Michigan “American Sniper” controversy is about taste, not freedom

A headline writer at Brown’s newspaper needs a lesson in reading comprehension. Either that, or he/she figured “Universities shouldn’t speak freely” would be a nice clickbait headline for a nuanced piece on Michigan’s decision to show, then not show, then show (off to the side) American Sniper at a campus social function.

rageaholThis sentence didn’t help: “But really, canceling the movie is perfectly consistent with freedom of expression, and showing the movie is what contradicts freedom of expression.”

But in context, it’s easy to see what he means. Students used their freedom of expression to say, “Hey, this is our party, and we don’t want to see a freaking WAR MOVIE that isn’t particularly comfortable viewing, especially for the thriving Arab and Muslim communities on campus!” That’s their right.

He was on much stronger ground here:

“It’s a complete mystery why the university thought it was a good idea to begin with to show the movie at a Friday night event designed to provide alcohol-free fun, entertainment and socializing.”

The right-wing outrage machine will surely try to make a big issue of this. But it’s not about censorship or freedom. It’s about having really bad taste in party planning.

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