How funny that the ‘excessively liberal’ re-defining of the word
graffiti should come from our industrious College Republicans and
their latest quixotic campus project (e.g., Operation Campus
Insanity), which strives to clean up not only our shamefully,
disfigured campus-but, apparently, free speech as well.
Indeed, yet another stellar example of low comedy presented to
us by our very own CR, moonlighting once again as a comedic troupe.
Of course comedy oftentimes can be instructive.
Aren’t we now being given the chance to watch a favored tactic
of both Republicans and Democrats at work, one thoughtfully
promoted by our ever-vigilant campus watchdog (e.g.,
Being politically successful these days requires that you
actually do something – or, rather, that you appear to be doing
something, all the while doing either absolutely nothing that
matters or something you’d just as well keep quiet about. And,
apparently, our dutiful CR’s are finally doing something about
But such a cleaning detail isn’t about keeping our campus
beautiful; it’s about targeting only that graffiti which our CR’s
declare liberal. Yes, they have taken it upon themselves to
reclassify as lawless anti-conservatism the many creative (albeit
irregular) gestures of self-expression we’re so blessed with these
days. And, surely, it grieves them so.
And here’s the rub! One proven method for neutralizing one’s
political rivals in the minds of others is to subtly defame one’s
opponent by linguistic association. Let me explain. You associate
any opinion that contests yours with a word or phrase that harbors
negative connotations (e.g., graffiti, scribble, vandalism, etc.)
and then you employ such words to discredit your enemy without ever
having to confront any actual issue-and in our case-all the while
declaring you’re only concerned with the re-beautification of our
Of course, thinking in terms of instant association (e.g.,
liberalism equals vandalism) is always much easier than actually
confronting whatever issue is being raised by such unsightly and
unorthodox methods as obviously are those silly, chalked opinions
out on the plaza.
Presumably, given our CR’s efforts here, one no longer needs to
bother with confronting the actual content of a contrary position
by building a sound argument to refute it. One conveniently places
it in the same category as campus vandalism or ideologically biased
political affronts taped to one’s door, thus dismissing as shear
insanity the numerous opportunities that such gestures (allegedly
now littering our campus) might provoke.
Are not our industrious CR’s now re-defining the words offensive
and insane to mean any and all views that disagree with
theirs-simply because such views adopt a less attractive form than
their rhetoric (e.g., newspaper headlines) takes?
Obviously, one of the quiet, unexamined assumptions underwriting
Operation Campus Insanity is the conviction that CR doesn’t creep
about at night defacing our lovely campus with unsightly
And, really, proclaiming Bush is a liar isn’t necessarily by
default an anti-conservative slur. In fact, it’s not even
addressing conservatism or its governing principles; rather, it’s
addressing a single individual and a specific historical
circumstance, albeit in a somewhat reductive manner. Besides, given
what we now know, the facts do indicate that Bush is indeed just
College Republicans have the right to oppose any sort of
thinking (competent or foolish) that contradicts theirs. Of course,
doing so requires they face an issue head on and that they mount an
intelligent counter argument, one that adequately deals with both
the merits and flaws of any given position. But, gosh, that demands
a substantial (and substantiated) effort, doesn’t it?
Adjunct Professor, English