November 14, 2011

KATIE ROIPHE: In Favor of Dirty Jokes and Risqué Remarks. “The words used in workshops — ‘uncomfortable,’ ‘inappropriate,’ ‘hostile’ — are vague, subjective, slippery. Feminists and liberal pundits say, with some indignation, that they are not talking about dirty jokes or misguided compliments when they talk about sexual harassment, but, in fact, they are: sexual harassment, as they’ve defined it, encompasses a wide and colorful spectrum of behaviors. . . . The creativity and resourcefulness of the definitions, the broadness and rigor of the rules and codes, have always betrayed their more Orwellian purpose: when I was at Princeton in the ’90s, the guidelines distributed to students about sexual harassment stated, ‘sexual harassment may result from a conscious or unconscious action, and can be subtle or blatant.’ It is, of course, notoriously hard to control one’s unconscious, and one can behave quite hideously in one’s dreams, but that did not deter the determined scolds.”

The people who peddle this stuff deserve neither respect, nor credit for good intentions, which in fact they lack. They should be treated as the bluenosed busybodies, and proponents of a not-all-that-soft tyranny, that they are. As a famous man said, get in their face, and punch back twice as hard. Make them feel uncomfortable, and maybe they’ll stop with that project. Because tyranny shouldn’t be comfortable.

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