Friday Ephemera
Brand Loyalty

Wherever Possible, Avoid Mad People

For instance, people such as these

Stevenson College is apologising to its students for serving Mexican food during [a science fiction event]. In a letter sent out to students, the college apologised for having “a Mexican food buffet,” while also featuring spaceships and aliens.

Wait for it.

The college received complaints saying the combination was racist because of the association between Mexicans and illegal immigrants.

Despite eight years of doing this, I didn’t see that coming. Let’s take a second to check the algebra of umbrage: Science fiction event plus chili and burritos equals racism. 

After receiving complaints, Dr Carolyn Golz said that the event “demonstrated a cultural insensitivity on the part of the programme planners and, though it was an unintentional mistake, I recognise that this incident caused harm within our community and negatively impacted students.”

At this point, bear in mind that several students, our fearless intellectuals of tomorrow, have felt a need to publicly articulate some version of the following, rather staggering idea: “Dear Sir or Madam, I have been negatively impacted by your insensitive buffet.”  

Naturally, this explosion of WrongThought™ will have to be punished:

As a result, Dr Golz “will require cultural competence training for Programmes staff, in addition to implementing mechanisms for future programme planning that will ensure college programmes are culturally sensitive and inclusive.”

In the wake of this terrifyingly racist punch in the face of decency, expressed via the medium of reheated beans, Dr Golz urges students to report any further incidents of “hate” to the university’s Report Hate website, and thereby “cut down on insensitive events like Intergalactic Night.” 

Update, via the comments: 

And so, once again, students are being encouraged to cultivate a kind of pretentious racial paranoia, in which almost any innocuous thing can, via mental convolution, be associated with some pretext for grievance, however dishonest and opportunistic. Once some mental association has been discovered or contrived, everyone must act as if the innocuous object or action were in reality malicious and/or wounding, whatever the actual intention and regardless of how absurd and/or dishonest the claim of grievance is. Because whatever association of things is in the accuser’s head is assumed to be in everyone else’s head too.

And lo, grammar and punctuation are deemed racist, and paper coffee cups too. And hair, and genteel gardening programmes. And beards, on white men, are harmful and oppressive, and “glorify behaviours typical of people in white hegemonies.”

Yes, it’s ludicrous and pernicious, and not at all accidental. Dr Golz and her peers are in effect saying to students, “You should want to be the guy who bitches about the alleged racist subtext of party snacks. And if you do choose to behave that way, we’ll reward you and flatter you and make you feel important, while making other people jump through clown hoops to appease the feelings you pretend to have.” And the more implausible and contrived the claim of victimhood is, the more status points accrue, supposedly on account of the complainant’s heightened sensitivity and mental prowess. He has fathomed an injustice mere mortals cannot see.

And bewildered onlookers are expected to pretend that this is a high and noble function of an academic institution.