Tuesday, 15 October 2002

to­day i sub­mit­ted my first ever let­ter to the Viewpoint sec­tion of the Notre Dame new­pa­per pub­li­ca­tion the Observer. It was in re­sponse to this let­ter:

Bedwetting lim­ou­sine lib­er­als are over­run­ning the tra­di­tion­al val­ues of American so­ci­ety and our cam­pus, our University of Notre Dame, has be­come a breed­ing ground for these ideas. It start­ed last year on Sept. 12, when stu­dents were poi­soned with the idea that Sept. 11 was “our fault” and “we brought this up­on our­selves.” Last time we checked, two of our build­ings full of American civil­ians fell and over 3,000 American cit­i­zens were mur­dered. It ap­peared again last year when South Quad was in­un­dat­ed with yel­low shirt-wear­ing, Frisbee-throw­ing, tree-hug­ging chil­dren who be­lieved they could un­der­stand the plight of Afghani refugees. Most re­cent­ly, signs call­ing for “No War In Iraq” and “Pray for Peace” have de­grad­ed fur­ther the al­ready de­crepit state of pa­tri­ot­ic feel­ing on cam­pus. We are liv­ing in an America in­creas­ing­ly un-American. Sixty years ago a dif­fer­ent at­tack was car­ried out on American soil and American ser­vice­men and civil­ians were killed. The “great­est gen­er­a­tion” put down their books and ral­lied around some­thing greater than them­selves: the flag, the coun­try and the ideals up­on which America was found­ed. When called up­on to­day, the grand­chil­dren of this great gen­er­a­tion look up from their copies of “The Communist Manifesto” and their grande steamed lat­te and say, “not to­day Uncle Sam, I’m too busy sav­ing the whales.” Sacred no­tions of free­dom and lib­er­ty have been dis­card­ed. Instead, we waste our breath de­fend­ing op­pres­sive ter­ror­ist regimes bent on ac­quir­ing weapons of mass de­struc­tion. We waste our time in talk in­stead of ac­tion. Recall the fa­mous scene in H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.” The priest be­lieves he can save earth through diplo­ma­cy. Just like to­day, diplomacy’s and reason’s time have passed. If we con­tin­ue talk­ing and dis­cussing, we will meet the same end as the priest ? death. John Stuart Mill once wrote, “The per­son who has noth­ing for which he is will­ing to fight, noth­ing which is more im­por­tant than his own per­son­al safe­ty, is a mis­er­able crea­ture and has no chance of be­ing free un­less made and kept so by the ex­er­tions of bet­ter men than him­self.” God bless America.
Erin Fitzgerald
ju­nior, Farley Hall
Michael McCarthy
se­nior, Knott Hall
Oct. 14

and my re­sponse:

In the world of the in­ter­net bul­letin board sys­tems, there ex­ists a slang term called the ‘flame’ that can be ap­pro­pri­ate­ly ap­plied to Erin Fitzgerald and Michael McCarthy’s let­ter from October 14. A sim­ple de­f­i­n­i­tion of flam­ing: “1.To post an email mes­sage in­tend­ed to in­sult and pro­voke. 2. vi. To speak in­ces­sant­ly and/​or ra­bid­ly on some rel­a­tive­ly un­in­ter­est­ing sub­ject or with a patent­ly ridicu­lous at­ti­tude. 3. vt. Either of sens­es 1 or 2, di­rect­ed with hos­til­i­ty at a par­tic­u­lar per­son or peo­ple.” It ap­pears to me that all of the above defin­tions ap­ply to their let­ter. Their point, though ob­scured by the in­vec­tive sur­round­ing it, ap­pears to be that peace is un­pa­tri­ot­ic. Apparently, their foamy-mouthed in­sults are jus­ti­fied in this re­gard. The best way to avoid flames on the ‘net is to ig­nore them. By do­ing so, a per­son can hope that even­tu­al­ly re­spect­ful and in­ter­est­ing dis­course can take place. Rabid in­sults are not a form of in­ter­est­ing dis­course. They al­so of­fer no chance at achiev­ing it. I sug­gest that in the fu­ture Miss Fitzgerald and Mr. McCarthy try writ­ing a log­i­cal and re­spect­ful ar­ti­cle be­fore re­sort­ing to ram­pant name-call­ing. In the end, it will on­ly get you burned.
Adam Harvey
Senior, Keough Hall

Now, I don’t know if it will get print­ed, but i don’t re­al­ly care. i’ve made my point. Matt, you may in­sert your com­ments here: 🙂