Martyrdom denied at UofC

It’s after 8pm at the University of Calgary and nobody from the notorious on-campus anti-abortion display gapknown as the “Genocide Awareness Project” is in jail:

They’ve been threatened with arrest, fines and civil action but a pro-life group is refusing to remove its controversial display from the University of Calgary campus. [..]

Prior to the display being set up Wednesday morning, the university had warned the protestors they could face fines and even arrest for disobeying.
However, that hasn’t happened.

GAP comes from the same gang of deranged flakes that drive around in the infamous Fetusmobile©.  The images in their display are inflammatory and hyperbolic (dead fetuses, a lynched black man, Holocaust victims, Nazi imagery), and considering that the anti-abortion movement is disproportionately stacked with nutbars, UofC was concerned about violence. It doesn’t take much to flip the switch on some of these mental defectives, and these images might potentially do it.

However, the campus anti-choice club running the display isn’t instigating violence, and they do have a right to free expression no matter how idiotic that expression might be.  Unless they’re seriously getting in someone’s face, ie. crossing the “personal space” threshold, it would be wrong for the University to bring in the State Goons to arrest them just for being raging assholes. And there’s the added benefit of denying them the chance to play martyr, a habit these people indulge with annoying regularity.  The UofC is private property, and so has the right to decide what’s acceptable material to display — but as a place of learning, they should choose to encourage free expression.

As much as that particular form of it disgusts me, free expression wins if this display is allowed to go on unimpeded.  The best answer to ideas we find disagreeable is vigorous rebuttal, not intimidation and silencing.  As for the campus fetus fetishists, I expect they’ll be ready to help man the free expression barricades when some other student group decides to have a gay erotica display.

16 Responses to “Martyrdom denied at UofC”


  1. 1 Botcho Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 8:14 am

    Unrepentant Hippie…I salute thee!

  2. 2 JJ Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Ack! A little telling that the only one saluting is one of my right-wing trolls.

    Oh well, life ain’t a popularity contest :P

  3. 3 Botcho Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Troll?…C’mon hippie have a heart. Omitting “old” from my salutation was intentional.

  4. 4 Reality Bites Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Freedom of speech – on property that belongs to them.

    People should not have their eyes assaulted with images of violence in order to get to class or work, anymore than they should have to see images of scat porn.

    The right of freedom of speech does NOT include the right to force people to listen, and that’s what they’re after.

  5. 5 Mike Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 9:36 am

    The best answer to ideas we find disagreeable is vigorous rebuttal, not intimidation and silencing. As for the campus fetus fetishists, I expect they’ll be ready to help man the free expression barricades when some other student group decides to have a gay erotica display.

    Absolutely 100% agree. Hell, I’d go further and have a counter demonstration just across the street from this showing the results of gay bashing. Oh and to remind those guys the Catholic Church was rather indifferent during the actual Holocaust.

    Ya think they’d mind?

  6. 6 JJ Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 10:08 am

    RB – “The right of freedom of speech does NOT include the right to force people to listen, and that’s what they’re after.”

    Oh for sure. That’s why they use these in-your-face tactics, to try to force people to listen. But it doesn’t work: these gory displays do almost as much to discredit the anti-choice movement as their lunatic fringe of shooters and bombers. People recoil — from them, not from the concept of abortion, which even the most moderate view as a necessary unpleasantness that’s the business of women and their doctors.

    UofC is private property, so it is the University’s call whether they want to allow this stuff to be displayed or not. But having asked *nicely* for the images to be turned inward and that being ignored, I think it’s a mistake to call in the law. There are other ways of dealing with it. Screens, alternate routes, warning signs (which I think there already are) etc. Also there’s the good old trapezius muscles, that’s what I usually use when I see something I don’t like.

    It’s basically a form of student protest, and calling the cops is a bad precedent to set.

    I say let the other students handle it 8) If it gets paintballed with dogshit, well them’s the breaks :P

  7. 7 JJ Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Mike – Exactly, either set up an opposing display (maybe about fetus fetishist violence over the years?), or hand out pro-choice flyers nearby challenging the veracity of the images, or maybe the best idea is just… ignore them.

    It’s private property so it’s UofC’s call, but I think as a place of higher learning they should be encouraging the exchange of ideas — even bad ones — not silencing the offensive. Since it’s not hate speech but merely distasteful and assholish, I don’t see why it should be rejected from the marketplace of ideas on campus. Young people aren’t stupid — they’ll evaluate it and reject it themselves.

  8. 8 Reality Bites Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 11:05 am

    But this isn’t about the exchange of ideas.

    It’s showing snuff films in public. It has nothing to do with convincing people to be “pro-life” – it’s about harassing people who are pro-choice or indifferent.

    Give them a room, free of charge, to exhibit whatever the hell they want. Let them put up all the (non-graphic) posters they want advertising it.

    I don’t see this – at all – as being about censoring speech or ideas. I see it as preventing people from being visually assaulted.

  9. 9 JJ Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 11:30 am

    RB – “But this isn’t about the exchange of ideas.

    It’s showing snuff films in public. It has nothing to do with convincing people to be “pro-life” – it’s about harassing people who are pro-choice or indifferent.”

    True enough. The harassment aspect is a valid point and I have no doubt that’s their intention — it’s just what these people do. But I wonder if the other students’ sensibilities are so delicate that they can’t just ignore the display or take alternative action :P *cough*paintball*cough*

    I am just loathe to give these idiots a reason to feel “persecuted”. It’s one thing to be judged by a jury of their student peers, who could choose to avoid the display, but another to get the law involved. I bet they were having persecutiongasms yesterday just thinking about spending the night in jail.

    To me, the optimum situation is let the display go on, but people shun it. The fetus fetishists would figure out pretty quickly that such displays aren’t helpful.

  10. 10 Botcho Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    “Snuff films”…Well, now that’s an interesting choice of words from someone who I assume is pro-choice.
    I’d suggest you use your words more carefully lest you make the pro-life point even more clearer than it already is.
    Anyways, Hippie’s correct- it’s a free speech issue. Which I’m sure for most is a foreign concept.
    But you’ll get to appreciate it someday.

  11. 11 Niles Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Well, they’re sorta kinda martyred.

    http://www.ucalgary.ca/news/november2008/pro-life-update

    Note the part where the campus claims it’s been trying for years to compromise with the anti-abortion crew and been getting nowhere.

    So, it looks like they can face trespassing charges now.

  12. 12 J. A. Baker Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    To me, the optimum situation is let the display go on, but people shun it. The fetus fetishists would figure out pretty quickly that such displays aren’t helpful.

    Actually, JJ, I’m not so sure the zygote zealots would see it that way. Somehow I think in their twisted minds they’ll think that they’re getting through to people if they’re shunned. A counter-protest would be more effective in my humble opinion.

  13. 13 JJ Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Nlles – Thanks for the link.

    Two things alarm me: (1) There are non-students helping to run this display — wtf? — and (2) That this has been in ongoing discussion with the university admin for years — meaning the anti-choice club has had lots of time to come up with a less offensive display. (Something I think would be more effective for them, if they were truly interested in changing peoples’ views on abortion.)

    I was under the impression that this was a student project. It looks like non-students have found a way to appropriate university property for their display in the guise of it being a student production, when it’s not. Also, it looks suspiciously like they’re doing so for the express purpose of getting arrested — for publicity. This kind of changes things — if it’s not a student display, does it have a place on campus? I’m inclined to think not.

    The students have the right to expression via their own similar display, but in this case it looks like all they’re doing is providing a venue for non-students, which isn’t cool.

    I still don’t think putting the dogs on them is a good idea though, it just gives them what they want.

  14. 14 JJ Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    JA – A counter protest would be good, so would a paintball gun loaded with dogshit.

    Seriously, I’m starting to wonder about this thing — as in the link Niles provided, it’s not a student project at all and there are non-students helping to run it. It looks like the campus pro-life club is being co-opted by outside people who are just looking for a way to generate publicity, by getting their display shut down and possibly getting some students tossed in jail.

    This is how seriously these people take free expression… it’s something to be abused.

  15. 15 Reality Bites Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    JJ, I don’t think people should have to risk arrest for vandalism or assault in order to get this trash off their campus.

    Botcho – shove your condescension up your ass. What do you call images of a lynched black man and Holocaust victims? Yes, we KNOW the fetus fetishists like to stroke themselves while looking at them, but let them do it at home.

  16. 16 JJ Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    RB – True enough (but it might be fun :P )

    I’m doing a bit of a doubletake. The GAP group appears to be running this thing, not the students, who are just providing a venue by their status as students. In that case, I’m not so sure it’s a free expression issue because I don’t know that the display even belongs on campus, given that it’s not a student production. It seems like a very sleazy way for the GAP people to use the students, and their freedom of expression rights, to generate publicity… especially if the kids get tossed in the can overnight.

    I like the way the other students have handled it in the past — by having counter demonstrations, including bringing piles of manure to dump at the display to express their displeasure — ha!


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