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What Goes Around ...

        The next time “progressive” students at Tufts, Brandeis and other schools try to censor speech they consider harassing, abusive, or otherwise harmful psychologically, they might want to consider this lawsuit recently filed in Cook County, Illinois:

        “A girl and her grandparents have sued the Chicago Board of Education, alleging that a substitute teacher showed the R-rated film "Brokeback Mountain" in class,” the Associated Press reports. “The lawsuit claims that Jessica Turner, 12, suffered psychological distress after viewing the movie in her eighth-grade class at Ashburn Community Elementary School last year.”

            How much damage did Jessica allegedly suffer?  $500,000 worth, according to her grandparents, who assert that she was traumatized by seeing the film.

        Campus “progressives” will no doubt scoff at Jessica’s claim, condemning the homophobia it reflects.  But what underlies this lawsuit is not homophobia so much as the speech-phobia that Harvey Silverglate and I so often deplore -- the belief that showing a movie (telling a joke, or publishing an article) is the equivalent of a physical assault on people who object strongly to the ideas that the movie (joke or article) convey.  Some conservatives have been infected by this phobia (or try to exploit it,) but “progressives” are responsible for its spread. Supposedly progressive students who complain of the traumas inflicted on them by unwelcome speech and administrators who punish parodies of affirmative action, among other articles of their faith, or mere advocacy of unpopular, conservative ideas, have more in common with Jessica Turner and her grandparents than they know, or are willing to acknowldedge.



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