The Daily Mail recounts one of the strangest controversies we’ve seen in a while. It relates to offensive Halloween costumes at Yale. Or rather, the potential for offensive Halloween costumes.
The story starts with the wife of Nicholas Christakis, Silliman College’s master, sending out an email addressing the subject of Halloween costumes, which, as we have noted before, has taken on a sudden importance at colleges and universities. The email suggested that if students didn’t like someone else’s costume, they should “look away, or tell them you are offended.”
This was seen by many students as soft on Halloween costumes. They accosted Professor Christakis and unleashed the fury that is characteristic, these days, of unstable college students. In the video below, a young woman, presumably a Yale student, screams profanities at Professor Christakis for reasons that appear unintelligible:
I have several questions and comments. First, are college students wearing a lot of Halloween costumes these days? I don’t recall seeing a single costume on campus during my college years. Maybe that’s changed.
Second, is there an epidemic of offensive Halloween costumes going on? I don’t think I have ever seen one, with the possible exception of a zombie costume or two that were overly bloody. As a thought experiment, I tried to imagine a Halloween costume that would offend me. I couldn’t come up with one. Heck, as far as I am concerned someone can trick or treat dressed up as me. I wouldn’t get bent out of shape about it.
Third, what’s with the kids snapping their fingers? Weird.
Fourth, what happened to the girl who screamed at the professor? When I was in college this would have been unthinkable. But if someone had not only thought of it but done it, he surely would have been expelled from school. Somehow I suspect that won’t happen here.
Fifth, the controversy over offensive Halloween costumes is generally couched as a free speech issue. To me, it seems like more a question of mental health. The young woman in the video became hysterical and behaved bizarrely not because she had been offended by a Halloween costume, which would be bad enough, but because she imagined the hypothetical possibility that such a costume might someday exist. She needs help. It sounds like quite a few other Yalies do, too.
Roger Kimball has more on free speech at Yale. It, too, makes the university’s students appear ridiculous.
I guess the moral of the story is, for God’s sake don’t let your children go to Yale.