Following the controversy caused by last year’s edition of Sax Appeal (see here and here, if you don’t know about this), the editor asked if I’d be willing to contribute a column. I was, and here it is, for those of you not in Cape Town (or those who simply ignored the pleas of those desperate students at the traffic lights).
There is nothing remotely persuasive about her response, yet she (sadly) seems to take what she says very seriously. Early on, Taryn says that she “has evidence that demands a verdict”. Nice strong claim, which should surely be backed up by something?
Dr. Price’s response to the Sax Appeal controversy is measured and thoughtful, and I remain delighted to have such a reasonable person leading our University. The response does, however, not succeed in making the case for an apology from the VC being merited, and thus leaves me still troubled by what this episode indicates in terms of the University’s commitment to both free speech and rationality.
The most recent edition of Sax Appeal was certainly an embarrassment, in that it was both poorly written and edited, and also not very funny. What has caused most concern, however, is the alleged blasphemy the magazine contained.
A note on the 2015 issue of Sax Appeal and why I think the cover image a poor attempt at satire.
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.
An archive of contributions made on TV, radio and elsewhere.
The boundaries of what is acceptable and unacceptable offence (ie. merely risqué rather than legitimately problematic) are not only subjective, but also present a slippery slope problem. With the withdrawal of the T-shirts without any substantive engagement – and with the polarisation of the debate evidenced in the Davis column linked at the top – a new level of what is acceptable and not has been set.
When someone presents themselves to you as having near-universally foolish views, are we entitled to call that person a fool? Or does “respect” always entail only addressing their arguments, while refraining from applying such labels to them? Errol Naidoo’s call for a boycott on e-TV recently led to a brief debate on this issue.
Christian fundumbentalists are incensed at Woolworths’ decision to pull some Christian magazines from their shelves.