Magazine | May 1, 2017, Issue

‘She Said What?’

A police officer stands in a line during a demonstration against the planned speech by conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro at UC Berkeley in Berkeley, California. (Stephen Lam/Reuters)

Another week, another college speaker shouted down by the hootin’ whoopin’ forces of righteousness. Don’t you dare suggest they’re coddled kids with nothing better to do! #SlackLivesBlather.

The most recent guest lecturer — or fascist tool, if you prefer — was Heather Mac Donald, an apologist for the occupying army known as The Police. Using rhetorical sleights-of-hand such as “facts” and “statistics,” she tried to convince the audience that their adamantine preconceptions might benefit from another perspective.

She even went so far as to suggest that black communities suffer the most from crime, and that police help these victimized communities. You might say the audience heard this as “Hitler had some excellent ideas about transportation infrastructure,” except that the audience might have thought “Autobahn” was a fancy British pronunciation for banishing cars from the city. Better to say that the audience heard something contrary to what they believed and this was sufficient to have the hatey-word person removed from the stage.

To be fair: Not everyone shows up to scream and shout down the speaker. Some come with an open mind, determined to see for themselves whether the speaker is evil or just bad. This person listens to the speaker’s words, waiting for those statements that reveal his true nature. Let’s visit the interior of a student’s mind as she listens to someone from the American Institute on Freedom — and does so knowing that that name itself says we’re already dealing with hate speech.

Speaker: One can simply observe that the sky is blue, and . . .

Student, thinking: Sorry, lady. The sky varies from place to place, to say the least. It may be blue in the Utah of your mind, but it’s cloudy over the cities where a new resistance has started to gather like storm clouds flashing with outraged lightning, and maybe the hail of conviction. Also, indigenous American and Mongol cultures saw the Sky as representative of a deity, and it is problematic for Western cultures to appropriate any portion of the atmosphere for a declarative statement that also marginalizes the “color blind” or “alternate-hue observant” community, as they prefer to be known.

Also, I’m pretty sure different species perceive different wavelengths of color, so even if the sky is momentarily blue where you are, this is not inclusive of insects.

But like I should be surprised someone from the ’Murca Institute of Yee-ha Guns ’n’ Freedom Fries doesn’t take insects into account. They’re like 97 percent of all living things on earth. And insects are a sustainable source of protein. If we ate more bugs instead of meat, it could impact climate change.

Why did that guy in front turn around? Did I say that out loud? Well, it’s true.

. . . of course, two plus two will always equal four. Yet some . . .

Oh sister, please. Math has been used to otherize women for centuries, claiming they lacked the rigorous empirical mind and relied on untutored emotion. I don’t feel as if that’s fair, and it makes me angry to think about it.

. . . fish, as the saying goes, don’t know that water is wet . . .

Who is this woman? First of all, it’s incredibly insensitive to stand there and take possession of words like “water” without recognizing the historical injustices enabled by water, like crossing it in ships to commit genocide in America.

Water enabled colonialism. We really need separate drinking fountains in school for people who have longstanding water issues, so they can refresh themselves in a safe space with glacial water that was frozen for the last few millennia and has no karma problems.

And how does she know fish don’t know water is wet? So what if they have no concept of the nature of their environment? How does that make them lesser creatures? They certainly would recognize a different environment if caught and thrown on the deck of a ship and they were flopping around dying.

I wonder how Justin is doing. I haven’t heard from him since he graduated with that degree in Neolithic pottery.

Now why did I think about him. Okay, better pay attention.

. . . these issues aren’t dead and dusty like the moon. They don’t exist in a vacuum, but . . .

Could she just not? Could she just not demean a traditional feminine goddess figure like the Moon? Thanks to patriarchal monotheism, most of the Moon-based gynocentric religions have been suppressed, their priestesses burned at the stake — and really, tying them to a phallic object to die? Obvious much, bro? It was a beautiful tradition, Moon worship, and if it’s dead and dusty, it’s because of evil women like this one.

. . . as Christianity has maintained since its early days, the nature of the divine . . .

Oh God, I hate that religion and their stupid beardy man in the sky.

. . . but ever since 9/11, the nation has had a debate — or should I say, tried to debate about having a debate — about the nature of political Islam. Fissures in the diverse world of the faith have . . .

She went there! She actually went there! I knew she was going to attack immigrants! I knew she hated minorities! It’s time to put on that scarf I brought just in case she said something like that so I could be in solidarity. I should convert. My friend went to Islam Night at the Unitarian place and they had falafel and dates and she said it was awesome. She learned how to say “peace” in Islam . . .wait, what’s everyone booing about? What did she say? Must have been bad. Okay then! Boooo!


Boooo about whatever that was you said!

– Mr. Lileks blogs at

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


More Food, Fewer Farmers Robert D. Atkinson’s piece “In Defense of Robots” (April 17) made me reflect on the great impact that advances in technology have had on my own ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ It takes a special talent to come off as the bad guy in a conversation about Bashar al-Assad and Adolf Hitler. ‐ Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s national-security adviser, admits, after ...
Politics & Policy


WHAT CAME BEFORE When the mists of antiquity roll down the mountain with what came before written history, before the celestial irresolution of dark and light, when persistent survival was a near miracle, at the ...

Most Popular


It’s Time for Colin Kaepernick to Move On

Colin Kaepernick. Remember him? Below-average quarterback. Above-average poseur. Not “activist,” not really. Activists actually say stuff. Kaepernick almost never says anything. He’s like the Queen or most popes — you have to read the deep-background musings of supposed members of his inner circle to get ... Read More

The Age of Miscalculation

On August 7, 1998, more than 200 people were killed in terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. Americans learned three names most of them never had heard before: Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden, and al-Qaeda. On August 20, 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered a ... Read More

Jay-Z Joins the Ranks of the Insufficiently Woke

Rapper and mogul Jay-Z announced his company’s new partnership with the National Football League and has made much of the social-justice Left furious: I think that we forget that Colin [Kaepernick]’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice, correct? So, in that case, this is a success; this is ... Read More