Wide Awake in America

Wide Awake in America
Chris Bray
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2012

I was wrong.

I said in this post that the “continuing discussion about Boston College and the federal subpoenas of its Belfast Project material is a discussion about the very thing itself, about the place and nature of academic inquiry.” But the amicus brief  the ACLU of Massachusetts filed yesterday in the legal appeal by Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre forces me to reassess.

The continuing discussion about Boston College and the federal subpoenas of its Belfast Project material is a discussion about being a human being, about how to live in a daily exchange with other people and the events that connect us. It’s a discussion about the need for skepticism and independent thought, about the importance of critical engagement. It’s about the choice between eating what appears on the plate in front of you or demanding to know who cooked it and what’s in it. All this, ladies and gentlemen, and in a mere legal brief. It’s like they spiked the punch bowl: I was just a little thirsty, and now the room is spinning.

Below this post, I’ll cut and paste the summary that Moloney and McIntyre sent in a press release today. But I hope you’ll skip it — I hope you’ll read the whole brief instead. Skimming through the procedural boilerplate at the top, you should be able to carefully read the whole thing in less than half an hour. Compare the detail, care, and thought that this brief demonstrates to the dismalgibbering nonsense that has poured out of Boston College in the wake of these subpoenas.

This smart and engaged brief — it shows what it means to be alive and to think. It’s a joy to read, and a real accomplishment.


Press release: ACLU Files Amicus Brief in Support of Appellants Moloney & McIntyre