…and, astoundingly, is getting even more stupid.
Take this story, for example.
The boulder above weighs about 70 tons. Over 10,000 years ago, pre-Cambrian bedrock drift from Canada left it on what would become the campus of the Uiversity of Wisconsin in Madison, or so it says on the boulder’s plaque. The rock was extracted from the side of a hill in 1925, when Calvin Coolidge was President, and my father was five-years old, and placed in its current spot.
It was dubbed “Chamberlin Rock” after Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin, a 19th century glaciologist and University of Wisconsin president, given its plaque memorializing him and placed at the university’s Washburn Observatory.
Suddenly, after 95 years, the rock has become racist, and black students are demanding that it be removed. You see, long ago, the term “niggerhead” was commonly used to describe large dark rocks. (This is the second Ethics Alarms post about a rock called “niggerhead.” That one is also stupid, but not anywhere this stupid.)
“You clearly see what the rock was called and you can’t deny the history. Additionally you can’t deny the way it makes some people feel,” Black Student Union president Nalah McWhorter told Madison.com. “If you’re not going to move the things that are disrespectful to us because other students love it, put something up that us Black and brown students can celebrate.”
Wait, are white students really “celebrating ” a rock? What’s up with that?
This appears to be the week for stories that I object to having to explain what’s unethical about them. This tale is one res ipsa loquitur after another, isn’t it? Let’s see;
- It’s a 70 ton rock, and the students want it removed because it is “disrespectful.”
- Almost a hundred years ago, the rock was called a word now regarded as offensive.
- Someone had to do more digging to come up with a reason to be offended by the rock than workers did to obtain it.
Ann Althouse apparently feels that she has to explain to her readers why this is stupid, so if you’re puzzled, by all means read her post.
I just have a few questions:
- Isn’t it also obvious that this is, like so many of the demands during the George Floyd Freakout, just a contrived power play, as in “Watch this! We’ll make Whitey move a 70 ton rock just because we ordered them to do it!”
- Why isn’t McWhorter embarrassed to be quoted as saying that how “some people” feel requires extravagant measures to relieve their upset, regardless of justification? You know, I’m really sensitive about being bald. Having bald eagles at the Washington Zoo make me feel unsafe. I feel like Disney’s “Fantasia,” released in 1940, now denigrates me because it includes “Night on Bald Mountain.” I demand that CBS cancel “The Bold and the Beautiful” because it sounds too much like “The Bald and the Beautiful,” which would cruelly set up the dichotomy between beautiful and bald.
- Why can’t University officials end the “controversy” by saying, “No, children, we are not going to move a 70 ton rock because you have made the calculated decision that it hurts your boo-boo. You’re here to grow up: start doing it.”?
- If society won’t reject demands this stupid, why would any demand seem unreasonable?