Friday, October 06, 2006

The Many Colours of Campus

I like this tree:

and up close:

Colours are cool. And still spelled with a "u".

It's a little scary that I told myself on Monday that I'm gonna force myself to take some time off and it's only now on Friday morning that I'm here at the keyboard. In my mind this is the Guilt Blog.

I've been reading a few things at once - I like that I'm reading again, but heck, let me tell ya, I really miss TV - and one of them is book from a series called "Opposing Viewpoints", where a balanced collection of articles debate various topics. It is a novel concept, and the particular one I'm reading about is rather bluntly titled "Sex". After reading a variety of viewpoints - from virginity pledges to legalising prostitution - I found that there so rarely exists any middle ground, and that one may have to reevaluate whether something with an equal amount of extremism on two ends can really be considered "balanced".

Over this past week it's struck me how polorized people are here (and for a minute, I was typing "Poloroid" instead, which sort of says a few things of my state of mind). The obvious partisanship is politics - which of course is interesting to note it being discussed freely, contrasted to back home where being a student and being politcal was quite against the rules. I mentioned to someone that a person who was both pro-gay rights and anti-abortion - or pro-choice and anti-gay rights - would have a hard time finding a platform, no matter how supported his or her points of view. The response was interesting: that one of the reasons for this is that it takes too long to explain a position that wasn't entirely with the regular categorizations. The end result? What someone else said to me: that we end up only with the "Bible-toting right-wingers" on one end, and "femi-Nazis" on the other. Not my choice of words, but colourful, no?

But polorizations exist beyond politics too - it's alarming to see how easily people are put in boxes: the hippie, the jock, the emo-crazy, the teacher's pet, the psycho, and of course, the prima donna. Stereotypes borne out of ignorance, fear, insecurity, or some other social condition, but ones which aren't limited to classrooms and eventually prevail very much in adult circles as well. Thus, politics. Does anyone else find it interesting that in the country boasting the freest concepts of democracy around the globe, there are really only two choices on the ballot? And don't come back to me with Ross Perot.

And speaking once again of putting people in boxes, remember The Karate Kid? Hard to believe that the actor, Ralph Macchio, is 45 this year, and yes, that's his age and not the number of times (in millions!) that people have tried to imitate that kick-ass praying mantis move.

Despite a little disappointment in Opposing Viewpoints, I did really like this line:

"Conservative activists have also fostered the false premise that marriage has always been defined as a union between one man and one woman. Nonsense. During the 100,000 years of history as homo sapiens, marriage has been a union between one man and as many women as he could afford." - Cynthia Tucker

Quote of the day, which themes the book: "Those who do not know their opponent's arguments do not completely understand their own."

Quaint. Though I might add that the real crime is viewing someone who has a different perspective from yours as being an opponent.


eg9 said...

That one-man-many-women thing leaves out cultures which were normally polygamous/polyamorous in the reverse.

Admittedly rare though.

Meanwhile, opponent not necessarily means "adversary" ... opponent simply as the opposite of proponent. :)

It's nice to coem by see you still blogging regularly, unlike mua :(

stev said...

good that you are still holding on to 'colours'

when i blog i myself have moved to 'colors' even tho the rest of my spelling is still usually brit

femi-nazis. heh heh heh

guilt blog eh ;)

eg9 said...

arrg, you tracked me here! *guilt guilt guilt guilt*