Talk about ethics alarms malfunctioning.
Fortunately, I had already disavowed my Harvard degree before this surfaced, so I am only mortified rather than trying to figure out how to flush myself down the toilet.
Above is an allegedly humorous gag from Harvard’s student-run humor magazine, which once gave us Robert Benchley, Al Franken, and “Animal House.” [Full disclosure: I was rejected by the Lampoon when I competed to join the staff as a student. ] The magazine has often championed sophomoric humor as well as bad taste, but there are limits to everything. I’d say using the image and memory of a brave and iconic Jewish girl who died in a Nazi concentration camp for a cheap, spectacularly unfunny photoshop gag is over the line, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t just about anyone with an atom of common sense and decency?
Fortunately, some Harvard students erupted in anger over the photo of Frank’s head grafted on the body of a pumped-up busty bikini girl and the “ Add this to the list of reasons the Holocaust sucked” punch line. So did the New England branch of the Anti-Defamation League, which condemned the cartoon as a “vulgar, offensive & sexualized” meme that “denigrates [Anne Frank’s] memory & millions of Holocaust victims….Trivializing genocide plays into the hands of #antisemites & Holocaust deniers.”
At least having the sense to know when a hill is not worth dying on when they see it—Harvard teaches something, at least—the Lampoon editors quickly apologized, saying that they realized “the extent of offense we have inflicted and understand that we must take responsibility for our actions. We as individuals and we as an organization would like to apologize for our negligence in allowing this piece to be created for and printed in our latest issue. We are sorry for any harm we have caused. Furthermore, we want to both affirm and emphasize that the Lampoon condemns any and all forms of anti-Semitism.”
They condemn it; they just don’t know what it is when they see it or have the urge to engage in it.
Do I think the pervasive anti-Israel sentiments that has been intensifying on the Left, including many elite U.S. colleges, being enabled by the Democratic Party’s refusal to take responsible action against openly anti-Semitic members of Congress like Reps. Omar and Tlaib played a part in disabling the critical ethics alarms involved here?
You bet I do.
Addendum: The news media happily moved on from Harvard’s firing of a professor from his residential dean position because students object to the principle that citizens deserve a fair trial and zealous and competent legal representation–but to be fair, they are the rising leaders of the totalitarian Democratic Party of the future. Not many readers thought it was worth commenting on either, nor Facebook when I posted—that is pasted, since Facebook won’t let me post from the blog– it there. Nonetheless, the fact that the bastion of American liberal education is not only producing students who reject core democratic principles but also administrators who encourage ignorance of the law and justice should be a call to arms for more than Harvard grads. Once, Harvard students shut down the school to protest the school’s support of the Vietnam war. Today, students won’t lift their Ivy-stained fingers to fight for the 6th Amendment, due process of law, and the First Amendment.
Fortunately, a lot of analysts and commentators, almost all of them conservative (and make of that what you will) have registered their disgust and their reasons for it. I recommend these examples:
Harvard professor Randall Kennedy: “Harvard Betrays A Law Professor — And Itself.”
Melinda Henneberger (USA Today): “Harvard ditched US values of due process and diverse opinion in Harvey Weinstein case.”
Mark Pulliam: “Harvard’s Disgrace.”
And, in the spirit of the “Airplane!” montage of newspaper headlines about the doomed airliner that ends with The National Enquirer headline. “Boy Trapped in Refrigerator Eats Own Foot!”, here’s reliably wrong-headed Joe Patrice of the ethics challenged Above the Law with his ” Harvard Law School Makes Right Call To Oust Dean For Repping Harvey Weinstein” (Joe? It was the college, not the law school, but close enough for ATL.)