Saturday, February 14, 2009

Roses are red, condoms are clear, and the idea is king

by Chloe Angyal

My father is an amazing man. A barrister (that's Australian for trial lawyer), a mediator, a writer and a damn fine parent, he's always available as a sounding board, and for sound advice. And as you can see from the attached photo, he doesn't mind posing for silly photos with me at the zoo.

I've had a tough week this week. I spent my nights rehearsing and my days falling asleep in class (in front of a Pulitzer Prize-winning professor, no less). I've been a little on edge, with a performance approaching and my thesis deadline creeping slowly but unstoppably nearer. I've shocked myself with my own ability to be behind on reading just two short weeks into the semester. I've brandished a vibrator on stage in front of a theater full of people (I told you you didn't want to miss The Vagina Monologues). In short, I've had the kind of week that requires a good, long chat with my endlessly wise and insightful dad.

My father firmly believes that the idea is king and that the messenger should never be shot. Here at Equal Writes, we write about ideas every day, and sometimes, we write about them from very personal viewpoints. We spend our days writing academic papers and our nights writing opinion pieces. I love this arrangement and I wouldn't change it for anything. But the idea should be king, even in op-ed writing, and that is what we strive for here at Equal Writes.

Earlier this week, I called Brandon McGinley, a member of the Anscombe Society, an "anti-sex lunatic," based on the comments he gave the to the Prince when it covered the Student Global Aids Campaign's distribution of condoms. It was wrong to target McGinley personally, and I regret doing so, because the messenger should never be shot.

I stand firmly by my statements that McGinley's stance on condom distribution on campus (and, indeed, in the world), is wrong. But I shouldn't have allowed our focus to stray to a particular person and away from the dangerously inaccurate stance he holds. It's not about him, and it's not about me; it's about the ideas, and the arguments and the scientific proof. Because in this case the idea, our idea, is king, and I shouldn't have fallen back on personally targeting anyone when reason and scientific evidence are so clearly on our side (more on that later, from SGAC representative Shannon Mercer).

For allowing our focus to stray, I apologize. For my opinion, and for my commitment to fighting ignorance and sexism, I do not. For fighting ignorance and sexism, no one should ever apologize. That is what we strive for here at Equal Writes.


At February 15, 2009 at 6:02 PM , Anonymous Dan said...

I believe you have done the right thing here. To admit wrongdoing, particularly in a public setting, takes guts, and for that I respect you.

I also understand and accept that your views are different from McGinley's.

I don't think reason and science are as clearly on your side as you think, but that is a battle for another day.


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