11.2.08

RA! RA! Let's go steal junk!

On Thursday, a disgruntled group of cheerleaders stole my college's newspaper off the racks becuase of a less than laudatory article about their performance, entitled "Cheerleaders: Bringing it on or bringing us down". Yeah, I got a kick out of the headline.

People say we shouldn't call it stealing because the paper is free. Well, I say bump that. They stole them. Shadily, they gallivanted around campus collecting newspapers to prevent others from reading them. All that was missing was cloaks and the cover of night. It was stealing. For five or so people to grab a bunch of papers to shove them in the trunk of their cars or in trashcans sounds like stealing to me. And so, I will call it stealing.

I'm pissed. So, I wrote an editorial for the Carrier, not sure if it will be published. Here's an excerpt:

More than just papers were taken. Ideas were taken. The voices of fellow students were silenced. An environment unsafe for the dissemination of ideas, likeable or not, is an unsafe environment. A trivial grievance has become a very serious situation.

Personally, the silencing of student voices hurts. In last weeks Carrier I had an Opinions article about raising awareness around the issue of rape. Sexual assault is an issue to which I have devoted much time. One way I work to see the end of sexual assault is by giving voice to victims. Because of a group of people’s insignificant qualm with an article in the paper, the victims of sexual assault were once again silenced. This group of people ranked raised awareness about rape below their own embarrassment. Yet again, I see a terrifying lack of concern for a community conversation about sexual violence. This hurts me.

However, I am angered not only for that reason. But also, for the voices of Jesse Milby who spoke passionately about his political views and for Jessica Hoover who attempted to inform students about an important change in Berry academics. I’m angry because a group of student’s placed themselves before a great number of writers but also before the Berry College community, deeming Berry undeserving of the ideas presented in last week’s Carrier.

The removal of the papers was not only irritating, but also shockingly self-important. And, to be bold, incredibly pathetic. These students are, hopefully, ashamed of their immaturity and aware of their frightening degree of self-involvement. I call on the Berry community to respond harshly to these students’ harmful behavior. May we make clear that our ideas, our information carry a great deal of importance and we will not tolerate such flippant disrespect.

Harsh? Maybe. But, come on? How ridiculous! And dumb. It's dumb not only because they got themselves into some trouble and look like a bunch of crazies, but now a guy like myself whose never even considered the Berry College cheerleaders resents them. A lot. Enough to maybe protest outside their next practice. Or carry a sign that says "Berry Cheerleaders are Thieves" around campus which, because of my charisma, would end in a march of frustrated students. That might me a little much. But, maybe.

All I'm saying is that to steal ideas is really freakin' irritating.

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