Monthly Archives: December 2015

THE DEAN’S LIST OF DUMB AND DUMBER

Following the forced resignation of Yale Professor Erika Christakis, former Vermont Governor and Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean tweeted:

Yale faculty member at center of protests will leave teaching role http://fw.to/4CDnirR  Free speech is good. Respecting others is better.

Many remember Howard Dean as the author of the 2004 “Scream,” the incoherent squawk that doomed his presidential campaign. While both were inane, the Tweet may outclass the Scream in fundamental dumbness.
dumb and dumberdumb
First, some background.  The Yale faculty member mentioned in the Tweet is Erika Christakis, a respected expert in early childhood education.  Last Fall, 13 members of the Intercultural Affairs Committee at Yale — administrators with too much time on their hands, apparently — circulated an email advising students on which Halloween costumes were and were not appropriate. The Committee warned students not to make “culturally unaware or insensitive choices,” and advised them to visit https://www.pinterest.com/yalecces/, to see “a great resource for costume ideas organized by [Yale’s] own Community & Consent Educators.”

That website truly is worth a visit – especially by parents concerned with the rising cost of college tuition. In addition to warning against “culturally insensitive costumes,” it warns students to “avoid costumes that prevent you from breathing” and “costumes that prevent you from going to the bathroom.” Thus do college administrators justify their salaries.
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FIGHTING BACK

In the wake of the Paris massacre, the French government issued a poster designed to prepare and protect its citizens against new terrorist attacks. The poster gives advice revolving around the triptych “escape, hide, alert.”Attaque Terroriste.jpg

The City of Houston has issued a video dealing with the same subject. Like the French poster, it advises office workers to escape or hide. But it includes a third imperative, absent from the French poster. The title of the Houston video is: “Run. Hide. Fight.”

In the video, actors portraying office workers huddle in a break room. The killer is outside and there is no way to escape. One worker picks up a fire extinguisher, another grabs a chair, two others hold a belt and a coffee mug. When the shooter begins to enter, the workers attack him. As the video frame freezes, the narrator intones: “As a last resort, if your life is at risk, whether you’re alone or working together as a group, fight! Act with aggression. Improvise weapons. Disarm him. And commit to taking the shooter down, no matter what.”

While the recent spate of mass killings has sparked debates on gun control and immigration, surprisingly little has been written about fighting back.Houston.jpg
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