It goes without saying that the Jezebel platform on the Sex Workers Art Show is um, pro, namely bc sex workers almost always have this rare combination of intimate experience with a wide spectrum of humanity/sufficient leisure time to honestly process experiences/balls that yields material that at the very least doesn’t suck. (See: Diablo Cody, Michelle Tea, Tila Tequila etc.) So the Sex Workers Art Show has been touring of U.S. America, and a little public college called William & Mary — Jon Stewart’s alma mater! — played host to it last week, and now W&M’s much-loved college president (and former college football player!) Gene Nichol has been canned. It was just the latest in a series of the president’s Free Love pinko infractions that offended the state’s House of Delegates: he moved a cross displayed prominently on a public building to make the place see more accomodating to Jesus haters, and he started an aggressive effort to recruit minorities and sundry other poors to the school. Well, goodbye to all that, as they say. They offered him big $$$ to leave quietly. But no!
I have more than a passing interest in the College of William and Mary, so it’s been with some dismay that I’ve been following this story. The firing of W & M President Gene Nichol represents nothing less than the triumph of fear, ignorance, and censorship at one of this nation’s finest colleges. Nichol, by staying true to what he felt were the values of William and Mary, managed to piss off a few powerful and astoundingly intolerant knuckle-draggers who bided their time until they could stab him in the back. Now Right-wing knuckle-draggers like Michelle Malkin are characterizing Nichol’s firing as a victory. Conservative commentators are wetting themselves in glee, and Conservative Virginia lawmakers are so excited, some of them will have to change their shorts. It seems that being a Conservative in Virginia means never have to worry about inconvenient things like the Bill of Rights. Yes, if you’re not enlightened enough to be a Conservative Christian, your right to free speech ends at the point you offend a troll’s sensibilities.
William & Mary’s Board of Visitors (is it just me, or does that sound like something out of a M. Night Shyamalan movie??) decided not to renew Nichol’s contract, which is their right. Their decision might not have stunk so much had the board not offered Nichol and his wife a significant financial incentive to bend over and grab their knees. All they had to do was to go away quietly and not pretend Nichol wasn’t being fired for advancing the interests of free speech and they’d be wealthy. To their credit, they turned down the blood money…and now the Board of Visitors looks like the collection of censorious cretins they truly are. It might be fair to wonder how these zealots can look at themselves in the mirror without having to fight the urge to vomit.
What Would Jesus Do? Well, it certainly wouldn’t involve critically thinking or freedom of speech and expression….
Nichol’s only crime appears to be demonstrating a willingness to respect the rights of diverse groups to express themselves and feel welcome at William & Mary. Yeah, I know…(&^%$#@ Librul!!
The fact that Virginia is home to so many Right-wing trolls who clearly support free speech and expression- as long as it’s speech and expression they approve of- shouldn’t come as a surprise. Virginia is, after all, home to the far-Right, uber-Christian empires of Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell. Virginia is also home to some of the narrowest, most intolerant, self-righteous, and judgemental Christians know to mankind…and they’re not at all bashful about forcing their narrow value system upon others. After all, not everyone is enlightened enough to be trusted with determining what’s acceptable behavior…so they’ve assumed the responsibility. Awfully nice of them, don’tchathink?
Virginia is for knuckle-dragging, self-righteous zealots….