jr, Jonathan Winters, and on and on. I don’t know that we as a nation have lost our sense of humor, but the “Prudence Goodbodies” (to quote Johnny Carson) on the left are doing their level best to bring that about

  32. If young people can’t face a difficult idea in the safety and comfort of their campus theater, where and when will they ever be able to?

  33. Where o where are Colbert and co.? Shouldn’t the late night crew lead the charge against this insanity? Isn’t that better than the 1,000 joke about President Trump?

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