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Free Speech Friday: Oct. 16, 2009

In response to “It’s all in how you say it” by Thomas Cloud, Oct. 12, 2009

Thomas Cloud’s recent editorial suggests that one should critically look past political marketing into what is actually being presented. That’s a great suggestion. However, he fails to take his own advice.

He begins by suggesting that the old meaning of “liberal” is equivalent to the current meanings of “libertarian” or “conservative.” This is ridiculous. Modern-day conservatism and liberalism may share a stated fondness for small government in accordance with classic liberalism, but all three ideologies also contain a vast number of other tenets that make them, if not irreconcilable, at least not identical. The basic idea of comparing pre- and post-industrial revolution ideologies with each other is frivolous at its core.

His telling of how socialists acquired the liberal label (in a deceptive fashion, as the editorial implies) presumes a specific interpretation of the politically charged word “socialism.” Socialism, in general, is more than capable of incorporating the classical definition of “liberal,” and in fact, libertarianism was a strongly socialist ideology at the time.

Most contradictory to the stated purpose of the editorial is the section where he ties “the progressive left” to eugenics. Not only is he connecting a political title (“progressive,” as used today) to something with which it has no connection (eugenics) and pretending it means something, but he does so by quoting Jonah Goldberg, a man whose career up to this point hinges on redefining the terms “liberal” and “fascism.” I wish Cloud would have taken his own advice and not tried breaking illusions just to replace them with more illusions.

Nicholas Chandler-Klein

Graduate student, economics

In response to “We’re all in this together” by Celina Kareiva, Oct. 12, 2009

I’m going to start out by saying that I do not support Referendum 71. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you if you don’t support it, either. I’m not a homophobe, gay-bashing, right-wing nut job. I’m just an American who believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman. And I’m not about to let leftist special interest groups decimate our country’s spirit and social structure.

First off, I don’t see any reason why we even need a civil-union law in Washington. Anyone can sign a document granting another person their health-care power of attorney or fiscal power of attorney, or make them a beneficiary, business partner or co-owner of a home. No hospital will deny a person’s health-care power of attorney visitation rights. No judge will deny a person’s beneficiary the rights to collect that person’s estate. Just as I can purchase a home with my brother as a co-owner, two gay people can do the same. So, there are really no special rights that I as a heterosexual possess that a homosexual doesn’t.

If passed, Referendum 71 will redefine marriage in Washington state. It will redefine the terms “husband” and “wife” to be gender neutral. If passed, the state will likely become subject to litigation by homosexuals demanding the overturn of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and impose same-sex marriage. This is exactly what happened in California prior to Proposition 8. If this happens, homosexual marriage will likely be taught in public schools as a legitimate and appropriate “alternative lifestyle.” This is what occurs in Massachusetts, a state where gay marriage is legal. First graders in Lexington, MA are issued “diversity book bags,” and they are required to read about how homosexual relationships are just as normal as heterosexual relationships. Does anyone else see a problem with this?

Last summer, I proudly signed and circulated the Referendum 71 petition. I did so even though there were threats that my name and address would be published on the Internet (whosigned.org) and that I might be subjected to the same kinds of threats and petty violence that occurred in the aftermath of Proposition 8 in California. I did so because I believe in the institution of heterosexual marriage and believe that homosexual marriage is an abomination against what our country stands for.

Gay marriage and traditional marriage are completely different. Gay marriage is more comparable to polygamy and sibling marriage as they are all abnormal and have no place in our society. And if you think that gay marriage is acceptable, I urge you to attend the next Seattle Gay Pride Parade. You will see multiple men and women riding on bicycles around completely naked, while men on parade floats perform both simulated and real sex acts on each other. Not to mention that several parade floats are in the shapes of male sex organs. All the while, there are children watching the parade, and the police do nothing at all for the sake of “diversity.” And these are the same kinds of people that want to be granted the right to marry? For shame.

I urge you to vote “no” on Referendum 71.

Kuzma Kovzun

Senior, biochemistry and

psychology

In response to “Staff Editorial: Sounders aren’t the same as other pros” by Maks Goldenshteyn, Oct. 13, 2009

Recently Mr. Maks Goldenshteyn wrote an opinion piece on behalf of The Daily’s sports section disparaging Seattle’s new MLS team, Sounders FC, and its fans. This editorial displays a lack of understanding of why people like the Sounders, soccer and watching professional sports in general. For this reason, it is far off the mark.

One aspect of the Sounders that Goldenshteyn takes issue with is the relatively high number of tie games that result in soccer relative to other sports. He says offhandedly, “Our unrelenting disparagement of the Sounders is … a commentary on Seattle’s sports fans … with [their] fixation on … tie games.” From this one comment, it is clear that Goldenshteyn does not comprehend what it is about watching soccer that people enjoy: the elegance of its play. When watching soccer, fans enjoy witnessing the skill of the players as they dribble, fake and pass the ball around the opposing team. Plays that result in goals are, of course, some of the most exciting to watch, but if you only enjoy watching goals being scored, you will probably be bored most of the time. Enjoying soccer solely for its goals would be like enjoying sex solely for the ecstasy that is the orgasm and nothing leading up to that. So for us soccer fans, a tie game may not be as good as a win but is still enjoyable to watch so long as our team played well, and I would add that a tie is certainly better than a loss.

In addition to having a distaste for tie games in soccer, Goldenshteyn also finds that “the game is more of an acquired taste.” Maybe he has never noticed this before, but most professional sports could be pigeonholed in this way. If you were to take someone who knows nothing about the intricacies of the sport of baseball and had them watch a game, I would hazard a guess that they would be amazed that anyone could find such an activity worth so much of their time.

Not only does Goldenshteyn find soccer to be an unworthy sport in and of itself, he also feels that the Sounders’ popularity is reflective of “Seattle’s sports fans and perhaps even Seattle culture, with its fixation on the new and the chic, the trendy and the in.” The Sounders fans that I know stretch far beyond the macbook-using, prius-enthusiastic demographic. The reason that they are fans is not because they are trendy, but because they have either grown up playing the sport or have spent the past decade watching their children play. Most have also been watching World Cups and foreign soccer leagues for years. Not to mention the fact that many current Sounders fans were fans of the previous incarnation of the Sounders in the ULS [United Soccer Leagues], which was one of the most popular teams in that league. Sounders fans have come to enjoy soccer in much the same way that I imagine Maks Goldenshteyn has come to be a fan of other popular sports: through immersion. If The Daily sports staff would like to make fun of people who are fans of the Sounders because its trendy, fine, but please respect those of us who enjoy the beautiful game.

Benjamin Buttin

Sophomore, civil engineering

In response to “Staff Editorial: Sounders aren’t the same as other pros” by Maks Goldenshteyn, Oct. 13, 2009

Are they just new and chic? Is it trend hopping? Or is it that the Sounders are exciting in ways you’ve obviously never realized? I’m not sure whether you’re uninformed or just bitter, but allow me to clear up a few facts for you. First of all, the Seattle Sounders aren’t new. They’ve been around since 1974 in one shape or form (and in their USL [United Soccer League] years won four championships and numerous division titles). Secondly, the MLS is the highest level of competition for soccer in the United States, which hardly makes it equivalent to a developmental or independent league (try equivalent to MLB, NFL, NCAA). While these two points simply show an embarrassing lack of research into your topic, I was completely perplexed as you proceeded to nonsensically blame Sounders fans for the Sonics’ departure, when anyone can tell you to go blame Bennett & Co.’s utter disregard for the fans and Seattle in general. It was the fans fighting to keep the Sonics here, while Nickels and other political leaders ignored the issue. Not to mention that the new owners just wanted to get out of Seattle the second their Key Arena lease expired. I was just as outraged as the non-soccer fans when they pulled that little stunt, but I’m not going around blaming other leagues for it. And while your Sonics owners decided it was more valuable for the team to move to Oklahoma, Drew Carey regularly dons his rave-green Crocs and leads the “March to the Match” from Occidental Park to Qwest (strange the difference it makes when a franchise actually cares about their supporters). How you can degrade Sounders fans for not stopping the Sonics departure while continuously spewing unfounded insults against them strikes me as both sanctimonious and hypocritical.

And yes, the Sounders had opportune timing going pro after a brutal year of many pro and college football teams losing, a baseball team losing and the relocation of a treasured NBA franchise. And it helps that the Sounders’ inaugural season has been outstanding. (They’re the first MLS expansion team to win their first three games, which they did so with a clean sheet in each. They won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and they’re in contention to make the playoffs.) However, Sounders attendance just this season has been greater than the last two years of the Sonics combined. The reality is that there’s just a huge demand for some serious soccer in Seattle — and if you don’t think so, I think the 22,000 season-ticket holders this season would disagree (by the way, 22,000 was the cap this season, which were all sold out well before the opening game). And hey, maybe first-year fantasy will wear off, but with great ownership, a growing franchise and a season ticket wait-list already in the thousands, I wouldn’t hold your breath. While hundreds of fans left the Husky game this weekend because we were losing and they were cold, I have yet to attend a Sounders game in which anything deterred the crowd from throwing its collective heart and lungs behind our boys.

So I challenge you. Go to a game, stand with the Emerald City Supporters in the Brougham End, and sing, chant, jump and scream through (at least) 90 minutes of non-stop action in a sea of blue and green. At least actually attend a match before you attempt to humiliate yourself and your credibility as a sports journalist again. And if you can’t manage to get over yourself, then go ahead: whine, bemoan and judge us soccer fans. We’ll be on the rave-green pitch, enjoying the game.

Sincerely,

Dana Reinertson

Junior, biology and drama

Treasurer of Emerald City

Supporters — UW club

In response to “Aborting misconceptions, supporting birth of free speech” by Colin Gorenstein, Oct. 15, 2009

The day after that notoriously disgusting “pro-life” traveling freak show in Red Square, columnist Colin Gorenstein brushed off its offensiveness as “a friendly reminder” of the First Amendment. However, if, or why, a woman has an abortion is nobody’s business. I wish there was less “free speech” when it came to the abortion “issue,” and more “shut the hell up.”

Those clowns on campus yesterday travel around the country using manipulative propaganda, misleading information and intimidation ­— “the beauty of free speech”, according to Gorenstein — in order to invade the private lives of millions of Americans, with the ultimate goal to take away their right to a safe, legal medical procedure.

Emily Allstot

Junior, engineering

In response to “The evolution of the Ave” by Andrew Doughman, Oct. 15, 2009

Dear Daily,

The article on the “Ave” Thursday was interesting, but its history of the Ave skipped one whole cycle of rebirth and decay, which I remember. The Ave didn’t simply decline from the 1960s to the 1990s.

In the late 1960s, family-oriented stores largely disappeared from the Ave, and there was nowhere for students to buy socks. With rents lower, hippie entrepreneurs started opening counterculture sandal and candle shops and tie-dye boutiques. During the 1970s, suburbanites flocked to the Ave to buy these goods, which they could not get elsewhere.

It was only in the 1980s, as these exotic goods started showing up in suburban malls, and later in University Village, that the Ave once again went into a decline.

Joe Felsenstein

Professor, genome sciences

and biology

In response to “Aborting misconceptions, supporting birth of free speech” by Colin Gorenstein, Oct. 15, 2009

In defense of the genocide-ers:

“What do you think about these pictures?” she asked me. I finally turned to her, “I don’t like them.” Before she could respond, I interjected, “I don’t like looking at pictures of spiders either, but I can decide the moral value of spiders without having to look at them.” She chuckled.

If you couldn’t tell from this poor paraphrasing, I had a very enlightening conversation with one of the people working for the infamous abortion-equals-genocide display in Red Square. I was surprised at how well it went because I am very interested in ethics, and she is very clearly a “pro-life” fanatic. We talked about how the pamphlet they were passing out and the display itself were getting away from the issue itself. I will decide on whether abortion should be a choice or be outlawed without any concern for potential increased risks for breast cancer or for their silly connection they try to make with genocide. And surprisingly, this woman agreed with that.

I told her that the images were here simply for “shock value.” She agreed, shamelessly. The images they put up may be inappropriately located, in case children walk by, for example. But they are exactly like those “Truth” ads that get you to think about smoking. “Even the people who don’t come talk (or yell) at us see these pictures and think about abortion. I mean, it’s not like you go sit down at a café and start talking with a friend about abortion.” I laughed. She added, “Although you are a philosophy major, so perhaps you do.”

I think I misjudged these crazed demonstrators. Whether or not I agree with their ideals in entirety, I do respect that they are out here, willing to engage with the public and get people talking about their ideas, and questioning ideas they may have had for a long time.

“If we could get the same effect from holding up one little sign instead of this huge display, I would rather do that.” Perhaps it’s better she didn’t.

Tyler Leitch

Sophomore, Germanics and

philosophy

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