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: 🙂