We previously discussed how the attack on free speech on campuses around the world has led to even comedians being banned for insulting or disrespecting any group. Many comedians are now avoiding gigs at universities to avoid controversies. The latest such example occurred at Columbia where a fairly typical skit led to stand-up comedian and former “SNL” writer Nimesh Patel being forced off stage by students upset that he made jokes about race and sexual orientation.
According to The Columbia Spectator, Patel was stopped just 30 minutes into this routine due to a joke about a gay black man from Patel’s old neighborhood: “No one looks in the mirror and thinks, ‘this black thing is too easy, let me just add another thing to it.’”
That is fairly standard stuff for a modern comedian but it apparently sent Columbia students into vapors.
What is ironic is that the joke reflected sympathy with the discrimination faced by both people of color and homosexuals in our society.
The crackdown on comedians is nothing new unfortunately. We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).
Yet, students like Adam Warren actually supported censoring the comedian because “using people’s ethnicity as the crux of his jokes could be funny but still offensive…He definitely wasn’t the most crass comedian I’ve ever heard but for the event it was inappropriate.” Eventually, young Adam and his classmates will have to actually emerge into the real world where such jokes are actually quite common.
That obvious point however is precisely what student Sofia Jao objects to. She is quoted as saying “I really dislike when people who are older say that our generation needs to be exposed to the real world. When older generations say you need to stop being so sensitive, it’s like undermining what our generation is trying to do in accepting others and making it safer.” What is missing however is any recognition that she is simply stating the motivation (which is not being questioned or opposed) rather than addressing the means. Any means used in the pursuit of a noble goal does not make it noble in itself. In this case, she and others are advocating censorship, including of comedians, to regulate speech of others. She could always simply not go to the show or walk out. Instead, Patel was told to leave because some in the audience were offended. Finally, Sofia, it is first and foremost not about your generation. It is about all of our free speech. If you want to live in an echo chamber of your own choosing, I have little interest or care. However, you are seeking to curtail the speech of others because you believe silencing them will make for a better place.
Yes, this is about the real world but it is also about the future of free speech and a new younger generation of censors. My generation was defined by the struggle for free speech and associations. This generation seems to relish speech controls and regulation.
31 thoughts on “Columbia Students Shutdown Comedian For Joking About Race and Sexual Orientation”
I’m most concerned about rigorous defense of norms of civility. Our form of democracy simply cannot function in a dangerous world if the political dialog degrades into an unproductive, vengeful, tribalistic babble of hateful accusations.
I keep reminding myself that we are surrounded and enriched by private organizations (companies, clubs, conferences, churches, etc) where the dialog is respectful and productive — norms are defended — those who go vitrolic are dealt with in the moment, and if they persist, they are run out of the organization. You would only label that censorship if your notion of free speech is so expansive that it allows the most militant, immodest, self-righteous voices to take over and dominate a group.
I’ve never gotten a clear idea from JT how far he would go in risking loss of vital social norms to defend free speech. With his vast courtroom experience, he understands what a regulated process looks like, with a powerful referee (judge) presiding, and strictly enforced rules of discourse. These are essential elements in managing a highly adversarial collision of interests toward an orderly and just conclusion — resolution of conflict.
As far as stand-up comedy, there’s no right to an audience. People have to like your act to be successful. Comedians test the limits of decorum, that’s part of their appeal. In any event, it’s incorrect to use the word “censorship” to describe an audience turning on a stand-up comedian, and jeering him offstage. It’s audience power. And, audiences are the ultimate judges of comedy norms.
It’s actually hard to define censorship given that government is expected to help defend norms of civility, and must do so in order preserve public order and safety, and eschew the pre-conditions for civil war.
I frankly don’t see what this story has to do with censorship. It’s more a case of audience abandonment.
There is no such thing as a “right” to free speech. By means of a mouth and brain, I have the ability to talk, and no individual can demand that I stop talking. The First Amendment simply prohibits censorship by the government. On the other hand, I have no right to demand that I be heard. People have the power to ignore, criticize, shun, ostracize, and exclude me from their premises. A University has a responsibility to exclude speech that is inimical to higher learning. Such speech can be entertained off-campus as there is freedom of association. Most on this list, I trust, would not object were a University to refuse to give a platform to an outright Neo-Nazi. Of course, we will never agree on where to draw the line between controversial speech and that which implicitly calls for violence against a minority or majority, but there can be no doubt that society must not tolerate any and all speech if it hopes to maintain a civil society. Even so, Neo-Nazi can speak his mind to those who wish to hear him, but those who do not must be able to do everything within their power to limit his audience.
If 100% of the audience booed and hissed, then one hardly object to their shuttng down free speech, buy what if only 30% wanted to stop the comedian, is it still legitimate or if it is 20% or 10%? I suspect that disruptive behaviour by even a small minority would be enough tp make continuation of the performance futile.
The behaviour of the disruptors is “political correctness” in its original meaning of taking basically good ideas such as civility and tolerance to extremes that do more harm than good. There is however a more common meaning of “political correctness”, the term has been appropriated by right wingers to express opposition to extending human rights to mere members of species homo sapiens sapiens who have no entitlement to them because such entitlement has been extinguished by the superior right to land and resources of members of a true master race.
For example consider Berta Caceres in Honduras who was most rightfully whacked by agents of the oligarchy for impeding the construction of a dam that stands to benefit righteous members of the oligarchy and multinational corporations. Not only did she forfeit the right to life but also the right to have justice for her murder that extends beyond the low level operatives that carried it out and who have no knowledge of the high level authors of her whacking.
Consider the Palestinian illegal occupants of Palestine who in 1948 were an impediment to the righteous establishment of the Jewish State of Israel. At that time non-Jewish Palestinians were a majority, the ethnic cleansing of 700,000 of them together with 7,000 murders to encourage others to depart was imperative so that Israel would have a solid Jewish majority so that the franchise was of no use to Palestinians as the 80% of Jewish voters would make their voting a futile exercise. Today Israel’s shooting dead Palestinian demonstrators in the so called Great March of Return is legitimate because the current protests really are an existential threat to the Jewish state. They are a threat not because their is any liklelyhood of them surging across the borders but because their protests are having an effect of lessening Western approval of Israel and its crimes both now and at its establishment. Eventually the receding tide of Western approval will make the maintenance of the current Apartheid situation impossible and so also the Jewish State.
I could go on to say that the Hispanic people fleeing those central American states destabilized by the US’ support of right wing governments do not have any right of refuge in the US because of their being willfully and feloniously indigenous and of an inherently criminal race .
“Eventually, young Adam and his classmates will have to actually emerge into the real world where such jokes are actually quite common.” And what will Adam and his fellow indoctrinates do when they enter the real world? The education system from preschool to grad school has successfully indoctrinated young people from their most vulnerable period of development into a far Left ideology. They did not consider the public education system’s goal to be academics. Clearly. One can deduce that from the test scores. Their goal is to produce “global citizens” that share the Democratic party’s ideology, harassing any student on campus who deviates.
Thus, they have produced a generation of young people who view opposing ideas as dangerous, decry racism, bigotry, and misogyny but knee jerk engage in it themselves against conservatives, and they are in total ignorance of the fact that their country produces an infinitesimally small contribution to global carbon. The programs they promote that make energy, gas, food, goods, and services unaffordable to many people do virtually nothing to change the carbon makeup of the atmosphere. There is no risk benefit analysis in their psyche. No tolerance for other ideas.
So, what will Adam the adult do? Usher in the Socialist Utopia he was trained to do, and strive to become a government ruling class. His purpose is to bring us down to Venezuela’s deprivation, as penance for slavery. This is because the education system taught him to anachronistically judge only the US by today’s standards. He is unaware that slavery was global, since before recorded time, and in fact still exists in the African continent and Asia. The US was actually at the forefront with Great Britain in abolishing slavery, as the West spearheaded justice. Instead of giving the US its due for overturning a terrible practice as old as our species, it was blamed for it. With that level of hatred, bringing America to its knees seems only fair.
What will Adam and his contemporaries do? They will vote, take office, and run the country. Repealing most of our Constitutional rights, including Free Speech, is predictable. They will demonize conservatives just as they did the capitalist farmers in Ukraine before the Holodomor killed up to 12 million of them for refusing to bow to Socialism.
Hmmm. What this article needs is. . .Gay Jokes!
Q: Why can’t gays drive faster than 68mph?
Because at 69 they blow a rod.
Q: How do you fit three homosexuals on one barstool?
Turn it upside-down.
Q. Hear about the new gay sitcom?
“Leave it, it’s Beaver.”
Q. How can you tell if a Western is gay?
All the good guys are hung.
Wow, Squeeky, I love the jokes, and since my husband and I are both hung, are completely versatile, the Western and barstool jokes are absolutely perfect for us. let me elaborate, since I am really well hung (9″ thick with huge mushroom head and generous amount of precum), he has a hard time (pun intended) with my driving his arse. However, thanks to your assist (figurative, of course, we know you’re a beachy fugly shim), I will use the barstool approach to prepare his sensitivities
As for my taking his cowboy western tool, I’ll gladly admit I love going for a ride on it. I can see angels and blue horizons when he’s doing me, and the view is simply Heavenly. Try it…..but we will understand you will have to use a cucumber since no one in their Cowboy attire can get themselves wet and hard to nail you. sorry, sweetie, but we appreciate you taking all of that negativity and keeping to your dead pussy.
Humor! you’re the best, SF!
Ewwww! TMI to the max! But, since you like that kind of humor, here is you a gay Irish Poem!
Gide’ Up, Go???
An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm
Poor Oswald dropped by the wrong bar!
Where the patrons were all tres’ bizarre!
When a dude there asked, “Cool,
Can I push up your stool?”
Too bad Oswald had no gaydar!
Carl – I am happy for the two of you, but pictures would be expected after comments like that. 😉
AS is the 1960’s the administration is letting the “inmates” run the “asylum”. AWA CC 1961
It would interesting to see how these idiots at Columbia and Evergreen would react if President Trump tweeted his support for their insanity.
There would be no safe space large enough in that event, Olly.
“My generation was defined by the struggle for free speech and associations. This generation seems to relish speech controls and regulation.”
Yep! And that, and other things of the Left, led to societal disorder. The whole “do your own thing” mindset.
And now you get the reaction of this generation trying to reimpose order on society, a form of neo-fascism. But this “new order” is stupid, and will lead to more disorder. About 75 years or now by my guess, we will get a some more serious and effective from of fascism. We will get our own Hitler or Pinochet or Duterte, who will have to take out the trash. That’s if we’re lucky, and some other country doesn’t take us over first and wipe us out.
in 75 years there is no predicting where things end up.
the advent of AGI artificial general intelligence, and its weaponization, will lead to things that we can’t even imagine.
as for fascism the US has surveillance powers that the USSR and NS regime did not even dream of having. it’s all here today just not the more overt forms of punishment
A priest, a nun, a gay, a lesbian, a bi-furcated trans used to be one but now is the other, walk into a bar……
Moe! Larry! Cheese!
My wife just informed me yesterday that there is a push to ban the Christmas song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” from radio stations because it is deemed predatory. Apparently one station has already conformed. Now, I’m not a fan of this particular song but really? How long before all Christmas songs are deemed offensive.
The older I get the more I realize, I need to shut out more of the world.
The radio stations have absolutely no problem playing rap music that calls women b*^&^s, hoes, and describes demeaning them. There’s no respect at all for women in 99.99% of rap music. If you want a love ballad, go country. Rap also refers to black people as the N word, denigrates the police, and glamorizes killing people and committing other crimes.
Any radio station refusing to play, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is living in a glass house, and I’ve got a rock.
I listened/watched to a deconstruction of Amy Schmurer’s Comedy Special on Netflix. I cannot say I was offended, but as a man I really do not care how bad your vagina smells. However, if Amy’s smells as bad as she was complaining she should see a doctor. I was not her audience. I would have walked out of her act, as did most of the men there. They got up, went across the street for drinks and waited for their wife, significant other or date to join them.
I have found my sense of humor has changed over the years. Fart jokes are not as funny. The Three Stooges should be arrested for assault and battery. Buster Keaton is a God.
I found Amy Shumer to be somewhat funny on her Comedy Central show and then she seemed to morph into a mean-spirited and disgusting comic. As such I choose not to click on to her Netflix special or otherwise pay attention to her. She did however sneak up on me with a brief appearance on the Netflix special Bumping Mics where it was mentioned that she was recently married. She looked to me like she had ballooned up after tying the knot. I am all for my right to comment on her weight gain, her right to be a disgusting comic, and my right to tune her out. However, I draw the line at Paul Schulte’s comments on the Three Stooges which offended me and as such I hereby request that blog monitor immediately institute a lifetime ban Schulte from any further commentary on this blog
Bill Martin – do we need a safe space for a Three Stooges fan? 😉
Yes, safe space with bean bag chairs and ice cream.
Bill Martin – oh, how far the mighty have fallen. 😉
The Ivy League, inter alia, created these monsters in their identity-based study programs. Now we’ll have to defeat them. The problem is the schools, not the simpleton students they unleash on our freedoms. Fire the leftist trash teaching them or shut the fascist incubators down.
Oh, it started well before college. I have a child in elementary school. You know, where pop tarts chewed into weapons can be grounds for expulsion.
BEFORE LENNY BRUCE..
COMEDIANS CRAFTED ACTS SUITABLE FOR THE CATSKILLS
Certain humor may not play in the early 21st Century. But everything old gets new again. Clean humor could be the answer. Before his downfall Bill Cosby was master of that humor. Cosby’s 1960’s routines were best-selling albums played in family rooms.
Perhaps that ‘edgy’ humor, pioneered by Lenny Bruce, is wrong for this era. Certain types of performance fall out of style over time. That edgy, profane comedy of the late 20th Century may have run its course. Comedians shouldn’t feel entitled to use that kind of humor.
Well, interesting you mention the Catskills. Vacation spot for Jewishj bourgeoisie. And the famous potty mouthed Jewish comedian who outraged them. Either way who was in charge of the standards? …. I guess we goyish Americans can not be allowed our tastes one way or another and our superiors must dictate them!
It’s all selective outrage, they’re a bunch of hypocrites.
SNL is known for its liberal bias, and now one of its former writers gets run off the stage by other precious snowflake liberals.
Proof once again that among leftists and liberals, one can never be liberal enough. And, that they will always turn against one another if left to their own devices and among themselves in company.
Will be a hate crime in another 10 years.
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