It’s a concept so simple even the leader of the state’s largest research university ought to be able to understand. Either the expression in the “Free Expression” Tunnel is free or it is not. There is no “free, but…”
Yes, once again, something offensive has been painted in the FET, an occasion that happened at least several times a day while I was on campus, back when the FET stood as a monument to true free expression — it’s everything, from advertising to thoughtful notes to pictures to mindless chatter to noxious hate-filled rants. If you don’t like something, ignore it, respond to it, or paint over it yourself. But don’t run crying to the authorities to take away the Big Bad Scwibbles.
North Carolina State University’s Free Expression Tunnel was spray-painted earlier this week with racist and homophobic graffiti involving President Barack Obama, according to Chancellor Randy Woodson.
The slurs and the name “Obama” were painted over the picture of a black man. Woodson described the graffiti as “racially charged obscenities and derogatory comments directed to the GLBT (gay lesbian bisexual transgender) community.”
N.C. State students are allowed to spray paint the Free Expression Tunnel with images and words commenting on any issue. Woodson decried the use of the tunnel for derogatory speech.
“(The tunnel) is the embodiment of free speech, a place where we can air our thoughts openly,” Woodson said in a statement posted on N.C. State’s website Tuesday.
Right there is where his statement should end. They’re all adults at NC State. They also supposedly represent the smartest minds in the state. Obviously they can withstand the mental shock of crude drawings.
So that’s where Woodson’s statement should end. He continues, however:
“But here’s the reality: The Free Expression Tunnel is us. What we say and do there says as much about us,” he continued. “The question for us all is are we going to practice the politics of hate and destruction, or are we going to be a force for respectful dialog even where there are differences of opinion?” …
Does Chancellor Woodson wish to be head of the state’s biggest daycare? Apparently. Otherwise he would have told the NC State community to handle the offensive graffiti themselves, the only way to handle offensive speech while protecting free expression. Speak back.
To that end, I’d like to quote again the following FET recollection by a fellow alumnus:
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My favorite free expression tunnel story from my days was the long-running battle my freshman year between “Jesus Saves” and “Jesus Slaves.” Each graffiti artist would alter the others every night (I forget which came first), and this went on for about three or four weeks. Finally, somebody (presumably a neutral third party) stepped in and came up with “Jesus Shaves.” I suppose the dueling parties must have chuckled at themselves and decided to give it a rest, because “Shaves” stayed up for quite a while.
Carolina Journal’s David Bass provides a concise yet meaty wrap-up of last night’s election results, which ushered in historic change to the North Carolina General Assembly. Republicans will control both chambers heading into the 2011 session. Bass’ piece is a keeper.
Republicans made historic gains in the North Carolina legislature during Tuesday’s midterm election, gaining control of both chambers of the General Assembly by comfortable margins for the first time since the 19th century.
By 11 p.m., Republicans had won at least a 30-20 majority in the state Senate, a flip of the current ratio. A number of races in the House were too close to call, but the GOP had picked up at least a dozen seats, more than enough to secure a governing majority.
Meantime, Newt Gingrich comments on the enormity of the historic legislative power change in our state.Read full article » 1 Comment »
Over at sister blog The Locker Room, JLF’s Terry Stoops describes last night’s defeat of all 14 sales tax hike referendums around North Carolina — including in Orange County — this way:
These results send a crystal-clear message to local government officials: stop spending and tighten your belt as your constituents are doing because the never-ending calls for more money will be met with a resounding “no”.Read full article » No Comments »