Sunday, October 17, 2010

You cannot Endure / Industrial Pesto!

Larry Hosken provided the winning caption to this photo (which was taken from here.)

Friday, October 01, 2010

Clementi's suicide

A freshman at Rutgers committed suicide shortly after his roommate secretly recorded him making out with another guy.

First, there's no question that this is a tragedy.

Further, what Ravi did is terrible: it's an invasion of privacy, and he deserves to be punished for that.

However, Clementi would probably have been less likely to commit suicide if society were more accepting of homosexuality. That Ravi watched Clementi himself may have indicated that Ravi was expressing reaction formation, a common behavior among people battling their homosexual feelings by acting very much against them. Further, he was not attacking Clementi directly; he was clearly doing and saying these things for his friends, probably in part to try to avoid rumors that he might be gay since he has a gay roommate (yes, rumors like this do spread in college dorms). This is unfortunate, but it happens because homosexuality is still socially taboo. Further, what Ravi did is still socially accepted in many social circles (take my highschool football team, whose members tormented gay students in my high school, or my parents and their friends, who make jokes about gay people. This phobia is common in much of America, suggesting that Ravi didn't realize that what he was doing was such a big deal.)

Governor Christie said he didn't see how Ravi and his friend could sleep at night "knowing that they contributed to driving that young man" to suicide. First, we all as a society contributed to this because we do not tolerate homosexuality. Second, such statements are overblown and cruel: suicide is a tragedy, but nobody should be made to feel guilty about something like this (I say this because someone close to me committed suicide, and it's confusing enough to cope with with these things without the guilt).

Ravi should be punished for invasion of privacy, but his punishments should match that for similar behavior, regardless of this death. To do otherwise would be finding a scapegoat for a problem (i.e., widespread homophobia) that we as a society are unwilling to accept responsibility for; instead, we should all admit a little bit of responsibility and try finding ways to improve society's view of gay people.