Larry Webster: The Red Guard’s turned blue

It can now be revealed that the reason for the Wildcat collapse against Louisville in the second half was that the black players on the football team went on strike to protest the accuracy of a mural on a wall at the university. They did it a little differently, by staying on the field and not chasing the other team’s quarterback, who ran through our defenses like salts through a widder woman, which is about as politically incorrect a thing as you can say, let alone write.

You have to watch what you say on a college campus, the hotbed of intellectual inquiry and liberalism. One can lose their job as president of a university if one doesn’t allow certain campus groups to stop a parade and argue with you.

The idea is that colleges need to be safe environments for students – safe from new ideas, safe from old ideas contrary to theirs, and safe from having to contend with what others think or say. The Red Guard is now of a different hue.

Professor Alan Dershowitz points out that, while colleges claim to be open to all viewpoints, you cannot take a Geiger counter and find a fundamentalist Christian on one. You can be kicked off a college campus for falsely accusing someone of not being a homosexual. You would think that everybody in the world is either an L or a G or a B or a T.

The offending mural, which had to be papered over so that it was solid white, showed slaves, as if there were such a thing in Kentucky history. Not since a mural which Diego Rivera painted in Rockefeller Center which depicted Nickolai Lenin caused such controversy that it was cut from the wall has a mural been so politically incorrect. It will need to be painted over with horses.

There is a right way and a wrong way to disagree. One of my thoughtful readers was comparing my prose skills at breaking icons with Joel Pett’s skill at doing so with a picture and said my words were “as the gossamer vapors of nothingness” compared to a picture. Those of us who are amateur wordsmiths and who attempt to turn phrases live for such moments in life. One wonders how somebody who could write like that could possibly disagree with Pett, or even me.

Winston Churchill, while still in Parliament, had a deep seated disagreement with a certain lord about a political issue. The particular lord was openly homosexual, and Sir Winston announced that Lord So and So was a “disgrace to sodomy.” That’s how to disagree.

So Wendell Berry, whose wisdom was collected from countless old Henry County tobacco farmers, can rightfully withdraw his papers from a university which names its basketball mansion after a coal operator and papers over its art because some people are offended by history.

Reach Larry Webster, a Pikeville attorney at websterlawrencer