Gut-level disgust

From [The Crimson]( "The Harvard Crimson Online"), with selected quotes and commentary from [this article]( "Ruined Snow Penis Stimulates Debate"):

About two weeks ago, some students at Harvard, members of the Harvard Crew team, led by Michael J. Skey, erected (pun intended, and not original) a 9-foot snow phallus. Hours later, the sculpture was torn down by Amy E. Keel, a self-proclaimed feminist.

Okay, enough backstory.

I read about this one about three days ago. It made me feel nearly ill at the time, but not in the focused way that this article did. What i am going to do is suggest that you read it, and then i'm going to select a few quotes from both the article and the principals of the story and 'comment' (read: rant and rave) on them.

>"It was offensive because it was pornographic," said Amy E. Keel '04, who said she and her
>roommate 'dismantled' the giant snow penis.
>"As a feminist, pornography is degrading to women and creates a violent atmosphere," she

I'll start with the logical fallacy here. "As a feminist..." etc...

Leading a statement with a self-identifying phrase like that, then following it with a universal pronouncement is failing to follow proper logical connections of ideas. Granted, Ms. Keel may find the idea of pornography degrading, but that is not something that can logically be applied to other people on that basis.

>Furthermore, Keel claims that she and her roommate were verbally and physically harassed by a
>group of roughly 25 men when they attempted to tear down the statue with a cardboard tube at
>1:30 a.m. the morning after it was built.
>"A few people came out and crowded me with their bodies and one person shoved me away from
>the penis," she said. "It was gendered violence, because [their comments] were said in the context of
>our gender and accompanied by aggressive actions toward us."

Another logical fallacy: Gendered violence? How about this situation: You have two extremely self-righteous [insert any group here] with only [said group's visible identifying characteristics] in common. These people are destroying the works of someone else's art. Given that self-righteousness provokes anger in most people, the more so when it's directed specifically _at_ the group being so provoked, is it any surprise that they may have responded impolitely, and focused on the [group]'s [common trait]ness?

Here's a tip, Amy, though i doubt you'd read anything critical of your position. It's not gendered violence. Anyone of any gender with the attitude you have - the "I'm a victim, so i can tear down things that make me uncomfortable" position that you take - would have been attacked on the same basis. Your attitude is contemptible and demeans the positions of real feminists everywhere.

>"The ice sculpture was erected in a public space, one that should be free from menacing reminders
>of women's sexual vulnerability," Rosenfeld wrote in an e-mail yesterday.
>She said the snow penis follows a long line of public phallic symbols, including the Washington
>Monument and missiles.
>"Women do not need to be reminded of the power of the symbol of the male genitalia," Rosenfeld
>said. "My guess is that they are constantly reminded of it in daily messages."

Repeat after me: "The penis is not a threat. The penis, like the vagina, is something that differentiates the reproductive roles in a non-threatening manner. Men who are threatening and women who are threatening do so regardless of the nature of their genitalia"

Last quote:

>"I have a right to speak out against the joke," Keel said. "I criticize the motives of putting it up, but
>since they did, it is within my rights to put it down. It goes both ways."

Here's the one that _really_ stokes my anger. Especially on one of the leading _intellectual_ campuses in the US. Funny, i seem to remember something in the articles of governance of the US, something... fundamental. Oh, yes! That's the thing! "Freedom of speech", isn't it? Funny how, in the heat of the moment, ms. Keel decided that her taking offense not only freed her from the burdens of respecting the handiwork of others, but also the obligation to permit views and images that she, herself, does not like to continue to be seen and heard.

With attitudes like that, Ms. Keel is going to find herself a great government job in the [republican/democrat] team stifling citizen dissent. I suspect that she and John Ashcroft would get along famously. (Note: I don't actually give a damn here, but i'd be willing to bet Ms. Keel does, and probably hates that sanctimonious prick the same way i do, albeit for different reasons.)

The similiarity is more than skin deep.

I just wish these idiots would learn that, just because they take offense at something doesn't mean that they have the right to silence or destroy it. The world does not owe them a padded, coddled existence free of all offense and unhappiness.

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