Instead of panty raids, keggers and the occasional class to justify mom and dad’s big boffo tuition check, campus life has largely devolved into a miasma of mattress girls, cultural appropriation, woke protests and sex tribunals–and those are just the highlights. Who would ever want to venture into such a dystopian version of what higher education is supposed to be?
Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager, that’s who.
The noted conservative provacateur and commentator have decided to set aside their own personal safety and go deep behind the enemy lines of the American university. Not only that, they’re going to make a film about their experiences. Called No Safe Spaces, it will be an exploration of how colleges have radically changed from institutions of higher learning into indoctrination centers, and in the process have turned students into the protest-first-ask-questions-later snowflakes they are today.
I caught up with Adam and Dennis, and they were kind enough to answer a few questions about their upcoming movie.
The pairing of Carolla and Prager sounds a lot like a buddy cop movie. How did the two of you end up working together on a film? Did Dennis’s lieutenant make him do it, or was it a condition of Adam’s parole?
Adam: I had been a fan of Dennis Prager for a long time and would listen to him while working construction jobs in the San Fernando Valley back when Dennis hosted ‘Religion on the Line’ here locally in Los Angeles. Eventually, in about 2011, Dennis heard that I was a fan and that I would mention him on my podcast from time to time and so he invited me on his radio show that summer. We hit it off, did a series of live events together, and now we’re making a movie. Life is crazy like that sometimes. Dennis’ wisdom is medicine the masses need. I am the hamburger meat you wrap your dog’s medicine in to get him to eat it.
The lack of intellectual diversity on the college campus has been a problem for a while, most notably chronicled by Allan Bloom back in 1987 in his book The Closing of the American Mind. Lately, though, students and professors at a number of universities have made the ugly turn from sheltered snowflakes into bat-guano crazy lunatics. Was there a recent incident that made you think, “Man, we really have to make a movie about this?”
Dennis: There are too many to mention, sadly, but one thing that stands out to me is when comedians like Bill Maher and Chris Rock began announcing that they would no longer perform on college campuses. These are outspoken, committed liberals who tell jokes for a living. If our young people cannot be expected to be able to stomach comedy routines from liberal entertainers, we’re in trouble. And we are in trouble. It’s why we are making this film.
Who or what do you blame most for the sorry state of colleges these days? Do you think an overemphasis that you need a college degree to be successful has something to do with it?
Dennis: I blame non-Leftist parents for paying $75,000 per year to send their child to an institution committed to Leftism. I blame the mainstream media for not covering the madness taking place on college campuses like they would if it were Tea Party protesters doing the things progressive students (and their professors) are. I blame the donors to these universities who keep pumping millions of dollars into a broken system. There is blame to go around, to be sure.
Adam: As a working-class stiff who barely graduated high school, I can tell you first-hand that you don’t need a college degree to pursue things you are passionate about in life. I’m a huge supporter of education in general, but college is not for everyone. Give me a young person with a boatload of curiosity and grit, and I’ll take him or her over an honor student from Yale who thinks the world owes him a lucrative salary and smart car any day of the week.
Making No Safe Spaces means going behind enemy lines on college campuses across the United States. What will you be doing while you’re there?
Dennis: We have live events planned. We’ll be doing interviews with students, professors, parents and influential voices in the culture. We’ll be visiting fraternities and sororities. We’ll be traveling to public, private, secular and religious universities – from Berkeley to Boston. We’ll be telling the story of higher education in America over the past half century. We’ll be exploring where things go from here on their current trajectory.
Adam: I’ll mostly be in charge of keeping Dennis’ die-hard 19-year-old fans away from him while he’s in his trailer.
You know this kind of thing will kick up a lot of resistance. How do you plan on dealing with blowback?
Adam: Ignoring it entirely. We want to connect with students and those involved in higher education. I’m not interested in what HuffPost thinks. I want to know what young people (and those educating/raising them) think.
A common criticism of conservative media is that most of the time we’re just preaching to the choir. With No Safe Spaces, are you hoping to change minds and hearts on the liberal side of the aisle?
Dennis: The goal here is two-fold. First, we want to sound an alarm bell for parents of all political stripes that something is gravely wrong. Second, we want to engage Americans who disagree with our politics, in part, by tackling this serious issue with grace, dignity and humor.
Seeing movies like Animal House and Back to School really made me looks forward to college when I was a kid. Do you think the kids these days still know how to party and have a good time, or has the PC virus ruined that for them?
Adam: My friends who went to college in the 1980’s never stopped telling me how much fun it was. I loved visiting them and all that the college life entailed back then. Now, you’ve never seen a group of more unhappy people in your life than the average college classroom. I’d rather my kids party their way through college than be indoctrinated in their classes.
Will Dennis be doing a keg stand?
Adam: It was written into my contract that Dennis be required to do at least one.
Dennis: No comment.
Is there hope for American colleges? If so, what do you think is the best way to save them?
Dennis: Donors must stop funding the universities until changes are made. Or they need to start funding universities that are doing things the right way. Money still moves the needle.
Getting back to the buddy cop motif—in your partnership, which one is Turner and which one is Hooch?