Monday, April 14, 2008

Idiot Wind

Dylan was lucky when he wrote this song; he only had one idiot wind to deal with. Around campus right now, however, there are three of them.

Here's deal - apparently, one of the bus drivers for the free shuttle was playing a local radio station which was currently broadcasting a show by a rather outspoken and conservative host, who has been known to offend people in the past. A student complained to ASU, first back in October and then again last week. ASU decided the station had to be either turned down or turned off while they investigate the incident. The radio station, KTAR, cried foul, claiming ASU was trying to censor free speech, and they spent today broadcasting from campus.

If I may, I'd like to offer a little advice to all three parties (and quite frankly, even if you think I shouldn't, I'm going to anyway).

To the student who complained: Welcome to the real world. People are going to say, and you are going to hear, things you don't like and don't agree with. That's life. Deal with it. If you don't like it, ask the bus driver to turn it down. Don't go whining to the university. And quite honestly, even if you don't like or if you find it offensive, you might want to listen to anyway, because there will be others out there who do like it and if you've heard it yourself, you're better prepared to counter it. This is a university - you're supposed to confront ideas and opinions which are strange and uncomfortable to you.

To ASU: Quit hyperventilating. Just because one student complained, that doesn't mean there's some widespread problem. This is one person, all you had to do was tell then you would talk to the drivers and ask them to use some more common sense with their radio choices. There, problem solved.

To KTAR: Quit playing the righteous martyr. You know damn well that ASU asking their drivers to turn the station down while they look into this isn't "censoring free speech"! They aren't saying that it can't be played, simply that the drivers should use some discretion and common sense while ASU figures out what happened. I've actually listened to this particular host before, and I've found him offensive on many occasions. But he has every right to say what he wants to say - just as I have every right to turn it off!

Everyone involved has taken this whole thing and blown it way out of proportion. And knowing the other idiots in the area, I can almost guarantee that this will be all over the news for the next few day, which means I'll keep hearing about it. If you want to hear some more about this, here are a few of the things which have already come out.

ASU Student paper: Story #1
ASU Student paper: Story #2
AZ Central: Main stream media's take
KTAR: Their take on it

And just exercise my right of free speech, *ahem* You are all being fucking idiots! Knock it off, there are better things to be dealing with right now!


Journey said...

I've noticed a number of people seem to mistake "freedom of expression" for "freedom to information-strafe you into a twitching mass of nerves curled up in the foetal position on the floor." You have the right to say what you want to say. If you're doing it at top volume in a public place where I don't have a choice to go away, it feels like as much an assault as if you tied me to a chair and propped my eyelids open with toothpicks.

RogueHistorian said...

And I certainly agree with you. From what I've heard from friends who encountered this particular bus driver (I never have myself), you could hear the radio but it was not so loud that you couldn't have a conversation without having to raise your voice. Personally, I tend to think that if you're the bus driver and you want to listen to something it's easy enough to put on a pair of light headphones - that way you can listen to whatever but will still be able to hear if someone is trying to talk to you.