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Archive for November, 2005

A Simple Question…

November 16th, 2005 by Tyler

Bryan brought this to my attention: Which one of these girls do you think this guy is trying to sleep with?

Kate Horton | Photographer

Also, it’s obvious that the girl in the hat miscalculated the amount of space it would take to properly convey all of her salient points. It’s like reading a goddamn eye chart.

*Picture via Kate Horton and the ODE (by “via” I mean I didn’t ask permission to use it)

[Timothy Adds: ODE story here.]
[Ian Adds: Photo hotlinked to and embeded from ODE server.]

Self Promotion

November 16th, 2005 by Tyler

For anyone who is interested, I will take part in the horrendously titled “Free Speech vs. Hate Speech” panel tonight at 7:30 in the McAlister Lounge.

The panel will be moderated by Interim Vice Provost for Equity and Diversity Charles Martinez. Other panelists include Chicora Martin of the LGBTQA, David Fidanque of the ACLU and Margie Paris of the Law School. Yes, it will be a blast.

I guess I’ll be situated on the pro-hate speech side, considering how the organizers turn these things into strict dichotomies. Still, if anyone is interested you should come and check it out.

Mr. Mojo Uprising

November 15th, 2005 by Michael G.

On my way to class today, I stumbled upon a protest. The year had been going so well for me, there being no annoying protests in my immediate vicinity thus far.

Subject of the protest? Axe and their “Mojo Master” online video game. When I first encountered the protesters, they were blocking the sidewalk behind the EMU, and nearby was an Axe promotional rain canopy where typical freebies were being distributed. This being the first I’ve heard of it, I thought I’d look it up. Here’s what the game website says about it:

Many faces have been slapped, many drinks dumped on heads, and many relationships ruined in the name of MOJO MASTER – the fantasy game of seduction. Countless hours have been logged observing social encounters between guys and girls, attempting to better understand the female species, and determining what makes a playa a playa. These laborious studies have given birth to seduction theories that are for experts only. These theories have been applied to a virtual construct – a video game the likes of which you have never seen – that lets you let loose in a fantasy world populated by 100 TOTALLY HOT 3D GIRLS!

Ah. TOTALLY HOT 3D GIRLS! That’s what we are protesting today? Cartoons?

Their chants were led by a drill master armed with a whistle. Holding the classic cardboard and construction-paper signs, the chanters followed the drill master around. The first chant I heard was:

Hey hey ho ho Mojo Master’s got to go!

Obviously they forgot to bring some creative people along. After about 5 minutes they started marching. They did a quick tour around the new “heart of campus” and returned to the area of the Axe canopy, where their chant lost its steam. During this time I was able to read some of their signs:

“Axe stinks” (obviously)… “Stop Rape Culture”… “Rape isn’t cool”… “Consent is beautiful”… Ah. I began to see what they were really protesting. The game evidently promotes rape culture.

The problem is that there are a large number of groups in this country that believe that playing video games cause people to become violent or “desensitized” to similar situations in reality. Play enough Grand Theft Auto and you’ll turn into a car thief and cop killer. Play too much Doom III and you’ll go shoot up your school. Play Mojo Master and you’ll become a rapist.

These beliefs have little to back them. The evidence cited is usually something along the lines of “well, that kid that shot up his school played a lot of GTA and look what he did”. This ignores that fact that millions of people play the same violent video games all the time and do not commit violent acts. There are even arguments that the games provide an outlet for stress and can actually reduce violent behavior. That, and as the attractive girls waiting in the EMU ticket line remarked in disbelief that fifty people would show up to protest something like this, “it’s just a game.”

In the ten minutes it took for me to think of the above and jot my notes down into my PDA (which now I wish had a camera), the protesters managed to come up with a new chant:

[Mojo] women isn’t cool, we want you out of our school!

The first word wasn’t particularly clear, but it sounded like “mojo”. The people next to me (who read the Commentator – must acknowledge the fans) had no idea what the first word was, either. It was amazing how long it took them to decide to use this canned, oft-repeated form of chant. Boring.

During this time, a woman with a sign was also confronting directly the women under the canopy who were giving the free Axe stuff away. The Axe girls held their cool quite nicly, and it didn’t escalate. At some point a public safety officer came along and told the protesters to quit blocking the path. The protesters obliged and their chanting petered out again as they moved and blocked a different walkway.

At this point the way was clear and I got a chance to see a few items under the canopy. The most interesting were mouse pads featuring the TOTALLY HOT 3D GIRLS on them. A few young freshmen were walking away gripping theirs with big smiles. I guess dorm life really is lonely.

New chant:

Five six seven eight! Degrading women is hate

Some people were substituting “raping” in place of “degrading”. This chant has multiple flaws. First of all, they completely messing up the meter and had to strech out the “is” to fill the space of two syllables. Second of all, they forgot a “one two three four” part… it just felt incomplete.

I don’t think many people disagree with the last chant (well, I know some people who do and fortunately they have left the university). I had to get to class at this point of the protest, but my thoughts on the whole thing are as follows:

Like the girls in the ticket line had said, it is “just a game” featuring cartoon women… there are far worse things going on in the world that are absolutely not games. I think Axe stinks, too, but I’m not going to waste time protesting them. If people really think that “rape culture” is a problem in the United States, what have they got to say about South Africa and the other seven countries with higher rape rates than the United States? You know, countries like Australia (#3) and Canada (#5).

There are ways to actually make a difference. Protesting a stupid marketing video game by a company that annoys the crap out of us who have allergies just doesn’t seem like a good use of resources, when the chance someone committing a crime *because* of a video game is extremely unlikely.

If anything, the protest also drew more people. The Axe people were set up in a bad location, exposure-wise. I wouldn’t have noticed them if not for the noises of a protest. The same went for other people around me. Most of them showed up because of the sounds of a protest. Many of them went under the canopy and got their freebies.

Sheesh, this ended up being a full feature when I should be working on my article for the magazine… oops.

Hola Alito! Push doctrino if he need to for the rule of creedo?

November 14th, 2005 by Ian

Everyone in the echo chamber seems to be talking about statements Samuel Alito made in 1985 regarding the constitution and abortion.

But I was struck by a far more troubling bit in the same Washington Times story:

“I believe very strongly in limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement, and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values,” he wrote. [my emphasis]

I would certainly hope this last belief has changed sometime in the past twenty years. The government has no “role in protecting traditional values,” it has a role in following the constitution, which as of yet has no mention of “traditional values.” These sorts of “values” have, in the past, consisted of such things as “there is to be no intermixing of the races,” “women belong in the home,” and “homosexuals are dangerous deviants,” among others.

When Alito is questioned, the focus will be on Roe. That’s because most voters in this country judge federal justices on one criteria- their view of abortion rights. Instead, Alito should be questioned on his warped view of the government’s role in society. The country must know if he still believes that the maintenance and protection of values are within the government’s purview.

Con Court Demands New Bylaws for Bylaw-Demanding Committee

November 14th, 2005 by Ian

The ODE’s Nicholas Wilbur takes a break from writing OSPRIG press releases to report on the Con Court’s rejection of the ASUO Recognition Review Committee’s bylaws:

The court listed 18 mistakes and inaccuracies, ranging from the RRCs misunderstanding of its own authority to violations in its own elections clauses. The RRC submitted the bylaws on Nov. 1. The court called many sections in the bylaws unnecessary and others incomplete.

It initially reprimanded the committee for what it said was an egregious lack of documentation, but now RRC Chairman David Goward is using the same word to describe the courts lacking distinction between policy and opinion.

Goward said the court is overstepping its boundaries.

The chief justice says that the court in no way desires to legislate, Goward said. This is fucking legislation.

I have no clue if this is “legislation” on the part of the Con Court, but it does seem that this RRC imbroglio has turned into a giant clusterfuck. Is this mess solvable? Sure. But aren’t there more important things for the ASUO and student groups to focus on than the creation of an unnecessary, possibly temporary committee? You know, like students cussing at football games.

Wyden Votes For, Smith Against Gitmo Habeas Corpus Bill

November 11th, 2005 by Ian

The Senate on Thursday passed a provision to a defense policy bill which restricts foreign enemy combatants from filing writs of habeas corpus. This is in direct contradiction to a 2004 Supreme Court ruling on the matter. Both Oregon Senators voted against the majority of their party, with Ron Wyden voting for the provision and Gordon Smith voting against it. Is this surprising?

Arrested Development Canceled

November 11th, 2005 by Ian

Damn. There goes the only decent sitcom on TV.

Facebook: Not Just For Stalkers Anymore

November 11th, 2005 by Ian

Memo to past and future law-breakers: don’t use Facebook. I am not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure these sorts of statements just won’t hold much water in court:

Ethically, the community of Facebook users is expecting the site will only be frequented by fellow students and not administrators, professors or police officers, [telecommunications professor Matthew] Jackson said.

“Is it appropriate for the police to be using this source when students created their profiles for a completely different purpose?” Jackson said.

Professor Jackson, is it appropriate for police to use sperm found in rape victims to catch rapists? After all, the sperm wasn’t put there with the intention of being evidence.

Who’s Minding 13th?

November 10th, 2005 by melissa

When ol’ Zach is busy with his groud-breaking letters to the Eugene Weekly? Further ‘Connecting of Dots’ by Zach Vishanoff here

Staff Meeting

November 9th, 2005 by Ian

This is a bit of a late notice, but if it isn’t into your head yet that our meetings are always at 7:00pm on Wednesdays then here’s your notification. This week we’ll as usual be in one of the Century Rooms near the EMU Skylight.

Dorms Still Finding Innovative Ways To Suck

November 7th, 2005 by olly

Update on the dorm-harassment story here. New wrinkle in the lede: swastikas are apparently being drawn in residence halls by retard or retards unknown. Good quote from Oregon Hillel executive director Hal Applebaum on the significance of the iconography:

Thats not necessarily against Jewish students. Its against gosh knows who and gosh knows what.

Quite. (Although he missed a chance at what would have been perhaps the greatest Big Lebowski reference ever.)

Swastikas have been the go-to Bad Symbol for attention-seeking idiots for a good long while now. It’s important to keep such incidents in perspective, and send a message that these rather pathetic people cannot strike fear into the hearts of students by carving a few lines in a table. Let us hope nobody infers the existence of a neo-Nazi cell on campus from this douchebaggery.

Civil Rights: Now Brought To You By Plurality Voting And The Letter Q

November 7th, 2005 by Timothy

Ahh, the Defense of Marriage Coalition, where would we be without them? From where else could we get this particular gem:

Theyre saying Oregonians dont have the right to determine what is a civil right and what isnt, Nashif said.

Well, in fact, that’s exactly the point of a civil right. That the other, perhaps pernicious, memeber of the electorate can’t decide who gets them and who doesn’t.

Interestingly, I would agree with the man that state marriage isn’t a civil right. State marriage is a particular form of the right of contract, conferring certain obligations and rights upon the participants, that sprung from a generations-old, largely religious practice. As such, that makes state marriage a privilege, and therefore the electorate (or its duly elected representatives) has every right to decide who is and is not covered. That said, my own views on this issue are already well known. Just to reiterate: there’s no logical reason to withhold this particular contract from any two consenting adults wishing to enter it. For practical reasons, I think a limit of two (2) participants makes sense. If you insist on seeing all the old state/federal stuff again, go here and scroll around a bit.

The point is that this particular state-sponsored contract need not even exist, but as it does and we must deal with it, approaches from both sides strike me as pretty irrational. On the one hand, you have purported conservatives thinking of amending the US Constitution so that good ol’ 28 (XXVIII) can be “HAHA FAGS! No marriage for you” in spite of marriage never being a federal issue. On the other, you have purported liberals going through court actions which will only embolden the “conservatives” and perhaps give the FMA more momentum.

I say we scrap the whole state marriage thing and allow people to negotiate on their own who gets covered on the health insurance, who gets custody of the kids, and we let individuals file their own damn tax returns.

More on Eminent Domain

November 3rd, 2005 by Michael G.

I’ve never been a fan of the federal government’s use of Federal highway and other grant to state and local governments as a tool to force those governments to enact law that they otherwise would not, but here’s something I found that might change my mind, at least in this instance. It seems there’s a bill in the House of Representitives that might actually put this tactic to possibly good use.

The bill, headed toward easy passage with bipartisan support, would withhold federal funds from state and local governments that use powers of eminent domain to force homeowners to give up their property for commercial uses.

Granted, if it passes it will likely somehow be abused like all of the other laws that use federal funds as a carrot/bribe to get the states to submit to federal demands, but it’s nice to know the legislature’s heart is in the right place, for once.

The simple fact is, is this should never have been an issue in the first place. The Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London was one of the worst ever, as far as individual and property rights are concerned.

Meeting Tonight

November 2nd, 2005 by Ian

What: Oregon Commentator Staff Meeting
Who: You, hopefully
When: Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 7:00pm Pacific Time
Where: EMU Century Room D (On the top floor of the Skylight room.)