Yale is too “sissy” to accept a Harvard-mocking T-shirt that quotes  F. Scott Fitzgerald, writes Robert Sibley of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) on Pajamas Media.

In This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald (Princeton ’17) creates a scene:

“I want to go to Princeton,” said Amory. “I don’t know why, but I think of all Harvard men as sissies, like I used to be, and all Yale men as wearing big blue sweaters and smoking pipes.”

The T-shirt’s front said: “I think of all Harvard men as sissies” with “WE AGREE” on the back with “The Game 2009”  in script underneath it.

The Freshman Class Council changed the design, which had been chosen by the freshman class, in response to “outcry from members within the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community,” reported the Yale Daily News. If the council hadn’t acted, the dean was prepared to ban the design.

The  “right not to be offended” doesn’t exist, Sibley writes. Expression can’t be “conditioned on the feelings of the most sensitive member of the audience.”

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  1. Harvard 14 Yale 10

  2. Heaven help them if they ever see the game day shirts sold at the big land-grant schools of the south.

  3. How lame. It’s not like they used the word f** or anything. “Sissy” in this context is a synonym for “wuss”. Which is what that Yale dean is for not standing up to the complainers…

  4. Doug Sundseth says:

    Remember, this is Yale, where they’re afraid to publish cartoons for fear of offending the wrong sort of people. Yale cringes with the best.

  5. Of course they have the right not to be offended. They just choose not to exercise it.

  6. When I first heard about this situation, I groaned and stuck it in the Yale-is-being-ridiculously-PC-as-usual category. Printing offensive Yale-Harvard football game teeshirts is a long-standing tradition; as an Eli, I have many in my closet. (Try “Wouldn’t be Harvard without V.D.”–replete with a picture of a crab–or a list of famous female scientists and a cartoon of Larry Summers in a wife-beater saying “Sluts” in a caption bubble.) How could one sensor the talent of literary genius F. Scott Fitzgerald? Then I went and looked up the word “sissy.” It has distinctly negative undertones, including a history of being used as an anti-gay slur. But like the word “gypped,” most of us are unaware of its distinctly nasty history. (Gypped comes from gypsy and the stereotype that they are dishonest and would “gyp” you. We wouldn’t put the n-word on a teeshirt, right?) The Freshman College Council is a student government organization, school-sponsored. It makes sense that they’d pull a shirt with a slur on it. Frankly, I think Yale made the right choice. (And I certainly wouldn’t put this anywhere in the same league as the wimpy handling of the Dutch Mohammed cartoons.)

  7. Hm, I see this is the freshman class t-shirt they’re talking about. So Yale’s freshman would be stuck with a t-shirt ostensibly representing them that they would find too repugnant to wear. I can understand why it was changed.

    If it were designed by just some campus group, I would agree that it would be unfair to ban it. But this is in no way a ban.

  8. I’m with Hainish and Stafford, Yale made the right decision in dropping the quote. I think it’s important to distinguish between rights and obligations. One may have a right to say something that offends others, but that doesn’t mean that one always has an obligation to say things that offend others.

    And part of the right to free speech is the right to say that something someone else has said offends you.


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