Professor Jacobson recently reviewed conservative pundit George Will’s experiences with the “Shut-Up Culture,” after the St. Louis Post-Dispatch dumped him for a column that addressed concepts related to the campus victimhood mentality.

In The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf analyzes Will’s piece and shows where the critics have misrepresented his arguments in an effort to suppress the facts (hat-tip, Instapundit).

…The column is about higher education. Universities are learning “that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (‘micro-aggressions,’ often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate,” Will argues. “And academia’s progressivism has rendered it intellectually defenseless now that progressivism’s achievement, the regulatory state, has decided it is academia’s turn to be broken to government’s saddle.”

That isn’t the best beginning for a man whose prose is crystalline at its best. It’s more difficult than it should be to discern that Will is distinguishing “the status of victimhood” from actual victimhood. When he says that colleges are causing “victims” to proliferate, he is referring to a category of people who he doesn’t regard as actual victims but who have either declared themselves to be victims or have been declared victims by others within the subculture of elite academia.

The distinction is core to the column and consistent throughout.

In the section on sexual assault, for instance, he recounts a hotly debated incident at Swarthmore that many regard as rape and many others, like Will himself, characterize as embodying “the ambiguities of the hookup culture, this cocktail of hormones, alcohol and the faux sophistication of today’s prolonged adolescence of especially privileged young adults.” Elsewhere, Will makes it abundantly clear that he is talking about people who are said to be victims but aren’t actually victims by putting scare quotes around “sexual assault victims” and “survivors.”