Monday, November 24, 2008

Hyperbolize Much?

So, the University of Calgary won't permit a student 'pro life' organization to display their signage on campus.

Of course, the wingnuts (including the students) are busy squawking about the evil empire's censorship of them.

However, the university is justifying its censorship of the pro-life display because of anonymous complaints, and claims that the display could provoke violent reactions. However, there have been no such incidents on the previous five occasions the display has been shown on campus.

"Banning an event because of the possibility of someone else being violent towards it, is like telling women they are not allowed to walk on campus at night because of the possibility they may be sexually assaulted," stated Leah Halllman, president of CPL.

Well, one can discuss and debate a well reasoned position. Unfortunately, this particular little "campaign" is about comparing abortion to genocide - with large, excessively graphic images is hardly a reasoned position. Claiming that abortion is a form of genocide is hyperbole in the extreme to begin with - almost to the point of being histrionics.

Reinforcing the point with large, graphic images is simply offensive. Abortion is a surgical procedure, and the human body is a surprisingly messy creation to start with. Most people would cringe at the aftermath of any surgery - including oral surgery to remove wisdom teeth. Why would we be surprised that the remains of a surgical procedure are anything but messy?

I would argue that CPL needs to rethink its campaign. If a movie promoter put out images as graphic as that for their latest splatter flick, nobody would post them. What makes them think that anybody wants to look at large, excessively graphic images for their campaign?

It wasn't that long ago that I happened to be on the U of C's campus when CPL had their signage up - it was beyond revolting at the time. The broader community on campus simply stayed away from the area. (and yes, the signage was big enough that it wouldn't be hard for someone to hide around it - making the area a hazard for students passing through in the evening hours) Is CPL willing to pay for the additional costs that the University would incur to have extra security around those signs - especially in off hours? I doubt it.

Lastly, the University has every right to insist on student campaigns having a certain level of decorum about them, as well as a certain level of respect for others on campus. CPL is not demonstrating anything close to that level of respect, nor have they ever done so in the past.

CPL's cries of "censorship" are ridiculous hyperbole, just like the "abortion is genocide" meme. You might try coming up with a civilized position that can be debated - nobody wants to "debate" with screaming loons.

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