Patterico's Pontifications

1/27/2016

Amherst Crybullies Scalp Lord Jeffery

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:59 pm



[guest post by JVW]

In another update of the never-ending annals of lunacy, Amherst College announced yesterday that it will immediately cease using the Lord Jeffery mascot that has represented the school for roughly a century. The announcement came via a tediously long missive issued by the Board of Trustees, who cast the final vote to condemn Lord Jeff, and signed by the board’s chairman. Let me try to provide some snippets, starting with the statement’s first paragraphs:

During the past several months President Biddy Martin and the members of the board of trustees have had scores (all right, hundreds) of communications from alumni, students, and others about the matter of Lord Jeffery Amherst. The communications reflect and embody many points of view. A lot of them begin with something like the following: “I know there are far more important issues facing the College, but….”

And I agree—with the first part of the sentence and also with the “but.” The controversy over the mascot may seem small in itself and yet in many minds it’s symbolic of larger issues. The controversy is bound up with feelings about matters as specific and recent as the protests at the College last fall and as broad and old as the College’s mission and values. It’s bound up with personal memories and personal experience. [. . .]”

From there it lapses into a disquisition on the history of the college, its vision of itself as a special place (which colleges, pray tell, think of themselves as merely ordinary?), and the inevitably of conflicts among a large and diverse group of students and alumni before finally coming around to the hosannas to diversity that are de rigueur in the modern higher education complex:

The history of Amherst has a clear direction: it is toward ever-greater range and inclusion—regardless of any student’s means—and toward making that range and inclusion work as an educational and social reality. We started out as an institution to prepare indigent youths for the ministry, then broadened out into a liberal-arts institution that prepared students for every walk of life. We were a local institution that became a regional institution and then a national and global one. We were all male and then became coeducational. We were predominantly white and now have a student body in which four students out of ten identify themselves as persons of color. [. . .]

Now we are at 2016. Amherst is one of a handful of institutions at the forefront of an enterprise that is both urgent and overdue: making the finest liberal-arts education available to the kind of diverse population this country actually has, and doing so in a residential setting that functions as a true community.[ . . .] But the task is not easy, nor should we expect it to be.

And then we come to the issue of the mascot, Lord Jeffery, named for Jeffery Amherst, First Baron of Montreal, who in 1760 defeated the French in Quebec and drove them from Canada, who almost replaced General William Howe as commander of British forces in America during the Revolutionary War, and who was called upon to put down the Gordon Riots when British Catholics were targeted by anti-papists in 1780. The bucolic college town of Amherst, Massachusetts was named for Lord Amherst in 1759, one year before he became Governor-General of Canada, though the college (chartered in 1821) was named for the town itself.

Amherst, who had fought against the Six Nations tribes in the Great Lakes region, had at one point in the 1760s suggested delivering smallpox-infected blankets to the tribes as a way of spreading the disease among the tribes, and a few historians have presented evidence that the plan may have been carried out to some effect. From the relatively security of a quarter-millineum later, we are now free to excoriate Amherst and declare him persona non grata. From the letter:

Lord Jeff was adopted unofficially by students as a mascot roughly a century ago. The College itself has never officially adopted Lord Jeff as a mascot—or adopted anyone or anything else as a mascot, for that matter. [. . .] Thinking about [the smallpox blanket suggestion] leads immediately into gnarly debates about how we understand history, about the very nature of war, about the weight we give to words and actions, and about who has standing to render moral judgments.

If you’re guessing that they will decide that today’s Social Justice Warriors have standing to render these moral judgements, you would be correct.

. . . What is beyond dispute is that the symbolic figure of Lord Jeff has become a source of division among us today. In part the division reflects the impressively broad constituency that is the College and the alumni body. Almost all students (85 percent) and faculty, and more than half of the 6,000 alumni who voted in a recent ballot (52 percent), have an unfavorable view of Lord Jeff as a College symbol. About 38 percent of voting alumni have a favorable view.

That a majority of the voting alumni have an unfavorable view is telling, though earlier in the letter the total living alumni of the college are pegged at 23,000, so there are 17,000 of them who presumably aren’t bothered enough by the mascot to make the effort to cast a vote against it. They do not say how many total undergraduates bothered to vote, but is it so hard to believe that the voting would skew heavily towards those who want to see the mascot go? At this point, the board’s letter actually brings up the most salient argument for making the change:

So Amherst College finds itself in a position where a mascot—which, when you think about it, has only one real job, which is to unify—is driving people apart because of what it symbolizes to many in our community.

And so, Lord Jeff is consigned to the ash heap of history, though the board makes it clear that they have no interest in trying to police continued informal use of the mascot by students and alumni (at least for the time being, that is):

Lord Jeff as a mascot may be unofficial, but the College, when its own resources are involved, can decide not to employ this reference in its official communications, its messaging, and its symbolism (including in the name of the [Lord Jeffery] Inn, the only place on the campus where the Lord Jeffery name officially appears). The Board of Trustees supports such an approach, and it will be College policy. The Inn’s new name will reflect its deep connections with Amherst College and the town of Amherst. Beyond that, people will do as they will: the College has no business interfering with free expression, whether spoken or written or, for that matter, sung. Period. We hope and anticipate that understanding and respect will run in all directions.

On the face of it, this doesn’t seem like a horrible decision. The mascot was never officially adopted by the college, so this is probably not on the order of the bitterness felt by some Dartmouth alums when the college dropped their Indians mascot, nor is it too similar to the issue faced by the University of North Dakota when the NCAA bullied them into changing from the Fighting Sioux to the Fighting Hawks. But the problem, as we continually have seen, is that today’s crybullies refuse to take “yes” for an answer. The left is very good at playing the long game; what they don’t get today they simply come back for tomorrow. How long before the very name of the town of Amherst and the college named for it are called into question? Just as today’s obsession with microaggressions and safe spaces began with yesterday’s demands for punitive speech codes, what is going to happen when we start insisting upon judging historical figures from the Eighteenth Century by the standards of the Twenty-first? If you don’t think this is likely, note that the crybully left has been agitating for the University of Massachusetts to change its mascot from the Minutemen for nearly 20 years now. One of these days some foolish chancellor is going to enlist in the crusade.

– JVW

40 Responses to “Amherst Crybullies Scalp Lord Jeffery”

  1. How can Yale continue to use “Eli” as a mascot when Elihu Yale profited from the slave trade? Has anyone consulted with that unhinged screeching undergrad about this?

    JVW (d60453)

  2. For consistency, they should change the name of the college as well.

    How about “Crybully U”?

    orcadrvr (41c165)

  3. so they are going by the hans sprungfeld, level of justificatiom,

    http://www.umass.edu/legal/derrico/amherst/lord_jeff.html

    narciso (732bc0)

  4. Defectors never prosper.

    Ephraim Williams (a75c3f)

  5. Ephraim Williams (a75c3f) — 1/27/2016 @ 2:35 pm (Edit)

    Hey Eph, I’m looking up your record too. Don’t let me find out that you cheated the Indians on waterways navigation or I’ll get you removed from your school in a Williamstown minute!

    JVW (d60453)

  6. Just can’t depict people as mascots…it’s offensive. Gotta pick something less offensive, like a bundle of blankets. That couldn’t be seen as offensive…could it?

    Dejectedhead (0c7c2f)

  7. They’ve indeed become “special places”, but not in the sense they think.

    Colonel Haiku (df3a15)

  8. We need to start with THEIR icons. Margaret Sanger for starters. She would have sterilized all Negroes, had it been in her power.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  9. Hey, Amherst just won the D-3 soccer championship last month. So, lay off! (LOL)

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  10. Hey, Amherst just won the D-3 soccer championship last month. So, lay off! (LOL)

    Yeah, but did the Lord Jeffs win too, or are they already retroactively expunged?

    JVW (d60453)

  11. it’s like the whole malabar front, you have to extinguish the memory,

    narciso (732bc0)

  12. I looked up Amherst.
    It’s the second-highest ranked liberal arts college in the US.
    It has $2.15 billion endowment.
    It gets about 8,500 applications and accepts about 1,000.
    Its students’ ACTs and SATs are astronomical — top 5% easily.
    Good school, bright kids, and I imagine carefully picked serious kids; financial independence from both alumni and tuition. It can write its own ticket.
    The only place where it can have gone wrong is that for the first time in its history it has a woman President and one named “Biddy” to boot. 😉

    nk (dbc370)

  13. The only place where it can have gone wrong is that for the first time in its history it has a woman President and one named “Biddy” to boot.

    Well, the fact that they are in Massachusetts sort of doomed them too.

    JVW (d60453)

  14. didn’t amy carter graduate from one of the amhersts, snorfle,

    narciso (732bc0)

  15. I thought she went to Brown.

    MD in Philly (at the moment not in Philly) (deca84)

  16. my mistake,

    Amy Carter attended Washington, D.C. public schools but eventually graduated from high school at Woodward Academy in Atlanta.[1] She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA) from the Memphis College of Art and a master’s degree in art history from Tulane University in New Orleans.

    it was her association with abbie hoffman there, that made me think so,

    narciso (732bc0)

  17. I’m even more irked the school has previously dropped its Indian (aka native-American) mascot, meaning the academic ivory-tower-ists — their heads in the clouds (or in a certain human orifice) — are now rendering persona non grata the peoples of both indigenous and European stock.

    The ruthlessness of anti-Western Islamicists on one hand and the idiocy of anti-Western WASP-Euro liberals on the other do make me think the two groups truly deserve one another. Only downside to that if sane peoples in the US and Europe, etc, get snagged in the middle of such lunacy and lunatics.

    Mark (f713e4)

  18. One thing that I deeply admire about Amy Carter is that she has avoided the limelight all these years.

    JVW (d60453)

  19. George Papandreou went to Amherst. He was prime minister of Greece, as was his father and grandfather before him. The less said, the better.

    nk (dbc370)

  20. If He Were a Carpenter

    If he were a carpenter,
    And he were a commie
    Would you vote for him anyway,
    Would he be your swami?
    If you were a voter
    And she were a lady,
    Would you vote for her anyway,
    If her past were shady.
    If Vermont were his state,
    Would that still blind you?
    He wouldn’t have a pot to piss in
    Or a dollar to buy a clue.
    Save your vote for someone true
    Save yourself some sorrow,
    The little man is hideous,
    Don’t give him your tomorrow.

    If he weren’t a socialist,
    And had a job like banking,
    Would you vote for the little louse,
    With the promises shining?
    If you were a thinker,
    And could hear gears grinding,
    You’d not vote for the little louse,
    With his bald spot shining.
    Save your vote for someone true
    Save yourself some sorrow,
    That Bernie Sanders is hideous,
    Don’t give him your tomorrow.

    http://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/bernie-sanders-the-bum-who-wants-your-money/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  21. Pure gold, Colonel. And a great choice of a tune to parody.

    JVW (d60453)

  22. Only at an elite college where they pay 50K a year would they have time to consider stuff like this. In other words, “first world problems!”

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  23. One of your best, Colonel. I heard the music.

    felipe (56556d)

  24. I like the term “crybully,” but it’s not sufficiently specific. I prefer the term “Social Justice Princess,” even for the boys (maybe, especially for the boys).

    ThOR (a52560)

  25. Thanks, JVW and felipe. Watching a strange movie on Netflix right now “Blue Ruin”, y’all oughtta check it out.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  26. hands are clapping, Col.

    mg (31009b)

  27. I understand and sympathize with the sentiment behind this post, but if the story with the blankets is true then that was a really scummy move even by the standards of the time. Had the people who adopted him as their mascot known about this story they would surely not have done so, and correcting their mistake seems the right thing to do. That it will give the SJW yahoos a victory is regrettable, but we can’t allow the need to resist them to dictate our actions or we’d be just as much in thrall to them as we would if we obeyed their every demand. Let’s just accept that if they attack enough targets, once in a while they’ll hit on a deserving one, as they did with Woodrow Wilson.

    Milhouse (87c499)

  28. Until the guillotine blade is sharpened and put to good use the “Crybullies” and “Social Justice Princeses” will keep winning every fight. To the victor the spoils and since the other side refuses to fight …… if you ask me the coming battle is Islamists versus the Left and the Left is unprepared b/c they don’t really care about their feelings.

    Rodney King's Spirit (3adc86)

  29. JVW (d60453) — 1/27/2016 @ 2:48 pm

    J,

    Don’t make me tip a Purple Cow onto your sorry carcass. Peace out.

    your Honors most humble & most obliged

    servant Eph Williams

    Ephraim Williams (2e529e)

  30. Its a bogus charge, expounded by ward churchill, note the link I oncluded

    narciso (732bc0)

  31. Its a bogus charge, expounded by ward churchill, note the link I included

    I don’t see any reference to Ward Churchill at that link. What’s his connection to this? The evidence presented at the link seems to present at least a prima facie case against him; what makes you say that it’s bogus?

    Milhouse (87c499)

  32. there was already small pox there,

    I was referring to another incident of fraud,

    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/p/plag/5240451.0001.009?rgn=main;view=fulltext

    narciso (732bc0)

  33. there was already small pox there,

    What’s your evidence for that?

    I was referring to another incident of fraud,

    How does a fraudulent claim about 1837 shed any light on what may or may not have happened in 1763? Where do you think Churchill got the idea for his lies?

    Milhouse (87c499)

  34. from KGB disinformatya,

    narciso (732bc0)

  35. I’m not following your reasoning here. You claim that because Churchill fabricated an alleged crime in 1837, a similar crime couldn’t have happened in 1763? And that Churchill got the idea for his lie from the KGB, rather than from what actually did happen in 1763?

    Milhouse (87c499)

  36. they account wasn’t recorded till 1985, the KGB spread all sorts of desinformatya about AIDS, through third world publications,

    narciso (732bc0)

  37. PS: Don’t bother trying to convince me that Churchill is a fraud; I already know that. If he said there are 12 inches in a foot I’d pull out a ruler to check. If he were the source for the 1763 allegation that would be enough for me not to give it any credence at all. But it appears that he isn’t.

    Milhouse (87c499)

  38. The evidence at the link you supplied is from Parkman in 1851, and from letters microfilmed during WW2. Where does the KGB come into it?

    Milhouse (87c499)

  39. The idea of basing a libel on something that actually happened, at a different time and place and involving different people, seems obvious. If something happened once then it’s automatically plausible for it to have happened again, so it’s not immediately obvious that you’re lying. For instance, the same story has been introduced into Australian history, and is now part of the standard narrative of the wars between the colonists and the Aborigines, without (as far as I know) any evidence at all.

    Milhouse (87c499)

  40. The complete transformation from a free, Christian civilization to a totalitarian, Progressive, degenerate “civilization” must include the destruction of its language (new pronouns, new uses for words that mask old truths), and elimination of the old symbols from public space. This has been an ongoing process for over a hundred years.

    That it is happening at Amherst is one the last, trivial mopping operations of Progressives. They have won every prior battle. They will win this one and the next, if not now, then eventually.

    ErisGuy (76f8a7)


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