The great people at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) have a new video out this week recapping one of their most prominent victories over censorship in Academia — prominent because this case found a ready-made constituency of activists for individual rights. Fans of Firefly rushed to defend University of Wisconsin Professor James Miller after he was accused by campus police of creating a threatening environment by hanging a Firefly poster on his office door, a case in which FIRE prevailed. The video interviews Neil Gaiman and delivers a serious message:
Kudos to Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin for coming to Professor Miller’s defense, and especially to my fellow fans of Firefly and Serenity, but the serious point made in this video is that free speech should always have a constituency. Still, I do love Neil Gaiman's point here:
"There are people you do not want to upset in the world. And big groups of people you don’t want to upset would obviously include the politically disenfranchised who feel they have nothing to lose. And those that feel that the time has come for revolution. Then out on the edges beyond any of those are science fiction and fantasy fans whose favorite show has been cancelled in an untimely way."
FYI, FIRE has a contest for the most creative tweets promoting this new video, with $500 in prizes for the winners.