May 16, 2014

“‘Hump Day’ event cancelled after students claim bringing a camel to campus was racist”

Thus reinforcing yet again that the contemporary academy — less a space for intellectual exploration than it is an increasingly leftist-dominated Petri dish for social engineering gambits, grievance politics, and inane departments handing out inane degrees that leave graduates in crushing debt and with no hope for finding a job — is actually taking already brainwashed kids and making them even dumber young adults.  Campus Reform:

Students at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota have cancelled an event to celebrate the end of the year after complaints that bringing a camel on campus could offend those of Middle Eastern cultures.

The “Hump Day” event, put on by the Residence Hall Association (RHA), was supposed to be “a petting zoo type of atmosphere” in which students could hang out and take photos with a live camel. According to Aaron Macke, the group’s advisor, the camel is owned by a local vendor and trained for special events.

But the event was subsequently cancelled after students took to Facebook to proclaim their concerns. The students said they were concerned about the money spent on bringing the camel to campus—around $500—and the implication that it would be racially insensitive to Middle Eastern cultures.

The Facebook group called “Protest Hump DAAAAAAY!” had more than 100 RSVP’d attendees before it was deleted on Wednesday.

“RHA’s goal in programming is to bring residents together in a fun and safe environment where all people can enjoy themselves,” RHA president Lindsay Goodwin said in a statement on RHA’s Facebook page. “It appears however, this program is dividing people and would make for an uncomfortable and possibly unsafe environment for everyone attending or providing the program. As a result, RHA has decided to cancel the event.”


The camel wouldn’t have been the first animal brought to campus to be fawned over. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the school brought a reindeer to campus in December apparently without incident.

RHA hosted a “Southern Hospitality” event on May 8 during which students could take turns riding a mechanical bull.

Fortunately, neither PETA, nor some association for the protection and dignity of animatronic animal simulacrums, caught wind of that latter event.

This is yet again another intentionalist argument, and inasmuch as I’ve been trying to break through the mindless textualist retreats into institutionalized acceptance of consensus-meaning for the last decade or so, yet another example of meaning being appropriated by a politically-motivated group and therefore its surrender as a intended speech act demanded, with the “right” to replace that intended meaning with some other (dubious) meaning created out of whole cloth by a grievance society granted by way of that surrender.  That is, the politically aggrieved map the racial subtext onto the original sign, then suggest that the sign also carries the very meaning that didn’t exist until they themselves attached it to the original sign.  Or, to put it another way, they are protesting themselves, but everyone else is being made to suffer for their (intentional) misreading of the sign — which in this case marks them as the racialists.

And we know this because even the protest literature acknowledges, by way of its recognition of the spelling of day (“DAAAAAY!”), that the actual referent here is to a Geico commercial wherein a talking camel, as a member of an otherwise human office staff, tries to get his co-workers to say “hump day.” Camels having humps and all.  And this particular talking camel — which, just so the protesters understand, doesn’t really exist outside of special effects and a voice over — apparently holding a job not in some middle eastern country, but rather somewhere in the US, where his English is suggests some sort of east coast accent.

To jump from the acknowledgment that the camel is a referent to the Geico ad to some pretend fear that someone somewhere may be offended by the bringing to campus of a camel — as if camel’s are the sole jurisdiction of “Middle Eastern cultures” and, as a result,  are of necessity offensive when “appropriated” by someone outside of that particular identity group — is so laughable on its face that the response to this, from those who aren’t being taught to cower to the “official” narratives of some Other, would be to tell the idiots to come and protest the camel, if that’s how they want to spend their day.

Because until we laugh at them and turn the shame and ridicule around on these self-satisfied, self-righteous speech police, they’ll only grow more and more emboldened.

Unfortunately, universities are teaching students to succumb to this anti-liberty social moralism, so the fact that the RHA canceled the event is problem seen by members of the RHA themselves as some sort of heroic act.

— All of which once again points to how important language and how we believe it functions is to the political sphere, something the left has long known and has worked to institutionalize, even as many on the right grant such incoherence gravitas, then wonder why it is that they are consistently at a disadvantage with respect to making their arguments.

To them I’d say this:   forget that it’s me making this argument and imagine it coming from, say, Hot Air or PJM.   And take it to heart.  Before we all have to suffer for your stubbornness, intellectual myopia, and poor political judgment.  Deal?

(h/t JohnInFirestone)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 12:02pm

Comments (33)

  1. Recalling Mencken’s “Puritanism”: the haunting fear that somewhere, someone may be happy?

  2. sometimes when people from these camel places get offended they have a tendency to slaughter a lot of people

    that’s probably what’s driving this I think

  3. The new puritanism is increasingly resembling the stereotype of the old-puritanism isn’t it?

    And it’s pharasitical sanctimony that’s driving this nonsense.

  4. One of my favourite examples of this disingenuous indignation was when Laurie Penny, a notorious leftist scold, was herself scolded for using the word “fishy.”

    The scolder’s assumption was that because, according to folk legend, schoolboys have at some point laughingly imagined that vaginas smell like fish, no-one must ever be allowed to use the term “fishy” to suggest that something is suspicious or questionable. Lest the rest of us immediately assume that ladies’ nethers are also suspicious, questionable or seething with pure evil. And – for triple word score – the term “fishy” must therefore also be a slight against people who think of themselves as women but who don’t have a vagina. Hence the claim that the term is both “sexist” and “cissexist.”

    The fact that people who use the word “fishy” to mean suspicious or questionable aren’t generally thinking of vaginas at all is somehow beside the point.

  5. It seems as if an injunction “There will be no funnin’, lest in funnin’ some aspect of freedom is rediscovered ” sort of dealio going on.

  6. RuPaul says “fishy” all the time on Drag Race. I was never really sure what it meant bu, helpfully, RuPaul’s Drag Race Dictionary offers the following definition…

    Fish (Fishy) – A term used to describe a drag queen who looks extremely feminine, or one who convincingly resembles a biological woman. The term is a reference to the scent of a woman’s vagina, which is considered to bear resemblance to the smell of dead fish. *

    The more you know.

  7. *but, helpfully* is what that should say

  8. The fact that people who use the word “fishy” to mean suspicious or questionable aren’t generally thinking of vaginas at all is somehow beside the point.

    Speak for yourself, Thompson. I hear the name Laurie Penny, and …

  9. A wise man once said, if it smells like fish eat all you wish. If it smells like cologne leave it alone.

  10. “Fishy” first appears in the mid-1500s. Obviously, a word was needed to describe all of the Tudor drag queens popping up across the English landscape.

  11. Just in time — I was running out of fresh reasons to make fun of the Tommies!

  12. Tudor drag queens popping up across the English landscape.

    Now there’s your movie.

  13. Camels are tall beasties. Goats, on the other hand, are not. Middle Easterners are well aware of this distinction.

  14. One of my favourite examples of this disingenuous indignation was when Laurie Penny, a notorious leftist scold, was herself scolded for using the word “fishy.”

    They were just getting testy and hysterical.

  15. We’ve gone from guarding against a tyranny of the majority to suffering a tyranny over the majority.

    If I want to look at a camel and think about how people from a certain part of the world might start looking around for a stepladder, the only person who’s entitled to jab me in the ribs for it is my wife.

  16. “My mother is a fish”.

    God only knows what Faulkner meant by that.

  17. Pingback: Headlines and news | The Common Room

  18. They were just getting testy and hysterical.

    You aren’t supposed to say “hysteria” or “mass hysteria.”

    Or “seminal.”

    Or “lunatic.”

    The word “mum” is also suspect.

  19. So calling someone a “cold fish” is double-plus ungood?

  20. I assume the camel had but one hump.

    Them two-humped beasties would insult a whole ‘nother group of people who weren’t there to specify whether the camel’s presence was actually offensive.

  21. Maybe this was actually done for the purposes of keeping the students healthy? After all, MERS is contracted by the kissing of camels or being exposed to those who did and became infected.

    Or the protesters could just be touchy douche-bags who see racism everywhere.

  22. “Them two-humped beasties would insult a whole ‘nother group of people who weren’t there to specify whether the camel’s presence was actually offensive.”

    Plus, that would mean that every week would need to have two Wednesdays. And the work week is already long enough ;^).

  23. Camels come in two flavors, Dromedary and Bactrian which begin with D and B respectively. D and B are the initials of D.B. Cooper who was last seen alive on an airplane, and as we all remember, airplanes were used on 9/11 by fanatical Islamists to kill a lot of people. Therefore, racism. QED.

  24. – It would seem its time, or even past time, that a new public service needs to be set up in the social arena. Public “Pearl clutching” angst rooms for Progressives, so they can do their idiotic pedantic meltdowns over imaginary slights and quaffs in private and the rest of us don’t have to see this crap.

  25. AT sometime polite society will lose it’s grace and beauty and just be those uptight shits who talk funny and make no sense. Then, sadly, the pantsing, and ass beatings will commence.

    Beware me bruddas, fer da Gods o’ the copybook headin’s ‘er seen smokin’ by the bike rack. An they looked powerful hungry fer tears n’ lunch money ta’dee. Da’r up t’trouble an’ ye mark me words.

  26. – ….and when they’ve eradicated the last standing vestige of racism in America the Progressives can go after the absolutely unacceptable amount of hull barnacles on some ships.

    – Bumblefuck is black?….Who knew….

  27. The best part of a camel isn’t the hump, it’s the toe.

  28. …and while Hump Day is only once a week, every day is toe-day.

  29. – That pun was just toe much

  30. My Wife and I vacation every Christmas in Wolfeboro and the natives are incredibly nice people. If fact, when I retire, we hope to move there.

    BBH: The thing that really pisses me off about this whole controversy is that the shrew who first complained only moved there four months ago and is already creating trouble. Probably a Masshole.

  31. My momma was a fish, too.

    Then she got et by lesbian seagulls.


  32. For the youngsters.

    For the geezers.