Friday, January 20, 2006

freedom isn't free, it's $100

College students will do a lot for a few extra bucks. When I was at UCLA, I knew multiple people who signed up to be guinea pigs in medical and psych experiments (though the one Cathy did involved drinking a delicious chocolate milkshake, so we’re not talking Stanford-prison-experiment stuff here).

Still, I’m hoping none of my Bruin brethren take this whacko alumni group up on their offer of $100 for lecture notes and tape recordings of “radical professors,” meaning, in this case, profs who are critical of Bush. Supposedly, their beef is with teachers who bring up any “ideological issue that has nothing to do with the class subject matter.” I never had an astronomy professor who had much to say about Monica Lewinsky, but literature and history are all about politics, and to advocate for some lukewarm middle ground is more dangerous and disingenuous than just holding a big Republican pep rally.

I’m a fight-speech-with-more-speech kind of girl. As my friend Annette, who brought the story to my attention, said, “If you can’t be ideological in college, when can you be?”

The right wing, which is still making jokes about political correctness a decade after the left has moved on (hello, PC jokes are so ’98!), is acting suspiciously like the easily wounded, can’t-hack-a-little-healthy-debate entity that they’ve always accused the left of being. In case dominating politics, business, much of the mainstream media and the aisles of Wal-Mart isn’t enough, now they need to take over college classrooms too.

I won’t pretend that many of my UCLA profs weren’t left-leaning. And I won’t pretend that, had I gone to Bob Jones University, my politics would have been the same as they are now. So yeah, they were biased and they influenced me. And somehow I got a good education and knew what the other side (or other sides, which is how we should really look at things) felt anyway. Good old Bruin Republican Daniel B. Rego had a solid and annoying presence in the Opinion section of the Daily Bruin, which, I might add, was edited by an African-American, Green Party-voting, Muslim dude.

So suck it up, whacko alumni group: You’re already being heard loud and clear, and your frat parties are well attended.

It’s just hard to buy that the group with the most power and money is a downtrodden minority. Whining should be the exclusive right of the actually downtrodden, but being downtrodden is all about having your stuff taken away, so why not complaining rights too?

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