Forbes – Art, Free Speech, Hypocrisy, Tightie-Whities, and Teenage Tantrums

14 Feb

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Welcome to the culture wars’ latest opera buffa.

In recent weeks, Wellesley College has been embroiled in a raging controversy over …. a lifelike statue of a wimpy middle-aged man sleepwalking in his underpants.

The conflict between free expression and the right not to be distressed by art kicked into high gear when some irony-challenged students launched a petition demanding the “semi-nude” statue be moved indoors so as not to create any awkward, uncomfortable feelings among the progressive college’s all-female student body. The petition got a cool-as-a-cucumber response from the director of the campus museum. But that wasn’t the end of the matter.

The director’s response was met by a series of hysterical objections by students, faculty, and alumnae—every one worth reading. For a good look into the muddle and chaos that characterize today’s academic mind, you will find no better example.

It’s been a while since I’ve been on the Wellesley campus, so I haven’t seen “The Sleepwalker” up close, but there are plenty of photos on the web. It’s one of those hyper-realistic statues that could be easily mistaken for a real person, creating an illusion that lasts until it dawns on you that the thing isn’t moving. The natural reaction is surprise followed by laughter followed by a bemused shrug and rolling of the eyes.

FrankenWellesley
Courtesy Chris Roelofs

To read the rest of the column click here.

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