I think the funniest part of the controversy at Ugly Kid School (referred to by some partisans as “Brown University”) involving the David Horowitz ad against reparations for slavery is that the student coalition who protested it decided to steal the Brown Daily Herald run for the next day — not the day that the ad itself appeared but the following day. Now you may want to ask, “Zimmer, you pimple-headed robot, why is that funny?”
It’s funny because I say it is, fiend, and you can take that as a general rule. But also, just think of all those “big dorks” who might have tried to “rationally dismantle Horowitz’ argument” and “contribute to the dialectical flow of ideas that makes a university great” by sending a letter to the editor in protest that next day! These silly, ink-happy dodos might well have spent — judging by the time I take writing my columns — anywhere from five to 12 minutes concocting brilliant, eloquent (well, this is Ugly Kid School; perhaps “legible” is the better word) responses to Horowitz’ advertisement expressing exactly why his arguments are wrong. Those dumb jerks!
Why take all that time to come up with a reasoned, well-thought out response? These kids have got Pass/Fail classes to take! It doesn’t take a jackbooted storm trooper (30 would be better) to see the quick and powerful solution: Steal the next issue of the paper so no one can read it. Ooh, I smell a winner of an idea! “Silence, you potential advocates for our cause!” Now that’s a statement without having to bother with words and commas and — you know — stuff!
The wisdom and efficiency of the Brown student coalition’s final solution has forced me to re-examine some of my most dearly held beliefs. Things are so much easier if everybody just shoves the metaphorical “chloroform soaked rag” in everybody else’s mouth. After all, why live in the same country with people if you can’t shut their ugly faces for them? The problem is that we’re all conditioned, indoctrinated and put through this “democracy” spin cycle.
I was born an American. This little life of mine began at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City — or in a rebel camp in Afghanistan during a Soviet helicopter raid — depending on how much my parents are trying to impress you. And when you’re born a little American kid in New York City (or Afghanistan), you grow up thinking that you have to have these “rights” like freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
I didn’t know any better than to just accept it. I didn’t know enough to ask the questions I’m asking now such as: What kind of unmentionable cuss forces rights on me without even asking me what I want? Eat barf, Thomas Alva Jefferson. I could give two poops about the whole First Amendment. I mean, I was born a white male; I’ve got all kinds of other stuff going for me. (Three words: New Jersey Turnpike.) Can’t I trade my First Amendment rights for something I really need? A buxom “executive assistant”? An operational version of the Knight Rider car? A bar of soap?
To show that I am operating in good faith in offering these possible exchanges, I’m asking the Brown student coalition to come to Yale and strictly enforce my lack of First Amendment rights. Ladies and gentlemen, there is a true, pressing concern for me. You see, I’ve got a senior essay that someone needs to make disappear. Now how, you may ask, could someone suppress an essay that as yet does not exist? Folks, that’s the beauty of the situation. I never wanted to write the stupid thing. The powers-that-be just said to me, “You’re a senior — gotta write the essay!”
I don’t have any ideas. I am about as qualified as a Rolaid to write this thing. When I try to go to the library, instead of doing research, I just sit and fantasize about having an elephant with both a machine gun and a soda fountain on its back so that I could ride around and terrorize the countryside, while drinking free refills of Mr. Pibb. Man, that’s my dream. But I’m fighting a losing battle here. I’m not an American Studies major, so that kind of thinking just isn’t topical. And wouldn’t you know it? The tyrannical idea-mongers of the Political Science Department continue to insist that this essay is due in less than three weeks.
But now, poof, my First Amendment rights have thankfully vanished, and the Ugly Kids will be here soon to make sure that it stays that way. Heh, heh. Take that, Rita Santoroski, you devil administrator. Essay, shmessay.
The slippery slope I’m going down is like a slip ‘n slide coursing with ambrosia. Mmm-mmm! After my essay is gone, then it’s my YDN column. Good riddance, callipygian man! After my YDN column, it’s all the YDN columns. Toodles, Darth Eubank! After all the YDN columns, it’s Sally Jesse Raphael, the famous Play-Dough-faced polymorph. After Sally, it’s the laugh of my friend Chuck Sturtevant ’01, which sounds like otters making love over a public address system; trust me when I say this noise should be purged from all public spaces, post haste. And we just keep going down the suppression slope forever, stopping only with ideas that the entire country agrees with — like free refills of Mr. Pibb provided on the back of every machine-gun-toting terrorist elephant.
So the rights of free speech and free expression were supposed to be inalienable. Just call me E.T., you rat-head. Bring on the mob-enforced silence!
Michael Zimmer is a senior in Davenport College. His columns appear on alternate Thursdays.