Monday, May 16 2005
BEYOND THE NEWSWEEK STORY:
There's been a lot of well deserved outrage over Newsweek's semi-apology for its story alleging the desecration of a Koran at Guantanamo Bay. The details are still murky and the truth of the allegation remains in doubt. It may well be that Newsweek and its reporters delivered a terrible blow to their credibility and provided yet another example of the mainstream media rushing a poorly-sourced story to print with serious - in fact deadly - ramifications.

One thing I haven't seen, however, is any condemnation of the rioters themselves. The dismissive tone of most of the press reports I've read convey the impression that the rioting is understandable. Almost as if the alleged affront to the Koran somehow justifies the death of 15 people and the wounding of many more. As un-politically correct as it might be to say, let's stay focused on the truth: Newsweek's story did not kill people. Muslim mobs killed people.

MEDIA ALERT: Results from a recent survey of journalists by the University of Connecticut Department of Public Policy:

- 68% voted for Kerry in 2004, one in four voted for Bush.

- 83% of journalists say they've used blogs, and about half that number say they read blogs at least once a week.

- 55% of journalists who use blogs do so to support their news gathering work.

- 85% believe bloggers should enjoy First Amendment protections

-75% say bloggers are not real journalists because they don't adhere to "commonly held ethical standards."

TIGER PRIDE: I had no idea my alma mater, Princeton University, hosted the first annual "All-Ivy Drag Competition" back on April 16. More surprising still is that the president of the university, Shirley M. Tilghman, agreed to judge the event. Below is a picture that ran in our alumni magazine showing Tilghman watching the performance of the eventual winner:


Click here to see larger image with caption

According to Debbie Bazarsky, head of Princeton's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Student Services, the goal of the event was to make "drag very visible on campus." Mission accomplished.

I don't really have a problem with the competition itself. Most people understand there are spoofs, skits, and shows of the most bizarre and absurd variety being put on by all sorts of different groups on every campus (Full disclosure: While at Princeton I once took part in The Nude Olympics, one of the silliest heathen rituals ever devised by the warped college brain).

The question, however, is whether the All-Ivy Drag Competition is a fitting event for the president of the university to attend. Is raising the profile of cross-dressing at Princeton really an appropriate use of Tilghman's time and the stature of her office?

After the event, which according to news reports included two strip-teases, a lap dance, and a comedy routine about genitalia so vulgar it left some in the audience "stunned," President Tilghman went backstage and congratulated the contestants: "Everyone's a winner. There are no losers." I'll bet there are more than a few Princeton alumni who beg to differ. - T. Bevan 8:15am Link | Email | Send To A Friend

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