Archive for May 25th, 2005

On conservative turf

May 25th, 2005

Originally uploaded by Alison Bechdel.

Imagine my surprise when I saw David Horowitz’s name in my in-box the other night. He’s the once-radical-now-conservative force behind Students for Academic Freedom—an organization that is more or less to academic freedom what Bush’s Clear Skies Initiative is to reducing mercury emissions.

David was asking for permission to reprint a recent episode of my comic strip on the SAF website. It’s the one where the conservative student Cynthia is tabling for SAF, and Ginger, her professor, engages her in a little Socratic dialogue about the merits of teaching “theories” like creationism and holocaust denial. That episode was inspired by an excellent article called The New PC: Crybaby Conservatives in The Nation.

SAF is worried that the sizeable majority of college professors who are left-leaning democrats are indoctrinating their students by exposing them only to liberal ideas and not to conservative ones. Horowitz is also behind something called the ”academic bill of rights” which Republicans are introducing in various state legislatures. Here’s an informative piece on the Democracy Now! Site about how that effort is going down in Florida.

Anyhow, I told David Horowitz that absolutely, he could reprint my comic strip. And here it is on the SAF site. (Not sure how long they’ll keep it up—this is their home page, and they have a regular slot for a cartoon.)

I suppose that out of context like this, the strip could be read in such a way that Ginger appears to be the bad guy—for mocking Cynthia’s intellectual heroine, Ayn Rand. But I think that’s a small risk to run in the face of this opportunity for my comics to engage in a little Socratic dialogue of their own with Students for Academic Freedom. What do you think?

Here’s the strip in its own, cozy progressive context, should you care to peruse it.

Anyway, SAF is paying me a hundred bucks. I’m accepting suggestions on who to donate it to—preferably an organization that really is working to protect freedom of expression and promote intellectual honesty.