Damn the Empire, Not the Man

In this day and age, people are used to being insulted. Programs like Saturday Night Live and Politically Incorrect slam the government and high-ranking individuals within those groups. Celebrities are used to being put on “worst-dressed” lists. And this insult-slinging has made its way to the Cynic. We get letters into us complaining that so-and-so and his/her brother are evil and that they are horrible people. However, the letter-writer is clearly disagreeing with the points that the people are making, and not the people themselves. If the complainers are slamming the individual because they didn’t like the fact that he/she stole the said complainers’ significant others, then, well, this is not the place to do so. People need to understand the difference between insulting and criticizing people’s institutional associations vs. the people themselves. Just because you don’t like the Cynic does not mean that you have to hate the people who happen to work for it. And in return, just because we say that we don’t like what the ISO might be doing or what the College Republicans are doing does not mean that we don’t like the individuals within these organizations. Institutions do things that are wrong in our eyes, and when we criticize them, whether in an ‘F’ or in an editorial, we are not criticizing the people within the organizations. We are merely putting down ideas with which we disagree. However, as far as criticizing people’s personal qualities or lackthereof, we make like Hammer and realize that we “Can’t touch this.” We have staffmembers on many other different boards and clubs, and just as importantly, we have friends within these other groups. We don’t think that they are evil for being part of these groups, so why should individuals be singled out on our staff for writing certain opinions? Write in and disagree upon what we say, but don’t give the verbal finger to us as the individuals behind the opinions. We aren’t out there to chastise individuals for being ugly or immature, so don’t sling it back at us. We criticize people’s ideas and actions, and we have every right to do so, just as you do. But that right does not extend to your allowance in pushing your frustration on us because of someone’s actions or ideas. Don’t apply your unkind words to individuals. We don’t come out and say what Dr. Fogel does behind his bedroom door, and nor should we. But we should comment on his and his administration’s actions. Write in and comment upon how you don’t like how we don’t write enough about the Outing Club. But don’t say that we’re evil people, because that’s inapplicable, irrelevant, debatable and inappropriate. Damn the Empire, not the Man.