Monday, February 19, 2007

The Recorder at CCSU: Drama From My College

On February 7th, 2007, an issue of The Recorder included an article that the author is now calling "satire" was printed. What could cause drama in a small Connecticut college's campus newspaper? How about a satire on the "benefits" of rape? Yes, John Petroski actually wrote an article satiring how rape is "magical" and "far from a vile act."

There was even a town meeting on this article, which the author attended. I'm going to include the article he originally wrote, as well as the follow up apology letter that was printed in the school paper. The editor of the paper came under heavy fire as well, because he allowed that piece of garbage to be printed. Personally, I'd have loved to have seen these bozos get their asses fired. I'm all for the Freedom of Speech, but the editor did not have to agree to print this article.

The questions I'm grappling with are the following: Do you think that regardless of content, that article should have been allowed to go to print? Do you think that his freedom of speech should include such tasteless satire? Can the subject matter even be considered satire at all? Do you think the author and the editor should both be fired from the campus newspaper staff? Do you think the apologies the editor and author wrote effectively address the issue?

Personally, I think that the original article, legitimate satire or not, shouldn't have gone to print. Surely the editor had to have known that rape is far to delicate of a subject to post something such as what you'll see below. Surely, such a horrendous and tasteless article shouldn't be protected under the freedom of speech. Surely, they had to know and expect that the article would come under heavy fire. Couldn't they foresee that some nutjob may just discover this article and take it seriously? That some psychotic freak of humanity would take this disgusting diatribe as condoning sexual violation and act on it? It could certainly be viewed as promoting illegal behavior, if nothing else, which is not covered under the freedom of speech in our illustrious Constitution.

The apologies from these "men" comes only after extensive media coverage and intense public outcry. The apologies come only after a town meeting about this article, the author, and the editor-in-chief. A state college that normally doesn't get much attention even though their basketball team is currently performing better than the golden children of basketball, the UCONN Huskies, made headline news with this debacle.

Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It

John Petroski
Opinions Editor

Most people today would claim that rape is a
terrible crime almost akin to murder but I strongly disagree. Far from a vile
act, rape is a magical experience that benefits society as a whole. I realize
many of you will disagree with this thesis but lend me your ears and I’m sure
I’ll sway you towards a darkened alley.

If it weren’t for rape, Western
Civilization might not exist as we know it today. When the Romans were faced
with a disproportionate ratio of women to men in the early kingdom, they had to
do something, lest their fledgling society die for lack of sons. To solve their
little dilemma, they did what any reasonable man would do: they threw a festival
for their Sabine neighbors, and then stole and raped their women. It’s quite
logical; in fact I don’t understand why the settlers at Plymouth didn’t do the
same to the local Indians. It certainly would have saved on shipping costs.

Obviously, in the case of the Rape of the Sabines, rape was a tremendous
help to society. The Sabine women, for their part, didn’t seem to mind so much,
as they threw themselves between their brutish old Sabine husbands and their
charming new Roman ones to prevent bloodshed when the Sabine men came to reclaim
their wives. Yet even when society was totally against a rape, the raunchy act
has benefitted society too. Where would the Romans be, after all, if it weren’t
for the Rape of Lucretia infuriating the people to the point of overthrowing
their last king, Lucius Tarquinius Soperbus? If it weren’t for that event, the
world might never have had the Roman Republic for a pristine example of a
flawless government.

Rape’s glorious advantages are not, however,
exlusively found from 2,000-year-old examples. In actuality, rape’s advantages
can very much be seen today. Take ugly women, for example. If it weren’t for
rape, how would they ever know the joy of intercourse with a man who isn’t
drunk? In a society as plastic-conscious as our own, are we really to believe
that some man would ever sleep with a girl resembling a wildebeest if he didn’t
have a few schnapps in him? Of course he wouldn’t, at least no self-respecting
man would, but therein lies the beauty of rape. No self-respecting man would
rape in the first place, so ugly women are guaranteed a romp with not only a
sober man, but a bad boy too, and we all know how much ladies like the bad boy.

Ugly women are not, however, the only people who benefit from rape–
prisoners enjoy its many perks, too. What, after all, would possibly be more
boring than spending years of your life confined to some tiny cell 23 hours a
day? The answer, of course, is spending years of your life confined to some tiny
cell 23 hours a day and never getting some hot action. With rape, prisoners
never have to worry about that. Instead, they merely need worry about treating
their rapists with enough love and respect to earn a quick reach-around.

But if there is one bread and butter reason for why rape should not only
be accepted, but even endorsed, it is because our news editors are in dire need
of interesting stories for our front page. Bookstore stories? Fossils? One
dollar coins? Please. Now, some saucy circle jerk rape action? Yeah, that’s the


Febuary 14, 2007

Letter From John Petroski
By John P. Petroski

Last week I wrote an article that deeply upset a great number of people.
Although that was not my intention, that is what happened, and I have come here
before you today to address this issue.

Anyone who knows me will attest
to the fact that I do not endorse, support or condone rape. That aside, I chose
to satirize rape in order to illustrate that no one pays attention to news
unless it is sensational. The widespread news coverage of the article and the
presence of the media here today have clearly validated that point.

Unfortunately, I have deeply hurt a lot of people in the process. Again,
it was not my intention to do so, but I have reopened many wounds and caused a
great deal of pain and suffering for many innocent women and men. I have forced
families and friends of rape victims, as well as the victims themselves, to
remember tragic events that they would much rather forget. Women across campus
have broken out in tears the past few days, and I feel awful for my part in
causing that to happen.

I take no joy or satisfaction in hurting other
human beings. To the people I have hurt, I apologize sincerely and hope that my
insensitive article has not caused anyone irreparable harm. In an attempt to
show my sincere condemnation for rape or violence against any person, I will be
participating in “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” a march against rape, sexual
assault and gender violence.

In spite of the pain this has caused so
many people, and though I deeply regret writing it because of the intense hurt
it has caused, I must continue to support Mark Rowan and his decisions to
publish or not to publish controversial articles. I base this support on the
First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech. I highly value Freedom of Speech as
a fundamental right that all people across the world should have, and I admire
Mark’s courage in making these decisions.

A significant lesson I have
learned from this experience, however, is that although Freedom of Speech is an
important right that all Americans have, it is imperative that we, as human
beings, use great discretion in how we choose to exercise that right so as to
not needlessly hurt innocent people.

In my writings, I have failed to
use this discretion, and as a result, I have caused a great deal of pain. I am
truly sorry to anyone I may have hurt. Thank you.

I would like to add a
few words I said prior to reading my prepared statement. I do not know the exact
words, although perhaps the media will cover them.

Essentially, I am
aware that women on campus at CCSU have broken into tears, and, in some cases,
even spoke of feeling suicidal. I feel terrible for this. It is not right to
make women cry and I certainly do not want anymore harm to ever come to anyone
as a result of this article. I am concerned for the well-being of these women,
and I hope they take care of themselves, and that everyone will take care of
each other.

I would like to say that I regret that each speaker at the
meeting was only allotted two or three minutes. I had requested that they be
allowed to speak for as long as they needed, and though I realize that was just
not possible today at that meeting, I am willing and hoping to speak with any
person who would like to speak to me for as long as they need. I will certainly
make the time for them. This goes for each and every person that I have offended
or hurt, regardless of if they were at the meeting today.

Thank you for
allowing me to publish this here.

John P. Petroski


Letter From The Editor-in-Chief
By Mark Rowan

Dear CCSU Community:

Many people have thrown around and abused
the term “Freedom of Speech” in this past week. I, for one, am not looking for
amnesty from this Constitutional right because I believe this weighty error is
beyond that. It is certainly not the case that this mistake was beyond the law,
but right now that is irrelevant. My main concern and regret is that The
Recorder not only abused that freedom, but we tarnished the good name of our
university, and that I am truly apologetic for.

It would be all too easy
for me to write this letter and claim that The Recorder had the right to print
that offensive opinion article. While we may have that right, we did not have
the right to hurt and disappoint so many members of this diverse campus
community. However, by printing that article I am directly responsible for
bringing pain to this campus and again I am sorry for doing so.

I will
not hide behind my given rights as a journalist to defend why the article made
it to print because honestly there is no defense. There is no defense for
advocating a hateful crime such as rape, even in jest. I am not writing this to
defend why we printed that appalling article, but to apologize for doing so.
There is no excuse. There is no defense. There are only my words and I hope you
take them to heart; I am sorry.

I want to thank those of you who
listened to my speech on Monday. I want to thank even more those of you who
listened with open ears. I realize it can be all too easy to tune The Recorder
out when it is our time to speak, especially given this current situation, but I
want to thank you for letting me voice my apologies and even more so for
listening to them. For those of you who could not make it I want to take this
time now to inform you of two statements I made Monday that I feel are very

The Recorder plans to run a special rape awareness section of
the newspaper in March. Please consider this my call for help. This newspaper
cannot create this section on its own and I would love it if students and
faculty alike would please contact me about contributing content. I also said
Monday that all of your letters will be printed within these pages.
Unfortunately, I lied on Monday about your letters filling eight pages; they now
fill nine. I do not want these nine pages to just be symbolic of the campus
outcry for The Recorder to abide by community standards; I want these letters to
be read. I have personally read all of these letters at least twice. All of
these letters tell a story and all of these authors have poured their hearts out
to this publication to tell it. For that, I thank you.

I would like to
conclude this letter by stating that while it may seem as if this newspaper has
been controlled by a select few, this publication is all yours. The only thing
this campus has to do to take back The Recorder is to attend our weekly meetings
on Monday night with the desire to write and we will welcome you, like we always
have, with open arms. I realize that the gross error of printing last week’s
article has given a black eye to this publication and university. I hope,
however, that the CCSU community can accept that I have learned from this
mistake, accept my apologies and help The Recorder progress towards a direction
that we all wish to see it at.


Mark Rowan


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