Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Saturday, 31 January 2015


A college with which I have a slight collection has a new president.
Okay, good, genuinely Catholic, good, lots of experience, good.

I did a quick search, just to see if, I dunno... we might know anyone in common? what his areas of expertise are? his strengths? if he might in any way impact, (sorry, Sib, noun as verb alert, do you hate me?) the small corner that is dear to me, in that institution of higher learning?

One of the first links that comes up is the kind of story that leaves me shaking my head.

Now let me say this - obviously, everything on the 'net, and I now unequivocally mean EVERYTHING, (thank you vatican.va for trying to keep on top of the ever-changing current official translation of every word that issues from the Pope's mouth, it must be pretty thankless,)  needs to be taken with a grain of salt. And the link is from a website that describes itself as "powerful conservative voices."
And I think right-wing biased "news" is even loopier than its left-wing counterpart.
And I know that you seldom get both sides of a story here in the Kingdom pf Polemica.

Now I am not by any stretch of the imagination a "conservative."
I have never registered as Republican, (I have sometimes in the past registered as a Democrat,) I am all in favor of Big Government, the bigger the better; I believe we as a nation should pay for universal healthcare, I think the government should provide not just a safety-net but a dang near impermeable one, maybe a safety hammock; I think global warming is real and that mankind is responsible for, (and it is to be hoped, in a position to reverse,) SOME of it; I'm glad relations with Cuba are thawing, pleased as punch; and on balance NPR is a good thing.
Enough to establish my bona fides as a NotConservative?

And I also know that selective quoting is a problem here in our little Kingdom.

But I think I've gleaned the actual facts from this story, and it boils down to, when a Republican student organization wanted to put on a patriotic display with 9/11 memorial overtones, the Student Life office, led then (2009,) by the afore-mentioned newly appointed college president, (2015,) okayed it, but then thought better of having done so.

3,000 little American flags was the plan..

Instead, he suggested, (at that point, I believe it was a suggestion, judging form which words in reported-by-conservative story have quotation marks adjacent to them, and more, which do not,) that they put on the display they were putting on as he would have put on the display were he putting on a display which he was not. (Nor was the school. This was an initiative ofsome students.)

He wanted them to include other flags. And frankly, I think he was right, the September 11 attacks were an attack on not just the US, but on western civilisation, heck, civilisation in general. And people of other nationalities died in them.

I suspect the young Republican group is correct that this was administration-driven not reaction to sensitivity expressed by other students, but there's no evidence one way or the other in the story, and it's quite possible she was unaware of resentment from people who were trying to keep a low profile and be inoffensive in the differentness. ( The line that her "Saudi Arabian peers were even sympathetic" may be telling. "Peers"? I mean, were I trying to make the point that I'm not homophobic, say, my wording would be "well, my gay friends don't think....", NOT "well, my gay peers don't think...." One is left with the thought, well of COURSE you don't have any Saudi FRIENDS.)

So, requests, suggestions, nothing mandatory.... until  the Student Life official provided her with a“list of the countries that will need to have flags as part of the 9/11 remembrance.”


See, that's where the problem lies.

Yes, I think we've all read enough, too much, over the past few years regarding imbalances of power making it awkward, difficult, if not impossible to "say no," that these were not take-'em-or-leave-'em suggestions from the vice president.

That's political correctness run amok, and yet more evidence of the growing absurdity of certain people's, organizations' and movements' describing themselves as "liberal."

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