Free Speech Friday: Week of Oct. 24, 2014

See what The Daily's readers had to say this week.

Room for debate: Midterm elections — Popping and gridlocking

It’s that time again. In between getting fired up for presidential elections, we’ve got to contend with midterms, that special season in which the electorate tend to express their preference for party ideology, rather than presidential candidates. This is a special midterm, because it will determine how the final act of the Obama presidency plays out. The simplest breakdown is this: If you want his agenda furthered, vote Democrat; if not, don’t. 

Room for debate: Midterm elections — Let’s try something different

First off, vote. Just do it.

Now with that squared away, let’s talk about how you vote. According to a Gallup poll in 2011, a record-breaking 69 percent of U.S. citizens had little or no confidence in the legislative branch of their government.

Room for debate: Midterm elections — Confronting gridlock (no, not that kind)

With the federal government gridlocked and no end in sight until at least 2016, it’s hard to be invested in politics right now. The Democrats have a statistically insignificant chance of taking the House, and if the Republicans take the Senate — which it looks like they very well might — all that will happen is Obama will exercise his veto power more often. Essentially, all likely outcomes of the midterm elections for the federal government will be inconsequential.

Will's word of the week: coxcomb

Inspiration for these columns comes from all sorts of places. My research, my friends, my students, and yes, of course, you, my dear and diligent readers. But there’s also the vast storehouse of wacky words that can be found in popular culture. The impetus for this week’s word, for example, comes from ABC’s new fall show, “Selfie.” Yes, yes, I know: perhaps not the height of culture. But Shakespeare was middlebrow once, in his way, and so I present to you “coxcomb,” deployed as an insult in the Pygmalion-style plot of the show.

Safety implementation ≠ rape prevention

About two weeks ago, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department published a crime prevention tip sheet on their online journal titled, “Shedding the Victim Persona: Staying Safe on Campus.” They focused on how students, faculty, and staff can ensue their own safety on campus by following standard safety tips such as “don’t travel alone,” “travel on well-lit paths,” and “drink responsibly.”

Fix the world in five minutes or less: Don't filter me, bro

The advent of the Internet changed how we consume media. Instead of simply being stuck with the content available in our local newspapers and magazines, we were suddenly able to access information from around the world. Communication increased, worldviews expanded, and society moved forward.

Tired of the status quo?: Brainstorming a better economy

Despite statistical signs of economic recovery, many feel that we are still on “hard times.” Regardless of what research or statistics tell us, it’s difficult to fight certain gut feelings. Instead of an unregulated market that privileges businesses over humans, it might be time to look at changing the system to benefit the people.

The sex appeals: Come on!

Sex is a minefield of dos and don’ts, expectations, and screw-ups. Sometimes it’s hard to talk frankly about mashing your body into and against someone else’s body. I mean come on, it’s ridiculous. But talk you must – because otherwise stereotypes and tropes will get the best of you. Consider premature ejaculation.

Call me fat

Why we shouldn't be afraid to state the obvious


Got Questions for Sex Appeal? You can ask them here.