If you have a long memory, you might recall George W. Bush’s Attorney General John Ashcroft deciding to change the backdrop at the Department of Justice.
Initially, when he held press conferences, he stood in front of the Department’s half-nude, art deco statue, “Spirit of Justice.”
He preferred a more modest, less distracting backdrop, so he had blue curtains installed.
It seemed a little silly, but harmless enough.
The national media had a field day mocking him as a cultural cretin.
“What kind of backwoods idiot is he?” was the view in Manhattan, Cambridge, and the swankier sections of Washington. They deigned to look down their collective noses at him and his kind of people, much as they laughed at Victorians who covered up piano “legs.”
Typical were the views of always-grating Maureen Dowd (link here):
A Blue Burka for Justice
By Maureen Dowd
New York Times, January 30, 2002
I had to call Attorney General John Ashcroft recently to ask if he had instructed his advance team to remove naked lady statues and calico cats from his vicinity because they were wicked.
I know it sounds loopy. But with these guys, you never know. –NYT
Yuck, yuck, yuck!! Those rubes.
(Btw, Dowd’s column is not an example of newspaper bias, IMO. You can agree or disagree with her, but she is writing an opinion column, and it is clearly labeled as such. The Times’ problem with bias is not that its opinion columns tilt one way but that its editorial opinions suffuse its hard-news coverage.)
Now, the tables have turned, and I await the mockery from the NYT, the Post, and others.
I suspect I’ll have a long wait.
Here’s the story:
Officials at Yale University recently censored a stone work of art on campus depicting an armed Native American and Puritan side by side, which has been described as a “hostile” image by the Ivy League institution’s alumni magazine.
The stone carving was edited to cover up the Puritan’s musket, while the Native American’s bow was left as is, reports Yale Alumni Magazine (link here).
The decision to censor the carving was made by both head librarian Susan Gibbons and Yale’s Committee on Art in Public Spaces, the latter of which advises President Peter Salovey “on ways to better represent the diversity of the Yale community through the art and other symbolic representations found around campus,” according to the university’s website. –The College Fix, referencing Yale Alumni Magazine
Did anybody complain or even notice the shocking musket? Nope, no record of any complaints.
Is Yale unique in such censorship? Alas, no.
A number of universities in recent years have censored or concealed art on campus. Earlier this year, Pepperdine University removed a Christopher Columbus statue from its grounds while late last summer the University of Wisconsin-Stout moved a painting of Native Americans and French frontier trappers from a public area to a private conference room. The art in these two cases was deemed “painful” and “harmful,” respectively. –College Fix
I just hope the New York Times doesn’t find out. Surely they will be outraged at this artistic censorship.
- It is not unexpected that Yale would censor anything it considers politically incorrect. That’s its standard practice today.
- It encourages the same kind of robust diversity of political opinion you find on the back of a cereal box.
- Yale sets standards for free and open discourse Google can only aspire to.
- Judging from Yale’s abject behavior, and the lack of public criticism, John Ashcroft should have tried a different spin. He should have said the magic words, “This statue is offensive to the vital cause of female equality in the workplace.”
- I look forward to Maureen Dowd, New York Times, WaPo, and others attacking Yale’s censorship. So far, crickets.
- My own comment, as an alum is simple
- Free Speech at universities is the most important issue in higher education today.
- Yale doesn’t just fail on this issue. Under Pres. Peter Salovey and his administration, it sets the gold standard for politically-correct suppression of speech, all in the name of social justice. It is, I’m afraid, a standard made of fools’ gold.