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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Letters to the Editor

Dear Mass Media,

I read the article, “Controversy at the HAG,” (3/10/08) with much consternation. I drafted a letter of support to bring Annie Sprinkle to the campus when Patrick Day first expressed concern. I wrote about the value of bringing Annie Sprinkle to campus; her contributions to the field of art and feminism over the last 20 years are substantial. While Andrea Souza, the Director of the HAG, and I garnered support from a broad range of faculty about why her visit would be beneficial, and requested a meeting to discuss this further, I have never received an acknowledgment of the letter, nor any invitation to meet. Moreover I am concerned as to why the “we” that Patrick Day refers to isn’t more representative of the campus as a whole? The HAG has been around long before Mr. Day came to UMass. The root of the problem is that Mr. Day thinks it is his role to “determine who we want to come into the gallery and what we’re trying to achieve with the gallery.” As a public institution, with a storied, progressive history, I am troubled by ever-increasing strategies to censor student activity. The university is a site for exploration, dialogue and probing criticality, with the understanding that there will always be a spectrum of opinions about any issue. This is essential for any full understanding of what’s at stake. Creativity, dialogue and freedom of expression have been central to HAG’s mission, especially when issues are controversial. That we should “agree” in order to have a topic or guest visit runs contrary to what an institution of higher education-particularly a public institution that espouses diversity at its core-should be about. Maybe we should shift our focus. Perhaps it is timely to redress what the mission of the administration is. Rather than censor and control, it would be helpful to remind ourselves why we (administration and faculty) are here-to facilitate learning and education at every opportunity.

-Ann Torke

Associate Professor, Art Department

(Re: The Scary Rise of Islamophobia, 3/10/08): There is no such thing as Islamophobia, as former Muslim and critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali once said. It is a myth. “Islamophobia” has become a new way for people to cry wolf when they and their faith come under scrutiny. In the West, NO FAITH is beyond criticism no matter how many people believe it. Christianity, Judaism and a host of other religions in the West have gone through the process of reformation due to the era of enlightenment, reason and rationality. Ironically, the roots of which were from the Arab-Islamic Civilization at its most tolerant apex.

In any case, Muslims like the other Abrahamic faiths will have to do some much needed house cleaning, or the West will do it for them. In the West there are legitimate fears of radical Islam due to the extremism, sexism, homophobia and anti-Semitism often manifested within the Muslim community. These extremes are NOT isolated to a small minority hiding out in caves in Afghanistan, but are found in the streets of London, Paris, Montréal and Copenhagen. Muslims are not the ones to point fingers at the West, when Muslims themselves harbor their own intolerance towards Jews, Christians, Pagans, Gays and Lesbians and those who’ve converted out of Islam.

The West guarantees the Muslim the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, but this freedom comes with the proviso that Islam is not above critique. That includes the Qu’ran, Muhammad or the manner in which people choose to dress themselves. In our free society we are free to express our opinions and to print the image of anyone, even the “prophet” Muhammad. The rules to not show his image, was to apply to Muslims and last time I checked, the West and the United States of America were overwhelmingly non-Muslim and secular. Opinions (and religions) are one thing, facts are another. Just because one believes in Islam, and believes it’s from God, doesn’t make it a fact. Islam is but one religion among others and is NOT above criticism nor should it be.

-“Rodney Moore”

(RE: “Making room for Boston State College”, 12/10/07) Interesting development, the merger. Being a class of 1969 graduate, I can recall, some personal discussions, I had about the possible benefits of transferring to that “upstart” UMASS Boston. I decided to remain loyal to what was then called “State College at Boston”. I left the area shortly after graduation, and when I returned some 30 years later, I was amused by the news. (Well it was still news to me.) I am interested in attending the 2009 alumni get together, under whatever name it is held. Thank you for the valuable times spent, it was a busy postage stamp campus.

-Stephen Dalton