I Swear By My Pretty Floral Bonnet, I Will Censor You

Dateline: Wisconsin. At the University of Wisconsin-Stout, theater professor James Miller put up a poster on his door with an image of Nathan Fillion in the character of Captain Malcolm Reynolds with one of Mal's better lines: "You don't know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me. And you'll be armed."

In a better world, nothing would happen — except perhaps Firefly fans would geek out and people who roll their eyes at geek culture references would roll their eyes.

But this is modern America. In modern America, the Browncoats are people who like to use vigorous figurative language to speak their mind, and they are often outnumbered and outgunned by the Alliance, made up of silly, professionally frightened moral and intellectual weaklings who see expressions of dissent (particularly dissent rendered in vivid figurative terms) as upsetting and potentially all terroristy.

So naturally the campus police at University of Wisconsin-Stout went all Mrs.-Grundy-With-A-Gun-And-A-Badge on Professor Miller. They threatened Prof. Miller with criminal charges for disorderly conduct, taking a page from the cops at Sam Houston state. They also took the poster down. The redoubtable FIRE has the story and has sent the necessary letter asking the University to grow the fuck up and pull its shit together. (That might be kind of a paraphrase by me.)

FIRE describes how the UWS cops and administration, confronted with their idiocy, doubled down in classic fashion:

Later on September 16, Miller placed a new poster on his office door in response to Walter's censorship. The poster read "Warning: Fascism" and included a cartoon image of a silhouetted police officer striking a civilian. The poster mocked, "Fascism can cause blunt head trauma and/or violent death. Keep fascism away from children and pets."

Astoundingly, Walter escalated the absurdity. On September 20, Walter emailed Miller again, stating that her office had removed the poster because it "depicts violence and mentions violence and death." She added that UWS's "threat assessment team," in consultation with the university general counsel's office, had decided to have the poster removed, and that this poster was reasonably expected to "cause a material and/or substantial disruption of school activities and/or be constituted as a threat." College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Interim Dean Raymond Hayes has scheduled a meeting with Miller about "the concerns raised by the campus threat assessment team" for this Friday.

My days of taking UWS Chief of Police Lisa A. Walter seriously are certainly coming to a middle. Strike that, they've gone past the middle. She's too ignorant of fundamental American rights and too mindlessly thuggish to have a badge or a gun. If Dean Raymond Hayes' meeting with Professor Miller consists of anything other than Hayes buying Miller a beer and saying "Christ, I'm sorry, that cop's a lunatic," then I'll have no respect for Hayes either.

These are the sorts of people who are running the schools educating our kids. They are legion.

Browncoats represent.

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. says

    Awesome post.

    > My days of taking UWS Chief of Police Lisa A. Walter are certainly coming to a middle.

    ESPECIALLY love that line.

  2. NLP says

    For his next poster, I suggest Professor Miller use the phrase used by Star Trek fans: "Beam me up Scotty. There's no intelligent life down here."

  3. says

    I just want to see their response to the "chain of command" quote… You want a violent quote that no one in their right mind would take literally? Here!

    "You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with 'til ya understand who's in ruttin' command here."

    I'm betting that one would end in handcuffs. And not the fun-time handcuffs (to reference an entirely different geeky IP)…

  4. says

    So you do take her seriously? … I guess that makes sense, it's sort of how you should take a rusty nail seriously, even though it's probably useless.

  5. delurking says

    He should put a set of posters up all at once:
    Hamlet (a relevant scene)
    Tom and Jerry (or roadrunner and coyote)
    Troops storming the beaches of Normandy (or a frame from the movie Gallipoli)
    Picture of an Olympic marksman shooting
    Picture of a SWAT team
    The A-Team (the old TV one, not the movie)
    The Charge of the Light Brigade (the poem, all text)
    Picture of a U-Wisconsin-Stout police officer

    See which ones get left up.

  6. marco73 says

    The professor should put up a poster of that lefty fantasy movie about the potential assasination of President Bush.
    Remember how all the egghead types defended the "artistic value" of that piece of garbage?
    The university administration will tie themselves in a pretzel defending keeping that poster up. Than after a few weeks, just change the president's name to Obama. Watch hilarity ensue.

  7. Nunya Bidness says

    (That might be kind of a paraphrase by me.)

    1) It is an unfortunate sign of the times that it's a paraphrase and not the automatic response of everyone who has heard this

    2) Not the vaguest bit of surprising coming from the Berkeley of the Midwest. Remember, U-Mad is where all those free ride demanding teachers protesting in Wisconsin are graduating from.

  8. Laura K says

    Wow. Just. Wow. I don't know whether to laugh, cry or throw up in my mouth out of sheer rage.
    I'd go with "psychotic lowlife."…but as always Mal is right. That WOULD be "an insult to the psychotic lowlife community."

  9. mojo says

    However, a big, hand-written sign on the door saying "Fuck You, Lisa" would be protected speech.

    Just a thought.