Muslim students badgered the University of Michigan into canceling a showing of American Sniper April 10.
The Clint Eastwood-helmed film was the top-grossing movie of 2014, racking up worldwide sales of more than $530 million. So the Michigan agitators' effort has to be filed under the category of shutting the barn door after the cow's out. I suspect most everyone who would have wanted to see the film in Ann Arbor probably already has.
What's hard to stomach is the turgid rhetoric, complete with the obsessive acronyms and victimology that typifies these campus dustups:
"(Protagonist) Chris Kyle was a racist who took a disturbing stance on murdering Iraqi civilians," Mekkaoui's petition charged. "Middle Eastern characters in the film are not lent an ounce of humanity and watching this movie is provocative and unsafe to MENA [Middle Eastern and North Africa] and Muslim students who are too often reminded of how little the media and world values their lives. What we instead should offer is compassion and respect towards others."
Good thing she wasn't around for The Sands of Iwo Jima.
"Anti-Muslim and anti-MENA hate crimes are growing increasingly common," her petition noted. "These incidents create an unsafe space that does not allow for positive dialogue and triggers U of M students. Examples like the recent Chapel Hill shooting, which took the lives of three Arab American Muslim studentsâ€¦contribute to this lack of safety and space for Muslim and/or MENA students."
The response of the UM administration was typical of the gutless truckling that passes for higher education administration these days:
"We deeply regret causing harm to members of our community, and appreciate the thoughtful feedback provided to us by students," the release said. "Student reactions have clearly articulated that this is neither the venue nor the time to show this movie."
First Amendment? Forget that.
"Although we respect the right to freedom of speech, we believe that with this right comes responsibility: responsibility of action, intention, and outcome."
In other words, they have zero respect for any speech that doesn't fit the ghastly regime of political correctness that rules on campus these days.
We can, of course, take comfort in Wallace Stanley Sayre's observation that "the politics of the university are so intense because the stakes are so low." That's fine so long as these preposterous notions don't enter life outside the ivy walls.
So what did the Muslim students regard as OK fare for the UM community, something that didn't include any racism and wouldn't trigger any bad feelings? Paddington, the story of a stuffed bear.
"Great civilizations are not murdered. They commit suicide"â€”Arnold Toynbee.