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A Message About Upcoming Events

Dear Emerson Community,

Well, it’s happening again: Fear and ignorance, humanity’s most potent cocktail, masquerading as freedom of speech,
have been given permission (i.e. given a license) to hold a Straight Pride Parade on August 31, which, barring the Boston Police determination that doing so would be unsafe, will march by our campus – an affront to the wonderfully pied beauty of our affirming and diverse commonwealth of learning.

According to a recent article in the Boston Globe, the parade organizers, calling themselves Super Happy Fun America, have adopted the slogan “it’s great to be straight” and warn that “until an ‘S’ is added, L.G.B.T.Q. pride will continue to be a system of oppression designed to systematically erase straight people from existence.”

Of course, we’ve seen this before. Take, for instance, the annual lament among so-called White Nationalists and others that we don’t honor White Americans with a “White History Month,” to counterbalance, as it were, February’s “Black History Month,” as if every other month, week and day didn’t celebrate just that.

The Straight Pride Parade is meant to be a spectacle. The Grand Pooh-Bah of Spectacles, the pitiful Milo Yiannopoulos, who will do just about anything to get attention and who has been barred from Twitter, Facebook, and much of human society, has threatened to make a pop-up appearance at the parade. As we know, Mr. Yiannopoulos has made a lucrative career out of seeking to antagonize college campuses, while playing to the media for the attention he so desperately craves.

We live in the Age of the Spectacle.  This event makes clear that when you have no informed position to offer or when you lack a meritorious idea, you whip up an attention-getting spectacle – in this case, an odious parade.

Yes, the Straight Pride Parade is a spectacle. Yet, it is much more than that, as Milo reminded us in an uncharacteristic moment of clarity and honesty: “I get the joke of this, but I also get the seriousness of it. I agree with the ideological motivation behind all of this obviously.”

The ideological motivation, as I wrote earlier, is ignorance, fear, and its hideous offspring, hate. Its trope is part and parcel of a larger national trope: Its rallying cry is “protect our borders,” a proxy for “preserve our national identity” and in this case, preserve “straight” culture, whatever that might mean. A border is meant to keep invaders out, we have been told ad nauseam in recent months; it is conforming and confining and it is fear-based. And mostly, it is meant to objectify the “other” as unworthy, as deformed, as disfigured, and, most horribly, as something other than human.

Do not be lulled into believing this parade is motivated by any noble obligation to protect freedom of speech or assembly. This is its mask only and behind that mask are a group of angry and misguided people whose aim is to turn a cherished American value, e pluribus unum, “out of the many, one,” on its head.

The Straight Pride Parade is a perversion.  It is a desecration of beauty, truth, and generosity, and that is why we must call it out, call it what is, with a loud, clear, unambiguous and unified voice.

Nothing less will do.

Later this afternoon, Jim Hoppe, Vice President & Dean of Campus Life, will share a communication with the community that will provide additional event details and logistics, including the College’s safety plan for this Saturday.


Lee Pelton

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