Ducking controversy not part of our
the Far Lane
Western students have direct physical access to something
no other university students in Canada have: the only daily
student newspaper in the country.
That being said, we try to push the envelope, both in our
attempts to inform and in our attempts to amuse. Either way,
sometimes "pushing the envelope" causes someone offense,
be it shock, moral indignation or outright anger.
And while we welcome comments, questions or complaints, it
would be irresponsible of us to stop testing the boundaries
of what is politically correct or morally acceptable.
Whether we piss off officials in the faculty of arts for reporting
on a group of film studies professors leaving over the summer
and having the audacity to use the word "scandal" or
run a picture of slit wrists on the cover along with a story
about Trent's "Suicide Week," we're not going to
The fact we didn't have to use the word scandal or that we
didn't need to run the picture is irrelevant.
Granted, Trent's "Suicide Week" has little to do
with suicide, but the picture illustrated a reality all its
Sure, we took the opportunity to take a jab at Trent students
by writing a caption that said, "You'd commit suicide
too if you went to Trent." Again, it was unnecessary,
but I'd bet most people laughed.
Someone argued that if we were doing a serious feature about
suicide then the picture might be appropriate, but because
we made a joke we were out of line.
That's a stupid argument. Unless you're going to seriously
examine a touchy topic, you have to avoid it? Some of the most
poignant messages are made with humour.
Case in point: we ran an editorial cartoon last month about
censorship. There was a pro-Palestinian Middle East speaker
on campus and some students didn't think he should have been
invited. Our ed cartoon depicted one person objecting to the
policies of Israel and another calling her an anti-Semite.
We received an angry response and ironically, we were called
anti-Semitic. But we were making a point about emotions and
censorship, which was quickly lost in an emotional reaction
that called for us to be censored. (And for the record, The
Gazette has never taken a position on the Middle East conflict.
We are neither pro-Palestinian or pro-Israel. Pro-Israel speaker
Daniel Pipes came last year and many said he shouldn't have
been allowed and they were just as wrong).
In the most general terms, if we think we can make a point,
make someone laugh or just make someone pick up the paper,
we won't hesitate to cause controversy. Just thought I'd let