A penguin and a polar bear are sitting on an iceberg. The penguin yells, "No Soap Radio!" They both jump in the water.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Changes made to Safe Zone website

It seems that just two days after my column about UNCG's unconstitutional Safe Zone program, the offending part of the program has been removed from the website.

Now, instead of a list of religions and their stances on homosexuality they have a list of links to the religion's website or article from www.religioustolerance.org. Mostly the same religions from the original list are included in the links, but they did add Sikhs and Scientology.

I could gloat and take credit for the change, pointing out that the university was wrong and I was right and they admitted it, and I could do a little dance in my dorm room, but most of that goes without saying (I did dance a little). The real message of this is that a column, letter to the editor, article in a newspaper, or a letter to someone in charge will ALWAYS have more power than a protest or demonstration.

The power of a protest lies entirely in how much attention it brings to your cause. Cut out the middle man; go straight to the media. Holding signs and shouting chants is fun, but at the end of the day if you haven't caused any actual change then you haven't done a damn thing.

The pen beats the sword -- always.

10 Comments:

Blogger Brook Taylor said...

Badass! You got the power, man.

5/04/2006 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Personally, I would also consider the media the middle-man. I happen to know the person who called the people who run that website (after seeing your column) and bringing the suit in GA to their attention (they had not seen your column). I think that perhaps you could have accomplished the change more quickly had you just called them yourself, rather then waiting for someone to respond to your... whining, for lack of a better word coming to mind. True, changes were made, and that's a good thing, but don't credit yourself too much. It seems just like a protest; all you did was create awareness, for someone else to take action.

5/05/2006 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Luke McIntyre said...

So the better solution, in your mind, would be for me to take action, rather than someone else taking action. Keep in mind that in order for me to take direct action I would have to actually run the Safe Zone website. Good point though -- I'm going to go learn html right now.

And I feel I might need to refer you to a definition of whining. Feel free to flip through that dictionary in search of a word you actually meant.

My point, which sailed safely over your head, was not that protesting or demonstrations are inherently ineffective. My point was that protests, unless they involve a physical act of some kind such as blocking the entrance to a facility, only create change through creating attention. Not only is the media a better outlet for creating attention (since the goal of many protests is simply to involve the media anyway), the amount of effort spent in getting that attention is exponentially higher than going straight to the media. Put bluntly, the goal of most protests (and just about every protest we've seen recently in Greensboro) is for college kids to get their rocks off by banging a few drums and shouting. They aren't creating change, they're just masturbating with bull horns.

Let me simplify it even further. (You didn't get it the first time around, so I'm betting the second time might miss as well.)

1. A protest creates attention.

2. A written piece creates attention in the form of an argument about an issue, rather than shouting and posterboard.

3. A written piece generally gets more exposure than a protest.

4. Therefore, a written piece is a more effective way of creating attention than a protest.

5/05/2006 06:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

first of all regardless of whether protesting accomplishes anything or not. Which it obviously does i.e. every revolution in history. You a protester yourself should tread lightly on the toes of your Colleagues the (GLBT) community who attend the same university that you do and want nothing more than what you want, their inalienable and constitutionally protected rights life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Why you would protest a university supported website who’s only real goal is obviously to spread awareness about and to the GLBT community so those individuals along with Concerned citizens such as yourself might better understand themselves and learn about ways that you can protect their rights as human beings and students at this university. I think you missed their definition of homophobia so I will quote it for you "aversion to gay or homosexual people or their lifestyle or culture and behavior or an act based on this aversion" if your basic morals such and those that many people take from their religion i.e. Mormons and the book of Mormon and Mormon religious leaders. On the LDS website they say that you can be gay all you want as long as you don’t act on your feelings. But wait wouldn't telling someone not to act on their own feelings because they somehow disagree with your morals be classified as aversion? Homophobia doesn’t have to have a negative connotation unless somewhere in your heart you know that being gay isn’t a choice, and it isn't somthing you should be descriminated against for. Just like it isn’t a choice to be black or white. If you have belief in racial stereotypes and they affect in anyway how you approach people then you are a racist by definition. Relgion tell be to do all sorts of things that supposed devoted members don't do like i don't know say keep the sabbath holy be resting and performing no labor. Ever priest in a america ignores that one every sunday morning when they go to work. Similarly in the Mormon church, the fact that if you are a woman you can want to be a priest for god all you want but you cant act of those feelings. Because women are second class Mormons. How does this sound "darling you can be anything you want to be when you grow up except for a priest or a lesbian". What is she to say “but Mommy the scientific community says that being gay isn’t a choice, does god really not only not want me to act the way god made me but I’m also not allowed to spread the word by being a priest in the Mormon church.Think for one minute the reason people give for homosexuality being unnatureal and wrong is that it is illogocial becuase procreation should produce a child.does that make sterile married couples sinners? or anybody that uses birth control? Think of all the gays and lesbians that have commited suicide in this country or turned to drugs and alcohol becuase theirs families refused to accpect them because of religion. What god would want you to turn away from your children certaintly not the god that gave his only son to save us, well that is if you believe the myth. The world would have a missed out if someone had told Oscar Wilde that he could be anything he wanted other than a gay playwright.
in the end my friend I applaud you for using your inalienable right to freedom of speech, press, and religion of course. Speak your mind however instead of masking this crusade to somehow discredit a university website that points out the intolerance of a fact of life that has existed far longer than the concept of God. If you want to really tackle the separation of church and state issue then maybe you should write an article in the school newspaper about how they need to remove the words "in god we trust" from every piece of currency this country prints, or perhaps getting "one nation under god" removed from the pledge of allegiance.What godis this nation immigrants under anyway? Church and state should be separate but does that mean that we shouldn't learn about religion in school? no of course not. We should make efforts to understand those different from us and the understanding of the GLBT community for some people begins in uncg's safe zone, a place I think a lot of people might do well to visit.

5/08/2006 03:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

did anyone read douchy mcfuckpants' essay? he could've saved a lot of time by just typing "I'm wrong"

5/08/2006 04:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think the pen always beats the sword, try bringing a pen to a sword fight.

5/08/2006 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger Luke McIntyre said...

If you think the pen always beats the sword, try bringing a pen to a sword fight.

I'd bring a very big pen made out of metal.

first of all regardless of whether protesting accomplishes anything or not. Which it obviously does i.e. every revolution in history.

Go up and read what I actually said.

Why you would protest a university supported website who’s only real goal is obviously to spread awareness about and to the GLBT community

I specifically said that I support the program, that it is needed, and that it is generally run by well-meaning people. I simply pointed out the illegal part of the program that could have gotten the school sued.

By the way, you don't appear to support that part of the program, so I'll take it that you agree with me. Since that is so, and it's essentially the only thing I said in the column, what are you complaining about?

If you want to really tackle the separation of church and state issue then maybe you should write an article in the school newspaper about how they need to remove the words "in god we trust" from every piece of currency this country prints, or perhaps getting "one nation under god" removed from the pledge of allegiance.

You're preaching to the choir. I'm atheist. I hate religion. And I agree that religion is a huge source of homophobia, racism, and many other forms of ignorance. But the big difference between me and UNCG is that I'm not a state-run institution and it's not unconstitutional for me to do so.

I'm not going to go through most of what you said because it doesn't make sense or doesn't apply to anything I've ever said in life. What you can do is go back and point out which part of my column makes you think I agree with religion or oppose the Safe Zone program.

5/08/2006 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Killian said...

Dear Luke:

I'm with you on this one. I wrote a letter to them, too - but a (good) column is always more effective.
Also...every successful (and I use that word at my own peril) revolution in history was successful because of crushing violence, not peaceful protest. Even those SOCIAL revolutions that benefitted from peaceful dissent depended on the violence of an ignorant opposition to rally supporters to its cause or the disgust of the masses at the violence of those obviously in the wrong to snap them into consciousness.

Also: every successful revolution in history has turned on putting across IDEAS in a way that is palitable and compelling. You do that with words - and often with text. You don't do it with chants. "Two, four, six, eight - we don't need your stinky hate!" may get you off when you're screaming it...but it's not going to win the day.

5/11/2006 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

In response to the first paragraph of your reply to my comment: Yes, you can play that game. I honestly don't care to. I feel my point remains intact.
I must confess, I do not often use the Oxford Dictionary, so I am not too familiar with it. I'm more of a Merriam-Webster guy. But, if I understand the layout correctly, it seems that the example best matching my use of the word "whining" is probably the one by Oliver Goldsmith, from 1765: "I am not for whining at the depravity of the times." Perhaps not the most literal use of the word, but I hardly think that makes its use in my previous comment incorrect, especially in this rather unformal setting.
No, I did not miss your point. I just did not heartily agree with you and praise you for your ingenuity, and that automatically makes me wrong, it seems.
You know, using other argument tactics beside crude wit and condescending behavior more often could possibly be to your benefit. (I say this without any intention of insulting you, of course.)
Good day.

6/03/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Forgive my typo. Informal, not unformal.

6/03/2006 09:50:00 PM  

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