With Respect to Free Speech

In perhaps one of the oddest op-eds I’ve come across in The Daily D this year, Danielle Strollo ’07 struggles impressively to defend the indefensible: Political Correctness. The event that sparked Miss Strollo’s outrage? The campus-wide recognized absurdity of a blitz sent out by Sustainable Dartmouth apologizing for an earlier blitz, in which they had written this:

/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*CARRY YOUR TRASH WEEK 2007*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\

because there is no ‘away’…

Lug your garbage around with you for a week wearing a free, ecostylish, supersexy “Ask me Why” tee (they’re made by American Apparrel [sic], so you’ll know you’ll look your best and be your most guilt-free)

We’ll all congregate on the Green on Earth Day (Sunday, April 22) to weigh our individual trash bags, make a big pile, take pictures, sunbathe, have a drum circle, smoke lots of pot…okay, maybe not the last two or three.

***Come to Robo 108 tomorrow b/t 2:00pm and 10:00pm

Looking forward to seeing your garbage next week!

\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*CARRY YOUR TRASH WEEK 2007*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/

The apology that followed can be viewed in our Week in Review section. Suffice it to say, however, that Mr. King (the author of the original blitz) ‘was made to see the light of day’, and issued what can only be characterized as the most spineless retraction ever conceived. If you are confused about why the original blitz was “disrespectful” then you forgot that at Dartmouth only Natives are allowed to form drum circles. Woe to he who believes otherwise.

This brings us back to Miss Strollo. I’ll move past the fact that she (despite her protestations) compares the above blitz with the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech, and just briefly note that her argument is quite neatly countered by Nick Desai’s editorial in the most recent issue of The Dartmouth Review. Miss Strollo wants to cast political correctness as respect; she would, I fear, favor curbing any speech that hurts anyone. The problem with this position is too clear to alight on. Yes, we will all make an effort to be polite, but we needn’t shy away from an argument if we fear we will hurt someones feelings.

UPDATE 4/28/07:The DFP has just published an actually rather lucid editorial on this subject. I will link to it as soon as it is put on their website.

UPDATE 5/4/07: Here it is.