Monday, November 02, 2015

Nanny State of the Week: Halloween for the politically correct only

By Eric Boehm

A good Halloween costume should shock, scare or at least generate a few laughs. Most of all, it should be fun.

But what happens when anything shocking is considered offensive, when anything that scares could exclude those who don’t like to be frightened and anything that generates laughs is considered mockery?

Well, then there’s no fun to be had.

This week, we take a break from tracking the normal Nanny State abuses to survey the growing power of “political correctness” and how it’s wrecking havoc with one of the most fun days of the year: Halloween.

Let’s begin at Pamona College, where students were invited to a “mad scientist party” hosted by nearby Harvey Mudd College. The party was intended to mock Mudd’s reputation for being a science school (both schools are part of a the Claremont College system in southern California, so they’re not completely separate institutions).

The Associated Students of Pamona College didn’t think the theme was very funny.

“We are disappointed at your choice of the name for the event, as well as your rationale for allowing the name ‘Mudd Goes Madd.’ Your disregard of the concerns of the mental health community and their allies trivializes issues that we deem extremely important to our community. Further, the exclusion of the mental health community in the discussion of allowing the event name is inappropriate,” the student government posted on its Facebook page, according to College Fix.

You get that? Dr. Frankenstein and his ilk are now a protected class.

But the best part of this story is the Mudd students’ response to the outrage. They held the party anyway.

Unfortunately that was hardly the only instance of “political correctness” — which is a particularly difficult-to-combat strain of nanny state-ism — ruining Halloween this year.

At Penn State University, the student government took time away from dealing with issues that actually matter (like making certain parts of their university less scary — and no, not scary in the Halloween way) to address potentially insensitive Halloween costumes. According to the Daily Collegian, the school’s paper, Steffen Blanco, chair of Student Life Committee, said some of his constituents have expressed concern about people dressing up as different races and nationalities for costumes. The student government decided to hang posters around campus to help raise awareness about the “difference between appreciation and appropriation.”

At Wesleyan University, similar posters appeared this October, urging students to ask “Is your costume offensive? Check yourself and your friends” and giving students a number to call if they were unsure. There’s nothing like getting permission from the authorities to really make your Halloween a scream.

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