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October 19, 2006


The story about the Marquette University Humor Impairment Zone apparently made the news last night.

Update: Another story here.

Update: And here.


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I 'm not surprised.

Dave, does that make you a subversive type?

It does?


But in our defense that Reuters photographer ordered us to throw large chunks of rock at James South, in such a way as to cause maximum damage.

Fox reports "news"?

Dave, I'm sure you have a fat file at the FBI, the CIA, and of course HOMELAND SECURITY. We all all probably on their list as well for just blogging with you.

Keep up the good work. (We should never forget the 60's, or at least the parts we still remember.)

Dave, I'm sorry that the ascension of your writing up to hallways and doors didn't last long. Keep it up, tho...you might get published one day! :)

we need to pass this gem on to keith olbermann...

Good morning all!

When I sent that in this morning I figured you'd already seen it, Dave...

I still think they should have included a nice picture of you.

Hmmm... do we know where there's a nice picture of Dave? Why, sure we do! ;-)

So Big Brother has no sense of humour. I should probably stop with the cracks about ol' Dick's hunting prowess then.

I support intolerance of the intolerant and I am unanimous in that.

This isn't Big Brother, it's Little Weak-Minded Brother, afraid of being exposed to ideas that run counter to the Received Truth.

Our Dave just keeps gettin' famouser and famouser.

Oh, and Dave, I spoke with some bigwigs over at the Pentagon and you don't have to worry about the military comin' down on ya. Can't speak for the FBI, CIA or DHS but if you need a hand I've got yer back.

Would that be your pal, the one-star, blurk? ;-)

CH, nope. I've kinda tried to avoid him.

CH, we sure do!

Some of us may want to contact Professor South to express our opinions: james.south@marquette.edu

Not that I am advocating any free speech emails, or anything.

For those bloglits who like their linkages, here's Professor South's email all clickable and stuff.

I just sent him this:

RE: Dave Barry


Blurk, good to know that you are watching Dave's back. :) So, am I in trouble with the Pentagon?

If that comment is "patently" offensive, can you sue everyone who used it for some quick cash?

It worked for the music industry after all.

My letter to Professor South:

Professor South:

Your intolerance for divergent political opinions would be laughable, if it weren't for the serious consequences that result from a sterile political monoculture. Requesting that a colleague remove a quote critical of the government on the grounds that it is "patently offensive" demonstrates a deep insecurity regarding the strength of your views, which, presumably, are to the contrary.

As the Supreme Court of the United States has noted, the proper response to offensive speech is more speech, not suppression. I'm appalled to read that your colleague acknowledged that the corridor was not a "free speech zone" -- as the entire nation is subject to the Constitution, its "free speech zone" stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic, from Mexico to Canada, without exceptions.

As you're no doubt now aware, your actions have drawn well-deserved national attention, serving as yet another example of how academia continues to divorce itself from the wonderful ferment of tolerant dissent and discussion, seeking to shout down disagreeable voices, rather than answer them. I hope that this attention has helped you to see that liberty and democracy are best served by a free marketplace of ideas, rather than by a command economy of thought.

Where dissenting voices are silenced, the orthodox view stagnates and weakens for lack of challenge. What better way is there than open debate within the comfortable creche of academia to find one's strongest arguments when your views will eventually emerge into the public arena for consideration?

I urge you to reconsider your position and publically retract your objection to the posting of quotes from any point of view. To do otherwise will enable your detractors to dismiss you as just another liberal academic, too frightened of opposing views to permit their airing.

Wow, CH, that was beautiful. (stands and applauds)

kittypaws, there were a few items in your dossier that I cleared up so you're all good.
That's just the kind of pull I have around here.

Thanks, baligurl. :-) That was fun!

CH, very well said...lots of big words too!

*thinks HER letter was almost as thought-provoking*

freedom of speech should only be exercised in the privacy of our own homes. And CH you should already know that there is no "tolerance of dissent" on college campuses.

Siouxie, your letter was simply far more efficient at saying the same thing.

I used plenty of polysyllabic terminology in an effort to speak his language. :-D

*stands and whistles @ CH*

*rolls eyes and snorks @ Sio, then ducks when she slings her boot*

Blurk, thanks it's good to have friends in high places. :)

Blurk- You seem like a handy guy to have around! What's your pull with the IRS? Mr. Snipes can use your help.

Siouxie- You letter was wonderful, in the very best Dave tradition.

CH- Wow! I bet you gave your mother some very eloquent and verbose explainations as to why you broke curfew as a teen.

My email:

Dave Barry: (list of all books published)
James South: Editor of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" essays

Barry wins by 28 books, 2 movies and a Pulitzer.

Blondentropy, my mother and I had some VERY interesting discussions regarding my behavior as a teenager.

Hey, Guin, doesn't Dave have a television series that Professor South lacks, as well?

Guin, you're a genius. And smart, too.
I was tryin' to figure a way to rub the Pulitzer under the nose of the snotty professor (pun definitely intended) but you handled it brilliantly.

Very well done people!!

CJ, you're safe...for now ;)

maybe we'll make the national news ...hehehe

The quality of debate in our society is heading South in so many ways.

* ends rant, takes meds, feels better *

"patently offensive"?

Somebody holds the patent on offensive? Is it Dave? He must be richer than King Midas!

Prof. South should be disemboweled (sorry, I surely hope that will not appear when I post, as it might give offense to persons of bowelage) given a handicapped parking spot due to sarcasm blindness.

In the same light as CH, I sent our illustrious Dr. South this missive:

Dr. South,

I applaud you for your stance on the Dave Barry quotation that you had excised from your hallways. Humor, satire and political dissent have no place in academia, except maybe in classes devoted to instructing your students of what to avoid. Academia should be there to provide only the necessary tools for today's students to function in today's society. The hallways of academia are for getting from one class to another and should not be "Free Speech Zones." I would like to take that stance a little bit further, though. I think that "Free Speech Zones" should be eliminated from the public altogether. That way there will never be any "patently offensive" opinions ever stated to the general public. Speech should be limited to only those things that could never offend any other individual. I deserve to be able to live my life free from all things that might offend me or any other individual in the country. I deserve to have my opinion and have no one else who will contradict my or disagree with anything that I think or say. By limiting free speech in all public forums we will have a perfect society free from all travails and arguments; free from all offenses and insults; free from all ridicule and judgment (except of those that don't agree with this stance, that is, and they will not be allowed to air their voices in dissent for fear of societal reprisals).

I hope that your actions are taken for the great stance in censorship that it is. Freedom of speech has always been one of the Constitutional amendments that should have been eliminated years ago, much the same way that abolition was removed from the Constitution. Your stance could pave to way for the First Amendment to be repealed.

All I can say is BRAVO, Dr. South, for taking a stance against First Amendment rights. Bravo and Bravo again. Keep up the good work.

I wonder, however, whether or not he will recognize the sarcasm.

Bravo, Baron!

he probably won't...you should have ended it by saying:

oh and BOOGER!

Oops... now i feel like an idiot. I used abolition when I meant prohibition.

*kicks self in posterior*

I tried to recall and resend a version that doesn't illustrate my dunderheadedness. Hopefully he will never see the "abolition version."

I'm guessing that he'll file that one under "statements of support." He doesn't strike me as being the sharpest tool in the shed.

I mean, editing Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy is what he cites as his big achievement to date?

Don't worry about it too much, BVK; it's a very well-written bit, and I took your meaning to be relating the end of physical slavery to the end of the slavery of having to think hard to defend one's positions.

Upon re-reading it, I see that it doesn't quite read that way, but that's okay. I was irritated to note in my own piece that it wasn't his colleague who said that the corridors were not free-speech zones, but the good professor himself. D'oh!

CH, it seems those achievements are already outweighed by his being outed as a major league [insert pejorative highly opinionated not suitable for hallway posting word here].

Nice missives by both you and Baron.

Upon reading some of the posts on this thread I decided to go back and actually read the accomplishments of the good Professor South. All I can say is you gotta be (really bad word) kiddin' me!!!
These are the kinds of academic scholars we are entrusting to educate out kids??!! This guy is actually PROUD of writing articles (or papers, or books or whatever else) on such earth shattering topics as Buffy the Vampire Slayer's philosophy??!! Comic book philosophy??!! I am truly floored.
I in no way want to offend any bloglit (or visitor) who is highly educated. We are a very diverse group and feature BS (the college kind), MA, MD, PHD and lots of other letters that mean you're smart in our midst. I don't happen do fall in those groups, but we have 'em. I have yet to find a single instance of one of our bloglits actually bragging that his or her claim to Mensa fame is comic book philosophy or 16th century human whatever-the-hell-that-was.
My daughter's NOT going to Marquette. In fact, I may insist that her higher education be completely obtained by constant reading of the Dave Barry blog.
'Course Mary would have to approve the content first.

Please 'scuse the spelling errors. Told ya I'm not one of them letters-behind-my-name smart guys.

blurk, well said...and I'm with ya...the only letters I have behind me are A.S.S.

with full tolerance of other's views and exercising full institutional restraint.... booger!

*and i am one of those guys with the letters after his name...*

Aside to Blurk, Siouxie, and others who appear to associate having a degree with high intelligence:

T'ain't necessarily so. People with degrees may or may not be that smart. Yes, it takes a certain basic intelligence to get into college, but beyond that, simply earning a degree is more a function of hard work and dedication to sticking out the coursework. The smarter folks among the degree earners will figure out the more efficient and/or the more compelling and creative ways to earn their degrees, and end up putting them to better uses, but a person can still plod their way through and reach the goal line. That's not a putdown to those folks who "merely" get to the goal line - they should be proud of that achievement. Nor should lack of a college degree be viewed as a putdown either. All that reflects, most likely, is a lack of opportunity or ambitions that ran in different directions.

Prof. South is proof that a person with an advanced degree can be narrow-minded and foolish. The world is full of stupid people with advanced degrees, so that should not be the measure of intelligence.

As a person with letters after her name (BSRN, MA), AND a big Buffy fan, I must stick up for this professor.

No, wait, I mean, shove a stick up the a$$ of this professor.

Yeah, that's better.

Amen, MtB!

Meanie, very well said.

I don't know why I'm doin' all this rantin' today but some of this stuff just gets to me. I think I'll just follow the advice of my dear ol' dad (who doesn't even have a GED and is the smartest man I've ever met):

Don't ever try to teach a pig to sing.
It only wastes your time and annoys the pig.

(Takes deep breath, leans back, removes shoes, sighs)

It's good to be home.

I certainly enjoyed the butt whuppin' you guys put on that Poindexter from Marquette. That was good stuff.

Do it again.

*Cancels pig's singing lesson*

Meanie, I know some people with advanced degrees that are incredibly stupid and have zero common sense...so yes you are absolutely right. I have always considered myself somewhat smart (and others have told me as well) but due to certain circumstances and maybe a lack of ambition and support I chose NOT to pursue those letters. I still may someday...

Maybe I'll take up Philosophy at Marquette ;)

Hah! Blurk, ya got letters in front of your name that count for quite a bit more.

Baron, I took it completely different. Abolition was removed from the Constitution, during the Convention, when there was too much difference of opinion. That was what [in my opinion] made Ben Franklin the real hero he was, getting the 'imperfect' original document signed by everyone. Sure it lead to the Civil War, so you can argue that the original document was too inclusive of other's opinions. Well, anything designed by a committee....

*pinching nose*

geez, mud!! what DIED in those shoes????

What a great group here. :-) As one of those folk who've been too busy living my life to accumulate a bunch of letters behind my name, I appreciate and agree with what MtB says, above.

Hey, blurk, that quote is Heinlein; if you haven't read him, you should; he's good people. Starship Troopers (the book, not the abominable movie), The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and, of course, Stranger in a Strange Land would probably top my list of recommendations, though the quote comes from Time Enough for Love, if I recall correctly.

Oh, an excellent point, CJ, and one that makes the sarcasm in the Baron's piece drip all the more beautifully.

Siouxie, you really don't want to know. I'm just thinking of his recent poetical topics...

I sent him this:

It seems to me that some folks are just too easily offended why when I was in school we threw bags of poop at men in uniform just on principle and that was plenty offensive I can tell you for sure why I once dressed up as a straw man and stood in the student union a beat a dead horse with a red herring and the fish fell apart and became somewhat offensive too but then again we had reefer back then and the earliest punk rock and we didn’t sit around squeezing pimples and watching re-runs of spongebob we engaged the enemy and when the enemy retreated we pursued and did battle in the arena of thought for ideas become reality and that ain’t the reefer talking you know what I mean or maybe you don’t maybe you should read some history who is the enemy you ask anyone with the cajones to suggest that their brain power is such that they have the right to curtail the freedom of others let your freak flag fly if you got one man

As a bonified PhD I say no offense taken, blurk and others. And Siouxie, I started working on my BS when I was 28, working fulltime, with two kids, a stay at home mom, and a mortgage. Went two nights a week for 17 years and came out the other end with the PhD in my hand. You can do it, girl.

Oh, and to my esteemed colleague Dr. South - BOOGER

*snork* @ mud....are you channeling Alan Ginsberg??

Just so that you know:

James South anagrams to (and these are just a few choice ones)


Layzee, thanks! I may just be able to get my PhD and try out my new Segway-Walker at the same time ;)

Mud, that's hilarious. You didn't really send that, did you? OMFG

oh and good one mud...(pssst..it's cOjones, but he probably won't know since he lacks 'em). (cajones is...boxes)

Oh, well boxes will have to do. Yes, I did send it.

This is not out of character for me. I really did do the fish and horse thing. I made up the part about throwing poop, although I did hear about others on campus who would do such a thing. Anyhow I was raised ornery.

Thanks, CH. Maybe dad was more educated than I thought. This bears looking into.

Applause for CH! I wonder if he'll ever read them. Did anyone send him a link to this thread?

mud - I trust you've see this.

seen *smacks forhead*

*hangs head in shame*

With all this talkin' of letters and smarts and such, I have a confession to make to the bloglits. I may have just done the DUMBEST thing of all the dumb things that I've done so far in life.
If you noticed I was kinda quiet for a little while there. The reason is I left work to drive my 13 year old daughter to her *gulp* boyfriend's house. Before you judge me too harshly let me splain. The boy's dad (who I'm friends with) is home and gave me great assurance that the two youngsters would be in the living room under his supervision the entire time. Still, I only agreed to this because the kids are out of school today and tomorrow and my daughter was sitting home alone bored out of her mind.
Did I do the right thing or am I now frontrunner in the "Stupidest Dad in the World" contest?

Yes, I saw it at the University of Going a Bit Red in Helsinki. IYKWIM


Bein that you know the boy's dad n'all, I think you'll be okay. Like I told you before, all I require is that they (the little scheming demon-boys that are trying to seal the deal with my daughter) look me in the eye and shake my hand.

I believe that this has some deterrent effect, but ain't so dumb as to suppose it will stop'em. But, if they look me in the eye, shake my hand and STILL put thier hands on my daughter, then I feel completely justified in giving them the old one-two. Don't want to go beyond that though, them little bastards are fragile. Don't make 'em like they used to.

blurk, chill!! You did fine. If you trust your friend to be there, then there's nothing wrong with her going over. I have two of my own, remember??

HA HA! I laugh in your general direction!

Ya'll are so funny. I am truly enjoying this thread. Keep it up! (I'm sure blurk won't have a problem with that)

Sorry, otherCJ, but you're on your own on that one. Thinking of my four neices [practically daughters, to me], two I would be comfortable, two, not so much. Depends on your daughter and your buddy.

Well, I feel a little better, mud. The kid did actually look me in the eye and shake my hand when we first met. I still don't trust the little shithead guy with my daughter, though. I was a teenage boy once and still think like one the majority of the time so I know what's goin' on in his puny little mind.

And he needs a haircut.

Oh, blurk, re: your 13 yr old, being the mother of a 13 yr old of the female gender, I like to invite her weekly boyfriend to my house to spend time with her....the whole time, I am thinking "....keep your enemies closer"...

Ahhhh, the Blog. Hamsters to beer to teenage shenannigans in three breathtaking steps. There are no topics that don't lead to beer and shenannigans. NTTIAWWT.

CJ, that's perfect!!!

I'll sik some beer drinkin' hampsters on the little teenage hormone factory.

Or you could just cram him in the laundry hampster with Mud's shoes.

mud - Shoe. Megaphone. Grunties.

Blurk, if you're not into science fiction, and just want to cut to the pithy sayings, those are collected in The Notebooks of Lazarus Long, I believe.

As for the thing with your daughter, I have one older than that (18) and three younger, plus we've hosted 15-17-year-old exchange students for the past ten years or so.

With all of this mileage on my Dad-o-meter, I've come to the conclusion that kids will, eventually, Do Things, even the daughters. Can't stop it, and at a certain point, you wouldn't want to. (Most everyone looks forward to eventually having grandkids, right?)

I've been very open with my daughters, as the subject came up, told them that I think it'd be a bad idea to rush things, and why, but at the same time made damn sure that they had the necessaries to ensure that if they did Do Things, it didn't lead to longer-term consequences.

Most thirteen-year-olds I've known aren't in any way prepared for the enormity of the emotions and impulses that await them. Many 16-year olds I've known aren't, either. Quite a few adults I know also fall into that category.

Now, my background probably colors my approach to this pretty strongly; the first girl I was with became pregnant at the age of 19, and we just celebrated our 19th anniversary last week.

We were damn fools.

Getting married that young made our relationship, our careers and our lives in general much more difficult than they otherwise would have been. We've come to a pretty good place in all of these, but it was a whole lot of hard work along the way - and there were times when it all looked pretty grim.

I share this story with all of my daughters, including how difficult things become, and they've mostly made pretty good choices. When they haven't, well, what can you do but try to help them pick up the pieces and learn from their errors?

They're still the daughters I loved before they made a mistake, and none of us are done making mistakes until such time as our graves are sealed, right?

Sorry for the long exposition, but that's where I come from on this.

BTW, Sio, Annie found openings in Marquette's Philosophy Department [you know it had to be her] and apparently spelling is optional [yesterday's thread, posted today]. Chuckle.

IANAL (so maybe one could check this over) but doesn't the first amendment tell our government what it can and can't do? Is Marquette a public school or a private school? If it's a private school they could (and probably do) set whatever rules they want.

For instance, this blog is, technically, the private property of the Miami Herald and presumably Dave or Judi (praise and chocolate on her very being) could, acting as a representative of that f... fine corporation, rip out any of our posts, here, and stamp them into the boggy earth of south Florida.

Whether it's a good idea or not is completely separate! Academically, they can and maybe should suffer from the negative press (kindly provided by, um Fox News???) but a constitutional challenge may not be in the cards.

CH - I hear ya. Everyone should learn as much from being damn fools.

*What CH said*

except *I* didn't get anyone pregnant ;)

Mine have and will make mistakes and I have always been open about the consequences to all those urges. Having one now in college (and with absolutely ZERO control over her daily actions) I just pray that what I've taught her, helps her make, if not the right choice, the best one she can.

CJ, I read Annie's post! very funny indeed.

well it's quittin' time for me...see ya's later!

CH, that was a great post.

Scott, that was an interesting point. Marquette is private, I believe. However, as is the case with many private schools, the challenge would be based upon an entity accepting any federal funding. If you take money from the taxpayers, you open the abyss. That's the angle the ACLU uses going after the Boy Scouts. Personally, I root for FIRE and boo the ACLU so I'm a big hypocrite, but it all boils down to taking tax dollars in the first place.

ScottMGS, you're exactly right, of course. If Marquette is a private institution, it can make whatever rules it likes as a condition of employment, and the First Amendment is generally mute (not moot, though it may be that, as well).

I believe, though IANAL either, that if it accepts public funding (including student aid), the courts have held that it is bound by the Constitution, including most of the Bill of Rights. (The Bill of Rights was not originally binding on anyone but the Federal gov't, but the 14th Amendment has been interpreted in the XXth century to apply most of its provisions to state and local gov'ts.)

Setting the legal question aside, though, any academic who seeks to supress open inquiry should be automatically suspect, in my opinion. Open, unfettered inquiry is the heart of discovery and of knowledge itself -- which is what being an academic should be all about.

Thanks, Siouxie and CJ - I feel like I've been hogging the blog today. :-D

CH said:

Hey, blurk, ["Never teach a pig to sing. ..."] is Heinlein; if you haven't read him, you should; he's good people. Starship Troopers (the book, not the abominable movie), The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and, of course, Stranger in a Strange Land would probably top my list of recommendations, though the quote comes from Time Enough for Love, if I recall correctly.

I remembered it as being said by Lazarus Long, but so far I've found only one site to confirm it and a whole slew of unattributed uses. Skimming through the "Intermissions" of Time Enough for Love (thank you for the excuse to do so) yielded no hits, though. Wikiquote simply "attributes" it to Heinlein but not to Long or any particular book. Dammit, now you've got me curious...

Hmmm... "Hogging the blog" sounds like a euphemism for something...

Oh, and "Fart, period! Time!


I hear you, CH. I've been posting a bunch myself as I'm taking some veg time from work and not sure what to do with myself. I can't go on vacation, as too many projects are in the hopper. My boss asked me when I was going to get back in the saddle. I told him I think I'll ride bareback for awhile. I don't know what that means, either. However, it is nearly 5 here and apart from phone/ email I have managed to do no single productive thing all day. Tomorrow, I think I'll just snorkel till I'm a prune, then maybe I'll apply for one of the openings at Marquette.

Or we could just cover Dr. South's door in Far Side Cartoons. The Physics and chemistry department probably have a few dozen to spare. The really "nasty" ones like "Tethercat", "Dog 'atop' killed car", "Congratulations Bob, Torturer of the Month etc. Just enough so he goes insane with rage.

RTWH: CH said

"Blurk, if you're not into science fiction, and just want to cut to the pithy sayings, those are collected in The Notebooks of Lazarus Long, I believe."

Haven't read Heinlien in 30-plus years, but probably ought to give him another look.

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