Saturday, December 20, 2003

Why cookies? 

In some of the commentary on this post, John Bruce has been asking whether the affirmative action bake sale is good tactically for the free speech cause. Fellow L&P blogger Wendy McElroy provides, I think, an efficient answer.
The sales are intended to spark discussion, not profits. They are in the same genre as guerrilla theater -- an effective counterculture tactic usually associated with the Left -- through which societal assumptions are challenged by acting out scenarios. To the amazed query, "Are you allowed to do this?" one cookie rebel responded, "Admissions officers do it every day." By shifting the context from university policy to baked goods, the assumptions of affirmative action policies are not only challenged as sexist and racist but also revealed as nonsense.

The cookie rebels are doing the one thing political correctness cannot bear: revealing its absurdity and laughing in its face. They are not merely speaking truth to power; they are chuckling at it.
John argues that "complaining about affirmative action programs ... does have a certain connotation of mean-spiritedness," but I think the reductio ad absurdum is clever.