September 26, 2011

IN WISCONSIN, IT’S BROWNSHIRTS VS. BROWNCOATS: ‘Firefly’ and Anti-Fascism Posters Get Professor Threatened with Criminal Charges on University of Wisconsin Campus.

A professor has been censored twice, reported to the “threat assessment team,” and threatened with criminal charges because of satirical postings on his office door. Campus police at the University of Wisconsin–Stout (UWS) censored theater professor James Miller’s poster depicting a quotation from actor Nathan Fillion’s character in the television series Firefly, and the police chief threatened Miller with criminal charges for disorderly conduct. After UWS censored his second poster, which stated, “Warning: Fascism,” Miller came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.

“Colleges and universities are supposed to foster brave and bold environments of freewheeling intellectual inquiry and expression. If a quote from a network science fiction show is a bridge too far, something has gone seriously wrong,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “As both president of FIRE and a huge Firefly fan, I call on the chancellor of UW–Stout to rein in his overreaching administration and to restore both free speech and basic common sense.”

My advice to Wisconsin voters and legislators — remember this at budget time. Meanwhile, as a show of solidarity, I’m replacing the Battlestar Galactica poster on my door with one for Serenity.

UPDATE: Reader Eric Akawie emails:

I wonder if the Firefly poster would be considered acceptable if it were the same words over a silhouette of Che Guevara.

Not that that was a philosophy Che would have likely espoused anyway.

Not hardly, as Che was a cowardly loser.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The Clear And Present Danger Posed By Space Captains.

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