A STANDARD COMMUNITY?

by Ben Kleinman

Remember those elections we were so worked up over last week? Not the run-offs, but the general elections. Remember that Sunday night, when you were probably watching Forrest Gump? Well, at that exact same time TSTV (our $92,000 TV station) televised a special Point of View episode featuring a moderated question and answer session with all fourteen candidates for ASB executive office. As one participant said, there were probably about fifteen people watching, so I don't expect you to have seen it.

I was at Forrest Gump. You may have heard me muttering about the poor bird who died so they could have that feather. Or mumbling "peas and carrots. peas and carrots. Why not goddamn liver and onions." But, like all good Tulane students, I watched the show on tape. It was long and the moderator was pretty boring. But it was fairly informative and vaguely reminiscent of something entertaining. And in one particular instance it was actually thought provoking. Yes, an ASB funded station featuring ASB candidates inspired cogitation (I had to get a little fancy there).

A caller wanted to know how the candidates viewed the prospects of making pornography available on campus. Although inspired by the HaHa's announcement that it would attempt to make tobacco available (which is an entirely different issue), both the HaHa candidate and the 'other' candidate ducked the issue. Regrettable.

First of all, the term 'pornography' is somewhat misleading. It's derived from the Greek words for 'harlot' and 'to write' but has somehow taken on a rather ugly connotation. (How something as wonderful as sex and as enlightening as literature can be bad is something for a Republican to answer). I'm going to assume -- for the sake of my article -- that the caller was referring to literature with pictures of naked men and women, books describing acts of all kinds (violent, sexual, prosaic), and movies featuring such acts. Now, such things don't bring me any great pleasure (a little, but not great). However, and correct me if I'm wrong, there is no reason such items can not be bought and sold on campus.

First of all, such things are already available in many places. Most types of 'pornography' can be purchased and distributed legally. Others -- pictures of naked children for example -- can not. What is and what isn't deemed 'pornography' (and thus subject to legislation and censorship) has, by order of the Supreme Court, been left up to the community.

Tulane is a community. We have a police department. We have (overpriced) restaurants. There is the Tulane Physical Plant. Tulane Medical Center. Even a health club. Any RA will tell you we exit in the midst of a myriad of communities -- you and your roommate(s), your hall (or apartment), your building, your quad, Tulane, Garden District, ...

We also have laws and regulations that apply solely on Tulane's campus to members of the Tulane community. Quiet hours, visitation hours, the '5 people and alcohol' rule -- heck, the entire honor code -- are all examples of policies established by members of the Tulane community that only apply to the community. Or (and here I'm knocking off a potential attack to a point I haven't made yet) they apply to people from other communities who visit ours.

As a community, we have the right to set our own standards. Regardless of the policy established in New Orleans (not that they are what I would call sticklers for family values there) Tulane should be governed by and subject to the ideals of those living in the community.

If our new ASB would like to be revolutionary (and entertaining) answer my call. Put forth a novel referendum. Assess the values and standards of those who have elected you. Find out what we consider pornographic and what we consider acceptable. You may not be able to force Barnes and Nobles to sell Penthouse or Playgirl, but you can ensure that they have the option.

Stand for freedom. Stand for liberty. Stand for the people. If TALU wants to rent Debbi Does Dallas as a fund-raiser, they should be able to. If Eamon want to screen 'adult videos' in the UC then it can be a community enhancement activity. Let the Tulane community decide what is and what is not decent.

At the very least, more than 90 people will vote.


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