By Patrick McAuliffe
It’s no secret that we’ve been making waves since our inception in 1987. I remember a comic we published in ‘89 that was especially controversial. You may have seen it in Adam Shamah’s article from our Thanksgiving throwback issue. A man is interviewing for a job, and his interviewer is perusing his resume. He says to the prospect, “I must say, this is a very impressive resume. But you left out your college major.” The prospect replies happily, “Oh, my major was Gay and Lesbian Studies.” In the next panel, the prospect is thrown out of the door, with the interviewer exclaiming as he throws him out, “I’m afraid we don’t have the opening YOU’RE looking for!”
Such a joke is incredibly taboo, especially thirty years later. It’s funny, but doesn’t really help invite productive discourse with one’s political opponents that may major in or be the subjects of “Gay and Lesbian Studies.” As someone that has the dual hopes of having such productive discourse and being able to laugh at such jokes, finding a balance between that is sometimes difficult. In my opinion, this happens most completely in conservative and libertarian circles, but I want to extend the discourse to left-wing individuals as well.
Maybe some contemporary examples can help illustrate what I mean. A recent panel on the limits of campus speech apparently made a few waves with the students that attended. I could only stay for the first 25 minutes, but from what I heard at the beginning, the position of the panelists was purposefully vague in their support of freedom of speech on campuses. The example that was given at the beginning was how a campus dealt with Richard Spencer coming to their campus. He was apparently allocated to a far-off part of campus, but was still allowed to speak. His talk went off without a hitch, with much less attendance than if he would have talked in a more central campus location. This was held up as a good balance between permitting even extreme political viewpoints on campuses, but making clear that administrations and colleges did not explicitly condone said ideas.
It was smart of the panelists at the end of the event to not engage with what I heard was a shouting match about recent campus speech issues. When I saw a girl walk in with a feminist power fist on her T-shirt, I was nervous that that was how the Q & A was going to go, even though I hoped for respectful dialogue. I appreciate their refusal to take a specific stance on what to do with “deplorable” people (in the general and not pro-Trump way) such as conservative and libertarian students that write and speak about often taboo or problematic topics.
Of course, most of the outrage against the Review recently has been about an article we featured in the Sex Issue last February. The article consisted of an author writing under a pseudonym about a documentary exploring a dangerous and unhealthy subset of the homosexual community. The author briefly tried to relate this to a pervasive lack of monogamy among LGBTQ people, which they saw as another moral issue, but did not focus on this as their main point and ended up taking a generalized and sloppy approach to their argument. Outrage among some students ensued, and we issued an apology via Facebook.
I recently met with an individual on campus involved with the LGBTQ community. We talked about this article and the most recent satirical article in our April Fools issue, “The Evils of Cis-White-Male America”. The person I talked to did not seek to shut us down or censor us. They merely wanted to understand why we print what we do, and to suggest that, at times, our journalistic skills could use some work. We shouldn’t necessarily seek to troll all the time because if people want to understand our message, we need to seriously explain what we have to say about these issues.
To me, this makes sense. Our pace this semester has been breakneck, and I’m proud of every single issue overall that we have put out. Reviewing things article by article, however, sometimes we can be sloppier than we should be. Last year, we started including sources in our articles, and I’ve pushed for that into this year. We’ve done our homework (yes, even in “Standard Fuck Parties”), but that’s only half the battle. If this year has taught me anything, it’s that we can always improve. Our ideals are well-founded, and we’ve done the homework; all that’s left is to bridge that gap and critically analyze while being sure to target the heart of an issue with no generalization. It’s something I hope to work on even more next year, with a new e-board and a fresh year in front of us.
Mostly, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you to those many would consider opposed to the ideals of the Review yet still see our voice as valuable. Thank you to those wishing for polite political discourse in these formative years of our young lives. As my dad says, there are ways to win arguments without losing a soul.