We're watching attacks on free speech in real time as the Carolla/Prager documentary screens nationwide.
Capturing the zeitgeist is no easy task.
Sure, you could make a film or TV show about a hot news topic. By the time the project is ready to be seen said topic could be yesterday’s news.
Or last month’s, to be more accurate.
It’s why what’s unfolding in the culture now can only help “No Safe Spaces,” although that’s not what its makers intended.
The docudrama, featuring Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager, examines how free speech is under assault on college campuses nationwide.
That alarming trend, the film warns, is spilling over into the public at large.
Select critics cried, “poppycock.” They argued the unlikely duo overstate the problem. Besides, if their message can reach the masses, how bad could the situation be?
Let’s turn our attention to Ann Coulter.
The hard-right pundit is no shrinking violet. She courts controversy and routinely gets it. That’s part of her brand, her shtick. To her credit, she doesn’t shrink away from a rhetorical skirmish.
Is she any more provocative than a Hollywood star or starlet comparing a sitting president to Hitler without a scintilla of evidence?
Of course not. The latter is far worse.
She, like even those stars, has a right to be heard. Tell that to the thugs attempting to silence her at the University of California, Berkeley.
The far-left mob did what it does with increasing frequency of late, once again a critical part of the “No Safe Spaces” warning.
KPIX-TV reported that at least seven people were arrested at the rally. Multiple masked protesters were arrested about 40 minutes before the event started, which was scheduled for 9 p.m. PST at Wheeler Hall….
Attendees had to be escorted by police when they entered and left the building, according to the Chronicle, as demonstrators began pushing them chanting “don’t let them in.”
Let that last part sink in.
People who wanted to hear what Coulter had to say required police to safely move into and out of the building. Some of those cops were called “f***ing pigs” by the protesters.
The team behind “No Safe Spaces” couldn’t have scripted the event any better, at least for marketing purposes. The film is a warning cry that this behavior cannot be tolerated by an open society.
Yet, increasingly, it is.
Coulter tried to speak at UC Berkeley, the former home of free speech, in 2017 but protests led to the event’s cancellation.
The media may cover events like this in a perfunctory fashion, but it never becomes part of “the narrative.” That’s the story thread uniting various outlets into a singular battle cry.
Reporters would rather label Coulter a conservative right wing pundit, akin to saying Rachel Maddow is a progressive liberal talker, and leave it at that.
This wasn’t the only free speech-snuffing incident over the last few days, though. Campus Reform reports that economist Arthur Laffer’s speech at Binghampton University got shouted down, literally, by the social justice mob.
“[M]embers of Antifa and the student group Progressive Leaders for Tomorrow (PLOT) began to shout him [Laffer] down and cause an extreme disruption. This organized mob of violent, far-left, radical students then confronted officers of the New York State Police and University Police who were attempting to restore order,” Walker said.
“Our [College Republicans] were escorted out by police officers with Dr. Laffer. The ongoing violence towards conservative students is an affront to our 1st amend. rights. We will NOT be silenced by masked mobs of radicals,” the group said in a tweet Monday night.
Hen Mazzig, a self-described “queer Jew of color,” attempted to address his support for Israel Nov. 14 at Vassar College. Here’s his first-person account of how that went.
What I did not anticipate was for dozens of students at Vassar College to protest my Nov. 14 appearance on campus by yelling antisemitic chants, all in the name of intersectionality, progressivism and Palestinian liberation.
For more than 15 minutes, roughly 30 students completely shut me down by shouting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Hearing this slogan pained me deeply. What these students either didn’t know – or were willfully ignorant to – was that they were repeating an antisemitic phrase that dispossesses me of my identity and endangers my safety.
This all happened within the space of a few days, mind you.
As Rod Dreher astutely noted, imagine if the races and party affiliations were flipped?
Seriously, what if a mob of white people at a major American university banded together to prevent people of color and their allies from going into a hall to hear Ta-Nehisi Coates speak? How do you think our media would frame it? They would report the hell out of it, and they should report the hell out of it, because a mob preventing anybody from going to hear someone speak is un-American, and a serious violation of our traditions. This should not happen in America, and especially not at a university.
It is, though, which makes “No Safe Spaces” the most important film of the year, if not the decade.