Even though we’re not yet at the halfway mark of the annual initiation ceremonies in Mpumalanga, as many people have already died there as in the Boston bombings. Yet by contrast to the bombings, the Mpumalanga initiation deaths were easy to anticipate and prevent.
Death should not be trivialised, so it’s understandable that some of us are wary of legislation that allows for assisted suicide. But if it’s the dignity of life that we’re hoping to preserve, it’s unclear how denying suffering people their final choice promotes a sort of dignity worth preserving.
As regular readers would know, I’ve written quite a few columns regarding TopTV (and previously, Multichoice’s) attempts to be given permission to screen adult content on their subscription channels. TopTV have finally succeeded.
The UCT student newspaper, Varsity, ran a story that included a graphic showing how “UCT” voted on the “most attractive race”. This time, it wasn’t only Marius Fransman who let hysteria triumph over common sense in reacting to this graphic.
The UCT student newspaper, Varsity, caused a Twitter-mob to mobilise in publishing a graphic regarding the attractiveness of “races”. But doing so isn’t itself necessarily racist.
At the Icasa hearings on TopTV’s application to screen adult content channels, theatre and testimony of the sort you normally find in church might have triumphed over evidence and rationality.
In my previous column, I explained why I’d be presenting to the Icasa hearings in support of TopTV’s planned adult content channels. Based on what I heard that day, any ruling against TopTV would be ample evidence that Icasa need lessons in basic logic and statistics, as well as a reminder that anecdotes don’t count as data.
TopTV’s strategy for rescuing itself from financial ruin includes a second application to Icasa for the right to screen pornography channels. As with the previous application, religious lobby groups are up in arms. But with there being no good reasons to believe that pornography is harmful, Icasa will hopefully remember that their mandate does not include the enforcement of religious moralising.
It’s wrong to impute negative intentions – that’s where the principle of charity comes in. And while an insistence on people setting aside any pre-existing perceptions regarding your motives might be logically coherent, it’s not sufficient in this world of real insults and (at least psychological) harms.
#WeSayEnough was by all accounts the largest protest march in the University of Cape Town’s history, and UCT has had its fair share of protest marches. I don’t know if these marches serve any purpose, but I think – and hope – that my cynicism is misplaced.