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College Station
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

A fightin’ Irishman, &c.

Local News

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The Notre Dame leprechaun mascot at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., on April 7, 2019 (Jasen Vinlove / USA TODAY Sports) On controversial mascots, American citizenship, the Republican establishment, the middle finger, and more

William F. Buckley Jr. often warned against “slippery-slopism,” as he called it. “If you ban Hustler magazine today, it does not necessarily follow that Fanny Hill will be banned tomorrow.” I absorbed this warning a long time ago. I have endeavored not to be a slippery-slopist, in my thinking or writing. And yet — I sometimes think that the slope is worryingly slick.

Maybe you saw this headline: “Notre Dame defends leprechaun mascot, ranked college football’s 4th-most offensive in survey.” (Article here.)

Uh-huh. Now, I happen to think that some mascots, and logos, are offensive, and should be replaced by something better. But look out for that slope — which might lead to the Fightin’ Irish and their little, pugnacious guy.

• On the subject of speech and expression — let me recommend David French, as usual. A recent essay of his is “The Cancel Culture Paradox.” Its subheading is, “If self-censorship is the norm, why is free expression so unrestrained?” Good question.

“While the law of free speech is at a high water mark,” writes David, “the culture of free speech is under assault, and the longer the cultural assault lasts, the more fragile our legal protections will become.”

Yikes. Yes.

David continues,

Presently, the law of free speech is at odds with the culture. Over time, however, the law of free speech will merge with the culture, and unless we can reverse the cultural momentum against free expression, then the law will grow more restrictive.

This seems to me ungainsayable (to borrow a Buckley word).

• The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, was talking about reluctance concerning vaccination, or hostility to vaccination. “I think part of the problem has been social media,” he said. “A lot of people have their own opinions about this. It’s all nonsense.”

Very few of McConnell’s fellow Republican leaders talk this

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