It seems that Yale University, in response to the VT shootings, banned weapons from the stage productions of its arts department. Response* to their response has apparently caused them to change that ruling: henceforth they will require warning labels on stage productions so the audience is not frightened by, for example, medieval battle scenes where the actors use swords that look like, well, swords.
But "zero tolerance" policies that result in children being suspended for making paper guns are not considered measures designed to ensure student safety; they are voodoo rituals, performed by administrators, designed to counter the forces of evil magic:
Tom Holsinger wrote at 4.22.2007 7:04pm:That's so good (and so obvious once one looks at it from that perspective) that I'll be stealing it. This is the only attribution the anonymous author will henceforth be getting, so I certainly hope Blogspot archives it correctly.
Safety has nothing to do with it. Dean Trachtenberg's only
objective is to make a political statement.
While I agree with your point, I think something more underlies these silly rituals. What makes these ritual bannings of depictions or imitations of real weapons politically effective (among those for whom they are effective) is a very primitive human thought process: belief in sympathetic magic.
The actual object, the weapon, is imbued with magical power. Its very presence magically causes harm. It causes people to behave in evil ways. The rationale commonly offered is that the mere presence of a weapon makes people more prone to violence.
Sympathetic magic is the belief that what one does with an imitation of the thing with magical power will affect the actual thing. For example, in a magical religious context we see the image of a deity addressed, or given gifts or sacrifices. The magical deity is affected through the treatment of its image, and so performs its magic for the one who gives the image a gift.
In the imitation weapon banning context we have first the belief that the object, the actual weapon, is magic and causes those in its presence to behave in an evil manner. The sympathetic magical belief is that by banning the image or the imitation weapon, the magical power of real weapons to cause people to be violent will be lessened, or the real weapons will stay away from the presence of the faithful.
* mostly a lot of people pointing and laughing. And if there's one thing moonbats cannot tolerate, it's ridicule**
** Prospective SAT question: Kryptonite is to Superman as ridicule is to: __________.
Which reminds me, I forgot to talk about the feminist bake sale on campus yesterday. Oh, well, maybe next year.