Phi Beta Cons

“The Freedom To Laugh”

. . . no matter what the topic: Thus says French presidential Nicolas Sarkozy, in defending a magazine’s reprinting of cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad. Sarkozy favors “too many caricatures to an absence of caricature,” and he condemns “any kind of censorship, whether of men, ideas, or religions.”
His voice of reason would surely be welcome on American campuses, where free speech and “religious sensitivity” are placed at odds. A recent episode at C.W. Post–Long Island University makes this clear:

The university dismissed [five] students from their jobs as residence hall assistants in Brookville Hall, saying they had engaged in activity that violated their employment contract and that reflected “insensitivity.”
In the video, which mocks those aired by real-life terrorists, five figures speak in exaggerated accents as they threaten their captive, a rubber duck dubbed “Pete” . . . The subtext is understood to many on campus: The duck is the mascot for Brookville Hall.

The threat to caricature in the West is no laughing matter.