May 7, 2012

"Ponchos and sombreros: Partygoers don ‘insensitive’ attire despite student efforts."

Imagine! Student efforts failing to sear prick the conscience of the Mifflin Street Block Party people.

The student group that wants respectful seriousness and no horsing around on the subject of Cinco de Mayo calls itself Badgers Against Racism... or "BAR."

IN THE COMMENTS: pduggie said:
"sear the conscience" is the opposite of what you mean.

To have a seared conscience is to have one that is locked out from all claims of injustice.

I think you mean wound or prick.
He refers me to the New Testament, 1 Timothy:
1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
I stand corrected. Prick is a much better word.

And by the way — I'm sure I'm not the first person to notice — there's a nice biblical argument for same sex marriage. St. Paul contemned the bad religionists who "forbid people to marry," and — right at that point — said "For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving." Did God not create gay people?

Here we are "in later times." Is your conscience seared or pricked?

AND: Though I've read the New Testament many times (though mostly the Gospels), my experience with searing the conscience is overwhelmingly from something written by Felix Frankfurter, in a passage I've used repeated in my constitutional law classes. The case is Baker v. Carr — a great Warren Court landmark — and Justice Frankfurter articulates what is, to me, the most memorable statement of judicial restraint in the Supreme Court reporters:
We were soothingly told at the bar of this Court that we need not worry about the kind of remedy a court could effectively fashion once the abstract constitutional right to have courts pass on a statewide system of electoral districting is recognized as a matter of judicial rhetoric, because legislatures would heed the Court's admonition. This is not only a euphoric hope. It implies a sorry confession of judicial impotence in place of a frank acknowledgment that there is not under our Constitution a judicial remedy for every political mischief, for every undesirable exercise of legislative power. The Framers, carefully and with deliberate forethought, refused so to enthrone the judiciary. In this situation, as in others of like nature, appeal for relief does not belong here. Appeal must be to an informed, civically militant electorate. In a democratic society like ours, relief must come through an aroused popular conscience that sears the conscience of the people's representatives. In any event, there is nothing judicially more unseemly nor more self-defeating than for this Court to make in terrorem pronouncements, to indulge in merely empty rhetoric, sounding a word of promise to the ear sure to be disappointing to the hope.
I'm quite shocked to discover Frankfurter misused the phrase! But then — did you know? — English was a second language for Felix Frankfurter, who was born in Vienna.

38 comments:

TML said...

They should've invited Avery Schreiber to be the Grand Marshal of the festivities. Man I miss those commercials.

Shite said...

Linky no worky, Ann Althouse.

Mogget said...

UW-Madison needs to cut down on all the tom-foolery right now! Now I say! Acting stupidly is totally unheard of among college students! Gracious, what is is this world coming to. And get off my lawn!

Balfegor said...

What's insensitive about ponchos and sombreros? I wouldn't wear a sombrero myself (they look silly), but I used to wear ponchos all the time, as a college student.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let's see if I understand this. We are supposed to celebrate this day as a holiday, but can't dress up to do so? I assume that this means that we can't wear green on St. Patrick's day, etc.

Thank goodness I don't live someplace as politically correct as the University of Wisconsin. Too old for that tomfoolery. If I want to put on my sombrero and a poncho on the 5th of May, there is no one to complain.

Ok, don't really own a sombrero, and not needing an excuse to party, missed the holiday this year.

Bruce Hayden said...

UW-Madison needs to cut down on all the tom-foolery right now!

I think that it is a bad sign when two of us come up with the same word to describe this at the same time.

Tiny Bunch said...

Why are ponchos and sombreros offensive and leiderhosen and dirndels OK? Did Mexicans never wear them?

Somebody better tell these guys - http://www.theshriek.net/assets/pancho.jpg

Bob Ellison said...

Tom was not really a fool, you insensitive jerks.

Mogget said...

I think that it is a bad sign when two of us come up with the same word...

LOL. I think the funniest thing is that I used it to describe the Cinco de Mifflin behavior and you used it to describe the BAR response. Similarly immature!

pduggie said...

"sear the conscience" is the opposite of what you mean.

To have a seared conscience is to have one that is locked out from all claims of injustice.

I think you mean wound or prick.

The idea of a seared conscience goes back at least to Paul, who in 1 Timothy 4:2 speaks of those who are

"Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"

jeff said...

What other pretend holidays do they have the vapors over?

Scott M said...

I think that it is a bad sign when two of us come up with the same word to describe this at the same time.

Why is tom-foolery worse than, say, jeff-foolery, bob-foolery, or, gasp, scott-foolery?

Astro said...

In other news: The Catholic Church and the Lapine Society have jointly requested a ban on rabbit icons during Easter; The Ancient Order of Hibernians is seeking new regulations limiting singing and drinking alcohol on St. Patrick's Day; And the surviving members of the Grateful Dead band are pushing for a new federal law against the use of marijuana at Halloween parties.

Ann Althouse said...

Link fixed. Sorry.

Jason said...

As an Irish American who has to put up with St. Patrick's Day every day, I cordially invite these people to STFU.

And no, I never drink those shit Coronas.

Rusty said...

For BAR member CJ Rios, these outfits can be “hurtful,” no matter how innocent their intent.

Thank You Citizen!
For a moment there I was almost having fun.

Elle said...

Next year they should bring some unity to the community and dress as the dead French soldiers.

Everyone can get behind hating the French.

P.S. Interesting photo at National Geographic site - someone should tell the folks of Mexico City to quit enforcing the stereotypes -

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/05/120505-cinco-de-mayo-history-mexican-mexico-american-beer-battle/

MadisonMan said...

I don't mind students trying -- earnestly -- to change behavior. It's what students do.

I see they're trying to get money to do it by becoming a student group. I wonder if they'll offer free tortilla chips and salsa at their meetings -- or am I insensitive to ask that?

SGT Ted said...

So, wearing a mExican hat and a Poncho/Serape on Cinco de Mayo is racist.

I'm sure thats because white people are the ones wearing it.

SGT Ted said...

Why is BAR so insensitive to white college students?

Fen said...

What if white-hispanics wear them? Is that okay?

Fen said...

My great great grandmother was a latino princess, so at 1/32nd white-hispanic I should be good.

O2BNAZ said...

Ohhh…I get it, when white people dress up like Mexicans it’s playing on Mexican stereotypes but when Cherokee’s dress up like blond haired blued eyed law professors that’s…ahhhh…wait

RonF said...

Out where I live a new Harley-Davidson Motorcycle dealership had it's grand opening this weekend. Beer, live band, and hundreds of people from a dozen different HOG chapters (Harley Owners Groups) were in attendance keeping the beer vendors hopping. There were people walking around with sombreros and ponchos. A number of them were Hispanic. There was also at least one guy wearing a gun belt with a bottle of tequila in one holster and an actual gun in the other.

Yes, there are laws against that in Illinois. No, there wasn't a cop in sight. Probably best for all concerned, including the cops.

If they do this again next year I'll invite BAR to show up and tell everyone they're being culturally insensitive and that it was causing them pain. I'll bring my camera!

Dan said...

I think it would be much more insensitive if revelers dressed up like the French army of 1862...

Bruce Hayden said...

LOL. I think the funniest thing is that I used it to describe the Cinco de Mifflin behavior and you used it to describe the BAR response. Similarly immature!

Agreed. I just foolishly expect more maturity from the University than from many of its undergraduates. I have very low expectations for 18-21 year olds, esp. males, away from adult supervision for the first time in their lives.

I was in a fraternity, and a lot of things went on there that would not pass public scrutiny. We weren't exactly on campus, but rather across a major street from such not far from downtown in a mid-sized city. One of my favorite stories was that when we were pledges, one of our duties was to throw rocks up underneath the eves of the nursery school next door to dislodge the pigeons. A couple of brothers from LA had brought their shotguns to school, and would yell "pull", we would throw, and they would shoot. City police would inevitably show up at the front door, and, everyone would play dumb. This went on for weeks, with them discharging their firearms like this every couple of days. Great fun. And, they actually ate the pigeons we helped them acquire.

Scott M said...

but when Cherokee’s dress up like blond haired blued eyed law professors that’s…ahhhh…wait

Thread winner, but for a different thread.

:)

Jay said...

And by the way — I'm sure I'm not the first person to notice — there's a nice biblical argument for same sex marriage

Actually, it is "nice" when you don't understand the bible.

Lem said...

Forbidding people to don the ponchos and sombreros is tantamount to separation.. a sort of separate but equal attempt.. going backwards.

Aren't Mexican Americans not allowed to celebrate the 4th of July and Thanksgiving and other imported celebrations?

Ann Althouse said...

"For BAR member CJ Rios, these outfits can be “hurtful,” no matter how innocent their intent."

"Hurtful." I think of that GEICO commercial - "Brian, your words are hurtful" commercial.

Seeing Red said...

The Mommy-nannies better tell the Mexicans to stop selling serapes and sombreros to the tourists.

ken in sc said...

Talking about dressing as dead French soldiers on Cinco de Mayo, now that the French have gone back socialist, the English speaking world can go back to hating them—as God intended.

WV=taxplea insessuc--interesting

Bruce Hayden said...

now that the French have gone back socialist, the English speaking world can go back to hating them—as God intended.

Traditionally known to us as the "frogs", and more recently as "cheese eating surrender monkeys". Is that who you are talking about?

Talking to someone in Spain though, not sure if the English speaking world can dislike them as much as the Spanish do.

Bender said...

It is essential to know exactly what "conscience" is.

And what is "conscience"? See the comment in the other thread.

Travis Fisher said...

More interested in Frankfurter's opinion. Anyone ever notice the Macbeth allusion at the end?

"In any event, there is nothing judicially more unseemly nor more self-defeating than for this Court to make in terrorem pronouncements, to indulge in merely empty rhetoric, sounding a word of promise to the ear sure to be disappointing to the hope."

Act V Sc. viii lines 17-22
MACBETH:
"Accursed be that tongue that tells me so,
For it hath cow'd my better part of man!
And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
That palter with us in a double sense;
That keep the word of promise to our ear,
And break it to our hope. I'll not fight with thee."

The juggling fiends were the witches, which in Frankfurter's analogy would be the justices themselves.

wordsmith said...

Frankfurter was such a Wiener...

John Lynch said...

Paul was not big on homosexuality (to put it mildly)and quoting him out of context isn't fair. he never married himself, and seems to have viewed marriage as the lesser of two evils.

Adultery is the Ten Commandments, and it seems to me to be a much more serious sin than homosexuality. Maybe not to God, and that's to Him, but it seems to me that the consequences of adultery are much more severe.

It also seems to me that blaming gays for the collapse of marriage is scapegoating. Using religion to scapegoat them is particularly egregious, since they had nothing to do with the explosion of divorce and illegitimacy. Not their fault, and punishing them is not only unfair but prevents discussion of the real problem.

So, let he without sin cast the first stone. Heterosexuals are destroying marriage, not homosexuals.

Big Mike said...

“I want to inspire dialogue about these things,” Rios said

No, not really. To any leftist, "dialogue" means you get to stand there while they harangue you with a monologue telling you how evil/ insensitive/ thoughtless/ stupid you are.

I guess the folks on Mifflin Street thought they had better things to do with their time.