Okay, I seem to have lost my post for the second time.
Sarah – Bill Bryson is amazing! I think that I read about 200 or so pages during work today, because his writing is light and fast, but hilarious. I’m currently reading I’m A Stranger Here Myself, which is a collection of columns that he wrote for a UK newspaper, on his reactions to American culture, after a move back to the states after twenty years in the UK. He’s also got a new book out, but I’ll finish the ones that I have from the Library first. And you’re right, his books probably shouldn’t be read in a public place – I laughed so hard at times that I had to put the book down and do something else. The customers must have thought I was crazy.
I don’t usually go about talking a whole lot of politics, but there’s been some things on campus recently that have left me puzzled at best. A couple weeks ago, a student published a letter to the editor in the Norwich Guidon, the school’s newspaper. The letter was highly critical of George W. Bush, for the war in Iraq, the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina and other various things that he’s generally criticised for. I personally didn’t have a problem with it, although a bit overt. I’d go for a more subtle style, not because of the reaction, but just how I tend to approach things.
The school’s reaction (and I’m talking about the student body, not the school administration) has ranged from sheer outrage to hostile to pissed off. I go to a school known for it’s military component, the Corps of Cadets, and as one might imagine, the school is fairly conservative as a result, as compared to UVM or St. Mikes. My classmates have wondered why the letter was published at all or expressed their anger at someone being anti-Bush, and apparently letters have been written into various places questioning the author’s patriotism, maturity and intelligence.
I’m pretty disappointed. I would have thought that at least some of the student body was mature enough and intelligent enough to have a reasonable response because of the letter. I’m being cautiously neutral on the issue. I have no love for Bush, and disagree with a number of his policies while in office, but I’m not going to engage in an argument that will mainly constitute Bush is good, and if you don’t believe that, you’re not a patriot.
What’s puzzling is that. There’s a major difference between blindly following a political party – ANY political party – and objectively critizing a political party. Just because we’re at war, (sorta, kinda), it doesn’t make any given political leader untouchable, nor does it make anyone who disagrees a traitor to the nation. It’s a check. Disagreement brings debate, and alternatives. In an optimal system, those alternatives are good for everyone. At least that’s how I see things. Okay, so you disagree with one person’s opinions. Just as they disagree with yours. It doesn’t necessarily make both of your opinions right or wrong. Or even relevant.
The worst thing is, that the questioning about why the letter was published in the first place, and not just thrown out, was asked in my Communications: Laws and Ethics course. Granted, I’m not taking much stock in my fellow classmate’s intelligence there.