A Non-Controversy at Brandeis

The Times reports that a potentially controversial Palestinian art exhibit at Brandeis’ Rose Art Museum hasn’t caused much controversy. As an alumnus, I can guess why. Unless things have changed dramatically since I was there, Brandeis students are only dimly aware of the museum’s existence, and it plays essentially no role in campus life. In short, students don’t know and don’t care what goes on at the museum. (In fact, if you had asked me during my tenure at Brandeis where the museum was located, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you.)

This, of course, makes one wonder why the Times bothered to do a story about it. Here’s a guess. “We know what we do now will attract lots of attention,” said Christopher Bedford, the new director of the museum. “We want to capitalize on that attention.” Bedford, I’m guessing, contacted the Times (personally or through a P.R. rep.) to try to manufacture a controversy, and thus attention. The Times played along, but couldn’t find much to say, and was left to vaguely accuse pro-Israel students at Brandeis of not wanting to “engage” the Palestinian narrative. Pretty pathetic, if I’m right.

UPDATE: It’s like an onion headline: “Campus Art Museum Hosts its Most Controversial, Provocative Art Exhibit Ever; Students React by Studying and Drinking Beer”

FURTHER UPDATE: My college roommate emails: “We had a museum?”