Once a bastion of free speech and liberalism, the University of Berkeley has become increasingly restrictive and conservative in recent years, banning controversial figures such as Ben Shapiro, Ann Coulter, and Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus. Today, the University announced that Mrs. Friesen, a Mennonite grandma from Marion County, Kansas, has been “uninvited due to concerns over remarks Mrs. Friesen made about, among other things, John Deere tractors.”
“She’s basically promoting full individual expression when it comes to tractor usage,” said one critic who opposed her appearance on campus. “John Deere. Massey Ferguson. New Holland. Whatever. Mrs. Friesen says people should be free to just choose whatever they want. Even Mahindra. With a student body who believes there is only one possible perspective on any issue, that’s the sort of stuff that can spark riots.”
But her radical talk does not stop at tractors. Back in the mid-70s, Mrs. Friesen caused an uproar in a conservative Mennonite community after encouraging the women to wear store-bought clothes and call the elders out on their shit.
“She’s a real rabble-rouser,” said the critic. “It’s a well known fact that Mrs. Friesen is an advocate of Sunday shopping and pants-wearing.”
Mrs. Friesen, an eloquent orator and respected leader in the Mennonite community, has been well received in many parts of the country. She has previously spoken in Wichita, Topeka, and Mountain Lake, cities known for liberalism. Her lecture at Berkeley, had it not been cancelled, would have been the first time she ventured into such a regressive atmosphere.
“This isn’t the 60s where you can just, like, have a mature dialogue with people you disagree with,” said a concerned student. “Words are, like, powerful, and Mrs. Friesen must be, like, stopped and stuff.”
Still, Mrs. Friesen, now well into her 80s, has her supporters on campus, and not just because she promised to provide yummy molasses cookies for everyone in the audience.
“I may not agree with her opinions about whose job it is to milk the cows or how much ankle exposure is appropriate,” said one free speech advocate, “but I will defend to the death her right to say it.”
Since her University lecture was cancelled, Mrs. Friesen plans to speak just off-campus at an anarchist bookstore. She will also be signing copies of her latest collection of delicious Mennonite recipes.