I saw a great little number on YouTube.com a few days ago by some influential celebrities attempting to use reverse psychology to get people to vote. The video was called “Don’t Vote.” It was effective.
I’m already a registered voter and although I believe my vote is merely a grain of sand, it’s my piece of the beach. We can all agree if everyone thought cynically about his or her voice in the world, the system would collapse. So, thank you to all those positive people out there who acknowledge that although you don’t really matter, it’s important to let people know you exist.
I bring up these “influential” celebrities because I find it amazing that people who are attracted to Scarlett Johansson will actually do whatever she says. I won’t criticize it, because this sort of thing goes back to when Clark Gable exposed his bare chest in “It Happened One Night,” and the sale of undershirts supposedly declined by 75 percent. Bottom line, when people are given the freedom to do as they please, they usually imitate each other. I’ve accepted this, but what I have trouble reconciling is the lack of consideration for the opinions of the academic elite.
Most of us have taken a political science course because it was a sweet little “double-dipper” in the core curriculum. And, of course, we all sit through a great deal of the class and wonder whether our professor is liberal or conservative based upon the elusive hints we think we’re hearing when we learn about how messed up Reaganomics was. Either way, we want to know what they think, yet we don’t want to hear it if it’s counter to our experience. This is because with celebrities there is a comfortable detachment, and in real life we have to see our professors every other day. When it comes to politics; no matter how informed our superiors may be, we fear a compromise of our values. The last thing we want to hear is a proven statistic that shatters our reality and makes us question our beliefs. But I write to say: bring it on.
Of all the places in the world, this university, or any, is a true free market of ideas, and professors appreciate that. They have to. They didn’t learn everything about their field of study and quit because there was nothing else to read. They continue the research and expand mankind’s knowledge because they kept asking questions. We should know what they think and be happy to hear another informed perspective. Or we could listen to Courtney Love.
Bless the professors who already have tenure (which basically means they can only get fired by punching you in the face) and choose to respect your delicate opinion by reserving theirs. However, I think we’re all mature enough to debate this election and partake in some good ole fashioned public discourse. I’m interested to hear what the erudite scholars have to say, and hope they volunteer more often.
I want to hear you, professors. You may have mastered the English language, obtained the highest degree in your field, and accrued a number of indisputable experiences, but I’ve got the Internet and an iron-will too strong with which to be negotiated.
Nobody is easily influenced, or readily receptive, when it comes to discussing political life, but that doesn’t mean we should reject the opportunity to grow. We miss out on too much when we allow our professors to remain silent. Agree to disagree, everybody.
Joey Parr is a senior radio-TV-film and political science major from Fort Worth.