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Department of Education, Shakespeare, harassment, and screw the classics for political correctness

May 22, 2013


NCFM NOTE: If you aren’t angry after reading this, angry about more federal policies targeting men for specious sexual harassment, targeting them to criminalize them, for no reason other than they can, then you aren’t breathing… are you mad yet? If so, do something about it. Write the DOE and complain.

Welcome to ‘unwelcome’ speech on campus


I know it was hard to hear anything last week over the cacophony of the White House roof falling over Benghazi, the IRS and spying on reporters. But still, I was surprised there wasn’t more fuss about the Obama administration’s war on Shakespeare.

That’s right: Obama’s Justice and Education departments effectively banned America’s universities from teaching the works of the playwright generally considered the greatest writer in the history of the English language. In an order to the University of Montana that they labeled “a blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country,” the two departments created a sweeping new definition of sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal conduct.” (Or, as those more familiar with the English language call it, speech.)

Who gets to define “unwelcome”? The listener and the listener alone — no matter how high-strung, neurotic or just plain pinheaded that person is. I can understand why you might suspect I’m extrapolating or exaggerating here, but really, the feds’ letter is quite explicit: the words don’t have to be offensive to “an objectively reasonable person” to be considered harassment.

Given that standard of guilt, it’s perhaps not very surprising that the government says anybody accused of harassment can be punished even before he or she is convicted. Seriously: “A university must take immediate steps to protect the complainant from further harassment prior to the completion of the [investigation or hearing]. Appropriate steps may include separating the accused harasser and the complainant, providing counseling for the complainant and/or harasser, and/or taking disciplinary action against the harasser.”

harassmentUnder these circumstances, it will be a brave (or crazy) professor indeed who assigns his class to read William Shakespeare, whose works include 113 synonyms for genitalia. (That’s an actual count in an academic study that, under the new rules, can probably never again be read on an American campus.)

Juliet’s enthusiastic anticipation of her wedding night with Romeo (“Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night . . . Lovers can see to do their amorous rites”) is bound to strike some student, somewhere, as either excessively lewd or male-hierarchically sexist. The reference to “Cupid’s fiery shaft” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is like a flashing neon KICK ME sign. And the multiple themes of incest in Hamlet? Why not just put a gun to your head, professor?

Shakespeare won’t be the only casualty. The Diary of Anne Frank, with its casual teenage musings about sex, is definitely out. To Kill A Mockingbird, a novel about a rape accusation undergirded by fears of miscegenation, no way. Toni Morrison’s Beloved, with its description of a sexual encounter in a cornfield, gone. Practically the entire works of Chaucer, Tennessee Williams, Vladimir Nabokov and Alan Ginsberg will disappear from U.S. universities. Even Robert Frost will have his problems: Putting In The Seed is not a poem about agriculture.

Professors, of course, won’t be the only potential targets of the new policies — maybe not even the major ones. When I was a college kid, the biggest risk associated with asking somebody on a date was the possibility of a humiliating “no.” Now the stakes have been raised to an accusation of “unwanted conduct of a sexual nature” if the askee is offended. Even a casual comment like “nice pants” or “pretty eyes” is a potential harassment charge.

But surely, you say, surely nobody will take the letter of the law to such absurd extremes. And surely you are wrong: They already have. Brandeis University went after a professor for uttering the word “wetback” during a lecture — no matter that he was criticizing its usage. (Maybe he should have said “the W word.”)

A janitor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis was disciplined for reading a disapproving book on the Ku Klux Klan. Marquette ordered a graduate student to remove a “patently offensive” quotation by Dave Barry from his door. (Let’s see if my editors are brave enough to print it: “As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.”)

Governed largely by Baby Boomer radicals left over from the 1960s who have elevated political correctness to a religion, American college campuses are rapidly becoming free-speech-free zones where ideas are reduced to doctrinal shibboleths and all liberties are subservient to a fundamental Right to Not Be Offended. The Obama administration’s new policy, which will apply to any college receiving federal aid — that is, all of them — will enshrine that right in law. The quicker somebody gets this thing before a court that has read the actual U.S. Constitution, the better.

Read more Glenn Garvin stories from the Miami Herald

Republished under the Fair Use Doctrine.


DOE, harassment, unwelcome reading materials that one has the right to read or not read.

“Harassment-” DOE policies.


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5 Responses to Department of Education, Shakespeare, harassment, and screw the classics for political correctness

  1. Feminist_Nullificationist on May 23, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    I have a degree in English, but couldn’t take the same curriculum again under such Stalinist, PC mandates as the U.S. Dept. of Education is cramming down the throats of Americans.

  2. Lea on May 23, 2013 at 3:56 AM

    What a bunch of BS. This is rediculous.

  3. Ivan on May 22, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    In a few short years USA will become another Sweden !! Misadric to the core . Look what are they trying to charge with Julian Assange . ‘Sex by Surprise.’ I kid you not Harry . Having sex in Sweden with no condom is a sex crime . Any guy is getting arrested in Sweden for that . Its just a matter of time before Obama and his Feminist friends outlaw Rap Music. To Masculine ,they will say . Just watch . I live in Canada but still . I have friends and Family in Us so… and by the way Harry why are Male porn stars – actors making a lot less money per movie then their Female partners ???? That’s right there in your back yard in the San Fernando Valley. Porn industry needs a reality check . A good old fashion class action law suite .

    • Rosemarie on May 23, 2013 at 3:12 AM

      Ivan, someone *should* outlaw rap – based on its “artistic” value (or more accurately, it’s lack of artistic value). 🙂

      • Ivan on May 23, 2013 at 11:59 AM

        Wrong ,Rosemarie . It takes a talent and skill to know how to rap well !! Why don’t you try . But that’s the point I was trying to make and you know it . It is not to much freedom of speech left in American University’s and that’s a Travesty . A lot of females hate Rap because is Masculine and some times vulgar but they speak the truth . Lets put it this way I would rather listen to rap then watch figure skating. And Figure skating is a sport because …..???!!

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