Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Free press and Free speech, Can you go too far???

The editor at Central Connecticut State University's newspaper, The Recorder, wote an editorial that seems to have gone just a little too far. In the editorial, he claimed that rape was a positive force and that it benefitted 'ugly women'. Here is the article, taken from the PDF version of the paper (February 7th, page 7):

Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It
Opinion Editor
Most people today would claim that rape is a terrible crime almost akin to murder, but I strongly disagree. Far from a vile act, rape is a magical experience that benefits society as a whole. I realize many of you will disagree with this thesis, but lend me your ears and I’m sure I’ll sway you towards a darkened alley.

If it weren’t for rape, Western Civili¬zation might not exist as we know it today. When the Romans were faced with a dispro¬portionate ratio of women to men in the early kingdom, they had to do something, lest their fledgling society die for lack of sons. To solve their little dilemma, they did what any rea¬sonable man would do: they threw a festival for their Sabine neighbors, and then stole and raped their women. It’s quite logical; in fact I don’t understand why the settlers at Plymouth didn’t do the same to the local Indians—it cer¬tainly would have saved on shipping costs.

Obviously, in the case of the Rape of the Sabines, rape was a tremendous help to society. The Sabine women, for their part, didn’t seem to mind so much, as they threw themselves between their brutish old Sabine husbands and their charming new Roman ones to prevent bloodshed when the Sabine men came to reclaim their wives. Yet even when society was totally against a rape, the raunchy act has benefited society too. Where would the Romans be, after all, if it weren’t for the Rape of Lucretia infuriating the people to the point of overthrowing their last king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus? If it weren’t for that event, the world might never have had the Roman Republic for a pristine example of flawless government.

Rape’s glorious advantages are not, how¬ever, exclusively found from 2,000-year-examples. In actuality, rape’s advantages very much be seen today. Take ugly women, for example. If it weren’t for rape, how would they ever know the joy of intercourse with man who isn’t drunk? In a society as plastic-conscious as our own, are we really to believe that some man would ever sleep with a girl re¬sembling a wildebeest if he didn’t have a schnapps in him? Of course he wouldn’t—least no self-respecting man would—but there in lies the beauty of rape. No self-respecting man would rape in the first place, so ugly women are guaranteed a romp with not only sober man, but a bad boy too; and we all know how much ladies like the bad boy.

Ugly women are not, however, the only people who benefit from rape—prisoners en¬joy its many perks too. What, after all, could possibly be more boring than spending years of your life confined to some tiny cell 23 hours a day? The answer, of course, is spending years of your life confined to some tiny 23 hours a day and never getting some hot ac¬tion. With rape, prisoners never have to worry about that. Instead, they merely need worry about treating their rapists with enough love and respect to earn a quick reach-around.

But if there is one bread and butter reason for why rape should not only be accepted, even endorsed, it is because our news editors are in dire need of interesting stories for front page. Bookstore stories? Fossils? One dollar coins? Please. Now, some saucy circle-jerk rape action? Yeah, that’s the ticket.
As you can imagine there has been quite an uproar:

Author of Rape Editorial Faces Critics
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. -- A former college newspaper editor who wrote an article describing rape as a "magical experience" apologized to a large crowd of students and faculty at Central Connecticut State University.

John Petroski's Feb. 7 article in The Recorder was headlined, "Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It." It argued that rape has been a positive force in western civilization and benefits "ugly women."

The 23-year-old sophomore history major was removed as the newspaper's opinion editor over the weekend amid protests by campus groups. Critics also demanded the resignation of editor Mark Rowan and the paper's faculty advisers.

Petroski said the article was satire.

"When I hear about girls crying or feeling suicidal over something I wrote, it doesn't make me feel so good," Petroski told the gathering Monday afternoon. "I'm concerned about you, and I want you to hang in there."

One student, Nicki LaPorte, tearfully condemned the article.

"I am not a victim of rape, I am a survivor of rape," LaPorte said.

Rowan, who has no plans to resign, said Petroski will be allowed to continue writing on a limited basis. He said the experience has made him more sensitive.

"Up until now, I had always seen the world from the narrow vantage point of a 21-year-old white male, but now I see that it needs to be broadened," Rowan said.

The newspaper plans to appoint a woman to replace Petroski as opinion editor. The current editorial board has seven men and four women, he said.

When I first read the above article, I was really beginning to doubt my faith and belief in free speech and freedom of the press. I mean, rape is good?? I was appalled that someone would even THINK about writing that. Maybe prior censorship is needed after all. Sure, the young man claims that it was satire, but that was after the fact. People are always finding excuses for their indiscretions and faux pas.

But, after finding the actual editorial and reading it, I think that the young man was actually attempting satire. He just didn't do a good job, and picked a very poor topic to attempt to be Jonathan Swift. Read Swift's A Modest Proposal.

The real question is, should this editor and others be canned (the author was)? After reading this article, I say no. I think that the uproar has taught this kid a lesson. I also think that as offensive as we may find the choice of a topic, we still do have a free press in this country. Giving into a group just because they were upset about the content. I know that this will upset many of my fellow liberals. Before you rush to judgement, think about this: in the 60's there were newspapers that called for equal rights, a very controversial thing to do. Would you have fire these editors? If we are to truly have a free press and free speech (you know, those things mentioned in the Bill of Rights) we must allow unpopular and offensive ideas and statements to stand. Suppressing and oppressing unpopular views and ideas would make this a totalitarian state. I know we all (well, all but a select group @ 1600 Pennsylvania) very much oppose.

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