Reader, I was perusing today’s print edition of the venerated Washington Post opinion section when this headline leapt up from the page:
Oh? Color me intrigued!
And who has the Post assigned to the bikini-clad barista beat? Why, it’s none other than MSNBC contributor and sentient butterscotch pudding cup George Will!
He writes (emphasis mine):
SEATTLE— Amazon, which has made this city the epicenter of a retailing revolution, is not the Northwest’s only commercial disrupter. In the nearby city of Everett, Liberty Ziska and some other bikini baristas, giving new meaning to coffee as a stimulant, have provoked the City Council to pass, unanimously, ordinances requiring baristas to be less nearly naked when they work. The baristas, in turn, have hired a lawyer and made an argument that is germane to current disputes about freedom of speech. Their argument, they might be surprised to learn, is Aristotelian. Sort of.
That’s right. Good old Georgie boy, thinking only of the First Amendment and Aristotelian ideals, expensed a reporting trip to Seattle (note that dateline, baby!) to find out what the local well-bosomed baristas had on offer. One tata latte, coming right up!!
If you ever wanted to imagine George Will, a 76-year-old man who looks like the progeny of a Brooks Brothers bowtie and a horny snapping turtle, pecking out the words “anal cleft” on his Remington portable typewriter, dream no more!
Henceforth the baristas must wear at least shorts and tank tops. The new dress code cannot be faulted for vagueness. Indeed, it has notable specificity (it mentions the “bottom one-half of the anal cleft” and is even more detailed about breasts) that has the baristas incensed about the examinations and anatomical measurements that law enforcement might require.
Titillating stuff, truly. Jokes aside, this is a very serious column by Will, who I’m sure had no seedy ulterior motives in writing it.
What makes this a matter of more than mere ribaldry is that the baristas have unlimbered heavy constitutional artillery. They fire it in ways pertinent to the manner in which freedom of speech is debated and defended — or not — where it is most important and most besieged: on campuses.
Will then launches into some boilerplate conservative rhetoric about how liberal university campuses are threatening free speech by protesting white supremacist speakers, with some Poli Sci 101 bullshit about teleology thrown into the mix.
And, while quick, you may have missed Will’s agile hop from heralding baristas in Seattle to tut-tutting college students. Will’s argument here seems to be that these are fundamentally different populations, with different approaches to speech. His implication is that female baristas have as much of a right to bare their breasts as someone like Milo Yiannopoulos does to spout hateful speech on the college campus of his choosing.
What anti-P.C. pundits like Will and Jonathan Chait don’t understand, however, is that campus activists aren’t silencing anyone; they are simply exercising their own right to speech. You can say whatever fucked-up shit you can think of, but that doesn’t mean you deserve a platform to say it, and it doesn’t make you immune to consequences of your actions.
There is an inherent difference between Java Juggs’ employees and conservative speakers on liberal college campuses. Once you strip away Will’s rhetoric, the bald self-interest at the core of his argument reveals itself. The only plausible reason for Will to defend the speech of Java Juggs’ baristas, while condemning that of campus activists, is that he doesn’t feel he’s personally benefiting from the students’ speech.
So take note, campus activists: if you want to sway people like George Will to your side, you know what to do. Get. Those. Titties. Out.