Video: How sci-fi fans put Firefly into the FIRE

December 28, 2011

Our friends 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 the cult TV series 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 author Neil Gaiman and takes a generally light-hearted tone – but delivers a serious message:

I wrote about the case in this October post.  Kudos to Nathan Fillion and my friend Adam Baldwin for coming to Professor Miller’s defense, and especially to the fans of Firefly and Serenity (I’m a fan of both), but the serious point made in this video is that free speech should always have a constituency.  Still, one has to smile when Gaiman says this:

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.

I think I like that better than the quote from Miller’s poster.  Also, FIRE has a contest for the most creative tweets promoting this new video, with $500 in prizes for the winners.  Be sure to follow the rules, and let’s hope a Hot Air reader can win the big prize.

 

Schools: University of Wisconsin – Stout Cases: University of Wisconsin – Stout: Censorship, Referral to Threat Assessment Team, and Threat of Criminal Charges after Professor Puts Posters Outside Office Door