Can We Take a Joke? Comes to UCSB

University of California -Santa Barbara chapter of Young Americans for Liberty was proud to host its first official event Wednesday evening: a screening of the documentary Can We Take a Joke? The film was shown at 7:00 pm in Arts 1353, and we were excited to see several new faces in addition to many of our more regular YAL attendees.

UCSB students discuss the film Can We Take a Joke?

At the beginning of the event, UCSB YAL vice president Jason Garshfield gave a brief speech introducing the attendees to Young Americans for Liberty and a rundown of our earlier efforts to promote freedom of speech on campus. He told students of our work to pass a free speech resolution through UCSB’s student government. The film, which lasted approximately an hour and a half, was a moving look at our current culture and its preoccupation with forcing comedians to apologize for offensive and politically incorrect humor. 

After the movie, attendees stuck around for a discussion, facilitated by UCSB YAL executive board members Jason Garshfield and Dominick DiCesare. Most of the attendees were in agreement with the basic message of the movie, although there was some discussion about where to draw the line between free speech and speech that has the potential to instigate violence against certain individuals and groups. The discussion covered a wide range of topics, ranging from the recent controversy at UCSB over offensive chalk messages on campus, to one student’s attempt to engage the Feminist Studies department in a debate over the accuracy of the film The Hunting Ground, to the dialogue surrounding the Isla Vista tragedy of May 2014.

All in all, we at UCSB Young Americans for Liberty were happy with how the event turned out, and glad that we could show this documentary to a demographic who needs to understand its message perhaps more than anyone: college students. We hope that this will continue the vital conversation about free speech on campus.

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