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It's funny.  Laugh. Censorship Education Politics

John Cleese Warns Campus Political Correctness Leading Towards 1984 (washingtonexaminer.com) 669

An anonymous reader writes: Ashe Schow writes at the Washington Examiner that, "The Monty Python co-founder, in a video for Internet forum Big Think, railed against the current wave of hypersensitivity on college campuses, saying he has been warned against performing on campuses. "[Psychiatrist Robin Skynner] said: 'If people can't control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people's behavior,'" Cleese said. "And when you're around super-sensitive people, you cannot relax and be spontaneous because you have no idea what's going to upset them next." Cleese said that it's one thing to be "mean" to "people who are not able to look after themselves very well," but it was another to take it to "the point where any kind of criticism of any individual or group could be labeled cruel." Cleese added that "comedy is critical," and if society starts telling people "we mustn't criticize or offend them," then humor goes out the window. "With humor goes a sense of proportion," Cleese said. "And then, as far as I'm concerned, you're living in 1984." Cleese is just the latest comedian to lecture college students about being so sensitive.
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John Cleese Warns Campus Political Correctness Leading Towards 1984

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  • Obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:14AM (#51430439)

    To summarize the summary [...]: people are a problem. - Douglas Adams

    Also, fuck the fucking fuckers.

  • by mmiscool ( 2434450 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:17AM (#51430463)
    If you don't learn how to deal with real people in real life how do you expect to be a function adult. They can take there PC bullshit some where else.
  • "Reached for comment, a representative of the Ministry of Silly Talks said that Mr. Cleese's talk wasn't very silly at all, and thus would not qualify for a grant."
  • This guy gets it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:17AM (#51430469)

    He gets it. I disagree with him on a few topics. However, I would never dare to silence him. He has as much right to his opinions as I do. If you silence him I can be pretty sure I am next.

    you cannot relax and be spontaneous because you have no idea what's going to upset them next
    Truer words have never been spoken. I have worked with a few people over the years like this. You have no idea what will set them off. I have seen work places go from pretty fun joking around to people looking over their shoulders to make sure 'the right kinda people are around'. The very attitudes you are trying to squash out can become even more focused and harmful.

    • "Offensensitivity"

      - Berkley Breathed

    • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @12:03PM (#51430979)

      "The very attitudes you are trying to squash out can become even more focused and harmful".

      Maybe that's because "trying to squash out... attitudes" is a thoroughly bad idea - and probably impossible. Remember those little toys that babies are given to help them master spatial ideas? There might be a triangular piece, a circular piece, and a hexagonal piece, and a base with holes of the same shapes. A smart kid (whoops, off I go to PC jail) quickly sees that the circular piece will only fit into the circular hole, and so on.

      It seems to me that trying to squash out attitudes is a lot like trying to pound the triangular piece into the circular hole. It might be very annoying and frustrating that it is so uncooperative, but no matter how much force you apply it really won't go in. Unless you use so much force you smash the whole thing to pieces.

      If you are absolutely certain that different races or sexes do not have different abilities (in any way at all), what should you do when you come across someone who disagrees? Perhaps a bit of listening might come in handy; after all, can you really be sure that you are absolutely right? If so, how can you be so sure? Maybe your interlocutor will tell you something you hadn't known, or hadn't fully understood, that might change your mind - or at least open it a crack.

      'In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion'.
      - Carl Sagan, Keynote address at CSICOP conference (1987), as quoted in Do Science and the Bible Conflict? (2003) by Judson Poling, p. 30
      https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/... [wikiquote.org]

      • by tbannist ( 230135 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @01:03PM (#51431667)

        Remember those little toys that babies are given to help them master spatial ideas? There might be a triangular piece, a circular piece, and a hexagonal piece, and a base with holes of the same shapes. A smart kid (whoops, off I go to PC jail) quickly sees that the circular piece will only fit into the circular hole, and so on.

        Actually, the smart kid figures out that all the pieces go in very quickly if you take the top off...

    • by lbmouse ( 473316 )
      I've heard him speak numerous times and have found nothing but solid wisdom and common sense in the topics he discusses. What has anyone found that they you disagree with?... maybe I missed something.
  • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:19AM (#51430487)

    Complaints about stupid things aren't a problem because of the impact of the solutions. They are a problem because of the decision of responding to all complaints, regardless of their legitimacy.

    e.g.: When someone complains about hurt feelings, the problem isn't that the solution will destroy criticism and humor. The problem is taking action based on the complaint without analyzing its merit.

    And, if one decides to go even one step before that, the problem is that the constant erosion of the teaching of critical thinking creates a population unable to think critically, which in turn makes that population incapable of deciding which situations are problems that have to be dealt with, and which are nonsense that has to be ignored.

    It's: [Eliminate the teaching of critical thinking.] -> [Population takes action over silly complaints.] -> [Illogical action has consequences.]

    Don't focus on the last step.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:23AM (#51430527)

    In no way, shape, or form does any legal document, like the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Geneva Convention, et al, does it say "You have the right not to be offended". in other words "You do NOT have the right, not to be offended".

    People are idiots, and that idiocy grows exponentially as the number of people in a group increases.

    So, just to piss off the morons of the world.

    It's "Merry Christmas" - not "Happy Holidays".
    There can only be 1 (one) Winner, everyone else is just a loser.
    Your child's "right" to have an education ends where your child's behavior jeopardizes my child's education, health or physical well-being.
    Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, and everyone else's stinks.
    Your freedom of speech does not mandate that anyone has to listen to it.

    To anyone who disagrees with anything above, fuck off you bloody wanker.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:24AM (#51430545)

    Remember that the identical arguments made for safe spaces on college campuses are being used against FOSS communities. They have every intention of setting themselves up to be the arbiters of what can be said and done, even outside of campus or a FOSS project. Calling these people Fascists is an insult to real Fascists because they've never been as petty and domineering in the minutia as SJWs.

  • by PeeAitchPee ( 712652 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:26AM (#51430567)
    I have found lately that when I ask my liberal friends about this phenomenon (the erosion of free speech on college campuses by Generation Butthurt), they either feign ignorance or say that "it's no big deal" and quickly change the subject to whatever evil they think the Republicans are pulling lately. This is weak, and frankly I don't know how a true liberal would stand for such an encroachment on their own civil liberties. If these opposing views are so terrible, let them out there to be discussed and torn apart on the public eye, and force those espousing them to defend their viewpoints. Of course, that means you have to be able to defend your viewpoint as well, which is what this is all about.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      One thing I have noticed is that while conservatives are uniformly more likely to be consistently hateful, if you trigger the ire of liberals, they win all the awards for being truly vitriolic.

      Conservatives don't care what you think, as long as you do as you are told. Liberals don't care what you do, as long as you think as you are told.

    • I have found lately that when I ask my liberal friends about this phenomenon (the erosion of free speech on college campuses by Generation Butthurt), they either feign ignorance or say that "it's no big deal" and quickly change the subject to whatever evil they think the Republicans are pulling lately. This is weak, and frankly I don't know how a true liberal would stand for such an encroachment on their own civil liberties. If these opposing views are so terrible, let them out there to be discussed and torn apart on the public eye, and force those espousing them to defend their viewpoints. Of course, that means you have to be able to defend your viewpoint as well, which is what this is all about.

      I'm a (nordic) socialist, but also somewhat old school if nothing else because I'm +40, and to me the US and most of Europe's self-described "liberals" are nothing but weak and spoiled cunts. I despise them deeply.

  • This became a big deal at Mizzou, where protests, a hunger strike, and the football team going on strike resulted in the chancellor and university president both being ousted. Now there were some legitimately offensive things that took place on campus like someone smearing a poop swastika on a wall. While such an incident should be handled by the university police, it doesn't seem like the chancellor and president need to get involved. Another issue was someone yelling a racial slur at the student body pres
  • by DutchUncle ( 826473 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:32AM (#51430637)
    Jimmy Carr replaced his previously shortest joke: "Venison's dear, isn't it?" (which doesn't work as well for Americans, because it relies on the British expression for "expensive" . . .) with the even shorter: "Dwarf Shortage". He followed up with "If you’re a dwarf and you’re offended by that, grow up.” Complaints have been filed with the broadcast regulators about his "discriminatory" "hate speech".
  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:50AM (#51430851)

    I have a family member who went through a period in their life when they were hypersensitive to perceived slights. Some of the problem was real pressure to conform to other’s expectations that were unreasonable. But the inability to tolerate it and blow it off turned out to be caused by a hormone disorder.

    I think that some of these hypersensitive people are just whiny babies who can’t handle an environment with a more diverse set of ideas. But for some people who get so overwhelmed that they need to run off and hide in a “safe place,” they may want to look into getting their endocrine levels checked (thyroid, adrenal, and various pituitary).

    However, we live in a culture where we blame everyone else for our own failures, so it’s unlikely that most such people would ever even imagine that the problem originates in their own bodies.

  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:52AM (#51430875)

    Prosecuting outsiders to bond members of your own tribe seems to be an inescapable human need. Liberal activists who boo comics and ensure that anyone who dares to have a different personal opinion of, say, homosexuality [mozilla.org] loses their job are just bible thumpers and Saudi Arabia morality police going by another name. They have to continuously crank up the extremes of zero tolerance for anyone who deviates from their ideas about women, minorities, native americans and so on to bond with each other and maintain self image of superior human beings who have full right to bully and discriminate against savages.

    For the record, I fully believe that LGBT and all other minorities including polygamists have a right to equal, productive lives, and so should a baker who doesn't want to make a cake for their wedding. It's just that activist groups who claim to support either side are actually just on a power trip to prop up their own self esteem and find a legitimate excuse to bully others.

    • ... and so should a baker who doesn't want to make a cake for their wedding.

      The level of harassment for those who dare to have an opinion on LGBT issues other than the official SJW position is persecuted to a level that would make a Scientologist proud.

  • by jean-guy69 ( 445459 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:54AM (#51430893)

    as Ricky Gervais once said: Everyone has the right to be offended. Everyone has the right to offend. But no one has the right to never be offended.

  • On the outside Academia may look like 1984, but on the inside it looks more like Brazil. Curiously enough, in 1984, Brazil was ruled by a (capitalist) dictatorship.
  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:55AM (#51430909)

    Great video that explains the situation:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGTmwyKpz0o

    Dawkins was deplatformed for twitting this satirical (and hilarious) video.

    Feminists Love Islamists
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecJUqhm2g08

    Please, everybody here, take an active stance and post that video on your twitter and/or facebook accounts. Let the feminists/Islamists know that there censorship efforts are counter productive.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:56AM (#51430921) Journal

    As Martin NiemÃller sagely said:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Political correctness* stems from a perfectly reasonable idea: be nice to other people.

    But as the Founding Fathers wisely intuited 240 years ago, to INSIST on that itself is at root a sort of social tyranny, which indeed then opens the slippery-slope question "according to whom?"

    A multicultural society CANNOT function in which everyone has to constantly try to anticipate everyone else's triggers.

    The only reasonable solution is a general promotion of freedom of speech and internalizing the idea that offense is self-created. This isn't to say people shouldn't be offended; in my view much of the progress of humanity has stemmed from people being offended at something or another. They certainly have the right to their offense. But when this offense fuels actions that are then designed to constrain other peoples' right to their own freedom of speech - there a line is crossed, and the corrosion of free speech begins.

    (And for the pedants, yes, I'm aware that the Constitutional provision about free speech only applies to the behavior of the Federal government; I'm speaking more broadly in terms of cultural values.)

    *the real comedy is that there are still people who ardently insist there IS "no such thing" (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/9/24/781372/-)

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:58AM (#51430949)

    John is obviously right about people being hypersensitive, but him talking to people isn't going to do fuck-all about the problem.

    And the problem isn't that we're suddenly oversensitive towards each other, or that some specific generation or age group perpetuates it.

    No, the REAL fucking problem here is that humans can sue the living shit out of other humans for nothing more than being "offended", and those cases are winning in courtrooms. THAT is the real problem here.

    And the fix is simple. Remove the element of reward (monetary gain) for being "offended", and you'll suddenly find humans aren't so damn sensitive towards each other anymore. Anything short of doing this is pointless and not identifying the real problem.

    And yes, once again, we have our greedy, corrupt legal system to thank for this bullshit.

    • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @01:01PM (#51431639)
      You correctly pointed out that there is a strong motivator, but I think you missed the mark that it is money via lawsuits. After all, only tiny minority of such cases ever go that far, and it is typically against college administrators overreach and overreaction.

      I think real motivator is that victimized is a coveted social status. When group concept of privilege mutated and misapplied to become highly socially disadvantageous label applied to an individual, it is natural that maintaining social standing now demands negation or qualifiers of such label privilege. How you do that? You invent slights, blow trivial offenses out of proportion and proceed to claim to be oppressed by this or that -ism based on these.

      I blame Social Sciences for creating this monster. They invented and promoted the idea that in order to have a valid opinion, one must necessary experience things first-hand. If you didn't, then you are privileged, and should just act as you told. Nobody likes doing that, so everyone suddenly jumps on the victimhood bandwagon just to not get silenced at every turn.
  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @12:00PM (#51430959)

    Very insightful video
    Pat Condell - Dumbing Down University
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjN8xP0i6Ak

  • he's an anti-denti

  • All these comments filled with your micro-aggressions totals to over one mini-aggression.

    I will report this site and its contributors to the nearest college student president. Then I'll be off to find my non-denominational, mono-gendered Yoda doll and vegan, cruelty-free GreenLube then proceed to sooth my hurt feelings.
  • OK, so maybe college students will be offended by his comedy. So what? Is he afraid of being viciously attacked, of someone taking a shot at him or something?

    If he (and Seinfeld for that matter) are merely afraid that people will say mean things about them, then that seems ratheroversensitive.

  • by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @01:28PM (#51431995)

    It featured a fantastic, humorous episode written by Darin Morgan about a monster who is bitten by a man and turns into one. Its a beautiful satire about an alien trying to make sense of human behavior (working 9 to 5, lying about sexual prowess, our love for fast food) and, at one point, he gets hit by a transgender which leads to an hilarious exchange with Duchovny trying to explain transgenderism to Darby.

    So i've just found out that Slate actually run a story on their LGBTQ section titiled Did The X-Files use a transgender character for cheap laughs? [slate.com]. Why, yes. Yes they did. It doesn't matter that the treatment wasn't offensive at all, or that the entire episode was making fun of the human race as a whole, or even that it actually was in line with the transition theme that was the entire point of the episode. Some people got their panties in a bunch because a transgender character threw a punch.

    Cleese is absolutely right here. Then again, he usually always is.

We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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