Sunday, April 3

Was GVSU hypocritical for hosting Bo Burnham?

I recall my first day in college, when our entire floor on North B was assembled and we had a meeting about the basics of dorm life. My RA brought out a big poster board with all sorts of "hate words" that should NEVER be used. They included obvious racist and homophobic terms, as well as a few heard scratchers, including "gypsy" (which apparently was banned so we do not offend the school's heavy gyptic population). I didn't even know it could be used negatively. I felt like a 10 year old getting scolded by a teacher. I thought we were on our own, in the real world, left to deal with such petty matters on our own. For example, if you drop a racial term around someone of that race, be ready to deal with the consequences. Instead, we sat there, getting GVSU's little politically correct propaganda shpeel about what we could not say. So long free speech rights...

So when I heard that Bo Burnham was coming to this school for a free show, I was a tad skeptical. Bo isn't exactly the cleanest comic ever, but I assumed GV had thought about that already. However, when I did go, I have to say it was probably the raunchiest comedian I have ever heard. I did not fully expect it either. He has the right to say what he wants, and I understand that it is all in the name of comedy and hyperbole, but dang Bo, tone it down a tad, there's freshman in the building. And since this was a free show, that means GVSU (my tuition) footed the bill for this guy. It seems like the school decided to get off its politically correct high horse for this event, and dive into the mud.

How can they demand that students not use the word gypsy and gay (hello, Hillary Duff), when they pay a comedian to say jokes literally 100 times worse than that? How can they hold rallies against bullying and hate speech, when this dude is saying stuff that I can not repeat at all? Yes, it is all jokes and not serious, but I wonder what would have happened if I had said the same stuff in the dorms or in class. I remember when my roommate and I jokingly put up a poster of Obama on our door, and someone drew devil horns on it. We were written up, the supervisor of all the dorms had to come take a picture for the records, and my roommate got a lecture on hate and racism. All for set of devil horns on a man who was only a civic organizer at the time. This reeks of liberal arts hypocracy.

Students foot the bill for all this political correctness, and we also footed the bill for Bo Burnham. GVSU should have thought about that before paying him to do a show. You want to be looked at as an institution that has an open mind, is a safe place where everyone has a voice and is inclusive? Don't pay the writer of a song called Klan Kookout. 

By Aaron Brandt, who will defend Bo's right to free speech, but not GVSU's shoddy censorship track record. 


Leave your thoughts on the show if you went in the comments below.