Laugh Less, Protest More? Comedians Reportedly Avoiding Colleges and Universities Due To Speech Regulations

nicubunu_open_mouthThere is an interesting story out this week of how comedians are avoiding college campuses due to the increasing levels of speech regulations and complaints over speech deemed insulting to any group. We have been discussing the rapid expansion of speech controls on campuses and the loss of core principles of free speech that once defined American academia. The rule today appears to be to laugh less and protest more on campus.

An example occurred last December when Bill Maher was the subject of a petition drive at the University of California Berkeley by activists opposed to his speaking at winter commencement because of his past remarks criticizing Muslims.

Other comedians reportedly shunning colleges and universities are Jerry Seinfeld, Larry the Cable Guy and Chris Rock. Seinfeld is quoted as saying “[Young people] just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist;’ ‘That’s sexist;’ ‘That’s prejudice.’ … They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”

I am more concerned about the loss of student than comedian speech. However, both reflect a growing trend toward speech regulation. Ironically, baby boomers who once renowned for free speech on campuses are now rallying to the cause of censorship and speech regulation in the name of pluralism. This includes faculty and students who have supported a California professor who not only destroyed a pro-life display but assaulted those voicing an opposing view to her own. Now that I think about it, there really is nothing funny about what is happening on campuses.

48 thoughts on “Laugh Less, Protest More? Comedians Reportedly Avoiding Colleges and Universities Due To Speech Regulations”

  1. “Seinfeld is the least insulting comedian working, you bozo!!”

    The inherent irony in your statement notwithstanding, you are actually making my point for me. If he’s not insulting, then surely there must be some other reason why college kids aren’t coming to his shows besides a lack of political correctness.

    Here’s a thought…maybe he’s just not that funny anymore?

    “Seinfeld is not funny?? One of the greatest comedians of all time.”

    Yeah, maybe 20 years ago. You still have that AMEX card he sold you?

    Face it Nick, Seinfeld’s shtick, not to mention yours, is long past its sell-by date.

    1. Ponocrates – as you age your taste in humor changes. I can remember thinking The Three Stooges were the funniest people on Earth. Now I think it is Buster Keaton.

  2. Poncrates thinks Tig Notaro is funny. He wants his humor PC, stupid and bland, just like his comments. Seinfeld is not funny?? One of the greatest comedians of all time.

  3. First off, I’d be careful of extrapolating the PC beliefs of a vocal, militant minority enabled by busy-body faculty and administrators to an entire college population. While I don’t know of any polling on the subject, my guess is the vast majority of college students have no strong feelings one way or the other about the appropriateness or lack thereof of the language used by certain iconoclasm-exploiting entertainers.

    Secondly, this whole manufactured “controversy” smacks of a publicist’s lame excuse for why his generationally challenged clients aren’t drawing the crowds on the college circuit they used to. Basically Seinfeld (who hasn’t been funny since the mid-90s) and others are saying, “Hey it’s not that we’re not funny; those uptight kids just don’t like to laugh.”

    I just think young people today don’t find traditional identity-politics based humor very funny or relevant. They don’t struggle with our increasingly multicultural society the way their elders do. They believe in celebrating the variety of sexual identities and racial makeups, and view those who make a living calling out the foibles of individual demographic categories as petty and mean-spirited.

    Besides it’s really hard to laugh at a multimillionaire who makes a living off insulting your identity when you’ve got $200,000 in student loans and no job prospects. I would think a younger stand up speaks to the economic problems of young people would do very well on the college circuit, thank you very much.

    In the immortal words of Austin Powers, “There’s nothing more pathetic than aging hipster.”

  4. One just has to remember that the only differences of substance, as opposed to detail, between the Nazis and this up-and-coming crop of (mis)educated Liberals are that the Nazis dressed better and had better personal hygiene

    1. jonolan – you have to admit, the Nazis had the coolest uniforms. 😉

  5. The heroes that took down the terrorist were Americans. NDTE is American. Therefore NDTE is a hero. Yup. The greatest free ride on the planet.

  6. The heroes were interviewed and a reporter made the same haughty presumption as you. The stupid reporter was saying only experts like these guys should have attacked the terrorist. These humble heroes emphatically said “No.” They stated their initial reaction was gut, not military training. They stated after they had the terrorist subdued their military training helped in restraining and then in helping the other American hero bleeding from the carotid artery. They went on to say that this is a lesson for ALL people, to “Do something.” So, although you love to be Mr. Know-it-all, I will listen to THE HEROES. It was in the press conference. And, you seem obsessed w/ “midget” leaders. Have you seen the photos of Hollande w/ the American heroes? The dude looks like Herve Villechaize.

  7. ND

    The main and perhaps only ingredient involved in the men taking down the terrorist is that they were servicemen, trained to be able to use force, and who didn’t have the fear of the average person as a first reaction. They are heroes and it is nice that they are Americans.

    Of course hollow men will grasp at anything with which to identify, and as an American, like the heroes, feel awesome. It also helps the hollow men to put down other nationalities.

  8. OOPS! You’ve shown ignorance of the US Constitution and Nazi Germany but I always figured you knew French history. It’s been a bad day. And, while someone[anonymous] here yesterday was frantically pointing out a Frenchman actually stepped forward on the Paris train, it turns out to have been an American living in France and teaching English to the French. They’re still trying to get the Frenchmen out from under the train seats.

  9. Porkchop

    I stand corrected regarding my inclusion of the change between the 4th and 5th Republics in my comment. That was, indeed, begun in 1958 in the wake of the Algiers crisis which represented a change in focus of the majority of the French from a colonial power to the bettering of the conditions at home in France. The Spring 1968 events brought about a change in the Presidency from de Gaulle to Pompidou and sweeping changes regarding social programs etc.

    My point was and remains that the changes were a result of the low quality of lifestyle suffered by the working class and their rising complaints organized into a profile unavoidable to the government of Charles de Gaulle; by the students in Paris and other French cities. This organization of students and workers also took place in Germany and in other European countries at the same time. This was paralleled in the US with the citizenry rising up against the crimes of segregation and the Vietnam war, both being suffered by the lower working classes and the organization and expression through the universities.

    It is interesting to note the lack of university involvement in today’s problems. Perhaps this is because of one reason and/or another but what is missing is the thought of whites lynching blacks, America slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese along with its own youth, and the ‘doomsday clock’ ticking ever closer to midnight-different times.

  10. @Issac

    Not to get sidetracked here, but the French Fourth Republic “fell”, and was replaced by the Fifth (and current) Republic in 1958. The student riots in ’68 had nothing to do with it. Indeed, the elections called in the wake of the ’68 riots resulted in a resounding victory for the Gaullists, and the threat of revolution was over.

  11. So far only one thread has been infected w/ the angry troll. We have differences of opinion on this thread, but no vitriol and venom. Kudos to all.

  12. Camille Paglia has been speaking eloquently on the fascist takeover of college campuses for decades now.

  13. Karen S,

    Exactly! I think the NYTimes titled their article something like “College Students as Kindergarteners” but “toddlers” really is a better description. These kids are being treated as though they are one or two years old, yet they are legal adults. Such coddling does them no favors. I predict an avalanche of shut-ins and/or agoraphobics in the coming years. I should have become a psychotherapist as that is where all the jobs are going to be!

  14. And as a woman, being offered Play-doh and bubbles to comfort me during a discussion on serious topics is unbelievably insulting.

    Get insulted about something that really matters, lady students! You’re being treated like imbeciles because you’re acting like one! Aren’t you grown up enough to talk about the tough issues that face women without a snuggly little blankie???

  15. piece:

    “Here’s an excerpt from the second link:
    “Brown University recently held a debate about sexual assault on campus. In response to the very existence of this debate—and this time it’s not The Onion reporting, but rather The New York Times—the college set up a “safe space” where those who might be made uncomfortable, or to use the politically correct parlance, “triggered,” by the debate could remove to relax with “cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.” A student gave her reason for using the safe room: “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs.””

    As a mother, this trend towards helplessness drives me mad. Are these kids prepared to deal with real world problems? What if they have problems with a co-worker? A difficult boss? Trouble in their marriage? What if someone in the checkout line doesn’t like them?

    We are raising adults to be permanent toddlers. If they don’t get their way, or are uncomfortable, or disagree, they must change the world to fit their own views. They won’t be able to travel the world, or go to another part of our own country, witness very different ideas and viewpoints, and say, “How interesting.” They will demand a single viewpoint, their own. Are they going to be capable of traveling and adapting to the local cultures? I recall learning on the fly that women absolutely do not wear shorts in some villages in South America. I went back and changed and had a great time. In another South American city, I was warned by a local not to go far out on the beach with my camera because there were robbers who targeted tourists who went too far away from help. I took his advice and got some local tour guides that way. Each part of the country I was in had very definite “rules” and mores, and I respected them and had a wonderful time.

    Are these adults going to be capable of that? Of seeing the world or enjoying the wondrous, messy variety in our own country? Can they enjoy seeing some Cajun fish a young gator out of a swamp for show and tell in LA, and listen to Zydeco, as much as they would dodging piles of human poop in San Francisco to see a concert in Golden Gate Park?

    A homogenous world would be numbingly boring.

  16. Max:

    “I mean, it’s fine to protest. And on campus, too. That should always be a safe place to express one’s selves when speaking up for your perceived Rights. The problem comes in when people aren’t given proper guidance from the adults running the institution/campus on how to be effective in messaging and coached as to their ability to address their concerns or, are even if their concerns actually valid at all. Just because one group has a gripe it should not automatically mean that the gripe is valid. And a campus environment should be that place to explore. However, where is the adult supervision to help guide them in their decision making process within this institution of learning?”

    I completely agree. They are like children always getting their way, instead of learning about how to get along with everyone and explore new ideas under the guidance of the university.

    DBQ – Monty Python was absolutely fantastic. I never tire of them.

  17. I agree that political correctness has reached ridiculous levels. I thought I raised my teenager to be critical, skeptical, think for herself, appreciate comedy and be able to see life from a variety of viewpoints, but every day it seems she and her friends become more and more restrictive with their definition of acceptable behavior. They also seem to become even more humorless with every day. It makes me sad. I keep hoping they’ll come around as they mature.

    I also agree that campus administrators share the blame. The Onion recently ran a piece titled “College Encourages Lively Exchange of Idea: Students, Faculty, Invited to Freely Express Single Viewpoint.” Here are few examples of people being blacklisted or de-platformed simply for having opinions that might hurt some people’s feelings: http://jonahmix.com/2015/08/18/guest-post-derrick-jensen-responds-to-oregon-state-university/
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/10/liberals-and-the-new-mccarthyism/
    Here’s an excerpt from the second link:
    “Brown University recently held a debate about sexual assault on campus. In response to the very existence of this debate—and this time it’s not The Onion reporting, but rather The New York Times—the college set up a “safe space” where those who might be made uncomfortable, or to use the politically correct parlance, “triggered,” by the debate could remove to relax with “cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.” A student gave her reason for using the safe room: “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs.”

    WHATTTTT?????

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