N2K_001bMona and Jay have a guest this week, Greg Lukianoff, who discusses free speech on campus—more like the suppression of.  Examples will curl your hair, if your hair is still curlable, after all these years of free-speech erosion.



Then the hosts range widely, as is their wont, discussing issues both political and cultural. Political issues include Ebola, or the politicization of (and racialization of). Cultural issues include this curious question: Shouldn’t it be possible to buy a pair of sneakers or a shirt without attending what amounts to a rock concert? (Jay fears he is turning into Andy Rooney, the paradigmatic curmudgeon.)

Another cultural matter: Did you hear that an opera company in Australia dropped Carmen from its schedule? Yes—because the opera “promotes smoking.” True, Carmen works in a cigarette factory. But she is stabbed to death in the end by Don José. Does the opera promote murder?

The podcast closes, naturally, with the Smokers’ Chorus from Carmen. We hear how Bizet evokes the curling of smoke, up into the air.

Subscribe to Need to Know in Apple Podcasts (and leave a 5-star review, please!), or by RSS feed. For all our podcasts in one place, subscribe to the Ricochet Audio Network Superfeed in Apple Podcasts or by RSS feed.

Now become a Ricochet member for only $5.00 a month! Join and see what you’ve been missing.

There are 4 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Nick Stuart Member
    Nick Stuart

    One of the most reprehensible aspects of the WMD discovery in Iraq is evidently troops injured by them were flat out denied proper treatment.

    Fast forward to troops in Liberia. What confidence can we have that when one or more of them contract Ebola they’re going to be given proper treatment (such as it is, evidently the only thing that can be done is make the patient comfortable until they either recover or die).

    • #1
  2. Eeyore Member

    Jay – I think your assessment of Klain is a little naive. He was the principal force behind pushing through the Solyndra loan, countering – and ultimately ignoring –  the financial experts who warned, insistently, “These people have no business plan!!!!” 

    [Federal money + Greeeeen! + ??? = Successful Business!]

    • #2
  3. nattybumpo Member

    Thank you for having Greg Lukianoff, and thanks to the Ricochet Podcast for having Alan Dershowitz this week. Both are principled liberals in the best sense and both are important voices in the fight for the  freedom of thought and speech, which is increasingly under threat, not only on campuses but also in our political culture, with attempts to curtail political speech ranging from IRS intimidation to actual congressional attempts to impose limitations. Growing up in the 50’s, we were taught, and this was then the fashionable point of view, that the way to deal with opinions one disagrees with is to confront them with counterarguments and not to suppress their expression. This was the spirit that informed the First Amendment, which was philosophically all about political speech, wherever the courts were to take it subsequently.  For some historical perspective, and a touch of irony, it is helpful to remember that at that time , although most of the SCOTUS cases seemed to involve the Jehovah’s Witnesses, people were often focused on the rights of communists. One argument was whether a faction that, if empowered, would suppress free speech, should itself enjoy such rights. Some time in the mid 60’s, Richard Nixon, then a New York attorney and a resident of New Jersey, had a letter published in the New York Times questioning the presence on the Rutgers faculty (a state school) of Eugene Genovese, a scholar of American slavery, who was a self-declared Marxist if not CPUSA.  Over the years Genovese moved somewhat to the right, and, along with his wife, became a powerful actor in the National Association of Scholars, an organization devoted to freedom of thought and expression in colleges and universities, and an ally of FIRE.

    As for anti-smoking, the U.S. went further, earlier than did Europe. There was the story of the German tourist who opined that Manhattan had the most fashionable and classy prostitutes in the world. He was, in fact, observing office workers forced out into the streets by smoking prohibitions.

    As for Hyde Park (mentioned last week), we would all be fortunate to be able to afford to live there. President Obama owns a mansion there, which for some reason  he never visits. It was a great place to grow up. Where else could one have had Enrico Fermi’s daughter as a shop teacher or gone to dog obedience school with Milton Friedman?

    • #3
  4. Podkayne of Israel Member
    Podkayne of Israel

    Enjoyed this one. Lukianoff is a treasure. Jay, what’s wrong with being a curmudgeon?

    • #4