This week I screened Dave Chappelle’s The Closer for some of my students. It was optional. But I was heartened that they were eager to see the Netflix special that has generated so much controversy.
In the United States, terms like “academic freedom” and “free speech” have come to be scoffed at by many students and faculty. They have somehow been turned into conservative talking points.
Jesse Singal tells the story of Desh Amila, a Sri Lankan immigrant and Australian citizen who “has built a career out of facilitating intellectually oriented public events, often between people with serious disagreements.” Desh, as he is called, has specialized in organizing difficult conversations on topics like Islamic extremism.
When I was a graduate student teaching at UC Berkeley I was asked to sign a statement that I would report people with suspicious immigration backgrounds. When I applied for professorships at certain traditionally religious schools, I was asked to swear that I would not promote abortion in my classes.
I am a few years older than Matt Taibbi, but it turns out we both share an encounter with Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman’s Manufacturing Consent as a formative experience in our encounter with worlds of politics and journalism.
Matt Richtel and Andrew Jacobs report on one of the greatest threats to our way of life, the rise of bacteria and fungi that are impervious to medications. The culprit, as with so much in our modern health and environmental crises, is the overuse of antibiotics and antifungal medications in farming.
The folks at PEN ask, is there a crisis of free speech on college campuses. And once again, they answer “no.”