Monday, May 01, 2006

Life imitates art imitates writings about art at Penn State

I'm teaching recursion in class right now, and so especially appreciate the following saga from Penn State. Prof. Charles Garoian, Director of the School of Visual Arts, has spent some time thinking about censorship in the arts:

Increasingly, attacks on learning are also coming from the political left with objections predicated on issues of political incorrectness... In many cases, teachers have been fired, disciplined or harassed in the wake of such attacks. In some cases, teachers have suffered damage to their careers and reputations.

One result of censorship is that teachers become increasingly reluctant to use materials in their classrooms that may raise difficult social questions, communicate values, portray potentially controversial subject matter or cause students to think about important issues.

So, if you were Prof. Garoian, what would you do? Become the censor you criticized in your own writing, of course. In particular, you would cancel an art exhibit based on its content, then claim it really was cancelled for technical reasons, then, after calls for an apology, get publicly spanked by your university president.

The Volokh Conspiracy article (in non-bloggy chronological order) has a detailed account of the whole thing. I'm content with the reminder that recursion abounds in our daily lives.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings. I'm a CS geek living in Bothell.

    I was just looking at Blogline's Top Links list and found Sphere, a new blog search engine. I figured I'd search for Bothell and see if it did a better job filtering the junk out than Technorati does. Your post was one of the first to come up, thanks to the UWB reference in the header.

    I just wanted to say "hi" while I was here.